Free Range on Food: Beer Madness winner, "The Gaza Kitchen," Victor Albisu and more

Apr 24, 2013

Every Wednesday at noon, Food section staff members and guests answer your burning culinary questions.
Past Free Range on Food chats

Greetings, all, and welcome to today's chat! We have lots to talk about today -- and lots of help in doing so.

Victor Albisu, the king of charring, will be here to talk about his style of flavor-building, central to his cooking at the new Del Campo. Jim "Smoke Signals" Shahin, who wrote about Victor in today's section, will be on hand, too.

Vered Guttman, who wrote about "The Gaza Kitchen" cookbook, can answer any q's about that (and lots of other things, too), as can the co-author of the book, Laila El-Haddad, who will also be joining us.

Finally, to mark our finale of Beer Madness, we'll have beer writer Greg Kitsock and Flying Dog brewer Ben Clark, the man responsible for this year's Beer Madness champion, Double Dog Double Pale Ale.

We'll have cookbooks to give away to our favorite two chatters: a signed copy of "The Gaza Kitchen" and Robb Walsh's "Barbecue Crossroads." To entice beer questions, we'll have a couple of cool glasses for the source of our favorite brew-related query/comment.

Let's do this!

Isn't ceviche -- "seviche" if you insist -- by definition raw fish and seafood, cooked only by lime juice? So how can Victor Albisu's restaurant serve "grilled seviche?" That's seriously funny! And I'm clearly confused! I give even odds he'll make it with jumbo shrimp.

Ceviche, seviche, cebiche are all correct spellings. These refer to any food dressed in citrus - beef, mushroom, fish, etc. At Del Campo, we touch one side of the fish to the grill to add a nuance of texture and smoky flavor.

I bought a bag of frozen whiting fillets from the grocery a couple of weeks ago and recently discovered that they are skin-on when trying to incorporate them into a recipe. The recipe was a failure, but now I'm left wondering if there's anything to be done with the remaining fish. Do I try to use them, or ditch them and start over with different (and better quality, natch) fish.

Oh, I might have an idea for you with those whiting fillets.

Thanks for sending me "Japanese Farm Food" after the chat a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed it and thought I'd send a book report! It's a huge book filled with stories about an American woman's life on a traditional Japanese farm with her Japanese family. Very interesting just to read cover to cover. The recipes seem clear; I haven't cooked much from it, since my husband is getting tired of Japanese food! But the recipes are flexible: she shows you a method, but says you can use it with other vegetables and there's a whole section about what methods work for which foods. It was a good follow-up to my previous go-to cookbook, "My Japanese Table," written by an American who lived in Japan on and off for years. There are a lot of warm, personal touches in both books. I highly recommend them!

Glad you enjoyed! Thanks for the report.

anyone tried the knife sharpening at Union Market?

I haven't tried D.C. Sharp yet for two reasons: I don't feel like carrying my knives to Union Market, and the company's prices are considerably higher than what I pay at my neighborhood Ace, where I usually sharpen my blades.


One basic price comparison: At Ace, I pay $5 to sharpen my 10-inch chef's knife. (Ace in Takoma Park charges $5 for all knives longer than 5 inches.) At D.C. Sharp, I would pay $20, since the company charges $2 per inch for knives longer than 8 inches.


Now, what that said, it could be that D.C. Sharp does a much better job at sharpening than Ace. I may feel like it's worth than extra $15, but so far I haven't been willing to pay the price to make the comparison. Also, one other issue with Ace: They don't do serrated knives.

will you enjoy your chemo after you eat the charred foods? is there anybody left at the post with any brains?

Are there still readers who research a topic before making wild cancer claims? 


The National Cancer Institute has the scientific facts on any relationship between charred meat and cancer. While studies have shown that heterocyclic amines  and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons -- the chemicals formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures or over an open flame -- can cause cancer in rodents, the animals were fed a diet "thousands of times" higher in HCA and PAH than what a human would consume.


"Population studies have not established a definitive link between HCA and PAH exposure from cooked meats and cancer in humans," the institute notes. You can read more about charred meat and cancer here.

Burnt and charred are colorful words we use to describe a cooking technique just past caramelization. Fully burned foods are not offered on the Del Campo menu.

For those who are concerned about it, scientific experts say eating cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage) can help counteract the effects of charred meat. As can marinades.

I read in the Post this week that eating a teaspoon of ground cinnamon can cause breathing difficulties and even, in one case, a collapsed lung! We like to sprinkle about a spoon's worth onto about an equal amount of applesauce, eat and repeat until several ounces have been consumed. Is that dangerous or does the applesauce counteract the cinnamon?

The so-called "cinnamon challenge" that has been going around the Web -- involving YouTube videos of teenagers trying to ingest a teaspoon full of the ground spice within 60 seconds -- is dangerous, yes, because those pieces of cinnamon don't break down easily in the lungs when swallowed dry and in that quantity. Stirring it into applesauce shouldn't be a problem (and I haven't heard anything about cinnamon's danger when used in the normal ways) -- although are you really doing a ratio of 1:1 applesauce to cinnamon?

Hi, guys! My boyfriend always does the grilling but he's in LA for the week on business. The weather here's so nice today, I decided to try my hand at grilling dinner on the porch tonight. I thought I'd do a chicken breast with grilled zucchini on the side. I asked him how he'd do the zucchini and he said he it should get to a particular temperature. Do you have any idea what he's talking about? I have one of those little meat thermometers, so I should be able to take its temperature. I need your help, because this girl's getting ready to play with fire!

I love to grill vegetables, and don't believe there is a temp for doneness. It's more about texture and flavor. For me, I like vegetables to be cooked unevenly - more char on some than others. Make sure to season your vegetables and drizzle with a high quality olive oil once you remove them from the grill.

I agree about the thermometers. I would only add that you'll want to slice the zucchini to about 1/4 inch in thickness, perhaps slighly thicker. Use a medium-hot fire. Generally, you'll grill on each side for about 2-3 minutes. But watch it and turn as necessary. 

Hi, love the chats! I have a tub of mascarpone left over from a recipe. I don't want to make a dessert. Any ideas for dinner time uses?

Here are some dishes that will help you use that mascarpone up (I will 'fess up to mixing it with a little Nutella and spreading it on graham crackers...):

Chicken With Tomato Mascarpone Sauce

Pear-Radicchio Risotto With Red Grapes

Pear-Radicchio Risotto With Red Grapes

Salmon, Mascarpone, Caper and Sun-Dried Tomato Crumble

Turkey and Squash Ravioli in Brown Butter-Sage Sauce

Turkey and Squash Ravioli in Brown Butter-Sage Sauce

Carrot Soup With Herb Puree

Carrot Soup With Herb Puree

Chestnut Soup With Green Peppercorn Mascarpone (assuming you can get your hands on chestnuts now)

Chestnut Soup With Green Peppercorn Mascarpone

Garlic Tomato Soup With Tarragon


It's only been a couple of short weeks since I submitted a question about how to bring a couple of vegetable-hating adults around to eating more things and I can happily say that we have had reasonable conversations about likes and dislikes, and I think they have surprised even themselves in just how many vegetables they are willing to eat on a regular basis. We're still working on broccoli, but salads are a solid prospect and asparagus, grilled with lemon and a slight touch of butter, was a resounding winner!


Hi Rangers: I really like to cook and this chat is a welcome part of every week! Over the weekend a good friend, who rarely cooks, asked if she could come watch me make dinner sometime. I felt a little awkward, and then she said that cooking shows and blogs don't really help her because she wants to be able to ask questions and see a real kitchen. I agreed, but now am at a loss to find something good to make. I learned to cook gradually from watching my mom (and making a lot of mistakes of my own). Also, I am picking up the WaPo cookbook today, but should I get an extra for her? Would you say it is a good cookbook for beginners? Thanks again for the chats every week!!

It IS tricky to have someone watch your every move in the kitchen, but it's a compliment to your cooking that she asked. Of course I am biased, but the cookbook's good for a range of kitchen expertise. None of the recipes are too tricky -- perhaps because readers helped to choose them! Seems like you might want to pick a recipe that includes some knife work. The Provencal Tian is from a French woman I interviewed for a Washington Cooks column.  It's not hard to assemble, looks and tastes great. See?



I bought a lot of fresh mint at the grocery store last week, as I've been in a real "mint mood" lately. I love it in salads and cocktails. How would it work in pesto? Any other ideas?

Mint is great in pestos, salsa verdes and even chimichurris. For a quick mint recipe, combine 1 bunch mint and parsley, 1 shallot, 1 clove of garlic, 2 tbls sherry vinegar, 2 tbls EVOO and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor or rough chop. Serve with roasted or grilled lamb. Add 3 chopped anchovies to the recipe for a nice tomato salad viniagrette.

As a Jewish person who loves Israel and has been to Gaza and lived and traveled in other Arab countries, I LOVE your article and will buy the cookbook (or ask for it for Mother's Day). I very much believe that food CAN open people's minds and bring people together. The idea of the home kitchen being one place in Gazan's lives that is not Occupied echos in the Jewish tradition that the Home has become the Temple since the destruction of the 2nd Temple, and many prayers and rituals that used to be Temple-based are now home-based, including the ritual of the challah and other food-based sacrifices. I think Jews and Palestinians could find much common ground together - is this something that is possible, do you think? Tomatoes are New World, but are claimed by both Israelis and Arabs as Native Cuisine, along with Italians, Indians, etc.

Thanks so much for sharing this. And yes, I still hope this is possible.

There is always hope. But I caution against a false notion of normalization through food (so-called hummos kumbaya!) without addressing underlying injustices.

..for a nuanced article that did not shrink from the inevitable politics but kept focus on the food. When are YOU going to write a cookbook? And can I test the recipes for you?

Oh, thank you! I hope to write a cookbook at one point, but first need to find the time... 

Ready when you are, Vered! 

I had no idea. Thank you! Ace would be a lot more convenient for me than other options. I have several knives that could use a professional sharpening, but I've been reluctant to do it because I didn't know where to take them and assumed it would be really costly.

Flying Dog is one of my favorite local breweries. I'm glad to see it get the respect it deserves. Plus, the labels are cool. Now, if I could only get their Citra IPA at a store near me. The El Dorado IPA is one of my favorites and I hear Citra is even better.

Agreed on Flying Dog, whose Double Dog Double Pale Ale was the winner of this year's Beer Madness. I enjoy the brewery's products, too, though I do understand beer writers' frustrations about the public's love of big, hoppy beers, which are sort of like the high school loud-mouth who gets all the attention.

Thanks, guys. We are always amazed and humbled by the genius of Ralph Steadman, who does all of our label art.

Regarding our series of Single Hop Imperial IPAs, we are releasing on per quarter this year. Citra will hit shelves in DC in the next two weeks, so look for it soon!

GREG KITSOCK: Although there is no shortage of hop monsters on the market, I'm starting to see more breweries releasing pale ales and IPAs that are lower in alcohol and a little more balanced (Founders All Day IPA, for instance, which clocks in at under 5% alcohol).

I seem to remember that last year, Flying Dog, in an interesting experiment, released an IPA with virtually no hops, the spicy character coming from other herbs and condiments.

Dear Editor: Aren't those who were born in US are Americans, not refugees? If his parents were born in US, they were US citizens, not refugees.

Yassine was born in Beirut, not America. His father was born in mandate Palestine near Haifa.  But regardless of birth place, the United Nations defines a Palestine refugee as a "people whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, and their descendants".

"The Gaza Kitchen" sounds like a wonderful cookbook and window into a culture and cuisine about which, honestly, I know next to nothing. The Fish in Tahini Sauce looks wonderful (and not just because my husband needs a lot of coaxing to eat finny fish). I was brought up short by the call for "good-quality tahini" -- what are the markers of quality in tahini, and how can I discern them when the tahini is in a closed container? Is it mostly a question of knowing the providers? Thanks, and I'm off to the market.

That's a good question. A good tahini will taste wonderful raw, and will not be bitter, and there's no way to really know until you've tasted it. From what's available here, my favorite is El-Arz, a Palestinian tahini from Israel, and I get it at the Kosher Mart. Another is Beirut that's available in most Middle Eastern markets. I wish more good tahinis were imported, not to mention the fabulous red tahini from Gaza. Laila, what's your favorite?

I buy Tahina (in southern Palestinian dialect, and Tahini in northern Palestinian and Lebanese dialects) by bulk from Middle East/Halal markets.  The brand in my pantry right now is Beirut. The biggest distributors on the East Coast are based out of Clifton, NJ.  Don't be tempted to buy cheap online Tahinas that are exceptionally thin-that's one market of sub-par Tahina.   Al Wadi or Ziyad Brothers are other good brands.  The darker the tahina, the richer the flavor (and this is a good thing for a lot of the recipes in the Gaza Kitchen).

I made puff pastry for the first time this past weekend to use for Napoleons. The pastry puffed really well, however it did not set. The center of the pastry became dense after it collapsed. I wonder if i used the wrong pan. I used a clay baking dish. I do not think the recipe specified. Do you have any suggestions? I loved the flavor and want to try it again.

Puff pastry is very delicate. Be sure to roll out the dough evenly and cook it on an even surface in a well calibrated oven for best results. Do not grill puff pastry. :)

Toast a good bread (the ones with raisins, berries etc would be great, but anything rustic is fine, even slices of baguette,) spread with mascarpone, drizzle with honey (truffle honey is great if you have it) and coupel slivered almonds or walnuts. ENjoy with a good cup of coffee or tea (or a slightly sweet white wine)

Would you please consider brewing & bottling the limited batch of Old Bay Beer you had last year?

That beer was a Gose, a traditional German ale brewed with mineral-rich water that gives it a salty water profile. To replicate that, we made it local by adding Old Bay.

It was part of our Brewhouse Rarities series of small-batch experimental beers. We come out with a new beer in the series once a month. All of them are considered for regular production, so (hate to be vague) but only time will tell with the Gose.

GREG KITSOCK: If you enjoy the Gose style, you might keep an eye on Union Craft Brewing Co. in Baltimore. Brewer Kevin Blodger has done this style before, and I believe he intended to repeat it this summer.

If you're in the Boston area, you might look for Sam Adams 26.2 ale (their annual Boston Marathon commemorative beer), which is a lighter version of a Gose.

I am not a fan of the flavor of hops in beers. as such I prefer ciders and wheat beers. When I order a wheat beer, why is it usually served in a glass that is much taller and skinnier than other beers? I am so much of a novice beer drinker that I do not understand this.

Wheat beers are unfiltered, which means that the yeast is still in suspension. The taller glass allows the yeast to remain in suspension longer as you're drinking it. The shape of the glass also showcases the aromas and flavors from the yeast.

We make a traditional German-style Hefeweizen called In-Heat Wheat. It has great flavors and aromas of banana and clove. You should give it a try!

Love the quick link to shrimp recipes today! I can never get enough. I need some inspiration for sweet potatoes this spring and summer. I'm not a fan of them in stir fries, and I'm tired of roasting them. Any ideas?

You are welcome, and I can relate! Besides the links I'm about to provide, stay tuned for a Weeknight Veg recipe from Editor Joe next week that features sweet potato, too. 

Bourbon Apricot and Sweet Potato Handpies

Change of Seasons Salad

Chicken and Andouille Hash

Classic Seviche

Hot and Sticky Vegetable Stir-Fry With Honey and Ginger

And, this, from Gwyneth Paltrow: Turkey and Black Bean Chili With Sweet Potatoes


I bought and made fava beans for the first time last week. Really interesting bean--quite tasty, although labor intensive. The second peeling step--removing the bean from its casing--was particularly tricky. And there were disappointingly few beans after all that work, but they were still quite good. I'll just have to buy more next time. Any advice on the best way to peel them?

Unfortunately, I don't know of an easier way to peel the fava. The only thing you can do is to try and get them earlier in the spring, when they're still young and small. then you don't need to remove the casing, and actually some recipes use the whole shell.

Try blanching them, and rubbing them with baking soda.  Also, to make your life easier, you might consider buying frozen pre-shelled green favas at Middle Eastern grocery stores. Not local, but remarkably fresh tasting (and no shelling required!)

I got an email this morning from the Post describing converted rice as something between white rice and brown rice, and it told us that it cooks like white rice, but it didn't tell us where it falls on the nutrition spectrum between white and brown. Can you fill us in?

From me, the Post Points tip!  It was based on information from the cited source ("The Culinarian: A Kitchen Desk Reference"). According to the consumer care line at Uncle Ben's, sounds like you get a bit less of the natural nutrients in converted rice, such as B-complex vitamins, in either white or brown rice (the company uses its 70-year-old process on both kinds). But the tradeoff seems to be nonstarchy, nonsticky rice, which is what consumers were keen to have long ago. Specifically, the consumer care operator quoted "80 percent." FYI, if the rice has been "enriched," that means it has added thiamin (white) or added calcium and phosphorus (brown). 

I've got the numbers from our nutritional database for comparison.

1/4 cup of converted long-grain rice: 170 calories, 38 g carbs, 4 g protein

1/4 cup of regular, enriched long-grain rice: 169 caolories, 37 g carbs, 3 g protein

So, pretty much the same.

Hi Rangers! Do you have a recipe for macaroni and cheese made with fresh noodles instead of dried? Would this even be a good idea? My thought is that the fresh noodles might become too mushy under all the cheese and milk mixture. Your thoughts?

We don't seem to have any recipes that call for fresh pasta, even though Jane Touzalin put together what has to be  (hyperbole alert!) the definitive mac-and-cheese chart in the history of the gooey dish.


I'm sure some chefs and home cooks use fresh pasta in their mac 'n' cheese, but I'm not sure I would bother with the extra effort when there are plenty of good dry pastas.


Chatters, other ideas on fresh pasta in mac 'n' cheese?

I wouldn't do it. It spends too much time in the oven, indeed.

I realize this puts me pretty far into the nerd category, but I'm going for it anyway. Do you know where I can get some Game of Thrones beer, made by Omegang? It seems like everywhere I go it's sold out.

GREG KITSOCK: Check the brewery web site at They have a feature, Find This Beer, where you can key in the brand you're looking for and your zip code and they'll give you a list of outlets. Good luck finding the Iron Throne!

Persian "burnt" rice. I always ask for some at Moby Dicks, although it's not as good as what my friend's mom makes in her kitchen.

   Agreed. I love the crustiness in Persian burnt rice.

But, Joe, I love your new column. Thanks!!

Why, thanks!

What would you suggest as the best food pairing with this DIPA?

Personally, I love carrot cake with Double Dog. While it's an extremely hop-forward beer, but is balanced with a rich, sweet caramel malt backbone. The earthiness of the carrot cake plays well with the hop character, and the sweetness brings out the malt notes.

It's also great with big fatty meats, like a bone-in ribeye, and rich BBQ and smoked meats. To start a meal, it's delicious with rich aged Cheddars. The huge hop notes bring out the buttery smoothness of the cheese.

A double IPA like Double Dog will stand up to aggressively spicy foods that would drown out the flavor of lighter beers.

This past weekend, I decided to buy some ice cream for my freezer, something I have not done in a *VERY* long time. I had always been a fan of Breyer's since they usually worked with natural ingredients (personally, it always bothered me that, often, mint flavor meant ice cream with a neon green color) but when I saw the Breyer's at my local store now, I was very surprised. First, they no longer make half-gallon containers (they are 1.5 quarts). I realize that is a cost saving measure where they can keep the price approximately the same but only by giving less than before, but the second thing I noticed had me concerned. Every container now says, instead of "Ice Cream," "Frozen Dairy Dessert." Do you know if Breyer's has changed their product, or has the FDA changed their requirements for labeling ice cream, or is there another reason? I saw other brands still offer "Ice Cream" but in two different stores, I could not find anything from Breyer's other than their "Frozen Dairy Dessert." Thanks for any insight you can give me on this.

Interesting! Breyers did change their formulation. Here's some info from their FAQs


4) What is a Frozen Dairy Dessert?

Frozen Dairy Dessert products are made with many of the same high-quality ingredients that are commonly found in Ice Cream – like fresh milk, cream and sugar –  and offer a great taste and even smoother texture. According to the FDA, in order for a product to be labeled ice cream, it needs to meet two key requirements:

·         Not less than 10% dairy fat

·         A percentage of overrun that results in a finished product weighing more than 4.5 pounds per gallon

Anything that does not meet both of those requirements is not considered ice cream.


5) Why did Breyers make the change to Frozen Dairy Dessert?

Our consumers are at the center of every recipe decision we make. We work hard to understand what people want most and work to give them the best possible product experience. People have told us they have various flavor or texture preferences. For example, some tell us that they want a smoother texture, which is what we’re able to deliver with our Frozen Dairy Dessert products.


6) Does Frozen Dairy Dessert taste different than Ice Cream?

We have conducted several national taste tests across different flavor profiles to determine how our Frozen Dairy Dessert products perform against ice cream on important product attributes. In these side by side taste tests, our fans told us they liked the new recipe just as much as the original.


The ultimate measure of consumer feedback is whether our consumers are purchasing the product. Breyers Blasts!, which has a Frozen Dairy Dessert standard of identity, is the most popular and fastest-growing segment of our business.


7) Are there nutritional benefits to Frozen Dairy Dessert?

Frozen Dairy Dessert tends to have less fat than ice cream.


8) Are there Breyers flavors that are not Frozen Dairy Dessert?

Yes, Breyers offers a wide range of products to meet the different taste, nutritional, and value needs of consumers. Breyers continues to offer many flavors of ice cream, including Natural Vanilla, Natural Strawberry, Chocolate, Mint Chocolate Chip and Coffee.

9) What is the packaging difference between Ice Cream and Frozen Dairy Dessert?

These products follow all Legal & Regulatory requirements for packaging, and thus claim Frozen Dairy Dessert on the front of pack. Additionally, the ingredient list and nutritional information is updated to reflect changes.


A huge success and everyone loved them with one coworker asking for the recipe and wanting to know if it could be made as a cake as she was certain that she could eat half a cake at once. I quite happily assured her she could and there were instructions in the recipe for doing that (making it as a cake, not how to eat half of it at once). So, thank you again, Bonnie! I can always count on you guys.

Vegan Champagne Cupcakes With Passion Fruit Frosting

So glad. We are here for you!  

Yes, agreed, to look at underlying political issues regarding food. Never thought that refugees get soy oil, so olive oil is now used sparingly - will definitely discuss that with my family next time we serve Middle Eastern food. I look forward to learning more!

Vered knows this, as does Yotam (Ottolenghi): I don't buy into the notion that if you share a particular food, there will be peace.  There was peace once, before land was violentaly colonized and peoples freedoms denied, and there can  be again, and there is always food in between. The answer lies in addressing basic injustices.  Food is a good entrypoint to discussing these broader issues, a good lens into the situation, but on its own, cannot end conflict.  This is an assymetrical conflict, that is important to remember. 

yeah, cuz I can just stay home for that! ;)

Hi Joe, last week you mentioned you make rice in your pressure cooker. Do you mind sharing the method you use? thanks!

Sure. Here it is, from Jill Nussinow.

Kudos, as always, to Flying Dog, and I note the shout-out to Founders for their All Day IPA, which is tasty indeed, and appropriately moderate (4.5%) in alcohol . . . another out of market beer coming in for summer is the Shiner Ruby Redbird -- a lager brewed with grapefruit and ginger, and clocking in at 4%. The hop addicts at Beer Advocate will kill it (and they do), but I've tried it, and it's going to be perfect for those HOT D.C. nights.

Founders All Day IPA is a great example of a low ABV IPA while maintaining a big hop profile. We're doing a similar style next month: an Easy IPA. It clocks in at 4.2% ABV and has bright citrus and stone fruit bitterness from Galaxy, Amarillo, and Sorachi Ace hops.

It will hit draft lines in MD, DC, and VA starting May 1.

And I haven't tried the Shiner Ruby Redbird yet, but will keep and an eye out for it. Thanks for the recommendation!

Hi there-I am a big fan of "The Gaza Kitchen" and I've read the authors' interview with Yotam Ottolenghi on the book on Bon Appetit. It seems like the end of Vered's article that she would tell her kids how their "Palestinian neighbors" shared maqlouba with them sort of falls into that category of 'hummus kumbaya'--the notion that Israelis and Palestinians sharing their food cultures will eventually promote peace. Any further thoughts on the subject of cultural appropriation through food?

That was not my intention, and we're all past the "hummus kumbaya"(I like that) stage. I wanted to show that although I am still cooking this Palestinian dish at my house, I will remember to mention where I learned about it. To show sensitivity, as Laila asked, and that's all I can do.

For me, Vered, its also important to use this as a talking point-yes, you are eating maqlooba, its Palestinian, but what else? What's happened that brought to this stage and what  responsibility, ultimately, might you have?

Is the WaPo Food section on Pinterest? If not, why not?

No, it makes our legal deparment too nervous -- rights, how photos are used, etc. Sorry!

Who knew all those years of charring my marshmallows to a crisp for my s'mores would be the death of me> Oh well, they were worth it.

Might as well come in and try our burnt marshmallow ice cream served on our grilled lemon pound cake.

I've been coveting The Gaza Kitchen since I read a discussion between its authors and the author of Jerusalem, but I liked this article more for getting at the heart of issues directly affecting Gaza kitchens, for example the availability of certain ingredients and the need to preserve these foods as a means of preserving the culture of Gaza. Wonderful stuff! Forgive my total ignorance on this matter, but is there some sort of black market available to get hard-to-find ingredients? Would people be able to bring in anything from outside if they were to visit? How are people changing or adapting?

Yes, there is, in fact there is an entire underground system of smuggling tunnels beneath the Egyptian southern Gaza borders.  Its now more of a grey market than a black one-its completely regulated, taxed, with shareholders and dividends even.  Everything is brought through from whole livestock to pre-frozen meat and even car parts.  There is also a border crossing with Egypt through which limited categories of Palestinians can get through, and bring certain things with them.  But the questino in Gaza is not so much availability of items, but affordability: due to a siege that has very deliberately targeted the productive sector, 80-% of the populatnoi is food aid dependent and have limited means to buy expensive goods smuggled through the borders....

Hi, I have an odd question: in the recent weeks a cantaloupe and a bag of grapefruit I got from Giant were overly sweet, not in the fruit sugar sense, but as if it was injected with sugar water. I was European born so I am very familiar with ripe fruit tastes but these were almost fake. I like grapefruits because they are not sweet, but this batch was more sweet like an orange, without any bitterness. And the cantaloupe was still firm but terribly sweet, so much so that it increased my blood sugar (which I have sensitivity) even after eating just one slice. Does anybody know what's going on? Is there anything we can do about this?

I have often thought the same thing about those off-season fruit cups, in which the cut cantaloupe and watermelon tastes syrupy sweet.


I quickly dialed up Jeff Black, the chef and restaurateur behind a number of places in the metro area. He said that he didn't think it was uncommon to add some sweetener to off-season fruits. At Pearl Dive, he said his chefs make two batches of fruit: one with only  cut fruit and the other with cut fruit sprinkled with a little peach schnapps and chiffonade basil.

But these were whole fruits, weren't they?

That sounds worth the airfare from the West Coast!!

The lime beef salad recipe looks delicious but here's the thing: There's a warning (!) on the bag of black sesame seeds I bought at a local market, that says ""Do not eat as a snack raw food. Please wash under tap water at least 5 minutes before cooking. Please cook in hot boiling water for 30 minutes before consuming." Today's lime beef salad recipe doesn't say anything about using boiled seeds or boiling them. Did I buy the wrong seeds, or what? The only ingredient listed is "black sesame" except the package also says "Contains sulfites."

Which market did you get them from? I'd contact the company that packaged/manufactured the product. I have purchased, and consumed, lots of them over the years without so much as a rinse before using. Chatters, are you familiar with a danger inherent? I DO store all my sesame seeds in the fridge/freezer, because they can go off/become rancid. 

I read something recently about using avocado instead of butter in bread dough or muffin batter, to cut down on bad fats. Does this sound possible? I love avocado so maybe I dreamed it :)

Interesting idea, but I think avocados are inconsistent in composition and it would be tough to use as a subsitute for something like butter in baking. But it's a great subsitute for butter on bread, especially when it's grilled.

I live in a small midwestern city with no international market, and the international section at the local grocery store pretty much consists of taco shells and chow mein noodles. I'd particularly like a source of ingredients for Indian food, but I'll throw it out there for all ethnicities: know any good websites where one can buy ingredients? I've googled various ingredients before but so many of the search results are clearly (extremely) low budget and I'm a little wary. Who has web sources that they've used and that I can trust - for Indian stuff or anything else?

For spices, of course there's Penzeys, but I also recently fell for this company in Maine: Gryffon Ridge.

Also, Kalustyan's, based in New York, has good mail-order spices but also teas, things like dried hibiscus.

For Spanish stuff, there's La Tienda, of course.

Asian Food Grocer is good.

For Indian, iShopIndian is supposedly the biggest, but I've never used it.

Chatters, anything else?

Maybe this isn't the place to tout home-brewing, but the Inn at the Crossroads blog, which does all ASoIaF/GoT (have I out-nerded myself yet?) and medieval themed foods has their own home-brewing thing going (and, I think, a separate blog to catalog their brewing shenanigans now!). If, you know, you want to really go for it.

Every forum involving craft beer is a place to tout homebrewing! It's amazing to see the U.S. homebrewing community grow right alongside all of us craft breweries.

Cloning, trying to duplicate professional brewers' recipes, is huge in the homebrewing community right now. Simply Googling the name of a beer and the word "clone" will give you a ton of recipe ideas.

We are actually the first craft brewery to release our own homebrew kits, called Stove Toppers. They include the exact recipe and ingredients we use, all scaled down to fit a 5-gallon home brewery. We release one style per month and they're on sale at our brewery in Frederick:

Another food publication did a story on them recently. Their line up does still include some real ice creams, including those made with the short list of natural ingredients the company was once known for, but a lot of the newer flavors have a long list of processed ingredients--including some the company used to make fun of in its advertising that sought to set Breyer's apart from its less natural competitors.

Times change, I guess. All this is just making me want to go home and whip up a batch myself! No processed ingredients there.

Why do restaurants leave the tails on shrimp when they are served, say, in a pasta dish? It is fun to watch people chasing them around the plate to remove them?

My guess is that the shrimp are cooked separately, and they tend to curl a bit less (and possibly retain more flavor) when the tails are left on. The tail gives diners a chance to pick up the shrimp and eat it separately, too, I suppose. Presumably, a place setting of silverware comes with the pasta dish. Is it too tough to cut off the shrimp tails as you go? Not for me. 

Having missing the season last year, I was pleased as punch to find piles of ramps at the Dupont farmers market this past weekend. I made this recipe for Roast Chicken with Ramps and was blown away - I highly recommend it. Also, how long are ramps expected to be available this year? I don't know if the weird weather we've been having will have shortened the season.

Our sources at FreshFarm Markets say we should see them for another few weeks. Have you ever pickled them? That's one of my favorite ways to use them -- that, and with slow-scrambled eggs a la Patrick O'Connell.

It's not normal mac & cheese, but nothing beats fresh spaetzle baked with caramelized onions and shredded swiss.

Hi Free Rangers. I bought a box of kasha for some gluten-free fun, and was wondering what I should make with it after trying your take on varnishkes. Thanks!

Kasha Pilaf With Chicken, Mushrooms and Onions

Two more options from our database: 

Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Kasha Potato Salad

Kasha Potato Salad

I started buying fresh parsley after reading its praises here recently, and it's been almost a revelation how tasty it is. Now I'm using it instead of lettuce in wraps and to add texture to sandwiches and chili. So, thanks for the tip!

Good for you. I believe you're referring to Emily Horton's article, which was accompanied by some nice recipes, like this one.

I believe Williams  Sonoma does it. One knife free at their stores???

I'm glad you're not on it. I dislike the NY Times use of it, and I don't want to have to join to see the featured recipes.

Well, there you go.

Try making ice cream with mascarpone, you can use is as part of the cream/milk combination. Just look for recipes online - I like that it turns out a bit tangier and less sweet. Great with cherries :-)

We just bought some Breyer's because we couldn't find the flavor we wanted in Dreyer's (Edy's). It absolutely, positively was not as good as ice cream, no matter what brand you like--even store brand. In fact, we didn't notice the "frozen dairy dessert" on the label, we just did not like it.

Good afternoon! What is a good red wine to serve with ratatouile? Would pinot noir work?


I was fascinated by the article about "gaza kitchen", as a fellow middle easterner I am well aware of the variety of foods of the region and adaptations. I am especially intrigued by the meal mentioned at the beginning of the article--the layered dish with potatoes and lamb and carrots and topped with spiced rice..would the ladies be so kind as to share that recipe! sounds amazing!

Hi and thanks for stopping by! I would love to share the recipe, but it might be too long for this forum.  It is, however, available in length (and many pictures!) in the book The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey, available at

Yes, they were whole, uncut fruits from the produce section. Except for some preserves, I don't buy any packaged fruits.

Yes, I thought so. I sure hope nobody's injecting them with any sugar -- I bet they are just hybrid varieties bred to be super super sweet.

I just made Swedish Lemon Squares - cookies. Have a lot left over - do you think they would freeze well?

I'm sure they will, but you can always mail them to me here in Columbia, MD :)

Hi, What kind of glass would you suggest for the fruit beers? I normally don't like fruit beers, but in the summer they are like a spiked up lemonade and I prefer them on the hot days when I want something more grown up than lemonade but don't want to be hammered by IPAs.

I think a standard pilsner glass or flute glass would do just fine for most fruit beers. By the way, you might want to try the new Blueberry Lager in the Sam Adams summer variety pack. Usually, I don't like blueberry beers (they're either wishy-washy or they taste like fruit syrup), but this one is done well. The fruit meshes well with the German hops.

Harold McGee recommends adding baking soda to the boiling water (about 1 tsp-1 Tbsp per quart) before adding the favas, then dunking them in cold water afterwards to get rid of any residue. Haven't tried it but he was singing this method's praises on KCRW's Good Food the other week.

Hi! Love your chat. Having a casual BBQ with about 14 adults/kids this weekend. Have really been into grilling romaine lately.... Do you have any suggestions on a dressing and grilled meat to go with it? Hoping for something easy to satisfy a variety of palates. If you have suggestions on how you grill romaine, would love to know that too! Thanks.

I love grilled romaine too. Lightly brush it with a little EVOO and place on a hot grill until pretty grill marks appear. Quickly remove before it starts to wilt. Serve with the freshly squeezed juice of a lemon that has also been grilled, fresh cracked pepper, grated Parmesan cheese and grilled country bread. 

    I love the parmesan touch. 

    For the meat, I'd suggest beef. Goes great with grilled romaine. For a crowd like that, you might just want to keep things simple: burgers. But you could upscale a touch and go with steak. 

      Grilled chicken would also pair well with the romaine. 

There was a big article in the NYTimes last week about Bryer's labeling and about it not being ice cream.

Do you think it's worth going to a store, versus having one of your own? Better results? I know my sharpener at home works very well - I got a little eager chopping green onions after sharpening one knife and cut off a bit of my finger - ouch!

I think it depends on your home method. True knife-sharpening geeks tend to frown on the commercial, electric sharpeners. They prefer stones and their methods for proper sharpening are complicated. I have to say, I think you need a mentor to learn how to use a stone properly. I've scratched up some good knives with my fumbling use of a stone.

Thank you so much for last week's Greek salad article, which inspired me and told me it was okay to play with the standard. On Sunday I threw a pint of whole cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, and chopped green and red peppers, olives, shallots, and cucumber in a big bowl with crumbled feta and made a vinaigrette in a separate container. Every day this week I've scooped out a big container of still-crisp veggies, dressed it with the vinaigrette and tossed in some toasted pita chips for an awesome, easy, and healthy work lunch that I chase with a yogurt for dessert. It's not a traditional Greek salad, but boy does it hit the spot. Yay!

I'm sure David Hagedorn, the author, would be glad to hear this. Thanks!

For those who missed them, here are the recipes

Almost Classic Horiatiki

Whoever sent in that suggestion has my attention. Wow! That sounds really good. Anyone have a recipe for that? Or just for the spaetzel? I've never made it.

This month's Eating Light has a recipe for sweet potato chips made in the microwave! Haven't tried them yet, but am very tempted ...

I've bought cans of prepared fava beans labeled foul madammah (named after an iconic Egyptian dish) - not much effort and they tasted fine to me. Probably an undereducated palate, but still it is a way to get more beans

You mean Foul Medmass.  If using the canned foul, i like to rinse it first, then add a little fres hwater with the beans in a saucepan, simmer for 5-10 minutes, then mash well with lemon juice, mashed garlic, cumin, and hot pepper.  Transfer to a bowl and top generously with olive oil.

It's hard to be a "malt-head" here in Vermont. Yesterday there was a big to-do over The Alchemist's Heady Topper being declared "The Number One Beer in the World", merely because it is the highest rated by BeerAdvocate users. I took a look at their top 250 beers and only 7 of the top 50 clocked in at 6% or less. One can't even count the number of overhopped beers on the list, because they fall under different sub-classifications. What is conspicuously absent on these beer raitng sites is good solid, proven for hundreds of years, imports. Beer Advocate has a sub-category of top beers from Brazil, for crying out loud, and nothing from the Czech Republic, the #1 consumer of beer per capita! Will Americans ever appreciate a good dark Czech lager with saaz hops or a creamy milk stout? Most craft breweries that put out German or Czech styles or Porters get the hop character so completely wrong. Lately I find myself migrating to ciders which are up-and-coming here and taste like they should. If they IPA-ize a cider next, I'm going to blow my top.

In addition to BeerAdvocate, there are a ton of craft beer review sites and beer bloggers (especially in the DC-area). I recommend using these sites merely as guidelines. Everyone's palate and preferences are different, so you ultimately need to use your own to guide you when buying and evaluating beer.

And if there's a hole in something these sites are doing, I'm sure they'd love to hear your feedback!

I sympathize. I enjoy a good pilsner, and I'm amazed by the number of top 20 or top 50 beer lists that don't include a single example. Again, however, more breweries are beginning to experiment with lighter, more refreshing beers. The Rock Bottom Brewery in Arlington just tapped a Czech-style pilsner last week.

And I'm seeing lighter ales that you might describe as "crisp," such as Redhook's Audible Ale, and Widmer's Alchemy.

Joe's right about fruit varieties bred for sweetness and reducing the acidity. It's almost impossible to find a "real" pineapple anymore, just those gold ones (any brand) that have no acidity whatsoever. So I'm guessing the cantaloupe and grapefruit were something similar. Just like those Cara Cara oranges--sure, they're sweet, but citrus should have a little tang, no? Last summer we had a bunch of big, with seeds watermelon for a party. People were astonished at the flavor because all they ever bought were the tiny seedless ones. Again, nice and sweet, but not a lot of the flavor of old-fashioned watermelons. Plus, kids today will never know the joy of a watermelon seed fight or contest.

Didnt like Hill Country. Tried most of the other places in the DC area. Heard about a place in Manassas Absolute something? Is it worth a trip?

    So much bbq, so little belly space. Which is to say, I haven't made it there yet. I've heard they do whole hog, but don't know for certain. You might check with them before heading down there. 

     If you go, let us know your thoughts.

Just wanted to share. I made avocado risotto last night, topped with grilled shrimp and parm. Amazing. My fiance actually looked at me in shock and said "why have we never made this before??"

Wow. Love that idea!

I think we need to know if that is the case - is this part of the GMO conversation? To make it clear, the cantaloupe was still firm, so it wasn't completely ripe. If anybody is making such changes shouldn't the produce be labeled? Don't we need to know as consumers? I love the taste of grapefruit as is, and would like to keep it as is, also would like my future children to know what it is as opposed to an orange. All fruits have specific flavors and if they are all going to taste like sweet pieces of flesh, I think there should be a bigger conversation on this. Thanks for reading the details Joe - I love your work!

Thanks. This is a complicated subject, but one thought: Just because something is hybridized doesn't mean it's genetically modified.

You could also make some homemade falafal!

Three Stars has a nice gose right now - and very low alcohol, so great porch beer!

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll have to give it a try.

And you're right; it's a great style to "compliment" our hot and humid summers here.

Do you store it in the refrigerator? And if it's the one that comes in a metal container, do you transfer it to glass?

I store mine in the fridge. That's because I first use my immersion blender to blend it smooth, so it's not so separated, and then put it in the fridge, and -- it stays that way. Much easier to use, then.

Fridge, check. Lately I've been buying better, non-metal container brands. But when I do get that kind, I don't decant. 

There's no need to keep tahini in the fridge, even after you open it. And as for the separation, sometimes it helps to heat it really shortly in the microwave and then try and mix again.

Further intel here: Laila and Vered admit they go through hefty amounts, so maybe that's why long-term storage might be better for the average cook. And Vered says a brand made in Beirut doesn't seem to separate. 

In Turkey there is a dessert called "Kazandibi" literally "Bottom of the Pot" It is practically an inverted creme brulee. They first make a pudding, then sprinkle the bottom of a large pan with confectioners sugar. Spread the pudding on top, and put it on the stove to "burn" the bottom of the pot. Once it is cool, they cut it into squares and serve with cinnamon on top. You can also add buffalo cream ice cream on top which is to die for. I would love one right now!

    Man, what I wouldn't give to have one, too. Sounds great. 

Any thoughts on the multi-stage electric sharpeners you can buy? I think Chef's Choice may be a brand name. I have an old one that seemed to do an okay job, but I confess that my knives don't get top notch care. Some of the abrasive pads came off the old sharpener, but if they're bad for knives, maybe I shouldn't buy another one. They're also kind of pricey, but at $5 - $20 per knife, could be an economical choice in the long run.

One thing to keep in mind about a good knife sharpening: If you maintain your knives well, and keep them honed, that edge will keep for a long time. So say the experts.


Personally, I think it's too easy to get lazy with knife maintenance!

Trader Joes has a cilantro salad dressing that is great over grilled zucchini. I slice the squash in half lengthwise, slather the dressing on the cut side & grill till there is some charring & grill marks. It lightly seasons them w/o overpowering.

    Thanks for the tip.

I was so not happy with their changes. i recently bought ice cream too and i believe it was haagen dazs that was the only one that didn't use corn syrup. i want my sugar, i want real ingredients, i don't want chemicals. *sigh* i guess i gotta make it myself.

We MIGHT have some help for you in that regard this summer...

It seems likely that the increase in sweetness is due to selection for these traits. I know that hybrid corn varieties make for better eating corn on the cob, even if it was purchased at a grocery store.

I preserved some lemons about a month ago and am excited to start using them this weekend. I've used them in grain salads. Any ideas for other vegetarian uses?

I love making Caesar salad with grilled romaine. I keep the romaine whole, and spread the leaves a bit. Then dress it up with ceasar dressing (or mostly lemon juice and olive oil in my case), shaved parmesan, lots of cracked pepper, and anchovies if you like them. Soo yummy!

    I haven't tried making a Casesar with grilled romaine. (D'oh!) It DOES sound yummy!

Here is my recipe: 2.5 cups flour, 1/2t salt, 2 beaten eggs, 1/2 cup water, more or less. I usually add more water, to make the dough slightly runny, then run it over a spaetzle maker thing (TJ Maxx, $5 or so) over simmering water for 3-5 minutes to cook it. You can also use a knife/cutting board if you make a stiffer dough. Caramelize onions in butter, arrange layers of noodles, onion, grated Swiss, bake at 375 for 30 mins. (Or google kasespatzle recipes)

Nice! Thanks much.

As a person who grew up in a Sephardic famly a generation removed from Turkey, all I can say is that the food can be a shared and deep pleasure, it does not make a bridge across conflict. Someday I;d like to learn more about the differences between, say, Lebanese and Palestinian food. Thanks to both Laila and Vered for the article, and thanks to both of them for not hiding the real issues there. That said, hummus and tahini and za'atar forever! And oil-based cake too.

The Levant ("Greater Syria") was once one geographic area and so naturally shares much of the same foods. There are district and regional variatnions, and even moreso in areas that became geographically isolated.  Generally, Palestinians food, especially as you go further south, tends to use much more spices, tends to  favor sour flavors, use vegetables in abundance, fish in abundance (along the coast), and the zaatar we use is very different (rubbed in olive oil first)...its really the "home cooking" where you find the differences, not so muc the public market foods...

add to water, lemonade, ice tea... preferably with lemon slices. Awwwsooome!

Went out to place near Goldvein and selected the two lambs for slaughter. Lambs were butchered on site and packaged etc. Nothing went to waste since my dogs will get anything I wont eat for their raw diet. Nice organic grass fed lamb that I am aging now. Coworkers were appalled how could you do such thing. Lambs are so cute. No they are lamb chops and legs of lamb etc. Just like steer should be kept confine in cages and fed milk only . Free range veal just doesnt taste as good. One of coworkers a vegan sent me all these wonderful emails on joys of veganism. I sent her a picture of the human mouth and said notice the teeth they are made for tearing flesh. Lamb chops Fri on the grill.

Good for you for buying  quality lamb and not wasting any. But let's not get into a meat vs. vegan argument here. The world can accommodate all diets. And does.

I want Saranac Shandy. I do NOT want Linenkugel summer shandy,. I would be even happy if someone local made a comparable product. Any thoughts? Last summer I had to drive to Frederick to get the Saranac!

I can tell you that we don't have plans to make a bottled Shandy right now, but you can take any light lager and lemonade to make your own.

At the brewery, we make Shandies with our UnderDog Atlantic Lager and a fresh, organic lemonade. And if you want to spice it up, an Old Bay rim gives it a great kick.

Too funny - I remember my mom used to harp on this and tell us kids never to burn our marshmallows. Needless to say, I took the risk and it was always worth it.

I just started reading Michael Pollan's new book Cooked, and the first section is about barbecue. So of course, now I'm really craving it. Besides Hill Country, is there anyplace downtown that has barbecue I could get for lunch?

     Hill Country has Penn Quarter pretty much to itself. But you can get Rocklands in Georgetown, Inspire on H Street NE, Standard in the U Street area, Smoke and Barrel in Adams Morgan, and Kangaroo Boxing Club in Petworth, and Acre 121 in Columbia Heights, among others. 

Rather than naming the market, which I love, I'll tell you the brand is Golden Flower. The distributor (importer?) is Prosperity Resources Int'l Inc in NJ. The packager is S&Y Co., Ltd in Guangdong, China. Could the sulfites be the reason for the warning? I didn't notice it until I got home, will check other brands next time.

A quick bit of Web research suggests maybe sulfites would be the reason to rinse the black seeds you have. Some people are allergic to them....maybe that got lost in the label translation. 

Hybrids are made by selecing various strains for a trait and then crossing those strains together. There is no genetic engineering in that type of selection.


A recent show on Wealth Channel's Cheese Chasers featured a spatzle just like the one you mentioned. The only difference was that it was a farmer who makes the lovely cheese on the alps, and apparently this is what they eat on most days, I thought I was going to die if I didn't get some of that dish soon, so I made it, and it was soo good! Their version puts it in the oven with the cheese and caramelized onions for a bit, it was heavenly...

Looking forward to things warming up on the Bay and hosting a small crabfeast. Pitchers of cheap beer were fine back in the day, but what can you recommend that will stand up to the Old Bay flavor on everyone's fingers?

Light lagers, like our UnderDog Atlantic Lager, are great to balance out the spice and have a low ABV to mimic the old pitchers of cheap beer.

We also like Belgian Wits because the subtle spiciness from the yeast and added coriander stand up to the Old Bay spice, but the soft fruitiness from the added orange peel rounds it out nicely. Our Belgian Wit is Woody Creek White and is on shelves now.

For the poster who as lookigng for it, the website does not help. It directs you to places that sell the brand, but does not say if they have GoT beer in stock. I went to EVERY single place in a 25 mile radius of my house - 2 wegmans, a Total Wine, and a local specialty shop...and they all sold out right away and no one has been able to get in a second shipment/more product. So sad. But, I hear their regular blonde ale is pretty close to what the GoT beer tastes like.

it makes a fantastic pasta:

Can we just make our own? Got a recipe?

Toast a cup of sesame seeds till lightly browned; cool and puree in a food processor, adding as much olive oil as you'd like. Maybe add a touch of lemon juice. You could do this with a mortar and pestle, too, but it will take more elbow grease. 

Slightly OT, but this fact always surprises people! I learned of it in Lonely Planet preparing to travel there a couple years ago. Great little country, great beer. Would recommend highly.

I second the vote for persian burnt rice, the "tahdeeg". it's the best food ever. in fact, when my friend was pregnant it was what she was craving so oftentimes I'd make pots upon pots of just the burnt rice for her! gotta keep the baby happy :)

I remember getting this tandoori chicken and the person put the chicken on the side of a hot clay pot. The skin was so crackled and good and the taste I can still remember after need I saw 20 years. I was wondering is there any plave in DC that had that clay pot or is everything done in the oven now. Mouth watering minds want to know.

Atul Bhola, owner of one of my favorite Indian restaurants, Masala Art, says that most Indian restaurants that sell tandoori chicken are actually using a clay pot oven (otherwise known as a tandoor).  Many years ago, he says, that wasn't the case and restaurants used a regular kitchen oven. But tandoors are now widely available and used at Indian restaurants.

Well, you've ... charred us, so you know what that means. We're done!

Thanks for the great q's, and thanks to Victor, Jim, Vered, Laila, Ben and Greg (phew!) for helping us answer them.

Now for the giveaway books. The person who said, "I very much believe that food CAN open people's minds and bring people together" will get "The Gaza Kitchen." The chatter who asked about grilled romaine will get "Barbecue Crossroads." And the one who asked about Game of Thrones beer will get our special glasses -- emblazoned with the visage of Rep. Peter DeFazio, one of our Beer Madness panelists!

Send your mailing information to Becky at, and she'll get you your stuff!

Until next time, happy cooking, eating, and reading!


In This Chat
Joe Yonan
Joe Yonan is editor of the Food section; joining us today are deputy editor Bonnie Benwick, staff writer Tim Carman, editorial aide Becky Krystal and Smoke Signals columnist Jim Shahin. Guests: chef Victor Albisu of Del Campo; Vered Guttman, writer and owner of Cardamom and Mint Catering in Washington; Laila El-Haddad, blogger, political analyst and social activist who recently published a cookbook, "The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey"; and Ben Clark, head brewer at Flying Dog, our Beer Madness winner.
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