Free Range on Food: Quick pastas, the Galloping Gourmet, this week's recipes and more.

May 16, 2018

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

Greetings, and welcome to today's chat!

Hope you're enjoying our coverage, including:

 

 

We have fewer regulars than usual joining us today, because there's a photo shoot going on that's taking Kara, Bonnie and Becky away from me. So be easy on me!

We WILL have an amazing special guest, though: Graham Kerr himself -- helped by writer Rebekah Denn. So throw any and all hard stuff his way, because I'm SURE he can handle anything.

We will have a giveaway book for our favorite chatter today: A copy of the reissued "Graham Kerr Cookbook"!

For you PostPoints members, here's today's code: FR9285 . Remember, you'll record and enter it at the PostPoints site under Claim My Points to earn points. The code expires at midnight, so be sure to enter the code by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday to get credit for participating. 

Let's go!

Mr. Kerr, growing up, I learned to cook from my mother. But the first dish I ever cooked all by myself and served my parents was a Galloping Gourmet dish I watched you do, but for which I could never find a written recipe or even the proper spelling of its title. When you named it on your show, it sounded like "Chicken Poh-LAY'-zee". As I recall, bone-in skin-on chicken breasts were browned in clarified butter ("CB") and cooked, covered, over a bed of tomato wedges. Each breast got a slice of cheese (mozzarella, I think), a couple of anchovy fillets that had been soaked in milk and a few more seconds under the lid to melt the cheese. My folks gave it, and me, rave reviews, and I gave you all the credit. It's obviously a very fond memory for me. A lot of time has passed, I know, and there have been a lot of dishes - but do you remember this recipe, and anything I may be forgetting? (I suspect you might do the dish differently now than you did back then.) Thanks...and thanks for all the years of deliciousness.

Graham is on the phone with me, and says this:

"The dish concerned is Chicken Polese. You're right in the pronunciation.  It was named after the owner of  a restaurant in Sydney, Australia. It's very simple: It's a chicken breast saute with a slice of mozzarella cheese that covers the breast and a criss-crossing of anchovy fillets embedded in the mozzarella and a few capers sprinkled over the top so that they also embed in the melting cheese. It's salty and fatty and fine, and it's got that little sprinkle of acidity in it. It's everything we love about food. The tomato wedges might have been a garnish for it I did at the time. A saute of tomatoes never goes wrong, so long as it has a little basil in it."

well, not yet. I have a rain check for buy one, get one. I used to warehouse the rain checks, but now the store has a policy that the expire in two months. I will use it now and have either 2, 4, or 6 heads of cauliflower. Any suggestions? Obviously, a recipe or two that reduces the volume and will keep for a bit in either the frige or freezer would be helpful. I have a nice cheesy casserole recipe , but that seems more like a fall or winter treatment than a spring one.

I'm your guy. I love cauliflower, and have posted lots of recipes that use it.

For the most volume-reduction, you have to get on the cauliflower-rice bandwagon. It keeps in the fridge for a week, and I think you could freeze it just fine for a few months. Here's a good recipe from Ellie Krieger, although I go off the cuff and do a different thing each time. Generally, just cut the cauliflower into florets, and pulse them in a food processor until they're the size of grains of rice, then saute onion/garlic/spices, add the cauliflower rice, cover, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's JUST tender (not mush). Then I like to squeeze in some lemon or lime juice, salt and pepper. You can go BIG on the spices, btw: I like coriander, mustard seeds, ginger, crushed red pepper flakes.

But first, you could dispatch a couple of those babies by making cauliflower steaks. Since you can only get a few out of each head before the rest of it breaks apart, you could fry the steaks with some and then use the florets for ricing.

RECIPE: Crispy  Cauliflower Steaks With Ginger Scallion Sauce

A question came up on what could make vinegar turn blue. Double checking my chemistry, vinegar can turn blue in the presence of the smallest trace of copper. I believe the more the copper the stronger the tint.

Interesting! If the OP is reading this, did copper factor in anywhere?

I bought a whole watermelon, but I already know that there's no way my husband and I can eat all of it before it goes bad (happens every time, and I still do it). I was thinking I could make sangria out of it somehow. What's the best way to go here - leave it in junks and toss it in as I would other fruit? Blend it? Blend it with other stuff? Cook it down into a syrup? And any suggestions on the best alcohols to go with it? Or, any other suggestion on what to do with too much watermelon?

It really depends on what you want out of the drink! You could cut some of it into pieces and juice the rest, or go all juice. Maybe supplement the watermelon slices with some lime wheels. I'd look to blanc vermouth and some gin as a nice way to boozify it -- vodka, of course, pairs easily with everything, but it doesn't add much flavor. I wouldn't recommend cooking it down, I don't think -- my experience with watermelon is that heating really changes the flavor a bit, possibly in ways you wouldn't want for a drink. Also: I discovered a while ago that watermelon goes really beautifully with Chartreuse. If you like Chartreuse (it's a lovely, herbal, sweet booze), you might give this recipe a try, and this one is nice and summery, too.

Isn't this at least one reason that recipes involving marinade always specify using a non-corrosive bowl or pan (e.g., glass or pottery)?

I keep "gg paste" around for all my Indian/Pakistani cooking. Would it work if I mixed the chick-pea flour with the paste instead of using water?

Sounds tasty -- but also that it'd be too thick. You could try combining it WITH water, though? Let me know how it goes!

Julia Child first opened my eyes to different types of cooking, but you Graham opened my eyes to the true fun of it - even when it went wrong, it was great. I know I'm not the only one who you and Trina touched so deeply and entertained so well, so for all of us, thank you, thank you, thank you. Ok, now that I got that out of the way What are your favorite recipes in the re release (which I'll buy when my budget allows - my original copy got lent out years ago among a group of friends and never made it back, hopefully it is still in the hands of someone who enjoys it :) ). Just please don't say kidneys, I never could find a good source for them lolol.... Also which were Trina's favorites? God Bless....

This is Rebekah, just saying that I wish you could hear Graham's wonderful accent and his laugh as he answers these! His reply:

"I have read through every recipe in the book again, and commented in my own handwriting where there was space on the page. As to which is my favorite, I have to tell you that it's like dipping back into my mind over 50 years, which is really the last time that I tasted any of this food, since I'm always trying to reinvent the wheel. The most fun that I have had is reading my comments on each of the 70 basic methods of cooking. Can I give you an example? On page 70, a comment on preparing crab, "Ian Fleming once wrote of his hero James Bond, secret agent 007, 'sitting down to a meal of buttered stone crabs accompanied by a pint of iced champagne served in a pewter tankard.' Since this highly descriptive piece of writing I am told that crabs have nearly doubled their price. Fact or fiction, I don't know. But whenever I'm in Sydney or northern Florida I run my own detective agency tracking down this delicious dish." That's the kind of garnish that I have given to very serious basic method techniques. And I find myself laughing at me even though I'm 50 years older. The additions give an insight into how I was feeling about food: quite serious but not so as to take myself seriously. As for Treena's favorites, I think she loved the dish named after her, which was Chicken Treenestar, which is in this book - and initially hugely difficult to do because you had to bone out a small chicken, leaving the skin intact, stuffing that with rice and shrimp and asparagus and achieving a wonderful velvet sauce with the same garnish. The method that I use in the book is much easier to accomplish.

OK to substitute wheat flour for Chickpea flour in the cauliflower steak recipe? what are the reasons for using chickpea flour vs. wheat (or another type) flour?

Sure, give it a shot -- you might need to adjust the amount of liquid in order to keep the batter pourable. I didn't develop the recipe, but I imagine it's there because it keeps these gluten-free for those who care about that, but also for the nutty flavor of that chickpea flour.

Will do. I guess I thin it with enough water to make it coat the cauli...farmer's market today so I'll look for cauliflower.

Sounds good!

There was only vinegar (can't remember if it was white balsamic or white wine) and olive oil in a clean mason jar with a plastic lid. It happened in two jars, so it must have been the vinegar. I rarely use white balsamic--could it have been something in that? It smelled fine, and I ate it on my salad with no ill effects.

Watermelon salad is really nice - chunks (or balls) or watermelon, mint leaves, minced jalepeno, and crumbled feta.

Joe, you've mentioned that you have Swiss Diamond pans. What kind of oil do you use on them, and how do you clean them? I have two, and I use the small one every morning on low heat to cook eggs. It's become less nonstick over time, and the same thing happened to its predecessor. I use olive oil, which I now realize SD doesn't recommend -- what do you recommend? I also tried their cleaning technique with baking soda but it didn't help. Any ideas for me? Thank you!

This is so interesting! I looked up their FAQs for the cooking-oil question, and see what you mean about olive oil -- It doesn't say not to use it at all, but it says that the key is to not heat an oil above its smoke point, or it will coat the pan and cause food to stick. I've used olive oil plenty of times, and now want to go home right now and check to see if it looks like there's been a coating and if I need to try that baking-soda idea, too. Hmm... I'm not sure I'm any help here!

I'd like to get your thoughts on trying to eat like our Neanderthal cousins :: meat, fish, poultry, vegetables... no sugars. Basically, Low-carb, High-fat.

My thought: You do you.

I bought some nutritional yeast for use in a salad dressing but now am at a loss for how to use the rest up. Can it be used like regular yeast to make bread/pizza dough/etc? Any suggestions?

No, "nootch" doesn't have any of its leavening power left, because it's been deactivated. It's delicious on popcorn, can be good in sauces (especially vegan ones), or anywhere you'd normally use Parm. (I've seen vegan "Parm" recipes that blend it with almonds, macadamias or another nut, or sometimes other ingredients like this one too.) Here are a few recipes we like:

Vegan Chili Mac

Herbed Popcorn

Kale Chips

When I was just starting my journey as a young single man I learned not to fear cooking but get excitied by the process and result. In the 70s men were taught to fear cooking and your excitement changed that for me. Now retired, I cook for my family and it would be a pleasure to view some of those shows that started my love of food. Are there any plans to release DVDs of the Galloping Gourmet?

Graham's reply:

"Hmmm, I relinquished all my rights and royalties and even the name Galloping Gourmet itself, at, let's see, in the 1990s. And I understand that the Food Network has the rights nowadays for that series. They used to play us back to back in the middle of the night with Julia Child, kind of a "Nocturnal Nosh." You would have to ask them if they thought it was now time to release the series as a DVD.  May I add that I have only ever seen eight of the 500-odd episodes that we recorded? Because Treena told me that if I once saw what I did that I liked I would continue to do it, and what I didn't like I would edit, and then I would simply become a video personality instead of me. So I have, even to this day, only seen eight. (laughter). I enjoyed every one of them.  (much more laughter.)"

Archaeologists are finding that our Paleo ancestors did in fact eat grains.

I am not a master chef or baker, but enjoy doing both and I was sad to see in my email box that this is the last Voraciously newsletter. Please say it will all not be lost forever. I know other have complained, but I have really enjoyed it. Thank you all for what you do. You are all fabulous!

So glad you enjoyed the newsletter! Have you sent out your invitations for your dinner party yet?

Fear not, we're planning the next one, and hope to start it in late summer.

I am seriously considering becoming a vegetarian. Currently I eat fish and the occasional piece of chicken. I have eaten the WaPo's vegetarian chili and found it tasty. I am concerned about getting enough protein. What book can you recommend that would answer basic questions like the proteins found in legumes, grains and nuts?

I really like this little book "Stuff Every Vegetarian Should Know" by Katherine McGuire. She packs a lot in there, including a great protein chapter.

I toss small cubes of tofu into a mix of nutritional yeast and cornmeal, pop it into a 425 oven until golden for about 20 mins (no oil needed). It makes the best textured tofu which I then toss in stir frys etc. . You don't need the cornmeal but I think it gives a more robust texture.

I recall reading that for most Americans, even vegetarians, this is no problem, and that in fact we're an "over-proteined" nation.

Yeah, most estimates I see say you should get about 1 g of protein a day for every 2 pounds of body weight -- more if you're pregnant or an athlete. So the easiest thing to do if you're worried is to try to track it for a day or a few, and see if you're hitting it, or not.

It's morel season and a very generous coworker brought me some. I did the usual and cooked some with scrambled eggs but I'd like some ideas on how to use the rest. It's not a huge amount, just enough for one "mess."

Not a hater, and not just cantankerous and opposed to change, but a long time reader and I just don't quite "get" Voraciously. For example, I see a recipe that looks good, click on it, and find out it's a video via Voraciously. I can't always tell which content is which; I suppose that could be a good thing - it's seamless, or a bad thing - what's the point or difference. Just one reader's opinion.

Thanks -- we're shooting two recipe videos a week, but there are "print" recipes that correspond to each. So if you see something that's a video but you want the "regular" recipe, just go to the recipes tab at the top of Voraciously and you should be able to see it easily.

Can I eat it yet??

That's a good question. Here is the latest update from the FDA website:

The FDA has received confirmation from the Arizona Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement administered by the Arizona Department of Agriculture that romaine lettuce is no longer being produced and distributed from the Yuma growing region, reducing the potential for exposure to contaminated product. However, due to the 21-day shelf life, we cannot be certain that romaine lettuce from this region is no longer in the supply chain.

The FDA is continuing to investigate illnesses related to romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region. We are working to identify multiple distribution channels that can explain the entirety of the nation-wide outbreak and are tracing back from multiple groupings of ill people located in diverse geographic areas.

The FDA has identified one farm as the source of the whole-head romaine lettuce that sickened several people at a correctional facility in Alaska. However, the agency has not determined where in the supply chain the contamination occurred. The agency is examining all possibilities, including that contamination may have occurred at any point along the growing, harvesting, packaging, and distribution chain before reaching the Alaska correctional facility where it was served.

All of the lettuce in question from this farm was harvested during March 5-16 and is past its 21-day shelf life. Because the growing season in the Yuma region is at its end, the farm is not growing any lettuce at this time.

Most of the illnesses in this outbreak are not linked to romaine lettuce from this farm, and are associated with chopped romaine lettuce. The agency is investigating dozens of other fields as potential sources of the chopped romaine lettuce and will share information as it becomes available.

To date, the FDA also has no evidence that other types of lettuce, or romaine lettuce grown outside of the Yuma growing region, are involved in this outbreak.

Hi guys - love the chats. I am in a predicament about what to cook for dinner tonight. I already grocery shopped over the weekend and got a bunch of asparagus and 2 bell peppers, but last night a dear friend brought me some collard greens, kale, and spring onions that she grows at a farm. Any ideas for a recipe?? I don't have to use everything... I would like to prioritize the asparagus and spring onions as I can freeze the kale/collards if needed (right?). But using them all would be awesome. I have a ton of frozen fish/shrimp/meat options so I can build off of a recipe. Healthy options preferred please!!! No heavy pastas. I was thinking maybe a shrimp stir fry but wasn't inspired by my internet search this morning. Maybe kale pesto? Help? THANK YOU!

I read this out to Graham Kerr, and he had these ruminations:

"I appreciate very much that you have a whole bunch of plant food in front of you and obviously they are each plants that you enjoy. So you're already well ahead of any game  that anybody could suggest. It brings to my mind the fact that I have grown into the same opinion about food, -- that it should be mainly plants and mainly fresh and mainly local. But I still need to have basic methods by which I can turn them into my true individual creativity. So the basic methods of cooking become even more important when faced with such a wonderful array of fresh produce. I think I would finely chop everything and lightly saute it in olive oil, with a little crushed garlic, and then fold the mixture into an omelet. May I suggest an odd idea: If you have a favorite root vegetable, say a carrot, steam it until it's tender and then add a little evaporated skim milk and whiz that up in the blender for 2-3 minutes. (It actually takes that long.) And it becomes like a thick, velvet sauce, and of course would be bright orange. I heat the sauce and then pour it hot over the top of the omelet. It's now a smothered omelet. It's a lot of fun and it's very different."

I noticed most of the pasta dishes in this week's recipes call for cream. All of these sound delicious, but I'd love to get a dairy free substitute to incorporate. Any thoughts?

Just two of the four call for cream, actually! I think I'd give coconut milk a whirl for a sub. It'd probably work better for the recipe for Farfalle With Salmon, Peas and Sage (it uses 1/4 cup of cream as opposed to 1 cup in the Lemon Spaghettini), but try it in either/both spots and let us know how it goes!

I just don't get it - they're horizontal surfaces, no likely to be any cleaner than the horizontal surface of the counter. Why not just clean a spot on your counter and put the spoon down there?

It's about containing the mess, ain't it? I have and love mine. 

Here in Pittsburgh, PA., our local Giant Eagle supermarket had a sign posted by their Romaine stating that it was NOT from Yuma. Assume they wouldn't dare post that if it weren't true, for reasons of legal liability, right?

Hello fellow Pittsburgher! I love and miss Giant Eagle. That's all. 

the idea what vegetarians can't get enough protein without meat is a very pervasive myth (that my conspiracy theorist side 100% blames the industrial meat industry for). Not only are plant sources of protein sufficient for everyone's nutritional needs but they also provide things that meat doesn't: fiber, certain vitamins, and are very low in fat (particularly saturated fat). Although speaking of vitamins, going veggie means you will probably want to supplement with B12. and all that being said... welcome to the club! We'd love to have you, even if you can't/don't wanna go all in!

I have been on a real cauliflower fried rice (fried cauliflower rice?) kick lately. Make your sauce, add your protein, then add your veggies, including cauliflower rice. Top with scallions and cashews. It's a quick weeknight dinner, super tasty, and I genuinely don't miss the traditional rice.

Yes!

I also think it's possible we've been oversold on how much protein we need, but I track it with MyFitnessPal, which is useful for so many other things as well. I've recently begun tracking my iron consumption there, which I think (for me) is more important as a vegetarian. And I'm always happy to hear about others considering making the switch to eating less/no meat! Yay!

Yeah - but as a vegetarian you do have to aware of getting complete proteins and amino acids. Getting protein as a vegetarian is different - It's not that hard but it's good to be up on it. I get the point that generally we in the US don't eat enough vegetables and protein is generally not such a problem as B complex (particularly B12). But I also applaud this person looking into the nutritional parts of being vegetarian - my diet was always good but it's better as vegetarian that it was before because I know I have to keep an eye on it.

Oh Oh mushroom risotto - swoon!

I live for your columns on idiotic flavor trends. Laughing my head off. I'm an Oreo purist; even the double-stuff ones seem to me to be out of proportion.

Thank you! In the months that I've been doing these videos, the cherry cola Oreo is truly the foulest thing I've eaten so far, worse than the crystal ball Frappuccino -- which is really saying something.  I am also an Oreo purist but ended up liking the mint ones, surprisingly. 

This new Oreo flavor takes like floor cleaner

Is this really a thing? If so, I'd like Maura to try them and report back.

If Schrodinger's Cat Oreos were real, does that mean they'd be poison-flavored? If so, I might have already tried them!

Hi! Biologist here. Here's the rundown: the basis for the diet is to go back to our ancestors' diets, because it's better. There's no evidence of that, and this article does a good job explaining it: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-paleo-diet-half-baked-how-hunter-gatherer-really-eat. Now, depending on your current diet, there may be positive changes switching to Paleo! Great! Or there may be other reasons that a Paleo diet makes you feel better or look better. Then go for it! Much like Joe said, you do you. Just know that the reason isn't because our bodies want us to recreate the diet of our ancestors 2 million years ago.

Cavemen ate grain, gluten is not hurting you unless you have a real diagnosed condition like Crohn's, and eliminating entire classes of food arbitrarily from your diet based on some "diet trend" is rarely good for you. I am not including a decision based on social or ethical or religious beliefs, but balance is generally a good idea. Portion control is essential.

I'm heading to Paris for the first time next week, and I'd like to bring back some small gifts for a few chef friends (trained chefs, not just avid homecooks) - the kinds of things you can only get in France (or at least at a decent price and/or quality in France). I've already nixed Maldon salt since it's pretty widely available here (and used extensively at their restaurant). Any suggestions?

I just returned from France last week. You have all sorts of options when buying gifts for chefs, depending on how much you want to spend. For example, you could buy a bottle of, say, Chartreuse (one not already available in the States) and make a chef very happy.

 

Or you could go to the sixth floor (I think it's the sixth floor!) of the  Printemps Haussmann department store and find a wide assortment of candies, booze, jams, salts, whatever your heart desires. If you can't find something there for a chef, you're not trying hard enough!

Pate de fruit. That is all.

I hear its hard to put counter tops in the dishwasher.

We need a like button on this chat. LIKE LIKE LIKE LIKE

I just use a saucer. I can rinse it off as many times as necessary, and besides that way I don't need to buy an extra item to store.

Sure, but ... store? It stays on my countertop, right next to the stove.

The reference to the Paleo diet reminded me of a book I read recently (The Fatal Shore) about the history of Australia. When the first British sailors landed, they found the Aborigines ate fish, lizards, and birds. And they all had perfect teeth, unlike the British sailors.

I bought a set of Joseph Joseph tools that are balanced so the handle sits on the counter and the business end (spatula, stirrer, scoop, etc) is up in the air. Works great.

Lots of romaine in my grocery stores. The couple of packages I checked said they came from California. I also assume they would not knowingly sell a product that could likely sicken lots of people.

Good afternoon :) Do you know of any online sources for authentic Berbere seasoning (authentic, as in, made in Ethiopia), as we've noticed that most pre-made Berbere seasonings available for general sale here don't have the special blend of Ethiopian spices that give it its particular flavor. Thanks in advance!

Your best bet is to go to an Ethiopian market. There are lots of them in the DC area, from Shaw to Silver Spring. To give one good example, Black Lion Market on 14th Street NW has a wealth of Ethiopian products, including spice blends.

What shall I cook for dinner?

I ran this by Graham Kerr, who ruminated and suggests the following:

"OK, let's try the pasture raised piggies business. I love your almost alliterative description of pork. It just needs another p -- how about Properly Pasture-fed Pork? Or no. Anyway, this raises the issue of the quantity of pork to plants, and actually addresses something that has changed in the 50 years since I wrote this classic cookbook. I find that the quantity of meat that I presently consume is less than 50 percent of that which is in the classic recipes. I also find that my use of plant food has more than filled that space. In other words, I consume an average of 7 to 9 servings of plant food a day, and a serving, for easy reference, would be 3.5 ounces (or, if you like, a cup.) That's fine with hard vegetables and fruits and it's difficult with leafy vegetables which actually need to have a full cup pushed down tightly to provide the serving, but there you are. So what I find myself doing mostly is to saute a little pork tenderloin, which, as I've said, is only about 2 ounces. And I do this generally with a little ginger and a little garlic in the pan, with some olive oil, only about a teaspoon or two of oil. (I see no point in flooding the pan, even though the flavor is delicious, it's still 9 calories for every gram of oil -- that's the weight of a paper clip.) When the pork is nicely browned and fragrant I remove it from the pan and hurl in the vegetables, which I then stir-fry and steam in a sense, because there's so little oil there. It doesn't take long, maybe 5-6 minutes, lid-on if you want to shake the pan, and then put the pork back into the dish and serve it. I do admit to spraying the top with a little - You Wouldn't Believe it Isn't Butter, I think it's called. It has kind of an odd, buttery flavor which I've always enjoyed, and it does give a gloss to the finished dish which I think is very important. You get highlights bouncing back off the dish, it always gives the sense that it's somehow richer. The reason why I don't use butter is that butter solidifies when it's cold. That means it's what people nowadays call saturated. Anything that's saturated has to come into my diet at no more than 3 ounces per day. So I have to choose between butter and cheese, and occasionally the lovely crispy skin on a chicken breast. "

Joe, don't forget your excellent suggestion to me a few weeks ago - Elmhurst nut milks. I am now a huge fan!

Yes!

Hello, I have a baking question. If a recipe doesn't specify salted or unsalted butter, which do you use? I would normally use unsalted, except this recipe doesn't call for salt otherwise, and it's a UK recipe so not sure if the butter expectations are different. Or should I use unsalted butter as usual but add salt? Specifically, it's Mary Berry's fruit scone recipe (https://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/food/recipes/baking/scones/mary-berry-fruit-scones). Thanks!

I'd say use salted butter!

Here's a recent piece we did on the differences.

 

I see recipes that call for coconut milk or coconut oil (see 5/9/18 rosemary chicken recipe). Do these products have the taste of coconut in them, even faintly? This flavor is a no-go at my house. Any ideas for possible replacements?

That chicken doesn't taste like coconut, even faintly.

I am a long time serious cook and I love Voraciously a lot, it teaches new generation to cook, i forward it to all new cooks in my family and their friends too. People who know their way in the kitchen kill two birds with one stone, they get healthier and they save a lot of $$$. Voraciously is still a baby. It will evolve and become indispensable to all cooks. I wish it good lack and applaud Becky for doing it.

So glad to hear it!

is anyone else baffled by how quickly folks have jumped on the KETO train? All it is is Atkins re-packaged....high fat, low/no carb. I actually overheard someone say "Oh the Atkins diet didn't work for me... I think I'll try keto instead".

Mine is the only remaining member of a set of little creme brulee dishes. It's always on the counter, next to the stove. It doesn't take up any room and is a great size for the purpose.

Thank you for the royal wedding cake recipe! I made it for Mother's Day and it was a hit. The cake layers were denser than I would have liked, but the elderflower flavor was lovely (I used all cordial, no liqueur) and it was overall fantastic. I make cakes pretty often but this one has inspired me to consider more complex recipes in the future. GSTQ.

So glad you liked it!

We loved it EVERY TIME BECKY MADE IT.

How to make the royal wedding cake

I use watermelon for gazpacho. There are lots of recipes out there, but I use this one: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/watermelon-gazpacho-103551

Hi all, I recently started eating olives and bought two (decently expensive!) jars of green olives a few months ago. I've been keeping them in my fridge, and noticed yesterday that they are starting to get a weird white slime on them. Kinda like a mold but I'm not sure. Are they bad? They don't smell weird. How long should a jar of olives keep in the fridge, for future reference?

Were they unopened? I'd def throw out if they have "weird white slime." Unopened, they should last a good long while -- a year or two, really -- although you don't need to refrigerate them for that. Opened, they should be fine for a few months in the fridge, but you have evidence to the contrary.

I had unbelievably delicious food at Joe’s Noodle House, which is on your list - BUT the person who introduced me to it says it has new ownership in the last year or two and isn't anything special now. Have you been there recently?

Yes, in fact, I just went back there a few days ago, before we published the Sichuan primer. 

 

Some things have changed with the (semi)new ownership. But, by and large, I found the Sichuan cooking to be solid. I loved the beef tripe and pork blood in Sichuan sauce, the mapo tofu and the hot and spicy Sichuan mung bean "Jello." The double-cooked pork was below par as was the Dan Dan noodles. But overall, the place holds up well.

 

ARTICLE: Sichuan food is so much more than spicy

I discovered your show in the late 60s after dropping out of college (bad experience (and finding Jesus... actually, I think He found me!). Your bright spirit and warm-hearted manor on "The Galloping Gourmet" was a regular "anti-depressant" for me. I read your own conversion began (first with Treena) after a horrible accident in which you were rear-ended by... a... (wait for it)... vegetable truck! Looking back, do you think God has a sense of humor?

Graham's reply, with a fair amount of laughter and rue:

"God and the sense of humor are absolutely combined. I am calling it recently, "joy-filled endurance," as, at my age -- which is just 84 -- I do not feel the compulsion to jump over my dining room chairs. I do, on the other hand, manage 1,000 steps of speed-walking every morning that I find more and more challenging as the days go by. It seems like the flat surface upon which I "speed" is gradually inclining, and it does make me laugh as it seems that I need to apply more effort as each day goes by. What I love about this kind of creative imagination is that one can have such a personal relationship with God that laughter seems perfectly reasonable. The only alternative is to moan. And I don't think that suits him or me. "

I would like to cook more with tofu, but I can't get over how it's packaged (in water?) and the drying process. It's gross. And a pain. Is it possible to buy tofu that's ready to use?

If you're in the DMV, I like Twin Oaks brand tofu, which isn't packed in water, so no pressing required.

Sorbet! Eaten as is or added to a cocktail.

Usually I check out Bonnie’s DinMin first and then look at the rest of the Food stories, but today i read about Mnichin’s Bordeaux first. Thank you Dave McIntyre, you helped me start my day with a laugh. The only thing wrong with Arbalest in my book is that they don’t sell it at Trader Joe’s where we buy most of our wines, although will look for it the day I’ll need to bring a bottle to my wine snob friend. Today, as soon as Free Range is over I’ll be making Bonnie’s chicken for late lunch. Interesting sauce idea

I buy wonton wrappers from a refrigerated section so keep 'em in the fridge, but the rice paper is just sitting on a shelf with dried noodles in the Asian grocery. No indication of whether the rice paper should be refrigerated at some point or if it ever should be thrown away. I did toss some I'd had for several years just to be safe, but it looked fine and didn't smell. What do you suggest?

Rice paper lasts indefinitely. It's shelf-stable. No refrigeration required.

Why rice paper and wonton wrappers should be staples in your pantry

One tidbit that may be worth noting for your royal wedding cake - when we made it this weekend my friends and I decided that the cake would actually be better with the curd/whipped cream filling as the frosting and filling. The buttercream felt very heavy and sugary in comparison to the rest of the light and fluffy cake/filling. But - it was also tremendously easy to make which we appreciated (me especially - I am not great about group baking projects)

I've not been able to find this locally. (I'm in MD.) Whole Foods did not have it the day I looked, unless I missed it. Where do you source yours? I received chickpea flour in a Sun Basket box a while back and really liked what it did for the Indian dumplings it was used in.

I see it regularly at Mom's and at Whole Foods.

What, no recipes?! Please, I'd love one that does not use Szechuan peppercorns, which upset my digestion.

Yes, this was published under the banner of the $20 Diner, which is about dining out, not in.

 

But because you said please, I'll add this addendum, a recipe for Sichuan zucchini, with the optional use of red Sichuan peppercorns.

RECIPE: Spicy Sichuan Zucchini

I have a new VItamix and can't figure out how to make sauces and salad dressings. The ingredients don't seem to be sufficient volume to make it to the blades. How do I get around this? Surely I don't need two sizes of blender! I tried to make this chopped salad and the dressing didn't come together and had big garlic pieces in it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/recipes/chipotle-garlic-chopped-salad/16388/

One issue with some blenders and food processors, depending on their design, is that you need a certain volume of ingredients to get up to the level of the blades. With yours, the easiest way to get around it would be to double the dressing amount. You won't be sorry -- it's fabulous and keeps.

I made the Creamy Orange Cookies earlier this week. I had seen the recipe on Voraciously, but as someone who's so used to working off the Recipe Finder when cooking/baking, I had that version pulled up on my iPad. The cookies are delicious - and I see what you meant about the spread - but they turned out very, very flat. Well, had I been following the Voraciously version, I would have seen the note stating that using a silicone liner yields flatter cookies than parchment. I feel like this would have been a good detail to include in the headnotes on the Recipe Finder version. I have a remaining segment of refrigerated dough, which I plan to bake up tonight using parchment. Wondering if that (plus having the dough be slightly chilled) will assist in combating the flatness?

Becky's tied up today -- want to email her at becky.krystal@washpost.com with your question? That way she can easily get back to you.

This is such a ridiculous question, but: I really like the Gardein brand black bean burgers. Anyone know of a recipe I can use that'll taste similar? (No mushrooms, please!)

Try these -- they're super simple. (No mushrooms!) I think they'd be close!

RECIPE: Black Bean Burgers

It's easier to pick up a spoon rest and run it under teh faucet or stick it in the dishwasher.

Mr. Kerr, thank you very much for taking time to be here today. Are you maintaining a 100% plant-based diet now? How long have you been doing it and do you feel like your health is better for it?

Graham's reply: 

"I am not 100% plant food. There are days when I do go plant-only, but I still do enjoy, occasionally, the Maillard reaction when flesh protein browns. The aroma from that and the textural change is, I think, important in my life. At 84,  you don't think of living to 120 with any degree of excitement. So longevity is not the reason I do this. I do it because I thoroughly enjoy really fresh produce. In fact, I've recently put in a remarkable raised -- and I mean raised, to 3-feet-high! -- grow bed, and I'm taking out of that each day about 6 servings of mixed greens and their tender leaves. I cannot tell you how wonderful it feels to pluck the leaf and have it in the pan within minutes. Do I feel better? You betcha. There's something wonderful when you do the right thing with such joy. "

I've seen it at Shoppers, in the baking aisle with a lot of other Bob's Red Mill products.

OP here from several months ago, re limiting salt in the diet as part of a high blood pressure reduction regimen. In general we're doing pretty well at it, but still occasionally backslide on certain items, like cheeses. Have been using more herbs and spices to build flavors, and reducing the salt in baked goods (quick and yeast), to no apparent ill effect on the finished product. Any further suggestions?

Alas, that was a one-time-only immersion into the low-salt diet. It almost killed me. :) 

 

Chatters, any ideas for reducing salt without reducing flavor?

 

ARTICLE: How hard is it to reduce your salt?

Hi, I rarely cook meat at home, but bought a flank steak on Saturday, used half, and put the rest in the fridge. The sell-by date was May 20 or so. Is it still good to use? I have no sense of when to throw meat out. Thank you!

Yeah, if it went into the fridge you should have at least another week.

Depending on where you are in Maryland, I would try "Roots" in Olney and another in Clarksville... or try any one of a number of International markets.

Vitamix actually makes a smaller container now. OP probably doesn't want to spend more money but I'm just tossing it out there.

I'm sure I'm not going to be the only one asking you this today: What should I serve for my royal wedding watch party? Scones for sure and champagne. Do you have any suggestions for a British- or royal wedding-themed savory? It doesn't necessarily have to be breakfasty, but I need something that's not too hard to prepare at 5am--eg, I'm making the scone dough Friday night and will bake them Saturday morning. (I'd love to make Becky's royal wedding cake, but alas, that's not in the cards for this weekend.)

usually clled besan or gram flour. Also, all my local health-food stores carry it.

Is this the new hot flavor now in baking? Seems like the baking shows I watch (yes, the competitions, I know, I know) someone is using elderflower. What does it taste like? I don't even remember seeing the liqueur in a liquor store, or any extract anywhere.

Floral flavors are extremely trendy right now, and not just in baking -- we're seeing elderflower soda, hibiscus popsicles, lavender ice cream, and so on. It has a perfumey honey flavor. 

My wife bought me a Big Green Egg last fall. Trouble was, we had to assemble it ourselves. We nearly completed the task before cold weather set in, but the job still isn't finished. That's sad, but we've now got plans to finalize assembly this week - yes, it takes two of us - and start using the egg. My question: What should be the first thing I try to cook on it? Keep in mind that my attempts to become an expert griller a few years ago flamed out in spectacular fashion. This is my second shot at glory! How can I prevent further failures?

I like to tease my friends with Big Green Eggs that they're not true backyard barbecuers. They're just babysitters, who drink beer next to their outdoor wood-ovens. 

 

These things are almost foolproof. They hold temperature well. They don't burn a lot of wood, and the wood they burn, they burn is low and slow over a long period of time.  If I were you (and I don't have an Egg, so this is just based on how difficult it is to smoke meats on an off-set smoker, which I do have), I'd start with pork spare ribs, which don't take as long as brisket and will help you break in your smoker. Ribs are a bit easier to tell when they're done too.

Step One: Smell it. Trust your nose.

No... not chemistry... try more acid like lemon or lime... but the best I've found was mentioned earlier :: nutritional yeast.

Just another fad diet that does provide useful suggestions, but like all fad diets, it restricts things unnecessarily. To tell someone that they should eat bacon (or any red or processed meat) and not whole grains is ridiculous for example. Also, there are carbohydrates not only in all fruits, but vegetables as well. Let's chill with the no carb stuff, unless we never leave the couch and need no energy ever.

The Great British Baking Show has had a number of shows over the years which required contestants to make savory baked goods. Search the show online with "savory" added to the show title in the search box.

This is not limited to the newer, mover powerful models - my ancient Oster has small containers for small jobs too. It's just more efficient!

I've been a vegetarian for 20 years and when people ask why vegetarians eat fake meat I say it's for the texture . It's hard to get that texture otherwise and sometimes I crave it. I was born in 1967 and have wonderful memories of watching in GG with mum. Both my parents were good cooks - mum on the gourmet end, dad more hmmm what's in the fridge.

I think we've found the dividing line between who can handle a bit of mess in the kitchen and who can't! I'm firmly in the spoon holder camp.

When I was 14 in 1966, I had eye surgery and so could do little but watch TV for a long time. The Galloping Gourmet was one of the highlights in my dull day. There was a lot of humor in it, but I think I absorbed a lesson, earlier taught by my mother and grandmother, that cooking should not be a chore. The show emphasized aking a meal to share with others brings people together. I also learned that, for a lot of cooking, a recipe is just a guide, that one can adjust seasoning to taste, and that, when a mistake happens, just go with it and carry on. Precsion does have its place in the kitchen sometimes (like baking) but too much takes the fun out of the connection that is shared with food. Thank you, Mr. Kerr, for the joy you dhared with us.

PLEASE do not deprive yourself of serving clotted cream for your scones. But be careful... it's as addictive as any controlled substance and SO habit forming that you will not be able to eat scones without it.

I tried to be a responsible shopper and identify where my romaine hearts were from... the packaging said "Grown, harvested, and packaged in Santa Maria, California" but just to be safe I went online. I then found an article in which the company said that in actuality it does get some of it's products from Yuma, Arizona. ummm *WHAT?* Is anything safe at this point?! and how are produce companies allowed to claim "grown, harvested, and packaged" in one place but admit to produce origin elsewhere?

Well, that's weird. But good for you for checking!

I don't cook with shrimp often and when I do it is typically being served atop salad, in a pasta, over a risotto, etc. so uses where for eating the shell is preferably already off. Is it still best to buy frozen shrimp with the shell ON? If so can I defrost and then shell it? Is it best to keep the shell on for cooking (often broiling or sauteeing)? Clearly I want to use it more but don't have a comfort level yet. Any advice or tips for buying and cooking?

That's a longer discussion, but since we're running out of time, I'll direct you to this good Serious Eats piece on buying frozen shrimp.

I find that parsnips are like carrots that have decided to go out on the town... powdered their faces and put on excessive perfume. Do you have a recipe that might tone them down a little?

Ahhhh. You Touch My Heart. I am a parsnip-lover. There's no question or doubt about it. Especially when they endure a frost. Parsnips really come into their sweetness and perfect flavor balance in my part of the world in October and November, where we do get a frost. For a recipe, there's a parsnip pie that I make, where I simply steam parsnips until they're really quite soft and then they're pressed into a pie mold and covered with a good quarter-inch of sesame seeds, which I used to butter, but now spray with that other stuff. Then slip it into an oven at about 350, 400 degrees, and it will turn the sesame seeds into a crust on the top. It's a texture change but also the sesame seeds, when they're toasted a bit, have a wonderful flavor factor to them too. It's a side dish, it's not a meal in itself, but I think you would find that combination would be quite delightful.  P.S. If you really want a delightful experience then do try covering your omelet with a parsnip sauce made with the evaporated skim milk discussed earlier. One pound of peeled weight parsnips can be whizzed up with one 10-ounce can of evaporated skim milk. I don't know the science of this, all I know is that after three minutes or so, you will find that the mixture develops a very fine sheen to it, not unlike an Alfredo sauce, and it is so unctuous and smooth and rich that it's a perfect sauce to toss pasta in as well as coating the omelet. In both cases you could add a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese, small amounts. You would swear that you're pigging out. 

I've never had them, to my knowledge, so wonder if they taste, well, soapy or perfumy, and not in a good way.

In a lot of the packaged goods that feature these flavors, they're typically presented with another flavor -- like raspberry hibiscus or lemon-lavender. Definitely helps cut the soapiness, which can be an obstacle for some!

Well, you've cooked us just until we're wilted, so you know what that means -- we're done!

Thanks for the great q's, and many thanks to Carrie, Rebekah and GRAHAM KERR for joining us!

Now for the giveaway book: The chatter who wrote "God Bless You Graham -- I'm raising my glass" will get a SIGNED copy of his reissued cookbook! Just send your mailing info to Kara.Elder@washpost.com, and she'll see to it that you get your book.

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

In This Chat
Joe Yonan
Joe Yonan is the Food and Dining editor of The Post and the author of "Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook." He writes the Weeknight Vegetarian column.
Tim Carman
Tim Carman is a food staff writer at The Post. He writes the weekly $20 Diner column.
Rebekah Denn
Rebekah Denn is a freelance writer based in Seattle.
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