Free Range on Food: DIY hamburger and hot dog buns, pesticides in organic and conventional produce, and more.

May 23, 2018

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

Let the dampness subside and the good times commence!

Afternoon, Free Rangers! Hope you've had a chance to check out our daily @eatVoraciously postings on how to put on a great cookout, helmed so ably by Becky, with new recipes and all the tips you need. #BringIt! maven Cathy Barrow supplied the perfect bun recipe and she'll be on hand today to field your q's, along with #Unearthed whiz Tamar Haspel, whose column on pesticides and organic produce is burnin' up social media.


Also up for discussion: baker Polina Chesnakova's essayon what it's like to come back into the kitchen with one less hand; Leah Mennies' thoughts on our snacking habits as cultural Zeitgeist; romaine lettuce is back on; my review of summer cookbooks for Book World; a no-cook #DinnerInMinutes meal that's alfresco friendly; and more! So let's get on with the show . . . cookbooks awarded at the end of the hour to chatters whose comments are thoughtful/helpful/witty/wise. 

Editor Joe's on his honeymoon (all the mazels, the wedding was fab) but the rest of the gang's all here.


And, attn Post Points members! Today's code is FR5282. Record it. Enter it at the Post Points site under Claim My Points, so you can earn points. The code expires at midnight -- you have until 11:59 p.m. to get credit.


What's on your food agenda for the holiday weekend? I've got Tim Carman's Steamed Corn on the Grill in mind. . . .

I enjoyed Tamar's column this week and agree that pesticide residues need to e test more widely! It's amazing to me that despite the proliferation of Round-up, glyphosate is only beginning to be tested for. I think it's something that gets lost in the GMO debate- it always seems to focus on whether a GMO plant is "safe" for consumption, but we really don't know what the long-term consequences are of increased use of Round-up (and other herbicides as weeds exhibit resistance to Round-up).

I certainly agree that it's important to test for our most-used herbicide. But I'd also encourage you to rest easy. In general, pesticide residues are very small, and there's no reason to think glyphosate residues will be different (and the data I've seen, like the numbers from the California survey that I mentioned in the piece, indicate very small residues), and most assessments of glyphosate's safety indicate that it's probably the safest broad-spectrum herbicide out there. Because it's embroiled in the whole GMO brouhaha, there's a lot of debate, but glyphosate residue is way, way down there on the list of risks I'd worry about.

The Blueberry Hazelnut and Ricotta Cake sounds wonderful - I want to try it. In the recipe it says 1/2 cup hazelnuts finely ground. Does that mean a 1/2 cup whole nuts and then grind or 1/2 cup after grinding? Seems like it will make a quantity difference.

It is! In this case re the hazelnuts, it means 1/2 whole (skinned) nuts, which you then grind. The flip-side way to write it -- when 1/2 cup's worth of finely ground nuts is wanted -- would be: 1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts. 

I's like you're inside my head. Last night, my husband came home from the grocery store with about 5 pounds of ground beef. For the two of us. "We can make burgers!" he said. However, we have no buns. It's fun for me to try and make things that would be easier to just buy, but I haven't made hamburger buns (yet). I was planning to look up a recipe for hamburger buns today, and then I see "DIY hamburger buns" in the headline for this chat. Serendipity. :)

Cathy's recipe currently rated 5 stars on our Recipe Finder!

I'm hosting friends for the long weekend and am planning to grill burgers and hot dogs on Sunday. We'll be busy all day Saturday and most of Sunday before dinnertime. I'd love some ideas for sides I can make on Friday (or that could be prepped on Friday and then assembled later) that'll still be edible on Sunday evening. Bonus if they're kid-friendly. Thanks!

I think a lot of your usual cookout sides are both make-ahead and kid-friendly. Pasta salads, fruit salad, potato salad, etc. I'm going to share some possibilities.

Lunch Box Pasta Salad

RECIPE: Lunch Box Pasta Salad (scale up for a crowd)

Smoked Corn and Black Bean Salad

RECIPE: Smoked Corn and Black Bean Salad

Honey Whole-Grain Mini Corn Muffins

RECIPE: Honey Whole-Grain Mini Corn Muffins (may want to freeze if you are making them a few days in advance)

Potato Salad With Herbs and Garlic

RECIPE: Potato Salad With Herbs and Garlic

RECIPE: Picnic Fruit Salad

And of course, here are a few from our fresh cookout content this week:

Dorothy Sietsema's Three-Bean Salad

RECIPE: Dorothy Sietsema's Three-Bean Salad

Dill and Mint Yogurt Dip

RECIPE: Dill and Mint Yogurt Dip

Is Tamar related to Gina Haspel, our new CIA director? It seems like that's an unusual last name.

No relation, no black ops missions.

I just got back from vacation in Corsica and Italy (tough life, I know). Corsica is known for their chestnuts and they actually made eau de vie from it (along w/ fig and maquis, and other non-traditional eau de view flavoring). It's pretty clear you can't buy this stuff outside of Corsica. I would like to make a version of chestnut eau de vie. I'm not thinking of distilling and I've done infusions before. I was going to get a higher (100) proof vodka, but how do you suggest I prepare the chestnuts to infuse? buy them peeled? Peel them myself? Chopped. Pre-boiled in water? Any suggestions are welcome. Many thanks - love the chat and will have to catch up on what I missed!

I found a chestnut liqueur in France and I've been asking myself the same question ever since. When I've made walnut wine (vin de noix) I've used green walnuts, so it may be that the chestnut eau de vie was made from green, unripe chestnuts. I've yet to figure out how to extract the flavor. I did once try it with the vacuum packed chestnuts and the results were cloudy and undrinkable. 

These look great, and I want to try making them this weekend. Can I use cornstarch or flour in place of the potato starch, or do I just need to suck it up and buy a bag? If so, how can I use the remainder? Sauce thickener in place of cornstarch? Thanks.

RECIPE Superiority Burgers

Both can act as a binder, but the cornstarch might introduce a bit of flavor that's not intended here. Potato starch offers neutrality. On the flip side, if you do buy a bag it'll keep for a long time and you can search our Recipe Finder for lots of ways to use it. One of my favorite ways, in fact, is these Crispy Quinoa Cakes (another meatless wonder).

I know this has come up before but I can't recall what was recommended! I'd like to get a mandoline -- not looking to break the bank but willing to spend more on something that works well and has necessary safeguards. (I know someone who took a fingertip off!!) There are so many options out there and the reviews are all over the place. Can you please indulge me and share your recommendations again? Thanks!

I like my Benriner, picked up at H Mart a while back. (I don't remember how much it cost, but the same model is about $35 online.)

I *think* it came with a safety feature which I have since lost and as I type this I know I'm inviting karma to come for my fingers BUT I've found that working without the guard and going slowly is the best way to avoid accidents. 

(Or you could try cut resistant gloves if you're very nervous.)

The code is not working

My oversight: Try FR5282. #oops

Hello Free Rangers! My boyfriend is going to smoke some bratwursts this weekend and I'm looking for a bratwurst roll/bun recipe. I sense that this should be crustier/harder than a standard hot dog bun. Can you please help? I frequently bake bread so complexity of the recipe is not a concern.

I haven't made either of these buns, so forgive me if they don't turn out. I just like the looks of them for brats.


Sourdough Hot Dog Buns from the Gingered Whisk.


Hot Dog or Brat Buns by Fleischmann's (which calls for Fleischmann's yeast, of course).

For brats, I like a pretzel bun, fashioned from a pretzel roll dough. Use the shaping instructions in my column recipe

I am an online subscriber and I love the food section articles. However, the section itself is very poorly organized online. I have pasted the link to the page below, and included a list of headlines in the link. Note that in several cases the same headline appears more than once - sometimes one link is an article and another a video, and other times the article itself appears twice. I cannot fathom why this is the case. In addition, the headline for today's chat says we will be talking about homemade burger and hotdog buns, but I see no link to such an article. Again - I love the food section and the article. But the online representation is badly in need of improvement. Please help! A new chef brings the heat back to Momofuku Visual recipe: Tangy Tuna With Spicy Sauce 8 trusty tips for hosting a cookout in a public park (no holiday required) Highlights The 2018 Spring Dining Guide Free Range on Food: Wednesday, May 23, at noon Visual Recipe: Tangy Tuna With Spicy Sauce Kick your sour cream and onion dip up a notch with fresh herbs A no-cook meal that might change your mind about canned tuna Our national romaine lettuce crisis is over, says the CDC. Here’s how to celebrate. A superlative potato salad with a Japanese accent I lost the use of my most important kitchen tool: My hand. The only way forward was to keep cooking. What makes this 3-bean salad special? A little bit of your thyme. Finally, you can make a Superiority Burger at home Mary Beth Albright’s Food Hacks: Chamomile Sangria Boozy Iced Tea cocktail Mary Beth Albright's Food Hacks: Chamomile Sangria Boozy Iced Tea Cocktail Steaming corn on the grill gives you the best of both worlds How to build the ultimate cheese board The truth about organic produce and pesticides There’s no need to play bartender with these drinks built for a crowd There are more good rosés than ever, including a Virginia stunner You’re not doing anything wrong when it comes to wine These are the 5 recipes our readers loved most this week Turn those crumbs at the bottom of the bag into the top of your meal

Assignment/Voraciously editor Matt Brooks says:

Thanks for reading our coverage both online and in print. Our apologies for the occasional clunkiness of the online Food section front. We've been having some issues with video publication this week, resulting in duplication on the page. We're also trying to provide different entry points for readers (only a fraction of whom find our stories by coming directly to So rather than having a step-by-step recipe video only live within a recipe post, we're also publishing it separately, so people can find it through search engines or on social media, as well as on our website. Everything we publish automatically shows up on the Food section front. That's why you might see a Dinner in Minutes recipe and a step-by-step video of that same recipe back to back. It might be a little jarring, but our aim is to give our readers as many places to find our work as possible. For a more engaging presentation of our Voraciously stories and recipes, you can head straight to

One more plug: We are constantly pushing out our new content on Twitter (@wapofood) and Facebook (@wapoyourbestlife), so if you want a running update on what's been published, that's another way to go, too!

My grandmother made a rhubarb dessert - as near as I can remember, it was just rhubarb, sugar, and maybe cornstarch, and (water?) to boil it all down. Sometimes she'd add strawberries, but usually not. The only directions I've ever seen have been very vague on amounts, and I need amounts! Do you have such a recipe in your files?

Here's one, without cornstarch, but with ginger. It's lovely.

Rhubarb and Ginger Compote

RECIPE: Rhubarb and Ginger Compote

My husband prefers cold meals during the summer so I make pasta salad all the time. Your minestrone pasta salad is in permanent rotation. That said, I really appreciate some new ideas to shake things up. Thank you!

This one's nice and springy:

Roasted Rhubarb and Asparagus Pasta Salad

RECIPE: Roasted Rhubarb and Asparagus Pasta Salad

And this one's ideal for summer, too:

Lemony Green Bean Pasta Salad

RECIPE: Lemony Green Bean Pasta Salad

Any buns that can be recommended to diabetic people, especially kids?

I haven't tested any, personally, but if you have a bread recipe you like, I suggest trying to form it into buns and see what happens. 

Why do some recipes call for 3 teaspoons when it could just as easily ask for 1 tablespoon? Is there something I'm missing? Could it be old recipe vs. new recipe? Inquiring minds!

Coming from a recipe writer/editor perspective, I can offer this: When the recipe breaks down the use of, say, 1 teaspoon's worth and then the other 2, it might help a reader keep track of what's been used in the directions. Or maybe some folks don't realize that 3 t = 1 T? 

Given the consistency and crumb we're going for with hamburger/hotdog buns, I'm assuming opting for instant/active dry yeast over a sourdough starter is a must? Or can the recipe be modified for a starter? thanks!

The crumb is very tight and not airy at all, so I'm not sure how the powerful bursts of sourdough might react in the recipe (particularly as there is so much honey) If you are comfortable modifying the recipe, it would be great to know how it works out. (Note to self: Find a starter.) 

You just posted a recipe for crispy quinoa cakes that looks great... but I can't eat deep-fried food. Pan-frying is usually ok, but deep-fried items give me a seriously upset stomach. Any suggestions for modification?

They are just pan-fried, and barely stay in the oil long enough to take in much of it...just to crisp the exterior. I think baking could work, if you gave them a quick dose of cooking oil spray. Try a 375- or 400-degree oven till they pick up some color.

Kara, you're playing with fire. I thought I was being careful too but I slipped and sliced off the side of my thumb. Fingertip injuries are the most painful. The most. It makes me shiver just remembering it.

I'm young and careless, what can I say. ;)

On your return from the emergency room, you must confess to us so that we can say we told you so.


Congrats to Joe!


I’m hoping someone else can answer my question. I’d like to make the Superiority Burgers tonight for the whole family (my husband is a vegetarian but the rest of us are not, so I’m always looking for recipes we all can eat.) Can I substitute regular corn starch for the potato starch, and also regular quinoa for the red quinoa? Finally, in the event that they are not a smash hit with everyone, can I freeze the leftovers?

See earlier chatter q about the cornstarch swap . . . re the quinoa, the red kind is more for appearance sake, I reckon. But since these aren't really "burgers," as Editor Joe says, I think you could use regular quinoa. Should freeze okay, from what I could tell via Food Lab testing; be sure to wrap individually and defrost in the refrigerator.


Is there a way to keep berries from sinking to the bottom of a cake?

Ah, gravity! Stella Parks, a.k.a. Brave Tart, a.k.a. my guru on almost anything baking, had a post on Serious Eats the other year about how she thinks the tossing berries in flour strategy is a fallacy. Instead she suggested a technique that makes pretty good sense to me. Put some plain batter in the bottom of your muffin cup/pan first as a cushion. Then fold the berries into the rest of the batter and proceed. 


I have to say WP Food section continually overlooks Ramadan in this area. Not sure why since your food section highlights all other holidays pertaining to food. Maybe your editors don't get it but RAMADAN IS ALL ABOUT FOOD! We fast from dawn to sunset for 30 days and all , Muslims around the word, think about is food; the meal plan, the ingredients, shopping for them, preparing the meals and of course sitting down with family and friends (also non-Muslims) to enjoy breaking of the fast. Just check out IG for all the iftar dinners around the world if you need any reference.

We should have done a recipe roundup, at least! But the past few years we've been better at Ramadan food coverage, with recipes. To wit:


What does a month of Ramadan fasting do, spiritually and physically? (part of a series that video editor Reem Akkad wrote for us last year; check it out!)

Cooking good food fast is key for Ramadan

VIDEO Date bars for Ramadan (see embed)

Ramadan recipes


What is the best place to get seafood and crab cakes in Baltimore

Are you the same person who asked the Travel section this very same question? I hope not because I'm going to give the very same answer that I gave to Andrea Sachs: 

Option 1:

Occupying a sunny corner location inside Mt. Vernon Marketplace, Local Oyster has deals that will brighten your day regardless of the weather. Like its Buck-A-Shuck happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays, when local oysters are a mere $1 each, including the powerfully briny Misty Points from Virginia's Eastern Shore. Those bivalves go down easy with a $3 pint of PBR. But the real steal is Local Oyster's crab cake., prepared with pure Maryland blue-crab meat. The 5.5-ounce ball of sweet meat  runs $15, which sounds like a price guaranteed to bankrupt a business, given that the wholesale cost of Maryland jumbo lump, according to one individual, runs about $1.80 an ounce. More likely, Local Oyster on Maryland lump, a somewhat cheaper product that still delivers the clean, sweet flavors you expect without impoverishing the company. Whatever grade graces Local Oyster's crab cake, you need to get one, like right now. 520 Park Ave., inside inside Mt. Vernon Marketplace, 844-748-2537.

Option 2:

Woodberry Kitchen has local seafood. Its chef, Spike Gjerde, sources much of his ingredients in the Chesapeake watershed. He has a killer oyster program at Woodberry Kitchen, with an assortment of Chesapeake oysters.


Option 3 (road trip required):

 Jimmy Cantler's Riverside Inn, in Annapolis.


The $20 Diner: 10 cheap-eats spots in Baltimore that offer more than just crab cakes

I made the lemon elderflower cake (a k a Royal Wedding Cake), using elderflower syrup (and it turned out, even though I didn't read the instructions closely enough, and added the basting portion of the elderflower to the cake batter itself), now, what do I do with the quite generous amount of elderflower syrup I have left? We've used some in drinks, but, it will take a long time to use up that way. I'd like to use it up fairly quickly, lol, since after I make a 90th birthday cake for my Mom this weekend, I really need to cut out sugar for a while.

Royal Wedding Cake

RECIPE: Royal Wedding Cake

I take it you mean the elderflower cordial? Or if you you mean syrup, I think my answer would probably be the same.

My BFF Mary Berry said it can be used to make a sorbet. Maybe in conjunction with lemons, too.

The folks over at Belvoir Fruit Farms, the brand I used, suggest using the cordial in a fruit salad, which I think sounds great. They also link to a ton of recipes here, including a lovely-sounding panna cotta from our friend and former "Great British Baking Show" contestant Ian Cumming. There are also a few recipes from Fiona Cairns, who baked Kate & William's wedding cake.

I'm eyeing some fresh strawberries and thinking ice cream. I've used the Ben & Jerry's recipe in the past and it was good but I'm wondering if you have another recipe or source to recommend?

Can personally vouch for the Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk ice cream recipe from Jeni's. Oh man, now I want to make it again.

As it happens I have a bag of ground hazelnuts and a wish to make the hazelnut ricotta cake. Anybody know of a conversion from hazelnuts, ground to ground hazelnuts? i.e. about how much in volume a half cup of hazelnuts yields when ground?

I often use online converters. This one's been pretty reliable.

Thinner and more flavorful than the usual buns.

In today's column, Dave McIntyre stresses the importance of stemless wine glasses. My question is about my stemmed wine glasses. Many of these are clear glass but some, inherited from my parents, are green. I know that's a no-no because you can't really see the wine's color through green glass, but that's not the crux of my question, which is: Are cloudy wine glasses, whether clear or colored glass, salvageable? We have nice wine glasses in both clear and colored glass, but we also have, in both cases, certain glasses that are shrouded in ... well, I'm not sure. I used to think the glasses were just heavily fingerprinted and needed a rinse before using, but the cloudiness seems to be intrinsic to the glass at this point. In other words, it doesn't wash out. Does this happen with wine glasses over time? Is there any remedy?

Dave is, unfortunately, not available to take the question. So, as a wine novice (though a wine lover), I'll take a shot at it. 


First things first, I think Dave was promoting stemless wine glasses as a way to avoid the so-called "embarrassment" of not holding your stemware correctly. (Talk about #firstworldproblems.) I didn't get the sense that he necessarily thinks that they're superior to stemmed glasses, just convenient in more informal social settings.


As for cloudy wine glasses, I have encountered the same problem before. In my case, the stemware had developed almost a film, which was not easy to clean. You might want to invest in a glass cleaner such as Stem Shine. Hopefully, it will brighten up those glasses for future vino enjoyment.


WINE COLUMN: You're not doing anything wrong when it comes to wine

Oops! We let our rhubarb go to flower. Will the stalks still taste OK?

Internet searches lead me to believe yes! You can still eat the stalks. Don't eat the leaves (which you probably already know since you grow it) or the flowers, but you could use the flowers as decoration. 

Here's more info if you want to read up -- from and

One Memorial Day weekend my husband sliced himself instead of cheese with a cheese slicer (forever after called a thumb slicer). While waiting in the ER, another man was there with a bloody hand which he held up and said, "Beer bottle", so my husband held his up and admitted, "cheese slicer." What a pair!

I asked this question on the recipe article page. Here's what Joe said: "I would freeze them uncooked, then thaw overnight or all day in the fridge, then pan-fry. Wrap them in plastic wrap and then freeze in zip top bags." I am delighted to have this recipe. I'm thinking about trying them on the grill for Memorial Day, or at least inside.

Okay, automatically in the running for a cookbook prize! #gladsomeoneisreading

And bake a berry upside-down cake.

Well, yes, the berries are put on the bottom to begin with, but I like the way you think!

Don't forget French Bread Thumb and Oyster-Knife stab wounds.

This chat has taken a bloody turn.

I've always thought that 62-64 for reds, the room temperature of a drafty old manor house, was ideal.

According to the Wine Spectator, reds are divided into two categories: The lighter, fruity reds can be served in the 50-6o degree range, while full-bodied reds and ports can be served in the 60-65 range.


So, in a way, you're both right. 

We have a vegetarian cousin who, judging from the food she serves, prefers bland food and wants all family celebrations to happen at her house. We accept that, but we're getting older and would like to lure her to our house. Is there a cuisine that celebrates bland? I know that sounds weird, but, seriously, is there? There must be other people like her who feel a tiny touch of cinnamon in the haroseth warrants a warning that it's spicy.

The Low-Sodium Continuum?

How heavy are those hamburger buns? the recipe says 260 calories each, which sounds like a lot. My late mother loved to bake bread and rolls, but her hot dog buns were so heavy and dense (she bragged "They weight 4 ounces each!") that no one could finish one.

These are actually 3 ounces (85 grams) and quite light and airy. It's the clean plate club whenever I serve them (tonight, as a matter of fact, with salmon burgers).

I do not like avocado and I want to make fish tacos. Is there anything I can use for the sauce aside from avocado or mayo based sauce?

Fruit salsa! 

Actually I have a mango and tomatillo salsa publishing later this afternoon that would be excellent on fish tacos.

But this Fire-Grilled Pineapple Salsa would also be nice.

Fire-Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Was I taught wrong? I was taught that rinsing/washing produce removed the pesticide. And that the pesticide was only on the outside so if you pulled that top layer off a scallion or peeled a cucumber, your food was as pesticide-free as organic food. The big conundrum was apples, because we were told the most nutritious part was the peel and that, supposedly, was where the nasty pesticides were. I still assume there's no need to go organic with pineapples, bananas or avocadoes because the rinds are so thick and aren't eaten.

You weren't taught wrong -- washing removes some pesticides, but not all. When it comes to the peels, which, as you point out, are nutritious, I think the nutrition trumps the pesticide. Eat away.

I enjoyed reading Tamar Haspel's article on pesticides and organic farming. I was pleasantly surprised by Steve Savage's participation in the comments section. I admire that he stepped into the debate.


I also liked Nate Lewis's comments about organic farming. There's a lot about these subjects that we are still learning and it's good to read comments by them that aren't all black-and-white absolutes but that go into the gray area of what we actually know and can be proven. Nice work!

I'm glad you liked the piece! And I also admire Steve's candor and straightforward acknowledgement of his error.

Hi there! Thanks for taking questions. :) My kids have reflux and we try to do a lot of fermented foods as we've heard it improves gut flora. Do you have any favorite foods that are fermented or contain fermented ingredients that do not take too long to make?

Homemade yogurt! It takes time to ferment, but it takes little effort on your part. The best part (other than the gut flora) is that you can make batches of it, and then have yogurt for the entire week. 


ARTICLE: DIY yogurt beats the store-bought stuff.

I have family coming this weekend and am stymied by what to make for lunch. Do you have any suggestions for a spring lunch menu for 3 adults and 2 kids? It can't be too last minute labor-intensive (such as assembling five sandwiches). I thought about fattoush, though my sister makes a great one so maybe not the best option. Bonus question: do you have any favorite breakfast stratas?

Seems like a DIY spread could be fun -- letting people assemble their own tacos (can make ingredients in advance) or even sandwiches.

Or a pasta salad, veggies and easy make-ahead dessert?

Chicken and Blueberry Pasta Salad

RECIPE: Chicken and Blueberry Pasta Salad

Italian Asparagus Salad

RECIPE: Italian Asparagus Salad

Peach Melba Shortbread Bars

RECIPE: Peach Melba Shortbread Bars

I found some recipes online that suggested to blanch them before incorporating it into the butter and some just said to combine it all inside a food processor. Do you know which method is better?

I just whir it in the food processor, no blanching required. 

I just made a fantastic sauce/dessert by using a quart of strawberries, 4 sticks of chopped rhubarb, a quarter-cup of sugar, and a 1/4 teaspoon of tapioca. Cook the whole mess for about half an hour on medium-low until it is the consistency of heated preserves. Stir in some chopped mint and serve over angel food cake or ice cream. Sublime!

Love the addition of mint! 

There are a LOT of nerve endings in there. I once got stung by a bee in the tip of my finger. It throbbed in time with my heart beat for over 12 hours any time I let it out of an ice bath. Be careful.

Some recipes (like your cookout buns) call for brushing yeast dough with egg white before baking, while others (like my trusty Challah recipe) call for egg yolk mixed with a little water. And I'm sure I've seen recipes that call for whole egg mixed with a bit of water. What's the difference in terms of results?

Egg white is nice and sticky, so if you're adding seeds to a bread top, they'll stay where you put them. Egg yolk alone is very yellow. I like to use it on savory pie crusts. A whole egg is somewhere between, colorwise, just slightly golden. By the way, none of these options, alone, will change the texture of the top, but adding a little sugar to your wash will add some crunch.

In my kitchen where way too much baking goes on, unless I'm adding seeds, I egg wash with whatever I have left in a bowl. If the recipe calls for two eggs, beaten, after adding the eggs, I set the bowl aside in which I've beaten the eggs and later scrape every last bit to make a wash. If I have to separate eggs, I'll use whatever is leftover, the yolk or the white, add a splash of water and brush on the surface. I'm way too frugal; I hate to use up an egg just to wash the surface. 

I applaud Polina Chesnakova for adapting to such a major change and for sharing her experience. It's not nearly as drastic, but I am having to figure out how to use the kitchen without standing -- whether at the stove or sink or counter. I rent, so spending thousands redoing the kitchen isn't a dollar-wise option. Perching in a stool keeps me at a difficult distance that I'll adapt to. Luckily, chopping and peeling and mixing can be done on any stable table that'll hold a chopping board or mixing bowl. So it's not such a big deal but it's made me much more aware of what a joy it is to have all your parts in working order. Again, kudos to Polina Chesnakova.

I've just learned to accept the fact that spending a lot of time in the kitchen will inevitably result in some sort of sharp utensil injury to my fingers (being clumsy isn't helpful either). My husband likes to make bets on Sunday (meal prep day) which finger I'm gonna cut. And wasn't it Anthony Bourdain in "Kitchen Confidential" that talked about chefs amassing large collections of burns/scars? Go forth, I say, and earn those injuries!

Yes, I'm the same person. Missed the travel section. Thank you for answering.

Assisted living cuisine? My mother and father just moved in. She said that the complaints from the long time residents about the Cinco de Mayo (probably already pretty bland and inauthentic Mexican, just like the holiday) menus were epic.

See "Low-Sodium" answer, above. :)

Is this the standard weight for rolls and such? When we weighed some excellent NYC bagels, they too were three ounces.

I don't know if it's standard, but I find a lot of buns, danish, kolache, croissants weigh in at 90 grams (about 3 ounces). It seems like a reasonable amount for one person to consume? 

Should have posted that to Tom. Thought Tim was on the chat, but see you were just referring to his corn recipe. Thanks for that. Could go well with the Superiority Burger.

Heading to Baltimore Thursday for a matinee performance of Stax. Thoughts on best vegan option near Baltimore Center Stage (700 N Calvert) down through Inner Harbor?

Tough question. I do see that there's a Honeygrow and a Sticky Rice in Fell's Point, which is not TOO far from your location. They both have vegan options.


Chatters, any other ideas? 

Some of us prefer not to volunteer to be Mark Zuckerberg's product, so content pushed through social media accounts are useless to us. I don't have an account on either and I don't want one. On the other hand, I don't mind there being a link to the article and the video as long as they are both CLEARLY labeled. I hate clicking on a link, only to have my computer seize up as a video uploads itself. Not fun or fair. Other than that, there needs to be a link to the regular Food Section on the top of the Voraciously pages so I can get back to where I want to be easily and quickly when a link I click turns out to be hosted in the new section. Those two changes would help a lot.

Duly noted, just another option, as most of our traffic does come in that way these days.

I want to replace an old kitchen table. I use it as a work table. What would be the best surface and height for kneading dough and holding a KA mixer? Would you go with stainless steel or the much prettier maple?

I have stainless counters and I love them. That said, for kneading dough and rolling out pie dough or cookies, there's nothing like stone.

I was shocked how *easy* it is to make "kimchi"- I'd say the processes is easier than making a salad and I don't have any fancy storage containers (just some mason jars). I use quotations because I don't use super spicy red pepper and I throw in some red miso to kick start the fermentation - but after a week (or longer) it turns out great! Just be prepared for that STANK :)

Former Post Food writer Jane Black once wrote about making her own kimchi. You might check that out.


ARTICLE: Kimchi is going global.

For the Rhubarb-Ginger Compote: "2 strips lemon peel (no white pith)"

When I made it, I used the width you'd get when peeling with a vegetable peeler. About 1/4 inch or so.

Does anyone have a recipe for a fruit ketchup (cherry, berries, pineapple etc)

Silly to be overcautious? I got a recorded message from my supermarket (first time that's happened & I'm glad it did) telling me not to eat frozen broccoli with a particular upc code because of a potential listeria risk. I have some with most of the same numbers except the last 3. The store said it's safe but I can return it if I want. Because I seem to recall that the very recent Romaine lettuce recall started with just one batch but then expanded, I am worrying that maybe the same will happen with the broccoli. Is that silly? Here's the online notice, from Giant Recall Date: May 21, 2018 SB CUT BROCCOLI 16OZ - 16 OZ UPC:068826700926 Codes:BEST BY MAR 15 2020 Customers may return impacted product for a full refund. Recall information: This product is being pulled because the State of CT Dept of Consumer Protection, Food & Standards pulled a store sample which tested positive for Listeria Monocytogenes.

My advice? Trust your instincts. Take it back.

I just use a 1"-high rimmed large cookie sheet -- keeps most of the flour from scattering all over the kitchen!

I have a long narrow scar on my thumb from my OXO zester. Is there a zesting technique that doesn't endanger one's skin, or should I just give up and buy one of those Kevlar mesh gloves?

No need to scrub-zest quickly; go slower and save your skin.

Well, you've allowed us to rise a second time and we're headed for an egg wash, so you know what that means . . . we're done! 


Thanks to Cathy and Tamar for joining us, and to you, dear readers, for hangin' in when the sun's out. Cookbook winners: The chatter who asked about berries and baking gets a copy of "The Minimalist Kitchen," and, as promised, the chatter who read Editor Joe's recipe response about freezing the Superiority Burgers gets a copy of Brooks Headley's new cookbook!


Send your mailing info to; she's ruthlessly efficient about getting those books out asap. Till next week, happy holiday and happy cooking! 

In This Chat
Bonnie Benwick
Bonnie S. Benwick is Deputy Food Editor and recipe editor at The Post. Cook with her each week at Dinner in Minutes.
Carrie Allan
M. Carrie Allan is The Post's Spirits columnist.
Cathy Barrow
Cathy Barrow's first cookbook is "Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving" (W.W. Norton). She blogs at
Tim Carman
Tim Carman is a food staff writer at The Post. He writes the weekly $20 Diner column.
Kara Elder
Kara Elder is the Food section editorial aide.
Tamar Haspel
Tamar Haspel, who farms oysters on Cape Cod and writes about food and science, is author of the monthly Unearthed column, winner of a James Beard Award.
Becky Krystal
Becky Krystal is a staff food writer.
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