Free Range on Food: Unexpected ways to use tofu, tiki drinks, this week's recipes and more.

Jun 20, 2018

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

Good afternoon, Free Rangers!


While we're sorting out takeaways from yesterday's passing of the minimum-wage initiative in D.C. (and news of millennials' tipping practices, not to mention IHOP steakburgers), thanks to Tim Carman and other Post efforts, we hope you're up to your chins in Alex Levin's simple cinnamon coffee cake, brought to you by Becky; out-of-the-box ways to deploy tofu, thanks to Kristen Hartke, who'll be joining us today; tiki drink delights from M. Carrie Allan; and so much more. Tim is on assignment, fyi.


Are you cooking Voraciously these days? Tell us about it. What's on your menu for the Fourth?


For you PostPoints members, here's today's code: FR8304. 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.


You can bet there's a cookbook or two to give away today, so check back at the end of the hour. Let's get going!

I made the royal wedding cake twice and it was terrific both times. However, I didn't have enough batter for three layers. Are you supposed to whip the egg whites and fold them in instead of putting whole eggs in? I don't think the recipe said to do that but I followed it both times and that's the only way I can think of to get more volume. The only thing I did differently the second time involved the icing, which was way too slippery the first time I did it -- I cut the milk down and added the elderflower and lemon juice first to see how much liquid I really needed. One day I made the cake was humid, the other day I made it was dry.

Royal Wedding Cake

ARTICLE: Here’s how to make your own version of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding cake

Nope, no need to whip the eggs whites, though if you liked the results, then more power to you. As I mentioned in the blog post, this was originally intended as a single cake baked in a 3-inch pan that I divided into 3 layers since a) I hate slicing cake layers and b) not many people have 3-inch pans. So, not much batter goes into each layer, but stacked after baking, it's all good. And, yes, definitely glad you adjusted the frosting to your liking and climate conditions!

We're hosting a bourbon tasting event and I'd like to offer one drink that I could make in batches rather than per serving, whether it's a tasty summer punch or just a cocktail that can be scaled up. Any recommendations?

Yes, absolutely. The Gold Rush is a modern classic, easily batchable. It's delicious, easy and brightly summery. If you wanna get a little fancier/more complicated, try This Little Figgy Went to Kashmir

1. This recipe looks AMAZING 2. I think it could have an even better name, because french toast is lame. What about "pita monte cristo"? 3. Do you think that this would reheat well, or is this the kind of recipe that you think is best the day of? I'm intrigued by the idea of making big batches of these but i'm worried about how it will reheat, texturally

A chatter of #wealthandtaste, obv!


Well, as I said in replying to some of the #DinnerInMinutes commenters online, it's a French toast egg-milk mixture so I went in that direction, namewise. What's best about them is how you can stuff those pockets and cook them quickly. 


I think they'd reheat just fine, given this turkey treatment. A little butter or cooking oil spray in a nonstick pan, over medium-lowish heat.

French toast is lame? I'd disagree with that!

But at a hotel bar I chanced to order something called a pink lady. The description listed light rum, Luxor cherry something, with pineapple and pomegranate juices. It was delicious, and not terribly dissimilar from a Mai Tai. I would love to try my hand at it, but any recipes I find are for things involving gin, which was absolutely not present. Any ideas or leads?

Hey there! I suspect the "Luxor something" was actually Luxardo maraschino liqueur, which would explain the "not dissimilar from a Mai Tai" taste (maraschino tastes quite almondy). I can't find any recipes online for this iteration either, but I can suggest a starting point: Try  2 ounces light rum, 1/4 ounce maraschino, 1/2 ounce pineapple and half ounce pomegranate, and adjust for sweetness and tartness from there. 

THANK YOU for the great piece on the 24 dishes that made DC! I'm usually the type who scrolls through lists and maybe comes back to read the narrative later, but the concept of this was so interesting that I was drawn in from the start. The place of food in DC's history (I had no idea about the Thompson's Restaurant story) and the context behind how dishes came to be so common (whiting??) is so interesting. Excellent read!

ARTICLE: 24 dishes that shaped how D.C. eats


Fritz, Lavanya, editor Emily Codik and designer Katherine Lee did a wonderful job, didn't they? Always room for discussion about shoulda coulda / other candidates but I think this list will stand the test of time.

Thanks to Becky Krystal’s article, I might try using my box grater for more than grating cheese. My family gets through 1 or 2 pounds of grated cheese every week since I realized I do prefer the taste and texture of cheese I grate myself. After repurposing a pool noodle from the dollar store to close up the gap between my washer and dryer—thus eliminating the Clothespin Bermuda Triangle—I had some short lengths left over. To make using our cheap box grater more comfortable, I sliced lengthwise down one side of one of these foam pieces (a serrated knife like a tomato knife works well for this) and slipped it over the handle of the box grater. The foam cushions the handle so anyone using the grater can lean comfortably on it while grating our weekly mountain of cheese. The foam then slips off easily before the grater gets washed. The original pool noodle was only a dollar, but the comfort while using the grater is priceless.

Wow that is quite a hack!

And, yes, right on about grating your own cheese. The stuff you buy already grated often has some sort of coating or starch that is intended to keep everything from sticking together.

ARTICLE: Obvious, and not so obvious, ways to use all four sides of your box grater

I have bag of frozen pigeon peas and it's time to clean out the freezer. Any suggestions?

You could make Caribbean-style rice and peas, of course!

We have a recipe that uses kidney beans instead of pigeon peas, but the latter were the original ingredient, so you could sub them back!

RECIPE: Rice and Peas

They're also pretty close to black-eyed peas, so you could comfortably use them in any recipe that calls for those. This one was a recent favorite of mine:

RECIPE: Black-Eyed Peas With Oranges and Chipotle


But also: It's getting to be succotash season, and they'd play wonderfully in such a treatment, don't you think? Use them instead of the lima beans.

RECIPE: Grilled Zucchini Succotash


I got a little carried away and ended up with 7 pounds of tart cherries. I've already done some fermented salsa, spike lemonade, parfaits, and planning to do a cherry-almond pie. I’m not into marmalade/jam and trying to limit the use of all-purpose flour. Any ideas of things that I can do with the 5 pounds that I have left?

Two words: Cathy Barrow. She has so many swoon-worthy cherry recipes -- or fruit recipes that are perfect for cherries -- I love them all.

Cherry Bounce

Apricot Jam

Fruit Slab Pie

I would cook some down and freeze the rest to enjoy the rest of the year. They are truly seasonal and you'll be glad to have them in, say, February. 

My black raspberry bush is going wild and producing lots of berries. I am looking for an easy freezer/refrigerator jam to keep some of the harvest. Also I want to use some in meals rather than desserts. Any suggestions? Thanks

I am very, very jealous. You pretty much can't go wrong with this recipe -- it's really easy and you can make it with all raspberries or in combination with other fruit (hello, peaches, I'm looking at you):

Quick-Cook, Reduced-Sugar Strawberry Freezer (or Strawberry-Raspberry) Jam

A local distillery up here in Baltimore is making delicious stuff. I got their barrel-aged gin and it's so tasty I sip i straight because none of my usual gin concoctions seem to work with it. I've tried lime juice,Angostura bitters, tonic, etc. Any suggestions, or do I just keep enjoying it straight?

I really like barred-aged gins in a Bee's Knees, myself. You might play around with some classic, lighter whiskey cocktail specs too, depending on how much barrel the gin has on it?

The notes to the Cherry Lattice Pie recipe (from the "Favorite Fruit Pies" feature) say that if you use frozen cherries, defrost them either on the counter or under running water, then drain well and proceed as directed. Would the same defrosting instructions apply if I want to use frozen blueberries in a blueberry tart recipe?

Yeah, I think so! When I bake pies with previously frozen fruit, that's what I do. (Ditto rhubarb.)

Anyone else have a different technique?

Cherry Lattice Pie

Our favorite fruit pie recipes to celebrate the season

Hi guys - i'm looking for a recipe that will produce tall, thick, chewy cookies. Not cakey! The kind of cookie that retains the cookie scoop shape. I'd prefer no lard. Oatmeal, chocolate, chocolate chip, sugar cookies are all a-ok. Any recipes that come to mind?

How about a visual guide to all of our holiday cookies, and then you can see which most appeal to your standards for height? :)

GRAPHIC: Holiday Cookie Generator

Melted butter in your choco chip dough and a big scoop will help create the thick/chewy attributes.

I'm looking forward to trying Alex Levin's coffee cake recipe. How do you think it compares with Mindy Segal's? I've made hers several times and love it. From reading the recipe, I think Alex's would be lighter and more cake-like. Mindy's is moist and a little dense, but I can't stop eating it.

Simple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

ARTICLE: This classic coffee cake is what good mornings are made of

ARTICLE: For this acclaimed pastry chef, home tastes like a coffee cake

Alex's has a lighter crumb than Shirley's Coffee Cake from Mindy Segal -- hers has a rich vein of filling with nuts, and the tang of sour cream is evident in the cake itself.

I made this last week: Quinoa Salad With Zucchini, Poblano and Avocado and I just loved it. My husband didn't but that's ok. I substituted cucumber for the zucchini and canned green chiles for the poblano but it didn't suffer for it. The grocery store poblanos looked pretty dodgy so my options were limited. Anyway, thank you for keeping interesting meals on our table.

Emily Horton will be thrilled to hear it!

I’d like to make homemade ice cream sandwiches on Monday to celebrate the last day of school (yes, I know we get out late) as well as the fact that we will be halfway to Christmas! I’m going to make mint ice cream and roll the sandwiches in crushed peppermint. Do you have a chocolate cookie recipe to suggest to use as the “bread?” Thank you!

Fun! I'm a fan of the sticks-to-your-teeth ice cream sandwich, so I'd go with a softer/cakier cookie. Maybe similar to those used in whoopie pies? These Peppermint Fudgies also sound like they'd work, but you may need to dial back the peppermint candies in the cookies themselves.

OR you could try brownies and cut those in half. 

Also check out Becky's great piece about using store-bought ingredients to assemble your own ice cream sandwiches. Even if you make the components yourself, it includes some helpful tips for the assembly and storage. 


When we assembled ice cream sandwiches for Becky's story, I remember that Tate's chocolate chip cookies, which are thin and crisp, worked remarkably well for this purpose. Go figure.

It's that time of year again: camping season! Is there any new cooking gear aimed at campers that I need to be aware of? Last year's camping-meals experiment was to bring a dutch oven we could put over an open fire. We cooked lasagna, believe it or not, and it came out great! I didn't do any meal planning for the upcoming weekend excursion, but I'm sure dessert will include s'mores. Those are more simply prepared, but we recently bought new sticks on which to cook our marshmallows. I don't know if there have been design improvements on those things, or if we simply needed to replace our very old, bad-looking marshmallow sticks. We'll see how it goes. I've found in the past that as long as my old-fashioned coffee percolator still works, I'm pretty much fine with any camping meal-prep failings.

I occasionally look at REI for this type of thing. I always fantasize about camp cooking, and then never do, but if I were to get serious, I'd be VERY interested in something like this: 10,000 BTUs of power, and the whole thing weighs just 3.5 pounds!

Chatters, any other nifty new favorites?

I love Voraciously! I made the Lentil Salad With Roasted Potato Wedges and it was delicious. I plan to keep potatoes on hand to make this quick, easy dish again and again. I am a good cook and enjoy the recipes and tips in Voraciously.

 Lentil Salad With Roasted Potato Wedges

And we love that you love Voraciously! Thank you.

That recipe is such a keeper. Could not stop eating those potatoes! Bonnie is doing some really cool recipes for Dinner in Minutes.

This is genius. I had a two-sided Oxo grater, but the frame for the metal graters was plastic so after several years of leaning on it to keep it still while I grated, the plastic broke on both sides. Off to buy a pool noodle!

Friends helping friends. Go forth and noodle-fy.

Something I don't understand about hand-held graters including box and microplane - - What do you do when your knuckles or finger-tips are too close for comfort but you're still holding an ungrated portion of a garlic clove or ginger knob? Do you chop the remaining bit, throw in the remainder as is, or start over with a bigger knob or another clove?

Depends what you're making. If it's just a little left, and I have what I need, I toss it in the trash or my veggie scrap bag for broth. Better safe than sorry (from someone who has grated her fingers multiple times). But sure, you could also very finely mince.

Sometimes, securing the last nubbin on the tines of a fork can help.

I like tofu when it is properly seasoned or part of the right dish, but it ultimately makes me and those around me uncomfortable. Is there any home remedy for that side-effect I don't know about? Would Beano work on it?

Hmm, I have to say that this is not a problem that I've encountered personally  -- nor anyone among my own family or friends who eat lots of tofu. Soy protein is generally considered fairly digestible for most people, but a small portion of the population could have an actual intolerance to it. Still, Beano could certainly be worth giving a try if you think that it's the tofu that's causing the problem and not something else that's on the menu!

I concur that this is a first time I'm hearing of this, too! I eat a lot of beans, so you know I'm well versed in this issue, but haven't thought of it being connected to tofu so much. 

My favorite plain-ol'supermarket-lentil curry (from the great Madhur Jaffrey) is very thick, and plopping it on to a baked potato is wonderful. Serious comfort food.

Making whole roasted cauliflower from London's Berber and Q ( go to London just for this) Thought of having a tomato/parsley salad but hoping for your help for rest of the menu. something w eggplant/ grain?

How about going all-out on the London theme and doing something from Ottolenghi?

Eggplant Cheesecake

RECIPE: Eggplant Cheesecake

Fennel, Cherry Tomato and Crumble Gratin

RECIPE: Fennel, Cherry Tomato and Crumble Gratin

I’m looking for a non-traditional menu for a patio dinner party. Not picky on ethnicity... I’ll try anything. I’d like to surprise my guests with something unexpected and delicious ... no fish please. Any menu ideas much appreciated.

So here's where I make a plug for tofu. If you're thinking about grilling, then a smoky grilled tofu is a perfect summer dish, especially if you marinate the tofu in a blend of tamari, smoked paprika, garlic and sesame oil (about 15 minutes per side). Then grilled over high heat and serve topped off with slices of grilled fresh pineapple and a dollop of this Herbed Tofu Mayonnaise.

What about ... pizza! Becky's recent primer was spot-on.

Yes, you can make great pizza at home without any special equipment

I always enjoy pickled onions on a salad or sandwich when I eat out and would like to try making them at home. I've never pickled anything before. I have found recipes that require cooking and others that don't. What do you recommend?

We almost always have a jar going in the Food Lab; they are easy to do and can be done in no time. Generally, the pickling liquid contains sugar that dissolves better when the liquid's heated. Not much cooking...bring just to a boil then remove the pickling mixture (try 1/2 cup each apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar and water; maybe a teaspoon of pickling spice and a couple tablespoons of sugar; a pinch of salt). Thinly slice your onion and place it in a heatproof bowl. Pour the warm liquid over and let them sit for at least 15 mins. Seal and stash in the refrigerator for sev weeks.

Hi, there. As a vegetarian, I eat quite a bit of tofu. I tend to bake it in the oven, generally at 350, until it's light brown. I really don't like it too chewy, much prefer the creamy texture. Do you have suggestions on how to improve my technique? E.g., using a different firmness of tofu? Thanks!

The thing that's nice about tofu is that it is so versatile -- a lot of people really like tofu when it has more of a chew to it, but I love it in many different forms. If you are using extra=firm tofu (water-packed, loaf-style) then you could opt for not pressing out the water, but simply draining it and then lightly marinating it before steaming it, in order to retain more of that creamy texture. I also really like to take slices of firm tofu (which is still sturdy but not quite as compacted as extra-firm) and dip them in beaten egg, then sauté in a little bit of vegetable oil until golden on both sides. Delicious hot or cold, dipped in soy sauce, and the center will still have that creamy texture!

I have a large container of extra strawberries to use up. Can I put them in a quick bread? I've already made a strawberry rhubarb pie, crumble and freezer jam. Also I don't have enough dairy to make an ice cream. Any baking uses would be appreciated.

Here's a quick bread for ya:

Strawberry Bread

RECIPE: Strawberry Bread

Or a fun cake (the berries aren't baked, though):

Strawberry Cake

RECIPE: Strawberry Cake

I just don't get it. It's so dicey and tends to make everything runnier than it should be (and, yes, I do drain the heck out of the berries or whatever). Am I doomed to a fruitless (or at least cook-fruit-less) existence? Convince me.

The runny-ness can be controlled with the right recipe! For instance, you could be convinced by this one, I bet. Superb, and a couple of tricks keep those blueberries from weeping.

Dorie Greenspan's Blueberry Pie

Hello! The breakfast nut bars sound and look so good! My son is allergic to walnuts, could we substitute all almonds, or another nut (not pecans)? Thanks!


Look up cookie recipes using bakers ammonia. It's an ingredient I didn't even know existed before coming across an Icelandic cookie recipe years ago. (I got mine on Amazon). The chocolate cookies kept the exact shape of the scoops of dough. You smell the ammonia while it's baking, but, then no smell or taste of it in the finished product. It was fun to try a product I wasn't familiar with, although I haven't used it since.

Interesting! Have also never come across a recipe for an Icelandic cookie either.

I've heard that cooking beans with the herb epazote is effective, but I need to find some, probably dried. Does it work as well as Beano, with which I have had good luck?

I'm not sure that anything works as well as Beano, but I do find that epazote helps, but you know what also does? Kombu! Just put in a strip when you cook the beans. Interestingly, the America's Test Kitchen folks also found that it helped soften beans' skins -- and they suggest that it helps as much as soaking!

As for where to get epazote, look in Latin American markets or other stores with lots of such products, and you should be able to find it. Penzey's also sells it -- and there's lots of other options online. (If you have gardening space, you could also pop some in the ground -- I've grown it effectively.)

In memory of the recently deceased WMAL-AM veteran morning drive-time personality Frank Harden, here's his and Jackson Weaver's recipe for Thanksgiving turkey (with a hat tip to Rube Goldberg, no doubt). - - - "Living in the Washington, DC area a few decades back two radio personalities, Harden and Weaver, would have a funny Thanksgiving skit about stuffing a turkey with uncooked popcorn and putting a pickle up its butt. When the pickle blew open the oven door, you knew the turkey was done complete with popcorn stuffing." 

It's never too early for me to be thinking about Thanksgiving turkey. 

Agreed! What's up with that? When they're available at all (NW DC), they're both small, like picked too soon, and wrinkly, like offered for sale too late!

Which stores are you going to? Shoutout to my local market (Tropimart on Kennedy St. NW), which almost always has perfect poblanos. 

Consider this tip for other kitchen and nonkitchen uses, too. As a relative (spouse, daughter, sibling) of several people with significant arthritis in their hands, I can heartily recommend adaptations to common tools to make the grip softer and wider. We have used foam pipe insulation (it comes in a variety of diameters) to adapt the handle on a lawn mower, make the handle of shovels and trowels softer and wider, etc. When you don't have to close your hand so tightly to grip, work becomes a little easier and the recovery time a little shorter.

Pool noodles: Fun AND practical.

What about Dorie Greenspan's world peace cookie? I'm not a chocolate cookie fan, but these are awesome, and would be great with mint ice cream.

Thank you for last week's piece on grain salads! It reminded me that I have been intending to replicate a wild-rice-based bowl I had on vacation recently. However, I was wondering if you could give me some advice for the dressing, because the ones in the article didn't exactly fit. The bowl is supposed to be poke-inspired, so it will have wild rice, little shrimp, seaweed salad, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, edamame, maybe cucumbers, and I am looking for an Asian-flavored dressing. Can you suggest a recipe that you think would work here? Thanks so much!!


PS I was planning on just sauteing the shrimp but if you have a suggestion for other cooking methods that would also be welcome!

I think a gingery vinaigrette would be great: Try 1 tablespoon plain rice vinegar, 3 tablespoons peanut oil, 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root (peeled), and soy sauce to taste. Maybe some crushed red pepper flakes if you want it zippy. 


You could poach the shrimp gently; check out an easy way to do so in this recipe.

ARTICLE Four steps to making a great grain salad, every time


Last night I was baking cookies and when I opened the oven door, the heating element (on the bottom) was sparking white like a welding torch or 4th of July sparkler. And my cookies were burned. I have never, ever had that happen with an oven. Kind of alarming, to say the least. Have any of you had that happen?

Part of the fun of camping out when I was a child, was finding our own sticks around the campsite, including splitting one open if necessary. This also taught us about green wood vs dry wood, and different kinds of wood and bark. I'm surprised that aspect of camping has been replaced by something manufactured.

So fun! But unlike you, I am not surprised at all!

I'm pregnant and trying to find non-alcoholic alternatives for restaurants and at home. A lot of the options are on the sweeter end, which I'm not a fan of. I recently bough a bottle of Seedlip which I like because it can be used in place of gin with tonic. Can you recommend any other non-alcoholic distilled drinks that I can try? Thanks!

Seedlip is the first big brand to go in this direction, I think -- I've heard of a few other lines that are popping up overseas (there's a nonalcoholic Danish gin, for example), but I'm not aware of others that have made it stateside yet. It may depend on what market you're in, though. You might look into some of the Dry line of sodas -- there's a lovely juniper one that I often use as a mixer, but it's good on its own as well and hits some of those gin notes you might be missing!

As a card-carrying science-and-logic fan and nerd I did differential testing, and tofu was the common factor. I'll try Beano, thanks.

Thank you, I will do that! I've just planted some quilquina seeds, courtesy of a Bolivian friend.


I don't know about digestive problems with soy, but soy allergies are extremely common. Probably because some soy components are in a startling percentage of processed foods (I even found it listed in Yogi Tea's Lemon-Ginger Tea!).

It’s peach season in Texas (yea!) and I’m thinking of using a lemon tart recipe and subbing in peach curd. Recipes I've seen for peach curd say to blend peach halves in a blender, but I wonder if that will be too pulpy. Should I strain it to make it more of the consistency of lemon juice?

I would hope that any good peach curd recipe would take into account the differences between pureed peaches and juiced lemons, in terms of the other thickener(s) involved!

Manufacturers of nonstick pans specifically instruct users not to use nonstick spray. If you have your own spray bottle and it only has vegetable oil in it, then fine - but otherwise, there apparently is a substances in nonstick sprays that erode the nonstick surfaces of the pans.

I thought it was due to the sticky residue/buildup that can occur. Just be diligent about cleaning those nonstick pans.

Mom is coming from Seattle to help supply the church's bake sale. . . should these be all baked on Friday? We could save a few for Saturday morning (the annual dinner starts at 11a, so not too many) -- but could we do anything Thursday? Parbake crusts for chocolate, coconut cream, other pies? Any shortcuts would be MUCH appreciated. I'm intrigued by today's clever German pie baker - but that will have to wait for a special occasion. Quantity is what we're doing next! thanks all

You could fully bake the crusts on Thursday for any pie that's being filled/chilled rather than baked with the filling already in it, like that Chocolate Pie. So the crust doesn't get soggy, I'd chill the filling separately, keep the crust (after cooling it) tightly wrapped at room temperature, and then assemble it the day before, if you want...

Hello! Please help with suggestions for an easy side salad that is more interesting than lettuce and vegetables. This is for a potluck campout, with no way to reheat and little refrigeration. Is there such a beast? Right now, I'm leaning towards a vinegar based coleslaw that isn't too fussy if it's not constantly refrigerated. Thank you in advance!

Agreed on a vinegar-based slaw! Becky just remade this Vinegary Montreal Slaw so we could add a photo (coming soon!), and I think it'd do the trick nicely. It starts with a technique I've used ever since we first ran this recipe many years ago: You salt the cabbage and then squeeze out the extra moisture, and it makes it no watery at all, which I love. I also think that would make it particularly room-temperature-friendly.


Hi! With all the lovely produce now (and for a few upcoming months) at the farmer's markets, I'd like to pickle or ferment some of the vegetable goodness. I've made simple refrigerator pickles (boiled vinegar, water, sugar and spices, poured into non-sterilised jars) but want to try something more exotic or challenging. Saurkraut? Kimchi? Is there much difference between the two? What about pickled peppers (never thought I'd say that phrase other than reciting the nursery rhyme!). Thanks for any help!

Who wouldn't want to pick a peck of pickled peppers? Nursery rhymes aside, I love making refrigerator pickled peppers in the summer when my garden is overproducing, so here's an option using whole peppers (sweet or hot will work): 

Whole Pickled Snacking Peppers

RECIPE: Whole Pickled Snacking Peppers

And I also like to make Cowboy Candy, because I always have a crazy amount of jalapenos -- they are candied jalapenos, sliced and boiled in apple cider vinegar with lots (like 1 part vinegar to 3 parts sugar) of sugar and some lemon peel. I could eat it by the spoonful!

King Arthur sells it online and I've seen it at the Little Bitts baking shop in Wheaton.

Nope, the recipes just say to blend it. But they aren't necessarily using the curd in a tart. Wonder if anyone has tried it and if adjustments should be made?

Hmm, I like the looks of this peach curd recipe from BA that does indeed call for eggs and butter like a traditional lemon curd...

Hello - we are having friends over this weekend and will be serving bbq ribs, rice, and grilled veggies. Do you have any suggestions for an easy punch or drink that calls for a spiced rum? We have a bottle of a local spice rum (aka not Captian Morgan) that we would like to use. Also - any thoughts on what wine and/or hard cider would go well with this meal? Thanks!

I think this Scupper Spiced Rum Punch could likely be batched pretty well. And if you happen to be using Cotton & Reed's spiced rum, the recipe on their site for the Foghorn Leghorn sounds like it could be summer-ized pretty easily by dropping the hot water and replacing it with ice water or even a chilled chai tea.

I've had that issue with tempeh (I've never had a problem with other fermented foods so I assumed it was the soy...and I've tried various tempeh brands). A quick blanching did the trick. That way you can be sure the tofu is cooked through before the additional preparation/cooking methods.

Interesting! I always considered tempeh more digestible than tofu, given the fermentation, but I suppose you never know! Thanks for the tip.

just a thank you for the alternate cold slaw salad!

You're welcome!

Purveyors at both the Arlington Farmers Market and the one on CT Ave by UDC sell it.


Hi again, I wrote in asking for cookie recipes for ice-cream sandwiches -- thank you for the whoopie pie recipe, it looks great! I have a question about it, though. It calls for two whole eggs plus two yolks. When I see recipes like that, I'm always curious to know whether it would really make a difference if I subbed a whole egg for the two yolks. I often end up throwing out the whites (although I do initially save them in a jar in the fridge), and I'm really trying ~not~ to waste food. Also thank-you for suggesting I check out the article on making ice-cream sandwiches using store-bought ingredients. I had skipped it because I want to do homemade but now I will give it a second glance.

I think it has something to do with whether your recipe could handle the extra moisture if you included the whites, or needs the greater amount of fat that all-egg-yolk would provide. 


When we get a backlog of egg whites in the Food Lab, we make meringues (pavlovas). 


The additional moisture from the water in the egg whites will make things lighter and cakier, whereas you get fat and richness (and thus denseness) from just yolks.

is lemon-lime seltzer spiked with a splash of cranberry concentrate, sour cherry concentrate, or tamarind concentrate (from the Indian grocery). Tastes like a good wine spritzer.


Sounds great. Oh -- and A Litteri near Union Market has some killer bitter Italian sodas including ones that taste very much like my BFF, Campari. Look for Sanbitter and Stappj.

I was going to suggest some sort of bean salad - but if you're all camping together that might not be very friendly.

Or VERY friendly, depending on your senses of humor!

Won't wilt the way leafy salads will.

What makes it bitter versus some that is so refreshing?

It is not an exaggeration to say that I'm a bit of an iced tea freak and, yes, I will send it back if it doesn't taste right. Bitterness in iced tea usually hinges on one of two things: either it has steeped too long (most tea should only steep for 2-4 minutes) or it is tea that has been sitting around for a while and is just old. Fresh iced tea should be lightly steeped and have been made within the past 24 hours.

I also think a lot of bad iced tea is made with tea bags. Think you get much better flavor when brewed with loose-leaf.

Also, lots of establishments make their iced tea with water that comes via the coffee urn, and that makes for one unappetizing, bitter brewed tea.

I like to have heavy, pasteurized whipping cream on hand, but sometimes it goes sour before I can use it up. Is it safe (and effective) to use the soured cream as a substitute in cooking for dairy sour cream, yogurt, or buttermilk? Thanks.

I would not use pasteurized heavy cream that has gone sour -- because the cream is actually pasteurized, that means that some nasty bacteria could be growing in that cream, so I wouldn't even use it for baking at that point. That being said, heavy cream that's at least 40% butterfat will actually freeze quite well -- I've done this a few times with success by pouring 1/2 cup amounts into freezer-safe containers. Just let it thaw in the refrigerator before using as you normally would.

I just switched jobs, with a wonderful longer commute! This means I'm getting home later and not in the mood to cook dinner for the family every night. Beyond pastas, any good (healthy) suggestions for meals that make for good leftovers we can have (no fish or pork please). Thank you!!

I eat almost everything I make as leftovers!

Curries, stir-fries, frittata. I think they all reheat nicely.

A few to get you started:

Anytime Frittata

RECIPE: Anytime Frittata

RECIPE: Spicy Peanut Chicken Stir-Fry

RECIPE: Easy Chickpea Curry

I need to cut back on sugar, and don't really enjoy sweet cocktails. But I get tired of martinis, dry manhattans, and bloody marys all the time, all year round. I've compromised with very lightly sweet drinks (homemade rhubarb shrub, gin, dry vermouth, seltzer water) but wonder if Carrie has any suggestions.

You've hit a lot of the ones I'd recommend! There are some nice riffs on the bloody mary out there, and there's also a book on savory cocktails that might be worth checking out. Oh -- and I've had a killer drink at the Nomad Library bar in NYC that might fit the bill if the liqueurs aren't a dealbreaker!

Hi, I have this, it's a thing unfortunately! Especially since soy oil is so very common these days. Makes reading labels a treat, since not all soy gets called out in the allergen line (eye roll).

Yes, it's definitely a real thing, just like having a gluten allergy is absolutely a real thing for a percentage of the population -- and reading those labels is no joke!

Easier to find dried. Look in the sections with the dried, bagged chili peppers. I love it for the special flavor it adds even in small quantities and would keep that flavor in mind before adding it to offset gas.

Is it possible to make gravalax or something similar, with only salt and without sugar, or using some lo-cal sugar substitute?

A quick Web scan says yes. but the sugar adds flavor and helps with texture too....check your lo-cal sugar manufacturer's recommendations?

What6 is a Hawthorne strainer?!

See this.

I saved a recipe for a salad made of thinly shaved raw butternut squash, tossed with pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, etc., and a vinagrette. I haven't tried it yet, but, am looking forward to it.

Well, you've stacked us between crispy bacon, ham and pickles on rye, so you know what that means . . . we're done! Thanks to Kristen, Carrie and the gang, and to  you, readers, for an always enlightening session.


The chatter who offered the genius box grater tip gets a copy  of "Easy Culinary Science," by Jessica Gavin.

The chatter who asked about epazote as digestive aid gets "Chocolate Every Day: 85 + Plant-Based Recipes for Cacao Treats That Support Your Health and Well Being," buy Bennett Coffey and Kyleen Keenan, because, well, chocolate.

Send your mailing address info to and she'll get those book right out to you. She's good that way! Until next week, happy cooking!

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.
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.
Kara Elder
Kara Elder is the Food section editorial aide.
Kristen Hartke
Kristen Hartke is a Washington-based food writer and editor.
Becky Krystal
Becky Krystal is a staff food writer.
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