Free Range on Food: Convention foods, the Great British Baking Show, boozy ice pops and more.

Jul 13, 2016

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

Greetings, Free Rangers! It's about as muggy as D.C. gets in high summer, so we suggest you stay cool  indoors and join us for an enlightening hour. Kristen Hartke's on hand with the inside scoop about how she chose recipes from Cleveland and Philly for her convention watch party story; Spirits columnist M. Carrie Allan may divulge just how much testing went into her boozy ice pops' effort. Becky Krystal and I can certainly talk "Great British Baking Show" all the live-long day....and we're all game to tackle just about any culinary q you send our way.  We also invite you to hang out for Dorie Greenspan's chat from 1 to 2 p.m.; don't miss her  terrific recipe for picnic cakelettes. (We enjoyed them for breakfast!) Editor Joe's away.

 

Post Points members: Today's code is FR3224; you'll need to record and enter it into 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.

 

Finally, we've got a few cookbooks to give away this hour; you may provide the very comment or question that wins one, with results announced at the end of the session. Enough, already. Let's go!

Recipe states 16 tablespoons (8 oz., 1 stick) butter. I'm guessing the 1 stick should read 2?

It was a momentary lapse, on my part. Dorie knows, as do the rest of us here at WaPoFood, that 16 tablespoons = 2 sticks, 8 ounces. there are 4 ounces in a standard "stick" o butter. The recipe's been corrected online and a correction ran in print on A2 today. [insert head hung in shame here; I hope very much that readers don't take her to task in her 1 p.m. online chat.]

Hi there! Do you have a favorite recipe? I have tried some online but been disappointed. I have a batch of mangoes with the firmest roundest bottoms just waiting to become a delicious chutney for some delicious pleasure tonight!

I use this fairly regularly, but the bulk bins at WF only have whole seeds and they stopped carrying the big two pound bags in the regular "alternate flour" section. I can get the smaller bags elsewhere, but it is a bit more expensive per pound than the big bags and not always available. WF also carries smaller bags, but the price is unacceptable ($12 for 14 ounces while the whole seeds from the bulk bin are less than $2.50 per pound). I can pick up some bags from Fairway in NYC this weekend, but that isn't a long term solution. I guess the best thing to do would be to grind it myself as needed. What on earth do I use to do this? A coffee grinder? Something else? Since flax seed is high in fat, I'm worried that it might turn into a paste like peanut butter. Is there a special thing that I'm looking for to make sure this doesn't happen, or is it just the amount of time you leave it in there? I asked someone at WF about using a grinder but they said they didn't have one for this purpose. Thanks so much. (wish the WF buyer was available this week) Oh, and I don't do Amazon prime so getting it on-line isn't a good alternative for me.

A (clean!) coffee grinder or even a blender would do the trick (I've tried using a mini food processor to little success).

Pulse on and off until the seeds are ground, then store the ground seeds in air-tight containers in the fridge or freezer. 

Hi gang - I smoked a dozen chicken thighs yesterday and ended up doing chopped chicken sandwiches - so I have some amazingly flavored chicken bones to use! Any thoughts (other than chicken soup)?

You're in luck. A couple years ago, our Smoke Signals columnist, Jim Shahin, developed a recipe for smoked chicken stock. He then used it in a couple of dishes. I can't think of a better use myself.

First, here's the Smoked Chicken Stock.

 

Then the dishes:

Smoky Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya

 

Tortellini in Smoked Broth

 

I had deviled eggs last weekend, prepared by a lady in her 80s. So retro, and delicious! I’d like to make some to have ready for impulse-snacking or breakfast. Do you have a favorite recipe that’s easy to make and not terribly unhealthy? I don't have paprika but will buy it if you say it's necessary.

You call 'em retro, I call 'em classic. Deviled eggs continue to find a place on restaurant menus for one simple reason: They're delicious. Well, delicious when not ruined with, say, truffle oil (which the EPA should officially declare a toxin).

 

I love the mustardy deviled eggs at Obelisk in Dupont Circle, but they require anchovy fillets and chives for garnishes. You could enjoy them without the toppings, of course.

 

RECIPE: Obelisk Deviled Eggs

 

Here's another one that incorporates rice wine vinegar and a few dashes of Tabasco for kick.

Hi free rangers, I have about half a loaf of leftover italian bread - are there any savory bread pudding recipes out there you can recommend for such a small amount? or other ways to avoid wasting the bread? Thanks!

How about croutons? You can make up a batch and then keep them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for several weeks. Since it's salad season, this seems like a good option. On the same lines, you might use up the bread in a panzanella.

My fiance and I are planning our wedding for Feb and it will be a kosher wedding to make all the parents happy. Turns out the wine has to be kosher too and we'd love some suggestions for good, but not too expensive, kosher wine. We aren't generally fans of it, so not sure where to start. On a side note the wedding is in Philly and we were just there looking at places, and I'd add High Street on Market, to your restaurant suggestions. It is right off Independence Mall and it is awesome! So many good eats, so little time!

Checked with Wine columnist Dave McIntyre (who else?); he says you could go with these kosher wines. And if you can spend a bit more on the bubbly, try a kosher champagne from Louis de Sacy. 

I'm watching old GBBO episodes on Netflix and had a tiny bit of inspiration. Would it be possible to swap apples for pears in the mini pear pies? Same instructions etc just poaching apples instead of pears?

Mini pear pies

I just looked those up and now I remember. Wow, that is ambitious of you! I seem to recall some sad-looking, slumpy specimens on that episode.

I don't see why apples wouldn't work. Probably don't want anything too, too fat, though. Seems like taller, narrower fruits are the way to go.

Be sure to use a good firm baking apple; Golden Delicious might get mushy here, for example.

I love the GBBO recaps, especially the format with a pastry chef, but I have a question. In the ep 1 recap, you say to watch Marie for a possible rules violation linked to her time in France. But, by the end of ep 2, she's gone and there was never a mention of this violation... What's the deal? Does it circle back around again and I just need to patient?

We appreciate the close read! All will be answered in this week's recap, which will cover Eps. 3 and 4 because PBS will begin running the series at the clip of two per week. FYI, we're going to post on Friday night instead of Saturday morning....does that work for you?

Like I guess everyone else, I love pizza. But I have to avoid all grains and starches for now and I haven't figured out a way to improvise a dough or crust substitute. I've tried just melting cheese on tomatoes, or cheese and tomato sauce on sliced zucchini and other vegetables but it doesn't come close. Help!?

I've seen (but not tried and can't vouch for) several recipes for a crust made from cauliflower. It involves pulsing the veg in a food processor, briefly cooking the resulting cauliflower "grains," squeezing excess liquid out and then adding cheese, seasonings and an egg to bind it all together. 

Other suggestions, chatters?

I've tried the cauliflower crust and it does actually work pretty well -- you do want to grate the cauliflower pretty finely, so that it acts something like a flour substitute. Not quite the same as wheat-based dough, but the flavors are really nice.

TWO sticks of butter for today's cakelettes recipe? Hope you have a good cardiologist!

Do you think a tablespoon per serving will raise a red flag? 

I'm a member of a group with 25-30 members. We meet monthly for dinner and conversation, but we're running out of venues that can accommodate us without tacking on exorbitant room charges. I'd like your suggestions: moderate-price restaurants with meeting rooms, preferably in the city.

Food critic Tom Sietsema says:

For that size group, Id suggest Acadiana or Baby Wale near the Washington Convention Center; Urbana, a hotel venue in Dupont Circle; the original Chez Billy on Georgia Ave. NW; and Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab downtown. It wouldn’t hurt to ask for a set menu, with a few options, to make it convenient for all involved."

One of my favorites incorporates some chopped smoked salmon into the yolks with a small piece on top to show what the flavor is. They disappear fast, so good for a picnic.

I really enjoyed Carrie's article and have tried a batch. I find they come out a lot harder than regular pops, so I have a more difficult time eating them. I find I have to suck a lot longer on the hard ones before I can make progress swallowing them. Is it the alcohol that changes the texture or do I need to just adjust the temperature up a degree or two on my freezer? Thanks!

Hmm! I'm wondering which ones you made. I did find that the G & Tsicles were a little harder than the standard pops (I think because they lean more on water-based ingredients than on juice/sugar/alcohol ones). If those are the ones you were aiming for, I'd suggest just letting them sit a minute once they're out of the freezer (you probably don't want to raise the temp in your freezer because it can impact the rest of your frozen goods). Hope you didn't crack a tooth! 

OK, I made bagels using the WaPo recipe and they turned out great! Now I want to try my hand at bread. Can you suggest a recipe for a first timer - something with a high chance of success ? Ultimately I'd like to graduate to baguettes and batards but baby steps....

 

RECIPE Best-Of Bagels

https://img.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_600w/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2016/05/04/Food/Images/food_0121462393147.jpg

Hurrah, so glad the bagels turned out well for you. Check out another recipe I tested a few years ago. I think it's a good beginner's bread.

https://img.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_600w/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2013/02/01/Food/Images/sourdough051359747312.jpg

RECIPE: Favorite French Bread

Not sure if this is better suited to the travel section, but it's definitely food-centric. I love to bring back food-related souvenirs from my travels - powdered mole and dried chiles from Mexico, sun dried tomatoes from Italy, etc... I'm travelling to Thailand in August and am wondering if you guys have any suggestions for what I should/can bring back. I love eating Thai food but have never really tried making it. Any unique ingredients I should definitely pick up in the markets while I'm there? I don't mind checking my suitcase, but everything would have to clear customs (still get a little misty-eyed when I think of the Chorizo I had to trash on my way back from Spain).

We asked our favorite world traveler, Travel's Andrea Sachs:


"Hit outdoor market and even supermarkets. Look for spices (lemon grass, dried chilies), dried fruits (durian), sweets and candies, noodles, etc. If you buy any jams, coconut oils, fermented fish sauce or other liquidy items, put them in checked luggage (though you still need to declare them). Check Customs rules before you shop. Remember no fresh produce or certain proteins and no exotic animal meats! And leave all of the edibles in their original packaging -- don't even crack the seal for a whiff."

Does anyone know where I can get any, please? Tried Whole Foods and Safeway, but no luck. :(

The Thai Market in Silver Spring carries white rice flour. They tell me is sells for $1.49 a bag. They didn't know how large the bag is, though.

 

The market is located at 902 Thayer Ave. in Silver Spring. Phone: 301-495-2779.

Whole Foods and larger Safeway stores should carry at least a Bob's Red Mill brand of white rice flour...look for those small cello bags. Also fairly available at natural foods/health food stores.

If I reduce the size per the instructions, what size pan should I use?

The recipe is for a standard half-sized baking sheet, 13"x 18", so you could just size down to a quarter baking sheet, which is 9"x 13".

Is it possible to get rid of fruit flies without using pesticide? Please, anyone reading this who's had success, tell me what you did! Flypaper hung over an apple cider vinegar lure-and-trap gets their population down to none visible but then within a day I see a few flying around again and even when I zap those with ammonia from a spray bottle, within hours, there are dozens on the fly paper and more keep joining. There's no standing water or food left out besides the lure-&-trap or when we're cooking or eating. BTW, warning, I think I must have brought the first one home from the produce section of the supermarket where I saw some but didn't think they'd gotten in my bags.

I'm a fan of the apple cider vinegar trap -- pour an inch or so of vinegar in the bottom of a pint- or quart-sized glass jar, add a drop of soap to break surface tension and keep the flies from flying away, then cover the jar with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in it (again, so they'll get in but have a harder time getting out -- I prefer this method over the paper cone one, because it seems to work just as well and looks less silly). When the flies are really bad, I'll put one trap on a kitchen counter, another near the trash can and another near any fruit I have sitting out. You can also toss an old piece of fruit into the jar to help lure them more. 

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks from yours truly -- I'm about to intentionally turn my apartment into a fruit fly paradise so that I can try out a few different methods of getting rid of them. That should qualify for hazard pay, right? 

Rangers, I'm looking for cookie recipes that would be good for ice cream sandwiches - sturdy enough to hold up in a sandwich but soft enough to not turn into concrete when frozen. Specifically, I'd like to make chocolate cookies and perhaps also sugar cookies. Any suggestions? Thanks!

For your sugar cookies, check out these ice cream sandwich recipes:

Cannoli Ice Cream Sandwiches

RECIPE: Cannoli Ice Cream Sandwiches

Carrot Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches

RECIPE: Carrot Cake Ice Cream Sandwiches

For the chocolate ones, some of these might work:

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

RECIPE: Flourless Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

RECIPE: Chocolate Crackle Cookies

I did my first trial using a custard base and instant espresso. It turn out good but I would like to make a version with real espresso. Also, I would like to do a portion with dark chocolate bits, so, my question is: do you have a coffee ice cream recipe using real espresso? and, when adding chocolate bits whats the best type of chocolate to use (just cut up a good quality chocolate bar and add?)?

If you're going to make a version with real espresso, I'd err on the side of using it the way you might use vanilla, i.e. by the teaspoonful, and then add finely ground espresso beans to give it a little crunch. As for chocolate, use a good chocolate that you really like, definitely; chop it to your desired texture -- chunky or in tiny bits -- then fold in just in the last few minutes of churning.

I am ambitious...and my brothers don't care about appearance when they are inhaling my efforts so it'll work out (I hope)

Let us know how they turn out!

Slice, toast, then top with appropriate toppings for Italian-bread "pizzas"?

The coconut milk soup with lobster soup today looks delicious! The article notes that Aroy-D coconut milk has the cream consistency and natural flavor needed for this soup. Having never used coconut milk, why is Aroy-D different from the other brands? Also, could you tell me a couple of Asian markets around DC that I could visit to check for it, please? Thank you!

It is!

 

Normally, you open a can of full-fat coconut milk and you'll find a layer of fat on the top; you work it back into the watery liquid below. Aroy-D is smooth and creamy from the start, without preservatives or stabilizers. I think it offers a better flavor, too. Just about any of the larger Asian markets around the area -- H Mart, Lotte, Great Wall -- ought to carry it, plus any smaller shops that carry Filipino or Thai products.

 

FYI, I've found this brand at Safeway, too. You can always ask the manager of your nearest grocery store to stock it. 

 

DINNER IN MINUTES RECIPE Coconut Milk Soup With Lobster

During his restaurant chat last hour, Tom Sietsema cited the Tiramisu Pancakes on the breakfast menu at a Cleveland restaurant. Any idea how they're made? Got a recipe link for us?

Send an email to food@washpost.com and we'll try to track down the recipe for you. 

Or if you're up for experimenting, there are a few recipes online that you could try.

Or you could also try them at IHOP.

(I kid, I kid.)

My questions is for Carrie. Have you ever tried to recreate a favorite cocktail from a bar that you don't have a recipe for? If so, would you write about it or would you consider that poor form unless you had the bar's permission? I know that there's lots of debate about the ethics of sharing recipes whether recreated wholesale or adapted/modified. I'm curious whether the cocktail world leans more one way or the other on this one. The drink in question comes from a bar that does frequently share their recipes, I just haven't seen this particular one in print. It was a good challenge to figure out a recipe that approximates the drink (and it's delicious).

Hey! Yes, I have tried doing so, mostly out of curiosity to see how close I could get. But usually if I want to know, I find bartenders are very willing to share -- even when I'm just asking for my own interest rather than to hoist them to fame and glory in these hallowed pages :) I've rarely found bars that don't want to share unless there's something really unusual they feel is their claim to fame and don't want to lose, OR -- even more rarely -- when the drink involves some ingredient they may not want to disclose. If I were going to write about the drink and they didn't want to share the recipe, I would still definitely credit the inspiration if I worked up my own version. But now you've got me curious about what drink and bar you're referencing! If there's some drink we should all be making and aren't, shoot me an email or DM on Twitter and let me know! :)

Is the tomato recipe contest coming soon this year? I've been so happy to see fresh summer tomatoes back in the market.

Ah, glad  you asked. We're giving everyone the summer off, Top Tomato contest-wise. Instead, we're rounding up our Staff Favorite tomato recipes and offering other interesting tomato-trending stories to boot. Watch for it in mid-August. And you can always scroll through our compilation of previous winning entries. What a trove! 

 

I'm looking for opinions about zucchini "noodles" and the gadgets available to make them at home. If you've eaten these "noodles," were you and anyone you ate them with surprised to learn they weren't regular pasta, or at least pleased by the substitution? Would you suggest using different sauces or the same ones you eat with normal pasta --- including clam sauce? And were the noodles good enough to merit their own kitchen device, namely the "spiralizers" suddenly available everywhere? Thank you

Zucchini noodles are a clever idea -- and I like them in the sense that they are a great base for recipes that don't require heating up the kitchen on a hot day -- but they really can't be mistaken for pasta. I've tried a spiralizer and didn't totally love using it -- the one I used, which is commonly available, is a bit unwieldy. I think it's easier to just use a vegetable peeler and create long strips, which you can always trim with a knife into narrower widths. I like to "cook" them in lemon juice and salt -- just letting them marinate for a few minutes - then toss them with a room temperature tomato sauce and top with fresh herbs and garlicky toasted bread crumbs.

Las night on "Chopped,"   the contestants were given grilled grapefruit halves. I have grilled pineapple but I wouldn't have thought to try citrus fruits on the grill. What other fruits take well to grilling - peaches, mangoes?

Fruit is beautiful on the grill because the natural sugars get caramelized and the fruit gets this little hint of smokiness. You can really grill anything -- there's nothing like grilled summer peaches or nectarines with creme fraiche; definitely try Jim Shahin's amazing Grilled Watermelon -- it's a revelation! 

     Agreed. You can grill pretty much anything. One fave is to slice limes or lemons in half and grill them until they blacken, about 3-5 minutes. The juice adds a fabulous flavor to drinks and such dishes as guacamole. 

      Also, grill mangoes for toppings on ice cream. And peaches, along with smoked jalapeños, for an upscale salsa - good for pork. 

If you're a cocktail person, you also might enjoy fruits grilled/smoked and then juiced into drinks. The limonada sucia that JP Caceras developed for Del Campo is a great example of that!

on a crazy whim, I bought a huge bag of chia seeds. Short of being able to make several chia plants, what can I do with them? I've been looking at the "pudding" recipes online but nothing stands out.

Living dangerously!

We have a saffron mango pudding you might like. 

Saffron Chia Pudding With Mango and Cashews

RECIPE: Saffron Chia Pudding With Mango and Cashews

Or add to smoothies. Here are a few to get you started:

Blueberry Banana Smoothie With Chia

RECIPE: Blueberry Banana Smoothie With Chia

Cherry Berry Smoothie Bowl

I'm new to bread baking and have had a lot of success with this recipe for oat and wheat sandwich bread.

Thanks for sharing. I think "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" is another good entry point.

The recipe for those wonderful looking puff pastry cookies is on the BBC site. These seem perfect for a family of two since the roll you cut them from can be frozen. For how long could the puff pastry roll be frozen?

I'd say maybe 1 to 3 months, max. As we've noted, it seems like a good thing to do with leftover or store-bought puff pastry dough....

Just BE CAREFUL with those recipes. We've been using them for our recaps, and let's just say they're not the most perfect ones we've encountered.

ARTICLE: ‘The Great British Baking Show’ recap, Ep. 2: Arlettes and sad macs

Last week I made a pineapple/mint sorbet which I thought was beyond great. It was my first time using the ice cream freezer to do sorbet. A friend then said she had tried a cantaloupe/ginger sorbet which she loved. Do you think if I steep some ginger in the sugar syrup then add it to pureed cantaloupe it would work?

Yes, I think that would totally work! Here's a great recipe for ginger syrup, which you can also use in cocktails and other desserts. 

That mango rhubarb chutney has got to be one of the BEST ways to use Rhubarb and Mango. I am not a rhubarb fan but found myself wanting to actually buy it from the grocery store (I usually just get it in my CSA and often it rots in my fridge before it's used). It's spicyish (from the ginger) and sweet. I use it on everything from chicken to scrambled eggs. Too bad the recipe only made 2.5 jars for me!

An endorsement, thank you.

Is there any reason not to pour off the oil at the top of a new jar of peanut butter? It looks like several tablespoons worth. This is all-natural p. butter with no ingredients except peanuts and salt and I don't understand why there's this separate layer of oil. Type of peanut maybe? Time on the shelf? I know I'm "supposed" to try to stir the oil in but that doesn't really work and I don't know why I need it. Maybe I can stir-fry with it instead --?

Your all-natural peanut butters eschew emulsifiers, the ingredients that help keep the nuts' natural oils evenly distributed. I think the oil that has collected is necessary for that amount of peanut butter in the jar, but it's always tough to churn the stuff back into the mix. If you have the time, decant to a bowl, stir vigorously or use an immersion blender -- and then try to regroup in the jar.

 

Sometimes refrigerating the reconstituted peanut butter solves separation issues. There's also this combo lid-and-churn gadget, which is supposed to help.

Don't like lobster, but I have some cooked shrimp in the freezer--maybe that and throw in some fresh corn to sub in the coconut milk soup with lobster recipe? It's hard to think of soup on days like these, but my office is frigid, so this might be good

Sure. I'm thinking crabmeat would be good, too. Corn, fresh or grilled/off the cob, absolutely. Try the soup chilled; I liked it that way! 

I have my first CSA share this summer and while I am loving the fresh eggs and produce, my very limited abilities in the kitchen are really showing. I've discovered excellent ways to bake sweet potatoes and steam corn in the husk, love my cucumber salad for lunch, am happily using one of your suggestions on how to best scramble eggs, and can eat all the fresh fruit they give me with no cooking required. But I am at a loss what to do with my red potatoes, would like another option for my sweet potatoes, and have little clue how to use my squash.

For your red potatoes, I'd suggest a simple salad. It requires little kitchen skills but delivers a lot of flavor.

 


RECIPE: Green Beans, Roasted Peppers and Potato Salad

 

Or try this:

RECIPE: Warmed New Potato and Asparagus Salad

 

For your sweet potatoes, you could try this famously popular dish:

RECIPE: Patti LaBelle's Sweet Potato Pie

 

For the squash, we have lots of possibilities via our always dependable (okay, semi-dependable) Recipe Finder: Check out the results.

All, What is yours?

Cuisinart, hands down. It tops every list because it's a workhorse, yet it's only about $50. I've had mine for at least 15 years.

I am single and live alone. I can deal with portion sizes for most canned goods, meats, and vegetables. But, the one area I always have problems are bread products. If I want to make hamburgers, I buy the bag of 8 buns, but odds are I will only use one or two. I have tried freezing the extra buns, but they never seem to thaw right. They are either soggy, or squished, or dried out. I don't want to have a week when I just eat burgers and chicken and other things on a bun just to finish the bag. I must be missing something as a working alternative, besides eating a burger on white bread.

Try buying individual buns from the bakery dept. instead of full packages. Wrap those (or the packaged ones) individually in plastic wrap, then group them in a large, freezer-safe zip-top bag.

My best friend makes them with blue cheese and they always a big hit at her parties. When she doesn't make them, we all complain.

Yes, I like 'em with blue cheese, too. Do you know what kind of cheese your friend uses? I'm getting a serious hankering for deviled eggs!

I have battled those flies over the years. One year I tried everything -- the vinegar, the paper cone, leftover wine (discovered this when some wine glasses left out overnight). Nothing worked! Eventually I discovered there was a long-forgotten grocery bag that had fallen behind something with a very black banana inside - and many fruit flies. So make sure to look everywhere for a possible source!

Very good advice.

So nice to see a beautiful photo featuring the hands of someone with age spots and wrinkles! Bravo to you!

Slice thin, toast, use in French Onion Soup!

What about commercial seed packets of vegetables?

In many grocery stores, you can buy dates--your standard, Medjool dates--in bulk and in clamshell containers in the produce department. The latter are, in the store, usually refrigerated; the former are not. Is there a real reason for the discrepancy? or is it just to justify some dates' being pricier than others?

Good question! It doesn't have to do with price, IMHO, but with quality and purpose. Medjools are quite moist and soft even tho they're a dried fruit, and they'll stay that way longer when you refrigerate them. Grocery stores' refrigerated sections are chockablock and have to deal with manufacturers vying for space. I have found that even in Mediterranean markets you'll find the dates in both the refrigerated and shelf-stable sections, so I'm thinking it also depends on how you plan to use the fruit. The more-dried, concentrated-sugar dates would be good for baking, whereas you might want to use the moist, refrigerated dates for shakes and salads, etc. Make sense?

When I make my own p.b. using the in-store machine, or buy the p.b. made in that same machine, there's no oil separation even weeks later. Can't help wondering how come the jarred stuff is so oily ...

I think that has to do with the type of machine used to mix it.

If you live anywhere near a Balducci's, I'd recommend the brioche rolls. I live in a two person home and we have this problem all the time. Buying two of the more expensive rolls is more satisfying than freezing the cheaper ones.

Hate to sound like a complainer, but does anybody check the formatting of the recipes for printing? I find it frustrating to see a recipe in Preview mode where the last line of the instructions spills over onto a second or third page, or the Ingredients header and one item are at the bottom of page 1 and the rest are on page 2. I usually end up copying recipes, pasting them into Word and formatting them myself to fit onto one or two pages (and that means sometimes dropping the WaPo credits).

In a word, no. The printer-friendly recipe is generated automatically and we have no way of controlling or even monitoring it (and, frankly, given our time and resources, I don't think we could conceivably do this for every recipe we publish even if there was a way). It may also vary by browser settings. Sounds like your workaround is the way to go. I often do that on ours and other sites as well. Lets me adjust page margins, font size, etc.

I've found the easiest way to mix in the oil is to cut into the peanut butter with a butter knife multiple times so the oil seeps down, making it easier to stir without splashing oil everywhere. Without the oil, the peanut butter is very thick and gritty, not necessarily a bad thing.

Why are they called "deviled"? (Maybe because they tempt us to sin by eating a half-dozen?)

Even though the idea of stuffing half a boiled egg with a yolk mixture dates back to ancient Rome, it's believed the term "deviled" egg came from 18th century Britain, the country often derided for its bland food (a stereotype that's not true, IMHO). The term simply refers to the spiciness of the yolk mixture. You can see echoes of it in recipes that incorporate Tabasco.

Can you stand one more deviled egg recipe suggestion? The best deviled eggs I ever made was from a Jacques Pepin recipe that calls for frying the yolk-side down for just a couple of minutes. Wow. 

I would like to make cherry jam. The recipe I have is very simple...cherries, sugar, and lemon juice. Is there any other thing that needs or can be added to make it even better? Peaches?

I'm a purist and that sounds pretty great to me just as it is -- I might add a little orange zest, but that's because I put citrus zest in almost everything and cherries and oranges were kind of made for each other. If you're looking to try another kind of jam, this Apricot Jam is a wonderful recipe, especially with the lemon verbena added.

Apricot Jam

RECIPE: Apricot Jam

 

I love cherry and almond together -- may a bit of almond extract. I make a strawberry jam to which I add vanilla, and I think that would be nice here, too. Split the bean, scrape out the seeds, dump it all in when you're cooking the jam, then remove the pod.

It's hot out! I just bought a bottle of DC's own Vigilant Gin (from Jos. Magnus). As recommended by the liquor store employee, I enjoyed it in G&T form, and it was wonderful. It's on the dryer side, but still has floral undertones. I'm looking to mix it up and was wondering if you have any recommendations for a cocktail to make!

Oh, so many gin drinks you could do. I recently discovered the Carondelet (I ran across it in the Modern Classics cocktail app, FYI, which contains TONS of great drinks) and think it's a lovely, surprising drink. You're also in the middle of rickey season, our own native drink, but it sounds like your gin may be a little too dry for the rickey. Hmm ... try a gimlet, a French 75 (lemony, bubbly). If you have creme de violette, you might like an Aviation (I'm personally not the biggest fan of Aviations because I find the violette too perfumey, but I know MANY who disagree with me). My personal favorite gin drinks are probably a Last Word and definitely a Negroni, but Campari tends to divide people into warring camps. Tried a Pegu Club? Or take advantage of the fantastic berries we have right now and make Clover Clubs (with raspberries) or Clover Leafs (raspberries and fresh mint). I'm on the hunt for black raspberries to do just that.

As with everything else, I suggest checking online. Walmart has ground flaxseed for about $6.00 for a pound plus shipping if you have nothing else to order. We buy a lot of groceries online; unfortunately, there's no way to buy cold stuff.

Fruit flies are winos. Open a bottle of red. Drink all about the last couple of inches of it. You won't mind the fruit flies so much at this point which is also helpful. Then, put the bottle on the counter, stove, wherever in the kitchen. Flies go in. They don't come out. I've tried all of the other lures and traps. Wine works best.

Even if it's just a couple of inches, I still haaaaate letting flies get the wine when it could be put to better use (like being consumed by me.)

In the interest of research, I'll do it. I won't like it. But I'll do it. 

For reals?

Seems it's National French Fry and Beans & Franks day. Any ideas?

Well, then, it's a perfect day for a Polish Boy, which is topped with french fries! Seriously, it's that good. 

Then it must be Salchipapas Day! It's a Latin American dish (found in Peru, Bolivia and elsewhere) that mixes fries and franks together. (Sorry, no beans.)

 

Here's a sample.

Re the Polish Boy: You wouldn't need to eat again for a day or two. :)

Impulse buy from the farmers market = chocolate mint. It really, truly tastes like mint chocolate! But I can't convince myself to eat it by the handful, like candy, instead of candy. So I need your help transforming it into dessert. Hopefully without adding sugar ...

I have TONS of chocolate mint every year. It's wonderful pureed and folded into lightly sweetened (or not) whipped cream, which then is perfect on top of fresh strawberries. Just put it in the food processor with a little water to puree it. And it's even more perfect to use it in this Fresh Mint Ice Cream recipe. 

This article by Jim Shahin has provided me with lots of great grilled fruit ideas. Thanks, Jim! 

        You're welcome, mom. 

is perfect for Tahini! Thanks...going to order.

So many options! My family puts a splash of dill pickle juice in ours. Smoked Paprika and Old Bay are some great toppings too.

The ShaSha Sauce that goes with this week's Polish Boy recipe is also really great to mix into deviled egg filling -- it's got a nice peppery heat. 

Do you a good go-to frittata recipe that's adaptable for different ingredients? I have chicken sausage, onion, shiitakes and green beans on hand that I thought I'd make one with, but I'm not sure what the proper proportions would be to make sure it comes out good.

Here's a good one from Dorie Greenspan.

Farmers Market Frittata

RECIPE: Farmers Market Frittata

For what it's worth, my standard proportions are 8 eggs and 1 cup milk. And whatever cheese/veg/meat ingredients I want to throw in.

I keep them in the refrig for up to a couple of weeks, the take out and microwave to 15-20 seconds. Not like really fresh, but a substitute.

True story - went to an international party of recent immigrants/Fulbright students who all brought their local cuisine. It was intense with family recipes from all over the globe. My sister brought deviled eggs and were the hit of the party - beyond us and my cousin (the only Americans), no one had eaten them or seen them before. So I'm pregnant. Yay! But I love beer and find I miss a cold one on the back porch during the heat. I've tried a few NA beers and they are just gross. I'm drinking a lot of fruit juice and water. Any suggestions? (and I swear a local brewery could clean up if they figured out a decent NA beer...)

When I take one of my breaks from booze, I usually ignore alcohol-free beer. There's just so much bad stuff out there that I'd rather drink a sparkling water. 

When I do have a non-alcoholic beers, I go with German imports. Weihenstephaner's Alkoholfrei Hefeweizen is actually much closer to a hefeweizen than you'd think, especially if you're into the banana/grain flavors of hefeweizen. Edelweiss also makes a pretty good German-style lager and a weissbier, though I haven't had the latter. 

from ground flax seed OP. Go to the Atkins website. Register. Post question on their recipe board with an explanation of your restrictions. Expect to get suggestions that include a lot of ground flax seed. Yes, it works. It isn't like real pizza crust, but it works. I've never tried an actual crust, but I have made it in a bowl to mimic a burger bun. I've heard of the cauliflower one, but I find that ricing cauliflower is just too much work. I cook it for other purposes, but making it into fake rice or fave pizza crust is more time than I am willing to spend. You don't have to "do" Atkins to register at the site. Just ignore most of the questions.

I find that once bread is frozen it's really good for toast. If it's a large (unsliced) loaf, then somehow that works better with a general defrost on the counter. Make sure you take all covering off so the water from the defrosting has a chance to evaporate rather than collect and make the bread soggy.

I was a child in the UK in the Seventies and boy have things changed! A 'salad' when I was growing up was - a limp piece of lettuce, half a tomato, perhaps a slice of ham, a disgusting-from-a-vinegary-bottle beetroot bleeding into everything, half a hard boiled egg and - inexplicably - a whole spring onion just sitting there by the side. It looked and tasted disgusting. I think things really began to change in the Nineties. Food there now is fantastic and it's a leader.

It sounds like the stereotype has a basis in truth, but a truth that's 40 years old!

I'm glad you included the Last Word, as that is a great one. For those divided by Campari, I find that switching in Aperol makes for a less-bitter more citrus-forward Negroni that's also really quite good. I'd also recommend exploring the whole Spanish-style "gin tonic" craze.

Good point on the Aperol swap out.

I like making the recipe for pizza with a cauliflower crust and I just wanted to emphasize the step to drain all the excess liquid is key!

Yes, absolutely! The cauliflower "grains" need to be as dry as possible.

You can salvage all but the stalest such bread by slicing it as usual, wrapping the half-loaf completely in aluminum foil, then wrapping the foil-wrapped half-loaf completely in another layer of aluminum foil, then heating in the oven until hot (10-15 minutes maybe?).

You have to leave the trap up all the time. You can't get rid of it as soon as the present adults are gone. The newly hatched ones will show up very quickly (as you have seen). If you can make your trap so appealing to them that they get caught right after hatching and before mating and laying eggs, you can interrupt the cycle, but until you do that, you are stuck.

Aw, Jim, I'm not your mom! I truly found that article helpful. It encouraged me to experiment with grilling all kinds of fruit.

I second the rant: Please let your IT folks know we'd appreciate a redesign with a smaller font for recipe title and head note. You can ditch the 'when you scale a recipe' thing on the printout. Delete "Servings,""Ingredients," and "Directions" heads--we know what is listed below--and ADD nutrition info. make Recipe Source notes smaller. Thanks for considering.

Arby's has a killer new shake for a limited time only. Better than Slurpee at give brain freezes all the way home. Anyway to get the recipe to make an adult version at home.

Arby's loves me. I once wrote a column about my favorite junk foods. They sent us over a spread of more Arby's fare. I'll see if they'll spill the beans on the shake, so to speak.

 

The $20 Diner: I’m a professional food writer and I love 7-Eleven’s Buffalo Chicken Go-Go Taquitos

Well, you've reduced us to a syrup we can use to flavor our ice cream base, so you know what that means....we're done! Thanks to Kristen, Carrie and Jim for joining us today, and to you, dear readers, who keep us on our toes.  Stay tuned for Just Ask Dorie

 

Today's cookbook winners: The "help!" chatter who kicked off the lively fruit-fly thread gets our copy of  "The New American Chefs: Cooking With the Best Flavors and Techniques From Around the World." The chatter who asked about Top Tomato gets "Canning for a New Generation," a brand new title by Liana Krissoff.

 

Send your mailing info to kara.elder@washpost.com and she'll get the books out to you right away. Until next week, happy cooking and eating! 

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.
Tim Carman
Tim Carman is a food staff writer at The Post. He writes the weekly $20 Diner column.
Becky Krystal
Becky Krystal is a staff food writer.
Kara Elder
Kara Elder is the Food section editorial aide.
Kristen Hartke
Kristen Hartke is a Washington-based food writer and editor. She wrote this week's story about convention cities food.
Recent Chats
  • Next: