Free Range on Food cooking Q&A: Readers' favorite essential cookbooks

Aug 12, 2020

Every Wednesday at noon, Food section staff members and guests answer your cooking questions. This week's chat is over, but you can submit questions for next week's chat here.
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I have two editions, one from my MIL, from when she was first married in 1947, and one from two years before I got married (1975). Interesting differences. My later one sniffs at both Beef Wellington ("don't know why people like this so much") and that newfangled thing called pizza ("we included it since it's popular but don't count us as fans").

For me, any cookbook that goes deep into a recipe to explain why it works, both from science but also why certain flavors/textures go or do not go together. American's test kitchen excels at these, I love the Science of Good Cooking. I like to adapt recipes and ts very helpful to know why a recipe works, and how different adjustments would impact that. I don't limit myself to the recipes, but I respect there is a lot going on the "behind the scenes" when I want to get creative!

Her "Climbing the Mango Trees" is a nice antidote to White People food memoirs. I'd always loved the stories she told of her eating adventures growing up in Delhi, so this book was a treasure, sad though it was to read about the effects of Partition.

I'm not a vegetarian, but sometimes I just want veggies. My go-to is from a PBS show that was on in the late 90's/early 2000's called "Regina's Vegetarian Table". The author is Regina Campbell. The thing I loved about that show and this book is that it's all ingredients I already have or can find easily. I make a corn salad from that book every summer and her veggie burger recipe is the only one that has ever worked for me. Also, I loved reading the Good Housekeeping cookbook as a kid.

Thanks for the rec! I am the same, re: not being vegetarian but finding I just want a meal of vegetables. I also find that some of the most creative cooking is happening in the vegetarian/vegetable/vegan camp right now. I think the constraints encourage a kind of resourcefulness and expanded thinking. Some of the ones I'm really inspired by right now are Meera Sodha's "East," Bryant Terry's "Vegetable Kingdom,"  Anna Jones' "A Modern Way to Cook" and Michelle and Suzanne Rousseau's "Provisions: The Roots of Caribbean Cooking." I'm going to check out Regina Campbell's cookbook after this chat is over! 

One of my essential cookbooks is anything by Madhur Jaffrey, since I bought her BBC-TV cookbook after watching the series in 1982!

Ahhh, I am a huge fan of Madhur Jaffrey, too. Her cookbooks were my introduction to Indian food and made me love cooking it myself at home. (I chose one of them for the 10 Essential Cookbooks newsletter but am not going to say which one, because I don't want to be a spoiler.) If you are interested in checking out a few cookbooks on Indian cooking from some newer names, here are a few I have committed precious space to on my shelves:

 

Chetna Makan's "Chetna's Healthy Indian" (it's vegetarian)

Romy Gill's "Zaika" (it's vegan)

Meera Sodha's "Made in India" and "Fresh India" (the second is vegetarian; first is for omnivores)

"DISHOOM" (This is the cookbook from the eponymous restaurant in London, which is inspired by the Iranian-style cafes of Bombay and Bombay's cuisine in general. It's home cook-friendly and just arrived in the U.S. I LOVE this cookbook and think you will too.)

Asma Khan's "Asma's Indian Kitchen" (this is the food of the author's restaurant Darjeeling Express, also in London; again, it's home cook-friendly, but this time, the cuisine is guided by Khan's royal Mughlai heritage)

I am always referring back to Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Good & reliable recipes plus so much useful general information on plant-based eating.

My favorite cookbooks are Church, PTA or work fundraiser books. Usually they are full of recipes that are family favorites that have accessible ingredients and don't require a bazillion steps. Likewise when I look for a recipe on the net I'm drawn to "Taste of Home" for the same reason (and I only look there after checking the WaPo.).

Thank you for the reminder that community cookbooks are still a source of comfort, joy and trusted recipes. 

Beard on Pasta is my most used, dogeared and with notations . His mac and cheese is still the best (and so simple!). After that my 1975 Joy of Cooking is the one I turn to first, followed by Fannie Farmer’s baking and an old NYTimes one from Craig Claiborne. I have a three-section wire front vegetable bin that is nothing but cookbooks that I am reluctant to part with even if I use only one or two recipes in them!

The Victory Garden Cookbook bu Marian Morash is one of my all-time favorties. My first copy of the softbound volume was given to me almost 40 years ago and was falling apart when I replaced it from eBay; I snaged another copy last year at a thrift store and may pass it to my daughter. The book has recipes for all kinds of vegetables from A to Z and in all this time I have never had a recipe fail. Some are simple ways to prepare the bounty from a garden and others are more ambitious. RTight now, her creamy Broccoli and Rice soup is residing in my refrigerator. Marian's husband produced Juila ChIld's show and I believe she was a one of the folks who assisted with food pre and ooking for the shows.

I just wanted to rave about the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook by Tom Douglas... it's the perfect intermediate baking cookbook that takes baking to another level. Gamechanger. Also has stunning photos.

I have this one at home and have not baked out of it as much as I have wanted! Good to know. I've been eyeing the famous coconut cream pie for years. Love the biscuits I typically make, but the ones at Serious Biscuit in Seattle are ridiculous, so that's on my list as well.

I have so many, and used to often consult a few when looking for a recipe and picking among them, but have to say that the newest Joy of Cooking has unexpectedly become my first and often only resource- if it has a version of what I want to make, I go for it. I say "unexpectedly" because I already had ALL the other versions (thanks to inheriting my grandmom & mom's cookbooks) and would use them occasionally but less than other compendiums like my ATK "new best recipes" & "baking illustrated" or the Gourmet cookbook. My moosewoods also get much use- The Heart of the Plate most often lately. I could easily name several dozen more that get regular usage, often becoming the main cookbook for a month or two then rotating to another, but for truly essential "what I'd replace first if they all disappeared", those are my top.

I love reading about other people's picks for Essential Cookbooks, because they're always different, and really a reflection of who you are and how you eat and cook. Thanks for sharing. It's pretty cool that the Joy of Cooking can serve the same purpose in 2020 that it did when it first came out in 1936, and it's a testament to how much care and work went into making this new edition. I'd be really curious to know what newer cookbooks have caught your eye. And, since you mentioned Moosewoods and Heart of the Plate, I'm going to throw out a few of the newer vegetable/vegetarian books I love in case you're looking for some recs and want to branch out (har har) on the vegetal front:

Amy Chaplin's Whole Food Cooking Every Day

Bryant Terry's Vegetable Kingdom

Chetna Makan's Chetna's Healthy Indian 

 

I taught myself to can a few years ago, and have started again, now that I'm home more. So far I'm only hot water bath canning, and have the latest Ball canning book. What are some other good canning cookbooks?

Off the top of my head:

Cathy Barrow's "Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry"

Kevin West's "Saving the Season"

Marisa McLellan's "Food in Jars"

Linda Ziedrich's "The Joy of Pickling"

Rachel Saunders' "The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook"

 

The Food Lab, by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, which we received as a gift. Funny, informative and every single thing we have made from it has become a "keeper." His experiments (with photos!) on the timing of making eggs made me laugh. And, thanks to the author, my hard-boiled eggs are now perfection. And normally I hate reading about how stuff works. But he is so highly readable...

Back in the Eighties, mum and I watched Kurma Dasa on ... PBS? We loved him. We loved him so much we called the 800 number and got the book. It's still a favorite of mine - I love the different cuisines in it. I still use it all the time - it's not quite falling apart. 

Anything by Ina Garten. I love her recipes; big flavors and not too difficult.

Unfortunately, I lost my copy during a downsizing, but I still finish corned beef in a similar way: an apricot jam/brown sugar/mustard glaze. There's a tiny restaurant near us owned by someone from NYC's Upper East Side. When he makes his corned beef special, he finishes it the same way. SPC lives on!

When Parliament isn't in session, Radio 4's Today replaces 'Yesterday in Parliament' with a serialized book. Back in the early Nineties, I was enthralled by her memoirs of her introduction to the UK when she came over for University. Love her cookbooks and still use them all the time.

The Victory Garden Cookbook. I've given it to everyone I know because I have found it to be such a great reference over the years with reliable and delish recipes. Marian Morash explains all the most basic ways to understand and prepare each vegetable she covers, then provides a variety of detailed recipes featuring that veg - not a vegetarian cookbook -- although that's how I use it since I am. I think it's out of print, but I've found my copies at used book stores -- if you see it (predominantly red cover) don't pass it up!

Agreed! It's so good!

My favorite cookbook is the Washington Post! I have bought many cookbooks in the past but found I loved reading them but never made many dishes from them. I get most of my recipes now from WP, pick and choose the ones I want to make now and those that I think I will make in the future. My family and friends are wowed by the number of cookbooks that I must have! I have also become a much better cook than I ever have in my life (I'm 73) by following the instructions religiously. I've always found good recipes in the newspapers where I have been living, but yours are the best. I haven't lived in DC since 2001 and have kept an online subscription since then because of you. So thank you very much.

WOW. Thanks so much for this!

This week I have emptied my pantry at my old, used to be full-time home and now is second home. Going through my cookbooks and revisiting these old friends has been fun, yet I need to be ruthless and honest with myself. So, I have 2 versions of the Better Homes and Gardens red and white loose leaf cookbook. One from the late 1970's that's falling apart and one I got in the early 2000's to replace.....but I liked the older version better, so it's staying. That was and still is my go-to.

Ahhh, the cookbook purge. I know it well. It's very satisfying, and revealing. I'm like you, I always keep the older version, except, in one case, which was the Tartine cookbook, because the updated version corrected some of the errors in the first and included a whole bunch of NEW recipes. It's a wonderful baking book, by the way--a great foundation. 

Thanks for the suggestions! For not wanting to make a HUGE list I intentionally went small, but Zahav, Season, Sababa, Bazaar, & Cool Beans (hey Joe!) are all cookbooks that have seen regular use in my 2020 kitchen. I also cook north Indian a lot but instead of an actual cookbook have a binder of recipes from the years of cooking classes I took from an awesome teacher. Yummmm

This is a very good list! 

My favorite cookbook is my grandmother’s 1943 Joy of Cooking, because it has her handwritten notes in it. I encourage everyone to write in your cookbooks!

I know what you mean. I have recipes that have my mother-in-law's notes on them. Priceless.

My edition even tells how to skin a muskrat, and how to carve a sort of wooden "scissor" to take the skin off roasted chestnuts.

I was raised that this was the cookbook you had to have. I still have my mother's book, I think, plus two versions of my own, the most recent of which might be as much as 20 years old. Now I feel that I have to go look at the copyright. All the same, I don't use it all that much any more, and I tend to find myself scouring the internet, including the Post food section, when I'm looking for something new.

I use four or five cookbooks regularly, but I'm far from exhaustive with them. I go back to the same recipes over and over again. I should be more adventurous. A cookbook I'm surprised to have used quite a few times is one I won on one of these chats: the "Diva Q Barbecue Cookbook." The recipes require a lot of cooking time. This is barbecue after all! But even when the presentation is lacking - and with my cooking skills, it usually is, at least compared with the appearance of the cooked food in the cookbook - the taste is fantastic! My four kids rave about the stuff I make from that cookbook.

The name of this cookbook alone has made me like it already. Thanks for putting it on my radar. If you want to go in another direction with the grill, Leela Punyaratabandhu's "Flavors of the Southeast Asian Grill" debuted in March, and it's another winner (all of her cookbooks are terrific). I think you'd find lots to make in there. 

I inherited my copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking from my mother. Being single I rarely refer to it anymore, but it was good for learning the basics. 20-30 years ago all her cookbooks were on the Essential list. Joy of Cooking 2nd Ed. has a good pound cake recipe, but otherwise it's been superseded. The America's Test Kitchen cookbooks are Reliable. The doorstop (which I wish they would update), plus the 3 slow-cooker volumes (because soups and stews freeze well). And the new Cooking For One is getting a workout as well.

Oooh! Can I recommend a few cookbooks that focus on mastering the art of cooking for oneself? Over the last few years, there are a couple that have really spoken to me:

 

Klancy Miller's "Cooking Solo"

Anita Lo's "Solo"

And then, of course, not as recent, but tried and true, and from none other than Julia Child's editor: Judith Jones' "The Pleasures of Cooking for One."

My old (1975) Joy of Cooking has always been one of my favorites, not because the recipes are so amazing but because it teaches you how to cook *everything*. I mean, there aren't many cookbooks out there that teach you how to boil an egg, can pickles *and* make a wedding cake. I don't like the newer editions, though; there's definitely something missing without Irma's "voice."

The cookbook that did this for me was "The Silver Palate Cookbook," (1982)  which is very different from Joy of Cooking, but is pretty far-ranging in its own right. I think these things are generational. This also happens to be a cookbook my mom cooked from a lot when I was growing up, so it was an obvious one to turn to when I started cooking.

The early edition of Betty Crocker from my great Aunt with her handwritten notes in the margins.....

Do you have favorite cookbooks? Is there one that is stained and dog-eared with little notes scribbled in the margins? Did you just get a new one that you’re cooking your way through?

Food writer Charlotte Druckman recently selected the 10 cookbooks all home cooks should have on their shelves. (Her list was the framework for a free, 10-week newsletter she wrote for The Post. Missed it? Sign up here and it will arrive in your email in-box soon.) 

If you did get it, you know the newsletter featured 20 killer recipes to try.

Charlotte joins us today for the Free Range chat to answer questions about her favorite cookbooks, the recipes she featured as well as any other cooking questions you might have.  

As she noted: “I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what “essential” means. In the history of culling cookbook lists, the “classic canon” has always implied a de facto white, Eurocentric bias. That has left us with a shortsighted recipe bank and omitted the cuisines of entire regions and cultures....

“Let’s change that, starting now.”

She followed through delivering recipes that ranged from Johnny Cakes and Salsa Verde Cocida to Moong Dal and Ghalieh Mahi. 

Cookbooks inspire many of the stories we write at The Post. We pull from trusted favorites when testing recipes what we consider essential dishes everyone should master.

We also draw from cookbooks to ensure that we are traveling the world in our cooking. 

In recent weeks, for example, Joe Yonan featured Dahi Toast, or grilled yogurt sandwiches, from “Chetna’s Healthy Indian Vegetarian” by Chetna Makan in his Weeknight Vegetarian column; and I wrote about a Seafood Guacamole from Robert Santibanez’s “Truly Mexican” in Dinner in Minutes.

Both of those dishes are summery as are most of the recipes we’ve published in the last month or so -- from sweet things like Jessie Sheehan’s No-Bake Coconut Cream Pie and Shadi HasanzadeNemati’s  No-Churn Saffron and Pistachio Ice Cream to savory dishes, such as Ellie Krieger’s Ceviche-Style Shrimp Cocktail and  Ali Slagle Corn and Chorizo Tacos.

We’re here to talk about all of this today or any other food-related topics you’d like to discuss.  

Please note: We will give away a free, 30-day subscription to The Washington Post to the person who sends in our favorite comment of the week! (Already a subscriber? You can give the free month to a friend.)

Let’s chat.

I have many cookbooks that I use regularly from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (Deborah Madison) to Julia Child's The Way to Cook. If I had to pick just one, however, it would be Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Alford and Duguid. I like all of their books, which combine amazing photos and stories of global travel with reliable and delicious recipes. Hot Sour Salty Sweet focuses on the cuisines of Southeast Asia, a favorite region to explore vicariously.

I love Dorie Greenspan's Baking Chez Moi. I keep going back to it every time I want to bake and my copy is now full of margin notes. There's a special place in my heart for my Ottolenghi cookbooks - the recipes have too many ingredients sometimes but the books have expanded my imagination as far as flavor combinations go.

My first cookbooks, thus some of my hardwired favorite recipes, are The Moosewood Cookbook and Betty Crocker's International. Some of the recipes haven't aged well, but this was 40 years ago and they started me off well - especially as I grew up in a family of carnivores where dill and salt were nearly the only flavorings used.

Years ago, I bought a book called The Great Salsa Book (it's still available on Amazon). Loads of varieties of salsas, not just red and green. I reference it frequently, though I use milder peppers instead of the hot ones (I'm a wimp when it comes to hot peppers).

I love this!!! Single-subject cookbooks are such gems. I have a cookbook that's focused solely on dal, and another, wait for it, on squid. 

 

If you're looking for another cookbook that's great on salsa and on a range of Mexican sauces and shows you how to turn them into the base of numerous dishes, and, from there, meals, check out Roberto Santibanez's "Truly Mexican." It includes a wonderful primer on chile peppers, from the most mild to the hottest of the hot. 

I'm struggling with my cast iron pans. Every time I season them, there is a residue on them, and I'm careful not to use too much oil. So I re-scrub and re-season and the same thing happens. Insanity being doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Any suggestions? I'm beginning to wonder if they're really worth it. Thank you! Oh and I love the new Frasca cookbook by Bobby Stuckey.

Hi!

I have a few questions for you. 1. Is this a new pan? And, if so, was it a pre-seasoned new pan? Because the residue may have something to do with that seasoning. (And if you bought a restored vintage pan, sometimes the treatments used to season those can also leave a residue). 2. What kind of oil are you using? There are debates about which is best, but flaxseed oil seems to be the favorite. I use that or, sometimes, canola.

Hi, everyone! My husband and I have recently gone to a mostly vegetarian diet (we do add the occasional seafood, but no beef, pork, or chicken.) If I'm not adding seafood, what are the best ways to make sure I have enough protein in our diets? Neither of us like tofu, so that limits us somewhat.

Is this a plant to get me to say "beans"?

BEANS! Seriously, they are the answer to getting enough protein -- along with fiber and other nutrients. I've found that it's so easy to work them into your diet by adding them to all manner of dishes.

I have some flavored simple syrup as a byproduct of making candied fruits. Lemon, orange, and grapefruit. What should I do with it?

Cocktails and mocktails! For cocktails, all of these sound great added to tequila, lime juice, and triple sec for a citrusy margarita. Or just add the syrup straight to sparkling water for an instant homemade soda. 

Becky just did a great primer on making simple syrups and flavoring them. In it, she offers ideas for how to use them as well.
Making simple syrup really is easy. Here’s how to jazz it up with infused flavors.

Hi! Could the sour mix be frozen? Would love to have some on hand in the freezer! Thank you for the article.

Hey there! Yes, it can be frozen -- you may want to do so by using an ice cube tray and portioning it out by ounces, rather than in a bottle (it may expand too much in a sealed container). The cubes may be a bit sticky, and you'll want to smell and taste for off-aromas depending on how long you freeze them for.

I'm planning to make vanilla extract and have seen various recipes calling for anywhere between 3 and 7 vanilla beans and letting the mixture sit anywhere from one month to a year. Your advice is appreciated - thanks!

So, making vanilla extract is extremely gratifying and you are guaranteed never to buy the premade stuff again because of all the money you save making your own. There's no right or wrong formulate on making it, but I like to use 1 bean for every 2 fluid ounces of alcohol. Most people prefer vodka for their extract base; I've enjoyed that as well as brandy and/or bourbon if I'm in a pinch. You cut your beans lengthwise, place them in a bottle or jar of your choice, add the alcohol and leave a little room to shake, shake, shake. I like to give my extract about a month before I use it and I shake it twice a day, but if I skip a day, I don't lose sleep over it. I store it in a dark, cool place and that's about it. Good luck with it, and let us know how it goes! 

I'm eager to try some of the savory Galette recipes. Would they work with a store bought refrigerated pie crust (the rolled-up kind)? I'm not good at making pie crust.

Should work just fine! I'm not good at making pie dough either (warm hands), but I found that this recipe always works out for me if you wanted to give it another try: Flaky Pie Dough

I have a brownie recipe that calls for 2 and 1/2 cups of pumpkin purée. My standard sized can of pumpkin purée is just under two cups. I am trying to clean out my pantry for a move, could I use applesauce to make up the difference? Or coconut oil? An egg? (The only other liquid that the recipe calls for 1/2 cup vegetable oil.)

Applesauce makes sense to me!

Are we actually having one? I kinda get that it might be folks suddenly taking up the hobby (but really, how many jars?) and a supply issue (or maybe transit), but while I keep hearing about a shortage, is there one here in the DMV? I haven’t missed getting kids and see jars out there.... I don’t want to stock up unnecessarily and cause an issue like the panic buying of spring (though I did make sure to buy my sugar early in case there was a supply issue with that... and there wasn’t, even though sugar comes from outside the continental US). I haven’t quite got the hang of which things will be out, when, or why... and if a fall resurgence of COVID will cause further issues.

Emily Heil is working on a story about this, and is investigating. I'm not sure about the DMV specifically --I've certainly seen jars and lids at Mom's and at at least one hardware store, recently, but that's not exactly a comprehensive survey. Any local chatters want to give us a field report?

So, this time of year I make ratatouille a lot. It is just a go to thing for me. But I got a little enthusiastic in my last grocery store trip (vegetables are actually on sale again!) and I have a lot of veggies, but not all the right ones for my rat. I'm going to roast everything to get the volume down and because I just can't eat that many zukes before they go mushy. But is there any reason why I can't just make vegetable stew out of a lot of it. The zukes, onions, cauliflower, maybe the broccoli? It won't be ratatouille, but...I'm not sure I should care, right? Roasted veggies and canned tomatoes and some herbs and spices? I guess I don't have to stick to thyme, but what else? And can I add the Parmesan rinds I picked up because they were so thick they had a lot of regular Parm on them? I've never been much of an improviser, I'm afraid.

Um, you sound like a great improviser to me! The technique you mention--of roasting the veg first, then adding them together--is a classic way of making ratatouille, rather than just throwing everything in the pot. I myself am a fan of both methods. I also put a parm rind in almost anything that cooks for more than 30 minutes. There is a special magic parmesan rinds give when you let them cook in stews. As far as herbs and veg go, I would stay away from anything too strongly flavored--that would leave the broccoli (and maaaaybe the cauliflower) out for me, but if you try it, let us know how it works!

My mom is in isolation due to an autoimmune disorder. To boost her spirits, I promised to make her a pie a week. I've done rhubarb, strawberry, blueberry, and lemon meringue. Any ideas for what I should do next?

What a sweet thing to do. You've already tackled so many. See a few more ideas from our Recipe Finder below. You might consider a couple of combos. Or, consider switching things up a bit with fruit slab pie r a crisp or crumble.

Or, check out the galettes that Kari recently rounded up. They are easy and so very pretty.

These 5 galette recipes are ready for their Instagram moment


Here's a variation on lemon: Lemon Skaker Pie.

Apple Cranberry Crumb Pie


Peach Pie

Cherry Lattice Pie

Every recipe in a book of muffin recipes calls for superfine sugar, which I don't have. Is it okay to use regular sugar instead, maybe crush it with a pestle? Tomorrow's breakfast depends on your answer.

Do you have a food processor? You can process/pulse regular granulated sugar until it's the texture of superfine. 

I feel like it won't reaaaallllyyy matter for muffins. I subbed regular sugar for superfine in a cake recipe a while back and it turned out exactly how it should. 

And shop only every 10 days. What order do you eat the fruit (I think berries and peaches, followed by melon and bananas you carefully bought green and end with apples). What order do you eat the veg (I think lettuce asparagus first, then fresh spinach, Cauliflower, tomatoes which always need to ripen a bit and Brussels sprouts, and end with avocados you carefully bought green and cherry tomatoes which last a long time). Eggplant would also go toward the end of the cycle. Potatoes and onions anytime you want them. And at the end of the week you may be eating frozen. Oh and I think - but please let me know if you agree - you prep the berries as soon as they walk in the door. You might also prep cauliflower and melon so they doesn't take up so much space in the fridge. Thanks - I love fresh stuff

I generally support this strategy -- but of course the timing will vary depending on how ripe certain things are and are getting. That melon could be riper than the peaches, for instance, and needs to go first! Same with the avocados -- you know, you wait for them, not the other way around.

I'm not sure what exactly you mean by prep when it comes to the berries, cauliflower and melon, but with the berries, don't wash them until you're ready to use them, cause they'll start spoiling/molding sooner thanks to the moisture. And with melons, it's best to leave them as intact as possible. More summer-produce-storage wisdom is here in a piece by Becky from last year

Do you think the champagne sauce in your recipe database would work well on baked cod? If not, maybe another white fish? Thanks!

Yes, I do think this Champagne Sauce would work well on baked cod. The recipes says chilled seafood or poached chicken, but I think a pan-fried or baked white-fleshed fish would be delicious with this. I could imagine it with shrimp and pasta (or your favorite grain) as well.

Is it okay to cut out the eyes and use the rest of the potato? I bought several pounds of fresh, red potatoes, on the small size, at a farmers' market and a few weeks later, the ones remaining all have "eyes" poking through on one end. As a follow-up, is it possible I stored them wrong? They were in an open paper bag on the kitchen counter. Thanks.

Becky's got a whole guide to potatoes right here. As for the eyes, cut them off and then check the inside of the potato to make sure it looks like it should in there. 

You can't go wrong with potatoes but here's how to pick the right ones. 

Sounds good and looking forward to trying! Question: for those of us who are raisin haters, does it need a dried fruit and we should sub dried cranberries/cherries/etc, or would it be better omitted altogether? I normally try to be as faithful to a recipe on a first go as possible, but I have my limits ;)

Haha, was just waiting for this to come up. Nikki mentioned you can use cranberries as well -- or of course whatever you want! Your kitchen, you do you.

Kaiserschmarrn

ARTICLE: Kaiserschmarrn is the most beautiful, delicious mess of a pancake you’ll ever make, and eat

Hi Joe - made the mushroom-chickpea burgers you recommended last week. Huge hit. Went well with Swiss, pickled jalapeños, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and garlic mayo and stood up to the grill. Thanks!

So glad to hear it! For chatters who didn't see that recipe, here's the link again.

 

 

Not really. Most Americans get too much protein anyway, and what's not needed, the body stores as fat. Just eat a wide variety of foods and it'll all balance out. But as a legume-lover, I second Joe's BEANS! there's a huge variety out there with a variety of cuisines full of recipes.

Thanks for this. My understanding is that the storing-protein-as-fat is especially true if you are consuming enough calories. Glad you're a bean lover!

Last week I used my bounty of basil from the farmers market to make pesto. I used the same basic recipe I always use and froze it right away. When I took it out to use, it was brown. I scraped down and found some green, but not much. It smelled fine but looked so gross that I couldn't bring myself to use it. Any thoughts on what happened?

Nothing to be concerned about. Basil turns brown and oxidizes. Totally fine to use, it's just cosmetic. A layer of oil on top might help.

When I couldn't get my hands on my beloved romaine hearts during the early days of the pandemic, I bought iceberg lettuce for the first time in years -- and was surprised to rediscover how much I love it! Stays good forever, nice and crisp-crunchy, especially good in a taco salad. And the price can't be beat! Have you had any similar rediscoveries or new discoveries you might not have picked up otherwise?

I do love iceberg lettuce, but, you're right, I often bypass it. Since the pandemic, I've become a condiment lover. I did not use them that frequently, but, in recent months, I've fallen in love with -- or fallen back in love with -- several, including gochujang and spicy chili crisp, as well as a couple of curry pastes and chutneys. What's so great is that you can take a super simple recipe and quickly add a big burst of flavor with these.

Here are a few examples of what I mean:

Miso-Parmesan Pasta With Chili Crisp

Gochujang is the spicy star in this three-ingredient skirt steak recipe

Gochujang brings the big flavor that skinny pork chops need

I was just sharing with the team about how unfairly maligned iceberg lettuce is, when in fact, it's delicious and refreshing!

I have become obsessed with a few condiments (like Ann), furikake, yuzu kosho, and chili crisp, which I use on must about everything. I've even done a savory granola, yogurt, chili crisp combo and it was outstanding.

I've gotten back to making a few things from scratch I used to make all the time but had fallen away from my routine: yogurt, granola and kombucha. 

I'm on the chili crisp bandwagon, too!

Since the OP specified that this was inside mugs, not spots on all dishes that went into the dishwasher -- I suspect that the mugs are not dishwasher-safe. Sounds like the inside coating is pitting or wearing off. Also possible that the mugs are not coffee- or whatever safe -- depending on what you use them for, how hot the liquid is, and how long it sits. FWIW.

Thanks for your thoughts!

I think you can put your pan upside down in the oven if you have sticky residue. Obvs you want something to catch any oil that drains out of the pan.

My CSA share included a small box of about a dozen cute little purple-&-white eggplants, mostly about two inches long and an inch across, with one or two three-inch-long ones. How to show them off? Please don't tell me to stuff them or parmagiana them (those are the only suggestions I've gotten so far). Stir-fry? Indian spice paste?

Ooh, I think these would be great to show off whole in a curry. I'm thinking something Thai -- I bet you could pretty much just swap them in for the tomatoes in this one that Joe published.

Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Curry

RECIPE: Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Curry

And we have another winner! I made this last weekend and it ticked all the boxes. It tasted great, it made two (one for each of us), it was easy and fun to make and the instructions were really good. I watched it cooking and the batter kind of enveloped the raisins exactly as it said it would. It's going into rotation. Thank you!

This makes me so happy to hear! I really do try to get as much into the instructions as I can, especially visual cues since other factors can influence timing.

Here is the Kaiserschmarrn recipe, if you missed it.

When my kids were young, I mainly bought iceberg. My MIL proudly gave us some leaf lettuce from her garden. My kids said "why didn't she give us the real stuff, you know, the white stuff".

We loved the Passover Key Lime Pie at Thanksgiving. Met our need for no dairy or flour. 

Here's a pretty picture of it.

I plan on baking this Friday for Happy Hour with some friends. I can't get fresh Fig here where I live so I bought a bag of nice sun dried figs from Costco. They are delicious and very soft and malleable. Do you think I should soak them in some sweet wine or will they be okay in their dried state?

Soaking them in a sweet wine, perhaps thinned a bit with water, would be lovely, and help prevent the figs from drying out in the oven as the crust cooks. I might heat up the wine and water and then pour it over the dried figs and let them soak for an hour or so, to really plump them up! 

I'm curious, if you don't mind telling -- What did each of you Food writers aspire to as a career/profession, before you found your way to being professional, full-time foodies? Did you always want to find a way to tie your work to the kitchen, or did you ever dream of, say, being an astronaut or novelist?

I aspired to be a newspaper journalist from my high school days, but went to culinary school and turned my career toward food journalism in 1999/2000 after realizing food was what made me happiest.

I unenthusiastically thought I would be an English teacher, then went to college and realized that was a hard no for me. I pretty much just knew I had to be writing, because that's the thing I'm good at, and the thing I care about the most just so happens to be food. 

When I was in high school I wanted to be a chef, so I studied food history in college, went to culinary school after I graduated and then worked as a pastry chef... before I realized I missed writing — which I had done a lot of in college, for the school and local papers — and that my practical experience in restaurant kitchens and with food could inform a whole range of careers, including one in journalism and recipe development.

Might be too late to weigh in for the poster trying to decide between the food processor and stand mixer, but if they make things primarily in small batches -- I have something called the Braun Multipractic that has one handle/motor with three attachments: a mini food processor, beaters, and an immersion blender. And I think it has dough hooks, too, though I haven't used them. If they still make it, might be a match! It was well under $100 when I bought mine. And I use it more than either my stand mixer OR my full-size food processor because I don't have enough counter space to keep those at hand.

Cool, thanks for sharing this.

I've been leafing through cookbooks like they're short-story collections -- and, in a way they are. To the point, I've come across several recipes, everything from stir-fry to quick breads to salads, that involve at least one ingredient I don't have: Some ground pork for an eggplant dish, nutmeg as one of three spices in a quick bread, fresh mint for a salad. My question is, should I try making the dishes anyway? I could use bacon instead of ground pork and some other dried herb instead of fresh parsley, but maybe untested substitutes are a worse idea than skipping over one ingredient. And maybe I should just wait.

This can be frustrating, I know. And most of the time you can and should substitute based on what you have, and what you like. BUT! Sometimes, that one ingredient is really distinct and not so easily swapped (it's rare), in which case, it's also often lending an essential flavor to the recipe. If you leave it out, the results probably won't be bad, maybe just a little bland or flat. You can usually tell if an ingredient is a deal-breaker if the author has written a special note about it--it might be a sentence in the headnote, or a note attached to the recipe. It could also be a glossary note (for cookbooks that have ingredient glossaries). But if you get the sense an ingredient is vital, you're probably right. Otherwise, swap away!! That's the point of a recipe, really. It's a suggestion. Everyone's going to interpret it differently based on preference and accessibility. One thing to consider is what role the ingredient your swapping out plays in the meal. With ground pork, it's probably adding some substantive flavor but also BULK to a dish. Bacon might not be the best substitute because it's really salty, and fattier, and you usually use a lot less of it than you would ground pork. Instead, consider swapping a different ground meat. Or, if you use bacon, use less of it, and maybe compensate with more vegetables or grains instead. With herbs, it's okay to replace fresh with dried. The ratio there is 1 teaspoon dried for every tablespoon fresh. 

 

Finally, a lot of cookbooks and recipes these days are mindful of swaps and alternatives. So when you're considering which to try or buy, you might want to prioritize that or just look out for it.

 

So, being (mostly) isolated at home with my sweet husband and producing most of our meals (he made a curry one time), I am getting fatigued. We usually eat just 2 meals a day and (pre-covid) rarely eat at restaurants or do take-out, so the constant cooking is not new, just still...... Your delicious skillet squash, sausage and pasta recipe caught my eye and thanks to a gift of summer squash from my neighbor I had everything on hand. It was so good! So tonight I felt some inspiration! And I have missed that! I riffed the recipe and used rice instead of pasta and scallops instead of sausage. I cut back on the red pepper flakes and used a jalapeno pepper I found in the produce drawer. We really enjoyed it and I don't think my husband even realized it was a riff on the original! Thanks Rangers!

So glad you enjoyed the Italian Sausage, Squash and Pasta Skillet recipe. One-skillet dishes (OK, you do have to boil the pasta) are so easy to change-up. So many recipes can be just a jumping off point, a spark for your own creation.
And, we can ALL use a little inspiration right now. 


Some recipes call for the cauliflower "rice" to be used raw; others suggest briefly cooking /steaming it. Would love to hear opinions on which is a better way to go when making a cold summer salad with cauliflower rice as the base.

I like it BRIEFLY cooked. And here's the thing: There's so much water already in the cauliflower, I don't think you really need to add any.

Just wanted to let you know that you inspired me to buy an ice cream machine to make the vegan chai ice cream, and it was worth it! I no longer eat dairy, so this recipe using coconut milk was perfect for me, and it got thumbs up from the whole table. I adapted the base recipe to make some other flavors, too, and now it's a matter of keeping myself from making so much ice cream... Other hits (new or linked in recent columns) were the tomato and basil pasta with pine nut sauce (easier to make using a stick mixer instead of getting the food processor out!) and Baseball Chicken, which has become a real favorite. I make the chicken using boneless breasts, and use a bit of mayo to hold the coating instead of melted butter, which made a weird mess. We've been happy to have new things to try since we haven't been going out to restaurants. I really appreciate the range of recipes and the columns with themes (ice cream was from an article about different ways to use coconut milk). Thank you, food team! 

Aw, thanks, that's great! Really glad you liked that ice cream. And the pine nut pasta Joe ran last year was one of our most popular recipes. Thumb's up for Manual Roig-Franzia's mom's chicken, too!

I broiled some fresh eggplants, intending to make baba ghanoush, but there was almost nothing left inside the eggplants once they had cooled. Any idea what I did wrong? Did I broil them too long?

I think you did!

You used big globe eggplants for this, yes?

I loved seeing the article come across on making your own spice blends - definitely filing that one away for when my jar of garam masala runs out (likely in the not too distant future, considering how many dishes I've been making lately that call for it). I know this is super subjective, but what about a mild-to-medium curry powder blend? We've got a fenugreek allergy in my household, and it seems like almost every blend you find in the store contains it (or maybe doesn't, but then is manufactured on shared equipment with peanuts, which is an even worse allergy in the household). Trader Joe's used to have a fenugreek-free curry powder until they suddenly discontinued it and in our current times I can't just go to every international supermarket just to read curry powder bottle labels.

I think you could probably use that garam masala in lieu of curry powder, at least in some recipes. But here's one from Madhur Jaffrey, too.

spice blends

ARTICLE: 6 spice blends to make at home, including garam masala, ras el hanout and Cajun seasoning

Suddenly and sadly after cooking for two for 40 years, I'm now cooking for one. I've never been a fan of leftovers. Do you have any recipes where one night's meal's leftovers can be turned into something completely different?

Hello!

I just offered these three titles to someone else who posted on this chat, but here are some cookbooks that I think you'll appreciate and use a lot (and they'll give you some smart ideas re: leftovers).

 

Klancy Miller's "Cooking Solo"

Anita Lo's "Solo"

Judith Jones' "The Pleasures of Cooking for One"

 

Although it's not a cookbook geared to solo cooks, Julia Turshen's "Now & Again" has a lot of great ideas for using your leftovers.

Hi! I've been taking this time to acquaint myself with foods I've never had before - fresh sweet jackfruit, pomegranate molasses, various korean melons, sangak bread...this weekend I picked up some linguica sausage. All I see are recipes for Portuguese stews/soups - can I use it just grilled, like a bratwurst or kielbasa and enjoy it on a sandwich? What would you eat with it?

Sangak! Love this mission of yours. I have grilled or pan-fried linguica, like brats or kielbasa, with onions, and stuffed it into a crisp roll with aioli and tomato slices — it's coarser than some other types of sausage but I love its garlicky flavor in a sandwich.

I've been meaning to submit this for weeks. I tried the Cauliflower Sandwiches With Smoked Gouda and Peppadews that Joe tested some time ago, and I have a new favorite sandwich. It's the best sandwich I've ever eaten! I also may have a new favorite cheese. I'm just now transitioning to a Mediterranean diet, so I still eat a bit of red meat, which seems to be the basis of most sandwiches. Thanks, and everyone reading this should try it.

So glad to read this! It was from the great Amelia Rampe from the book Jesse Szewczyk edited, "Tasty Pride."

Cauliflower Sandwiches With Smoked Gouda and Peppadews

My kids used to be pretty adventurous eaters. Now they are going through a picky phase, and I'm a bit tired of recycling through the same 10 things. Any good ideas? Nothing too saucy or spicy. We've already gone through breakfast for dinner. Last night was chicken kabobs, which went over well.

What about quesadillas? I've had my eyes on these lately!

In New England we lost power from the storm last week. In our case, Tuesday til Thursday afternoon. I threw away a lot but I'm wondering if I can still use a giant bag of cheese ravioli. They were in the freezer and still cold to the touch but not frozen. I believe when the freezer came on the temp in my freezer was in the low forties. I am willing to toss them - just don't want to if they are okay to eat. Thank you for all you do.

Hmm, do you have an idea how long your freezer temp was in the low 40s? And how long the power was out before you checked? I'd err on the side of throwing these out, because according to US government standards perishable foods shouldn't be between 40 and 140 degrees F for more than two hours.

You say "bourbon if I am in a pinch." Is Madagascar Bourbon vanilla not made with Bourbon? Is the "Bourbon" in that name instead an indication of the kind of bean? Said another way, did I just learn that yet another assumption is wrong? :)

That's named for a vanilla species named for the former name of Réunion, Île Bourbon. Another type of vanilla is Madagascar vanilla. It's not about having bourbon IN the extract per se. Hope this helps!

I find myself with an assortment of soft spreadable cheeses: mascarpone, fromage blanc, horseradish chevre to be precise. I don't have a lot of any one kind. I would like to incorporate them (not all necessarily) into dinner or some other cooking project but I am finding myself woefully unimaginative. I'm really intimidated by the horseradish chevre specifically. I welcome any and all ideas. Trying to think outside of toasts and pasta.

How about inside a tart, such as this or a riff on this?

Everything Tomato Tart

RECIPE: Everything Tomato Tart

I'm a carnivore and I didn't like tofu either until I leaned how to cook with it. Haphazardly just throwing it in like it's a meat substitute I found to be a failure: tofu designed dishes fit the bill. I also use a tofu press to really firm it up as I got tired of the whole stacking-books-papertowels thing, even with extra firm varieties. https://tofuxpressstore.com

There's also the method of freezing and defrosting it--that gives it a really nice firm texture. 

Yep, and let's not forget the good old technique of frying! I've got a recipe coming up that I'm fairly obsessed with that requires absolutely zero pressing, just patting it dry. There's a great contrast between the custardy interior and crunchy exterior. And it takes on a killer glaze.

Have you all ever tried making lobster rolls at home? Is it worth paying through the nose for the already de-shelled meat or am I better off cooking the lobsters and then getting at the meat to make them?

I am all for cooking your own lobsters and making lobster rolls at home, and if you wait until next week, we're pubbing a recipe I developed. It's actually not that much work - once you do it, you'll realize not as daunting as it seems. Plus, Ann, our recipes editor, is going to share a method for steaming and shelling your own lobster, so stay tuned!

I am on the west coast, just started to can (have a book, and neighbors with extra fruit). And while I have a zillion of the jars (great neighbors and we have bees so I have always needed them for storage) I cannot find the lids I need! it's crazy.

There are also more hearty and flavorful things like tempeh and seitan.

Add to iced or hot tea. They're particularly good in iced tea because they are already dissolved.

How is it Wednesday again already??? Almost missed you guys. But I digress. I made some balsamic vinaigrette yesterday, using a recipe I found online. It tastes great but the mouthfeel is really oily. I did realize afterward I was supposed to whisk everything except the oil before adding it, but I mixed it very well, refrigerated and then shook it quite vigorously before using and it didn’t look unmixed. Proportions were 3/4 cup Olive oil to 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar. Would it have made a difference to whisk before adding oil? Should I cut back oil? I did substitute a teaspoon of powdered Dijon for the tablespoon of Dijon mustard, since that’s what I have and searching turned up a 1:3 ratio. Would a bit more powder help cut the oiliness? I don’t think it would overpower the taste.

The problem is the powder for mustard. Mustard is an emulsifier in vinagrettes, so it helps keep the dressing in suspension. I suspect it's feeling particularly oily because the dressing is not fully incorporated. Don't do more powder. Do you have honey? I like to use that as an emulsifier in dressings too. Or even a smidge of mayo.

vinaigrette

ARTICLE: How to leave those bottled dressings behind and make your own vinaigrette

Don't forget Joe's cooking for one book, "Serve Yourself!"

Aw, thanks!

After reading about this cake in a recent chat, I gave it a try. It's wonderful! My family went crazy over it. It makes a lot of frosting and we didn't use all of it, but the frosting is delicious. The cake is so moist and I would say it keeps really well but we demolished it fairly quickly, but I think it would have kept for much longer! I look forward to this chat every Wednesday. Thank you to all of you for being here and getting me through another week! Here's the recipe: Yellow Sheet Cake With Pink American Buttercream

Yellow Sheet Cake With Pink American Buttercream

Yes! I ate so much of that when we shot it, and I've turned the buttercream into my new go-to. My husband is a fan of American buttercream, and this is by far the best I've made -- very easy and silky.

That buttercream is *chef's kiss*

For the tiny eggplant person - those are fairy or fairy tale eggplants. Search for recipes using that name and you will find many. They are tasty!

And so beautiful!

There were 2 tablespoons of honey in it. Sounds like the mustard is the problem. Maybe i could mix it into regular mustard?

cabbage. They last a long time. And the purple ones seem to last even longer than the green ones.

Yes, yes, yes. I can always depend on my trusty cabbage to be waiting for me!

I'd like to prep in advance something comparable to those microwave cups of pancake-for-one or brownie-for-one or cookie-in-a-cup. So when I'm hungry, I can just pop it in my microwave for a minute or 90 seconds. Do you have recipes for that? (I bet you do!)

Is it possible/safe to can ratatouille? I know I can freeze it, but I am trying to sort what must be in the freezer and what is possible for canning ("what can be canned" is such an awkward phrase but lovely expression of the weirdness of English). Among our cookbook faves: * original Moosewood * Bittman's How to Cook Everything -- for info on basics so that we can understand the whys and follow or improvise from the recipes * Raichlen's Barbecue Bible -- great specificity, but we mostly use it as a source for ideas * Darina Allen and Cathal Armstrong (the latter w/David Hagedorn) on Irish cooking * Melissa Clark - In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite * Lidia Bastianich online resources and books from the library -- on my "to buy" list * America's Test Kitchen online subscription for technique and whys * Land O'Lakes - outlier here; gift YEARS ago and fairly "white bread middle American" but surprisingly good options in some cases. A go-to jambalaya for a crowd, an easy pulled pork, and party foods my people love including an antipasto marinade and cocktail meatballs. As you see -- most of these are for understanding food and recipes, less for prescriptions for cooking. Next on my list: Sam Sifton's "Sunday" book.

Because of the low acidity, ratatouille would need to be pressure-canned, not water-bath canned. Here's a recipe from Better Homes/Gardens to try if you want to go that route. Otherwise, keep in the good-for-freezing column!

I made a spatchcocked roasted chicken for the first time and I was really pleased with how well it turned out. But it was so tedious to handle raw chicken .. you have to open the packaging in the sink .. but now your sink is contaminated. You have to oil and salt the chicken .. but that means you have to wash your hands multiple times (without touching the faucet). I am wondering if any of the experienced cooks out there have figured out ways of making this part of the process less irritating. How do you best avoid drips and splatters of raw chicken? What do you do with your kitchen shears once you're done - rinse them? or just put them directly in the dishwasher? or maybe a container that was already filled with soapy water? Do you do your prep work over a cutting board? But how to avoid all the liquid sloshing around once you pick up the cutting board to clean it? Do you only use one hand for the raw chicken and the other hand for the other stuff? Any tips or tricks would be soooo greatly appreciated for this newbie! Thanks :)

There's really no way around the cleanup and care. I tend to work in the sink, partially cutting open the package so I can keep the bird in there as much as possible. I try to get most of the liquid poured out in there and then pat the bird dry with paper towels. So minimal sloshing after. If I need to work on the counter, I usually like to use a plastic board that can go in the dishwasher to be sanitized. Sometimes I wear gloves, sometimes I don't, but always end up washing my hands multiple times. That's just the way it is. Definitely, feel free to put the sheers right in the dishwasher. Then sanitize the sink and counters when you're done.

I had tiny eggplant, halved and spread with spicy peanut butter in Nigeria, and it was amazing. Great for a snack.

Googling that term turned up sites by the score!

You have given us the tip of the iceberg!

I see what you did there. ;-)

does any other food make as much waste as fresh corn? The leftover husks, the cobs -- they fill a trash can so quickly! Maybe a lobster shell is comparable in size, or a whole watermelon rind. Chatters?

I like to throw the cobs of corn into a pot with some stray herbs and make corn stock; ditto with lobster shells. Watermelon rinds often flavor our water, and if I wanted to be REALLY crafty, I'd slice watermelon rinds super-thin and pickle them (alas, no time for that last one lately).

I agree with Olga on the corn stock -- and you can add the husks and silks to it, too! But after that, I do have to compost, and they are bulky -- and they give my chef's knife a workout, since I cut them down considerably to help them compost faster.

I've seen chili crisp mentioned in a few places but... What IS it? Where does the crisp come from?

It's a condiment. One company that makes it is Lao Gan Ma. You can get it at Asian supermarkets or here. You can read about it here. And you'll find a way to use it here. It's spicy, crunchy, oily, delicious.

I've made these twice now--so great, and so easy. Thank you! So far I've made them topped with sesame, poppy, everything seasoning, or salt. How would I flavor the dough, say with cinnamon and raisins, or rye? (Do I need a different recipe for rye?) For anyone wondering, I find it easier to make these than drive to the store or bagel shop. And they freeze well, too.

Yay, I'm thrilled! Thank you for sharing your report. :) For cinnamon raisin, shoot me an email. I know I have the original recipe from ATK in a book somewhere, but I grabbed the wrong one. Not sure about rye, to be honest! I'm sure it would involve some rye flour, but that starts to throw off the gluten content. Might be worth looking at some other sources for ideas on how to tweak this recipe.

Best-Of Bagels

RECIPE: Best-Of Bagels

Thank you for joining us for today's chat. We had a great time talking about cookbooks with you.

We thought we loved cookbooks, but y'all love them just as much.

Thank you to food writer Charlotte Drucker, author of our free 10-week newsletter Voraciously Essential Cookbooks, for joining us today. (Find out more about the newsletter here.)

Our favorite comment of the day is titled" “Let’s change that, starting now.” In it, the chatter talks about her love for Madhur Jaffrey's cookbooks.
If you made that comment, send your email to kari.sonde@washpost.com to receive a free, 30-day subscription to The Post. (Already a subscriber? You can give the free month to a friend.)

Here's one of Jaffery's recipes for a taste: Baked Chicken Curry.



We look forward to next week's chat Wednesdy at noon.

My daughter complained at dinner that (as I suspected) all the meals were basically the same. We know it’s because of the season and also my internal repertoire, but it does seem an awful lot like we’re eating the same food inflected by slightly different regions (fattoush, panzanella, fresh tomato pasta from top tomato 2014, gazpacho, Aztec salad...). These are all tasty and use minimal heat, but we need to switch it up a bit (and not just with the tomato tart, a different fresh pasta) but really shake it up from the grain/tomato/veggies and dressing while still using all the produce I stagger home from the farmers market with.

Hi!

It sounds like you're a little stuck in the Mediterranean, which isn't a bad place to be, but I'm thinking that tapping into some regions in other areas of the world will lead to lots more inspiration. I'd also suggest looking into more vegetarian and vegan cookbooks because you'll see a lot more creativity, especially if you're wanting to use minimal heat and keep things fresh. Once again (I've done it a few times today), I'm going to recommend Bryant Terry's "Vegetable Kingdom." I think you might also like Anna Jones' "A Modern Way to Cook," and Meera Sodha's cookbooks are fantastic. The first two are Indian, from her point of view, and the second of those is vegetarian. Her latest, "East" is really a cross-cultural celebration and also vegan/vegetarian. 

In This Chat
Ann Maloney
Ann Maloney is the Food team recipes editor.
Joe Yonan
Joe Yonan is the Food and Dining editor of The Post and author of "Cool Beans." He writes the Weeknight Vegetarian column.
Becky Krystal
Becky Krystal is a staff food writer at the Post.
Kari Sonde
Kari Sonde is the Food editorial aide.
Mary Beth Albright
Mary Beth Albright is the Host and Editor of Food Video at The Washington Post.
Daniela Galarza
Daniela is a Food staff writer.
Olga Massov
Massov is a Food team assignment editor.
Charlotte Druckman
Charlotte Druckman is an author, journalist and food writer in New York City. She edited the anthology "Women on Food" (2019) and wrote "Kitchen Remix" (2020). She also wrote Voraciously's Essential Cookbooks newsletter.
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