Free Range on Food cooking Q&A: Reader favorite apple varieties, recipes and memories.

Sep 30, 2020

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Past Free Range on Food chats

Have you ever gone apple picking? It sounds like such a wholesome way to while away a fall afternoon, doesn’t it? 

My apple picking, alas, has been confined to grocery stores and, if I’m lucky, roadside stands and farmers markets. 

Just in time for the start of autumn, Voraciously lead writer Becky Krystal rounded up “8 sweet and savory apple recipes that will have you feeling fall.” She pulled some of the best apple recipes from the archive because she (and you) can expect your CSA/farm boxes to be brimming with them soon, if they are not already.

The recipes included everything from Apple Cheddar Latkes to Apple Cranberry Crumb Pie.

We have hundreds of apple recipes in our Recipe Finder. Take a look. Becky couldn’t include them all in that roundup. For example, the Tarte Tatin that Daniela Galarza wrote about before she joined the Post staff earlier this year. As she tested and developed her take on the classic dish, Daniela tried apple after apple, settling on Golden Delicious as the best choice for this classic dish. (I anxiously tested the recipe – flipping it is a breath-holding experience. It turned out great.)

What else do you like to do with apples? Which are best for which kinds of recipes? Share your apple expertise with us. Tell us your ideas or share your favorite Post apple recipe.

For me, a South Louisiana girl, a month with an R in it calls for oysters, so I pulled together my favorite grilled oyster recipe to share. 

Joe Yonan embraced fall, too, with a Portobellos With Chickpeas and Tahini recipe from food writer Nigel Slater who in his new cookbook, “Greenfeast: Autumn, Winter,” beautifully describes how the right dishes complement the season: “I dig out my capacious ladle for a creamed celery root soup as soft as velvet. The temperature of the plates and bowls will change. We want to hold things that warm our hands, a sign of the happiness to come.”

And, while we often come together and find common ground around foods, flavors and cooking techniques, sometimes it is the simplest things that stir passions. An example? Becky wrote about “how to make excellent scrambled eggs,” sharing her advice and the various options, and drew a fervent response.

Do you have a favorite way to scramble? We bet you do.

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.)

I have a recipe WaPo published years ago, “Kick Ya in the Kishkas Honey Cake”, a spiced honey cake with banana that’s more quick bread than honey cake. It’s the only honey cake I actually like. But the nutritional analysis seems off—it bakes in a “standard loaf pan” and is listed as 8-10 servings. Pretty thick slices! And so the per slice calories are 450. Any chance on a recalculation? I also tried to lighten it, adding more banana and less oil—came out great!

Just found it in our archives -- 1996! From Andrew Schloss, a cooking instructor and cookbook author who was also the source of the famed Triple Chocolate Bypass.

This one sounds really good. You're right about the nutritionals. Not sure how they got those numbers, but I just reran, based on 10 servings. They might have done it with 8.

Calories: 345
Fat: 9g
Saturated fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 37 mg
Sodium: 180 mg
Carbs: 65 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sugar: 41g
Protein: 5 g

Oh and for those who might want the recipe: 



Butter or margarine and flour for the pan

2 small bananas, very ripe

2 eggs

2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 1/4 cups flour

2/3 cup strong coffee

2/3 cup currants


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a standard loaf pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas with the back of a fork. Add the eggs and sugar, mixing until well blended. Mix in the oil, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, pepper, baking soda and baking powder. Stir thoroughly. Then beat in the flour until smooth and thick. Finally, stir in coffee and currants.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out with just a crumb clinging to it.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Then remove from the pan to finish cooling.

My bread always sticks to the floured towel, parchment or nonstick foil. So I tried overlooking the hot baking pot (I use Romertopf with non-stick surface) and that too produced a bread which stuck to the glossy nonstick surface--we broke a spatula trying to get the bread out. I think my flour may be too watery. Even when it starts out thick--50% water to flour, it thins during rise. What can I do?

It may actually be because your home is a little warm! I had a similar issue when I moved (in the middle of the pandemic, another story entirely) and all my bread was acting strange because my new place runs hot. I also scatter a small handful of cornmeal in the bottom of our Dutch oven when I bake. that seems to help a lot!

With the revamped chat format, if you go to the page to scan past Food chats, it doesn't list the date! You have to click on each archived chat to see the date, which is annoying. I just wanted to look back for something that I was pretty sure came up 2 or 3 weeks ago, but couldn't just click on Sept. 16 or Sept. 9. I'm sorry that I don't always remember from the topic summary -- did something come up in the "weird food" chat, or the condiments & tempeh chat? Would you please ask the web team to add dates?

Thank you for pointing this out. We spoke with the live chat folks here and they said that going forward they will add dates of the chats to the description.

Just wanted to thank Mary Beth for the book review: The Secret Life of Groceries is going on my too read shelf!

Thank YOU for being a conscious eater. The book is weirdly entertaining, given how dark the topics are. I've been working in food for decades and I learned a lot. 

I like making pulled pork and other large batches of slow cooked meats that get torn up, but I struggle to figure out what to eat them with. I'm not the biggest fan of using the meat as sandwiches (the bread just gets soggy so quickly and then it's so much mush), and I'm not really a big fan of tacos (yes, I know, the horror). Do you have other ideas what I can mix the meat in with?

Are nachos too close to tacos? Probably.

I like to mix it a seasoning blend and add in other things, such as beans, corn, and turn it into a skillet dinner. I've never made this one, Pulled Pork With Corn and Chipotle, but it looks good and gets to that general idea.

You could mix the pulled meat with a homemade sauce and serve it over pasta, something like this: Memphis Barbecue Spaghetti.

You could try using the meat in a stir-fry-style dishe like this one: Peruvian Chicken Stir-Fry

Got this great idea from HelloFresh. Sear meat servings. Set aside. Make a simple pan sauce by sauteing shallots or onions in the same pan. Stir in 2T jelly, jellied cranberries, preserves, etc. Add a little concentrated meat broth and white wine vinegar. Voila! A sweet and savory pan sauce to dress up a quick weekday dinner.

Sound great. Perfect solution for all those jars many of us have languishing. Similarly, vinaigrettes!

A couple of weeks ago, a poster complained about recipes with weird ingredients. Poster was pretty soundly told off by numerous others and I felt badly for him/her. "Weird" was an unfortunate word choice, but as a person living in the middle of Nowhere, White America, I understand what was meant, too. Many WaPo recipes are read and discarded by me, because I know I will never be able to find nutritional yeast or Savoiardi lady fingers or even, cardamom pods without an expensive Amazon order. We could all stand to be a little more kind

I hear you, but I defend my response to that chatter. The way it was worded -- "some weird Asian spice," if you remember -- was beyond unfortunate. It displayed a stunning lack of sensitivity. I've gotten a lot of reaction to it -- mostly positive, from folks who thanked me for calling out the comment, which as one reader put it, “brought back bad memories of being teased for my (non white) lunches my Mom packed for me at school.”

We are always trying to give you more great recipes for things that don't call for ingredients that will send you to Amazon, but we also think some ingredients are so great they're worth getting, and we'll try to remember to tell you what other things to do with them once you have them. (And you know you can always come to us here for help, week in and week out, and in the comments section to pieces, which we monitor.)

FWIW, I see a 14-ounce package of Savoiardi ladyfingers -- perfect for Olga's tiramisu recipe --  on Amazon for $12 (and free shipping to Prime members -- insert Jeff Bezos disclaimer here). It's about the same price for a 3.5-ounce package of green cardamom pods. (One of the wonderful things about buying cardamom in the pod is that, as with virtually all spices, it keeps its potency for so much longer than ground -- making this actually a budget-friendly proposition. And when you shell and grind the seeds, you can put the pods in a jar with sugar, and they'll scent it beautifully!)

Any recommendations for durable and affordable sheet pans to use for roasting vegetables or making sheet pan meals?

Yup, I love the Nordicware aluminum half-sheet pans. A 2-pack on Amazon is $22, or $11 each on Target.

I second Becky's suggestion! I think 2 is a minimum you will need. But I've found that I always need one more sheet pan than what I have :) I use them as trays, to carry things for grilling, and not just as cooking vessels.

Last week, you posted my question about the mystery squash growing in my compost pile. They sorta resembled acorn squash. Well, I roasted them, and they tasted okay but very bland. I put some of the cooked squash in a skillet with ground turkey, onions, bell pepper, and a LOT of cajun seasoning. It came out very tasty.

Smart! Thanks for following up.

Good job!

I wonder if it was bland, btw, because winter squash store better -- and taste better, too -- if they're cured after harvest.

Any ideas on how to use a ton of it? I made some last week for some kebabs and now I have too much!! Any ideas you have are appreciated!

Hey, I think you could use it with any grilled or broiled meat. I love it with chicken and beef. If you're looking for a toum recipe, we have one. In that recipe, we note: "It can outlast the sprouting fresh garlic in your pantry and is at the ready for marinades, dips and sauces and as a spread for any savory sandwich." And, more good news, most toum will last several weeks in the refrigator, so you have time to use it all up.

You can really put it anywhere! Since we're not going into the office, I'd even have it for breakfast with my toast and eggs to be honest. 

When my kids were young, I would occasionally make them "banana omelets" which they loved. Chop a banana into circles, saute in a pan with some margarine or butter until well caramelized, then throw an egg or two into the pan and scramble. I made this the other day when I saw one overripe banana on the kitchen counter. I'd forgotten how tasty it was.

Well, that is definitely not a suggestion I'd seen so far in the 500 comments on my story! So interesting, thanks for sharing.

I made Adeena Sussman’s delicious braised cabbage this weekend, but I bought too much cabbage and now I have a cabbage, cut into quarters, sitting in the refrigerator. Any ideas for simple, delicious, veggie/ vegan recipes that use a lot of cabbage?

I bet Joe will have great answers for you, but I've been wanting to try this: Charred Napa Cabbage With Calabrian Chiles. It's on my list because I magine that hot, hot oven would caramelize the cabbage. 

Quite a few vegetarian/can be adapted to be vegetarian cabbage recipes in this roundup: 

Glam up a head of cabbage with these 11 recipes

Ann's right -- charring does wonderful things to cabbage. This recipe for Grilled Cabbage accomplishes the same thing -- very simple, and you can do it under the broiler if you prefer. Then follow the link to a related recipe for a slaw using it...

When a recipe directs me to use the top or bottom third of the oven, what are they assuming about my oven? Do they think my broiler is in the top of my oven, and so that's the hottest place? My oven is the kind where the broiler is in that separate pull-out tray in the bottom, and I'm never sure the recipe is written for me.

It does depend on the recipe. If the recipe calls for broiling, then yes, you need to use your broiler tray. A lot of times we'll talk about the upper or lower third, because we may be having you put 2 sheet trays in. So using the upper and lower thirds lets you space them evenly and then rotate and switch halfway through. Sometimes it's just a matter of baking a single sheet so it's not as close to the heating element on the bottom of the oven, as in these Flaky Butter Biscuits.

Thank you for adding the dates! I appreciate the extent to which you all engage w/chatters.

You are very welcome.

Hi food team! I have been getting some butternut squash from my CSA but my oven doesn't work. What can I do to cook it? Is it possible to roast it in my instant pot? Also what's the safest way to cut or handle them. Squash newbie here.

Not roast, but you can definitely steam! I've done it. 

If you want in chunks, that will be faster. I like to prick my squash all over with a fork and then microwave it for a few minutes. Will basically still be raw but just soft enough to peel and cut up easier. To cook, "Martha Stewart's Pressure Cooker," suggests steaming with 3 cups of water, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, for 1 to 3 minutes on high pressure.

If you want halves, you can just cut in half and seed, or do the microwave prep first to make it easier. I can't remember what I've done in the past, but probably something in the neighborhood of 10 minutes on high. Whole looks closer to 25 minutes.

You can also chop into small cubes and fry like you would a potato. Might take a while to chop it all though!

because "toom" is an old Scottish word for "empty." Couldn't one also use toum in any recipe like stew where grated or minced garlic is called for? Like Indian ginger-garlic paste.

I don't see why not. Sounds like a great idea.

Our Instacart shopper brought us two softball sized rutabagas, which we didn’t order. What do you recommend we do with them? Thanks!

If only we had the recipe for the rutabaga fondue from Vedge and Fancy Radish! As far as I know, the recipe hasn't been published, though people have tried to re-create it.

I did talk to chef Rich Landau, though, and he had a bunch of suggestions in this piece, including using it in sauce or soup, braising and roasting.

root vegetables

ARTICLE: Root, root, root for rutabaga, turnips and those other unappreciated vegetables

You can also always search for ideas by ingredient in our Recipe Finder.

Shout out to all of your hard work! I’ve made several of your recipes while in COVID lock down and every one has been a hit! Most recently, we forgot to add rolls to our grocery order, so I whipped up a batch of burger buns, and they’re so good! My husband, who moved out of Wisconsin thirty years ago, says they’re like stepping into his memories of Sunday ham and rolls from National Bakery - high praise indeed! 

So glad to hear it. Thank you! I've made these buns myself, and agree!

That's my favorite honey cake, too! I love the taste and the name. I still have my copy clipped from the newspaper.

Y'all make me want to try this one.

Hello, is it possible to substitute chili crisp in the miso parmesan pasta recipe? Would gochujang work?

Yes, I think you could substitute your favorite chili paste in the Miso-Parmesan Pasta With Chili Crisp recipe

I bet you'll get good flavor. But, my goodness that chili crisp is so good. If you don't like it, I get it, but if you think you wouldn't use it in other dishes, I bet you would.

I chose it for this feature by my colleague, Becky: Staff picks: 8 condiments we swear by and how to use them. You can see all of the things I do with it.

I love my Nordicware both the half sheet and 2 quarter sheet ones I use all the time, but sometimes I really prefer one of those big commercial warming trays that’s 11.5x19.5 inches inside and 2.5 inches deep. The deeper sides doesn’t help the airflow, but it does help contain things when you stir. I did rosemary roasted sweet potatoes (WaPo recipe) day before yesterday and a batch of granola yesterday and tonight will make the Post’s ajapsandole in it.

Oh, yeah, we call those hotel pans. Definitely handy. We have a couple in the Food Lab, sniff sniff.

So my family has just given up on our theory of a normal Thanksgiving - two of us are here and I've decided that since I have to do the cooking and don't like (or eat) turkey that we're having lobster. So - if you were having lobster for a winter holiday how would you prep it? Just plain, steamed or in a different dish (risotto/pasta/something something)?

That's a great idea. I just wrote a piece on how to steam a lobster, which is, frankly, how I like to eat it. Maybe dress them up this way: Lobster Tails With Garlic and Oil.

What about a lobster risotto, using Olga's great Instant Pot risotto recipe? Add the lobster at the end.

I have purchased fresh field peas from the same farmer's market many times and have successfully prepared them in a slow cooker. They typically are ready to eat in about six to eight hours. This batch was still hard after 12, so I gave up plans to have them for dinner last night and refrigerated them. I started cooking them again around 6 this morning, and upon my last check, they still tasted hard and uncooked. Any idea why? Suggestions on how to salvage them beyond adding to my compost?

Hmm. I haven't done this in the slow cooker, but fresh field peas are something that I've made on the stovetop in a half hour or so, so I'm not sure what's happening here, especially since you're using the same peas and the same method. Did you ask the vendor if anything was different about the peas? I wonder if these were left to dry more than they usually are? Still, that's a long time in the slow cooker, and I'm as surprised as you that they weren't done.

At this point, I'd transfer them to the stovetop with enough liquid to cover by an inch or two, bring them to a boil, and turn down some to aggressively simmer them. You also might add a pinch of baking soda to speed things along. They'll get there eventually!

(If you hadn't made these before, I'd be tempted to ask if you have particularly hard water, which the baking soda can also help with...)

Thank you for the tofu recipes! Could you talk about some tempeh recipes too? I've gotten to really like tempeh for its nutty flavor and great texture. I'd love to have more ways to use it.

Is there any way to reheat fettucine alfredo well? I tried it low and slow in a pan (heat on 3), stirring constantly, and the sauce STILL devolved into grease.

So tricky! This will depend on whether your sauce is purely cheese and cream or if it contains a starch to help bind it. If it's cheese and cream, I've found that adding a splash or two of milk while warming on low in a pan helps keep the sauce together while it reheats. If it contains starch, adding a splash of water helps loosen it, and encourages it to stay emulsified while it warms up.

If this makes you wonder about other reheating challenges, read Becky's piece: How to safely reheat all those leftovers without ruining them

It's a nice addition to mashed potatoes, gives a lovely, earthy bottom note. Incidentally, they're called swede in the UK

I agree with the Nordic Ware Half sheet pans (18”x 13”). But also want to recommend the quarter sheet pan size (9x13) (come in packs of 2). I had the half sizes for years and still use them constantly. But then a few years ago also purchased the quarter sheet pan sizes. So useful For roasting just a few things, baking a few cookies (for portion control,ha), fits a single meatloaf on one and veggies on the other, etc.

Absolutely, love the little ones. Perfect for toasting nuts too.

My CSA share included a big cauliflower, which yay, but the stem was several inches long so I have all these stalks and leaves. Any uses for them?

i like to roast them alongside the florets, or add to soups. I love the stalks and leaves! We've got loads of cauliflower recipes in our Recipe Finder.

I am easily influenced: zhoug & Spicy Chili Crisp are now in my fridge. Where has SCC been all my life?? I want to put it in everything.

I feel the same way about chili crisp. 

I asked last week about how my bean soup always ends up creamy. Joe: I sauté the veg and put the dried beans in the pot when I add the water/broth and let it go (minimum 3 hours). So to make a clear broth bean soup, I should cook the beans separately and add them at the end? Thanks again!!

Exactly! And drain and rinse them before you add. (But save that cooking water for another soup another time!)

We had a power outage yesterday for around seven hours and I had two pounds of ground beef in the fridge for dinner (fresh, not frozen). Do you think it is still good? We never opened the door of the fridge and it still smells ok. I tried the milk this morning and it tasted good (and I'm still alive to tell the tale), but I'm always a little wary with meat.

Here's a chart from the government, whose cutoff is 4 hours. I would be a little concerned, especially with meat.

My favorite apple recipe is Dorie Greenspan's French Apple Cake. I think it's perfect for people who don't think they're good at baking like me because it's pretty easy to make. It comes out amazing every single time and using a variety of apples in the recipe makes it even better.

I love this recipe too -- in fact, I've never made a Dorie Greenspan recipe I didn't like!

I've never tried anything but raw oysters but the appeal of grilling I thought was that they cooked so didn't need to be shucked first. Can it be done without shucking?

Hey, yes, you can put the unshucked oyster directly on the grill. Most will pop open in a minute or two. Then, you can just scrape them out and dip them in or pour over sauce.  Some people just squeeze lemon on them.

(I have never removed the hot oysters, added sauce and put them back on the grill, but maybe folks do that?)

It works, but I love the flavor of the grilled ones with sauce so much.

I moved from using an older oven which just had one setting for broil with no temperature reading to using a new oven that starts broiling at 500F. When a recipe says broil, what temperature should be the default?

Hmm. The most I've had is on/off or maybe low/high for broil. And I always choose high! So I'd say, the highest temp you're allowed. 

For family get-togethers two sisters make soup. One sister's is always better. Her secret ingredient: Parsnips!

Parsnips are so underrated! In my mind they're a bit like carrots with an almost gingery kick.

Cabbage palacsinta - my Hungarian father and I would make all the time. Palacsinta are basically crepes. You saute the thinly sliced cabbage on quite a low light until you think it died. Mix into the crepe batter and make your crepes. Serve with sour cream and apple sauce.

Next time I get a cabbage, I'm definitely making this!

Then say what you mean rather than denigrate. There are plenty of recipes that have ingredients found in most meat and potatoes American households. There are plenty too that don't. Even if I'm not going to make all the recipes, I appreciate the depth and breadth of the food section's recipes and find them all interesting. It's all part of what they should be doing.

Thank you!

Parsnips are fab - I love them roasted.

Try Deborah Madison’s rutabaga soup with smoked paprika croutons, and you’ll be a rutabaga convert for life! Meera Sodha’s new book East has a rutabaga laksa that looks intriguing—something about spice cuts the “rutabaganess.”

Mashed potatoes could be oddly satisfying as they take on some of the juices.

Mmmm. Mashed potatoes -- anytime.

The only mashed potatoes recipe you’ll ever need

Don't really have a recipe as I learned to make it watching my mother while sitting on the stool next to the stove after coming in from playing outside in New England fall or winter weather. Just take peeled and diced apples, a little brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and a little water, put them in a big saucepan and simmer. I like to use macs, romes or cortlands.

I made it obsessively when I lived in New England. Like you, never used a recipe, but played around with the amount of sugar (getting it really, really low) and the spices and types of apples. Love a mix! Have you tried throwing some quince in with the apple? Amazing.

When I search for cabbage recipes, I often get recipes with types specified, like Napa or Savoy, both of which I like, but more often I have only "regular" cabbage on hand. Or the other way around: I need a recipe to use up some Savoy cabbage but can only find recipes for Napa or "regular" or red. Any guidelines for me?

I find red and green cabbage fairly interchangeable, and Napa and Savoy a little more suited to certain dishes. The Kitchn has a great run-through of cabbage types and uses here

So, I have 2 pans that I have always called jelly roll pans, as did my mother. They are 18x12. Was looking for a new jelly roll recipe the other day - I wanted an angel food style jelly roll to use up a lot of frozen egg whites. So I read a lot of jelly roll recipes. It appears that now jelly roll pans are 15x10? Have I been wrong all along? Where do I find such a pan? Can I bake these recipes in my jelly roll pans or do a need to do the math to size them properly? Help?

Jelly roll pans can be either of those sizes, so no, you're not wrong! For best results, use a recipe that calls for the same size pan as what you have. But, if you decide to use a recipe that calls for a smaller pan, the recipe will still work. You will need to reduce the baking time by a few minutes to avoid overbaking the cake, and it will be a bit thinner.

Yes - large cast iron pans. These work so much better than sheet pans themselves, especially for roasting.

Hey, if it works for you, but I would hate to be lugging around cast-iron pans for roasting, especially once they're loaded up. I also love how I can really beat up a sheet pan and scrub away without worrying I'm going to scrape off seasoning. I do also wonder about timing, as cast iron does take longer to heat up and then retains the heat more. If nothing else, I'd think it might take some getting used to.

And if you want to have something multipurpose, sheet pans are what you'll need for cookies, sheet cakes, etc.

I make a turnip and apple soup. Would rutabaga work instead of turnip?


Hi all! Not a question, but a couple of comments. I made the Pecan-crusted Trout with Brown Butter Herb Sauce last night for our anniversary dinner. I used mahi-mahi instead of trout. It was delicious, and very easy to make; I highly recommend that everyone try this recipe. The fish came out so tasty and moist. Also, my compliments to all of you on the food section for 9/23/2020. It was one of the best and most interesting ones that I’ve seen in a while. Maybe because I love tofu! I am looking forward to making the Koshimbir with Tadka Indian salad also. Thanks for all the work you do and keeping us inspired in our cooking adventures!

So glad! Thank you!

You brought back some childhood memories there. The farm down the road from us -- which also supplied most of our peaches, strawberries, corn, and holiday turkeys -- had a substantial pick-your-own apple orchard. Since apple drops -- apples that you picked up off the ground -- were priced substantially lower than apples you picked off the trees, my mother would always scramble us kids to get ready during a thunderstorm, because the storm would blow ripe apples onto the ground, and we could get great apples at a bargain price. Then we would come home and make applesauce and apple crisp and apple pie. I have no shortage of apples today, but of course the nostalgia makes that childhood applesauce taste better in memory. (Also, my mom used much more butter and sugar in her applesauce than my delightful spouse does. I'm so spoiled.)

So great. This makes me nostalgic for a childhood that I didn't have!

I use my 2 constantly. I especially like them for prep work. And for taking items to and from the outdoor grill. They are probably the most useful items in my kitchen.

They're so useful. Bonnie Benwick wrote this ode to hers a few years back.

What's the best way to store coffee for multiple months? I bought and opened two different coffees, one whole bean the other ground, and didn't like either one (they're too light for my taste). I haven't found anyone to give them to so I figure I should hold onto them as emergency stash in case there's a shortage or I can't shop. They're in the 'fridge, taking up a lot of space.


As in the article, the Post staff seems to live in a different version of the DC area than I do - "overzealous day trip to your favorite orchard"? "farm boxes brimming with apples"? Every orchard I've checked (in MD), and every stand at the farmers' market, is lamenting the extremely limited availability of apples this year due to the Mother's Day frosts. There are apples, but it's far from the "fill a bag for $15" level of bounty of a normal fall.

First of all, our online articles have a national (actually mostly national!) audience. Second, my farmers market and farm boxes have been brimming with apples, at least from the West Virginia and Pennsylvania growers. So, yes, I guess we do live in different places.

That's one of the things I love about so many of the farmers markets in the area -- they draw from so many states that we usually have good options. If there were problems in one area, another can make it up.

Just a quick thank you to Joe for the excellent BBQ baked lentils recipe. I used the brown lentils (whole masoor) commonly used in Indian cooking - they worked perfectly. It's going into our regular rotation!

So glad to hear this! 

Barbecue "Baked" Lentils

Recipe please!

Is the OP chatter here and can share?

Native New Englander who also made apple cause incessantly. Cut unpeeled apples into chunks with just a little water in a covered saucepan. Cook until soft and put through a food mill. That is all - no spices or sugar. Macintosh or Macouns make the best, and it's rosy red from cooking with the peel. I'm getting cravings just typing this. You can can it, too.

Nice! I don't even put through a food mill -- I love the slightly chunky texture!

My husband's mother's family was from Hungary. Her Cole slaw was the best - it was simply dressed with a vinagrette.

So good.

When I have too much pulled pork, I prepare a type of sheperd's pie (we call it pâté chinois in Québec) with one layer of pulled pork (instead of ground beef), one layer of cream corn and one layer of mashed potatoes (you can even put cheese curds in the potatoes, yum). Put it in the oven for around an hour and voilà!

Great idea. I bet you could use it in this recipe from Cathy Barrow, which calls for ground lamb. You  might want to adjust the spice to suit the flavor of the pork.

If I have to use the microwave, I do it on 60% in 1 min increments and stir in between. I've found it's worth the hassle as it gives the most uniform reheating without the superheated feel.

Agreed -- I do power level 5 (or 50%) when reheating most things, and also short increments/stirring. Thanks for the tip!

Can the butter-garlic sauce be used for gambas al ajillo? That's a shrimp dish I've absolutely loved in Spain, Nicaragua and Mexico, but I haven't been able to replicate it at home.

I think it would be great. I've used it when I get really big shrimp that I want to broil. I leave them in the shell, split them open and then broil them with the sauce. So good.

No need to post this, just wanted to say thanks for answering my question! Going to try the microwaving and steaming and see how it goes.

You are welcome. Report back next week!

Cortlands, picked slightly green, the size of softballs, from Hick's Apple Orchard in Kingsbury, NY. Best apple pies ever. For eating, Northern Spy

The roasted vegetables at Luke in New Orleans are the best I've ever had and it was the first time I'd tried parsnips. I was able to get close to the taste at home, but my husband has complained each time we've had them that the parsnips specifically leave a weird and very unpleasant taste in his mouth--to the point where he doesn't want them. Is this a common thing, or just him?

A little hard to guess, but certainly foods can taste different to different people. Cilantro is the biggest example!

My 3 go-to cabbage dishes are cabbage poriyal (a South Indian dish with coconut, like a stir fry), egg roll bowls where you stir fry the cabbage and veggies you would find inside the egg roll with sauce, and hot apple slaw from the Joy of Cooking ‘90s Ed. The last one calls for bacon to be cooked and the fat used to make the in-pan dressing but I just melt some coconut oil instead and, when I can get it, crumble some fake bacon over the top in the end.

Thanks for this!

When I was a kid in the late 1950's, my father would buy several bushels of apples in the fall, and we'd have an assembly line making applesauce. We cored and cut them but didn't peel them before cooking. We used a foley mill to remove the skins before canning. The applesauce was pink!

PINK! Love it. That sounds like fun.

All right, since someone else asked it... the recipe writer is assuming we are going to put the pan near or far from the heating element, but doesn’t that assume an electric oven? Mine is gas and as far as I can tell, the broiler is on top and the other elements are hidden away. With my old oven the broiler was in a drawer and the elements were in the bottom. Does the heat still come from the bottom?

Mine is gas as well. The broiler is on the top. 

I put the pan in the lower third when I want it closer to the heat. I don't know if every gas oven is the same. Hope this helps.

Any suggestions for 4 different kinds of apples that would work in that recipe? Calls for 4 apples, each different kind. Thinking Honeycrisp, Granny Smith?.. Other ideas?

Sun Crisp and Jona Gold?

I worked in a diner eons ago that offered an omelette with stewed apples and cheddar. It was delicious.

I have found to my sorrow that those tasty little salad turnips make any wine taste bitter. Even one bite; the wine is ruined for me for the rest of the meal.

where can I buy cheese curds, the kind that midwesterners and Canadians love so much? What are they labeled in supermarkets?

Don't feel silly! They're not available everywhere. I found them at Mom's Organic Market in DC the other day, but don't think I've seen them anywhere else. Should be labeled as cheese curds! Call your local supermarkets before you make the trip to see if they have them. 

I have a freshly-minted mushroom lover in my family, because we found a way to prepare them where they were more crispy than slimy (roasted in butter until caramelized). Do you have suggestions for recipes or other cooking styles that might be appealing? What would you suggest for dried mushrooms? Thank you!

The thing about mushrooms is that you need to either cook them very briefly, so they're juicy (but not slimy) or keep cooking them long enough that you drive out the extra moisture (so they're firm and even, yes, crispy but not slimy). I love roasting them -- make sure to leave enough space between them so they don't steam, do it at a high heat (450 or higher), and keep going longer than you think!

I prefer to use dried mushrooms for flavoring stock/sauces rather than reconstituting whole and treating like fresh.

Now here's something decidedly not slimy: Mushroom "Bacon"! Give it a try.

Here's a list of mushroom ideas for you: 

15 mushroom recipes for your plate, bowl or soul

20 ounce apples! Wish you could get them here!

Hi all,
Thanks for joining us for the week's chat. We shared lots of apple recipes, but we talked about so much more, too.

Bonus: Becky dug back into the archives to share a 1996 recipe for Kick-Ya-In-The-Kishkas Spicy Honey Cake that another reader swears by as well.

As you know, each week we give away a 30-day subscription to the Post as a way to recognize our favorite comment. 

This week is the reader to submitted heartwarming memories of apple picking: "Since apple drops -- apples that you picked up off the ground -- were priced substantially lower than apples you picked off the trees, my mother would always scramble us kids to get ready during a thunderstorm, because the storm would blow ripe apples onto the ground, and we could get great apples at a bargain price. Then we would come home and make applesauce and apple crisp and apple pie."

So sweet.

Please share your email with and she'll tel you how to retrieve your subscription. (Already a subscriber, you can give it to a friend.)

See you next week.

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.
Tim Carman
Tim Carman is a staff reporter for Food and writes a weekly column on casual dining.
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.
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