Chat Leftovers: Chestnuts, anyone?

Morning, all. Time to wake up and smell the coffee — but first, you have to brew it. That’s where Food writer Tim Carman can give you a hand. He spent weeks testing different kinds of coffeemaking gear and assessing their performance. He ended up with a serious caffeine buzz and three helpful stories for you. Read about his experiments; get a closer look at the nine brewing devices he tried; and drink in his tips for making better coffee at home.

Also this week, Bonnie S. Benwick inaugurates the Superfoods Chef’s Challenge. Each month she’ll give one sporting local chef a list of nutritious “superfoods”; the chef selects two and must come up with four original recipes using one or both of them. No superfood choice can be repeated, so as the list of possibilities dwindles, the task may get harder. Our first participant: Nick Palermo of Old Angler’s Inn, who picked turkey and avocados.

VIENNA, VA, JANUARY 9, 2013: Winter salad of shaved cucumber, radish and endive with lemon vinaigrette. Dishware courtesy of Crate & Barrel. (Photo by ASTRID RIECKEN For The Washington Post)

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And Unearthed columnist Tamar Haspel weighs in this month with a question: Scientists seem to agree that genetically modified foods aren’t unsafe, so why the calls for specially labeling foods that include them? Read about it here.

Of course, it’s Free Range chat day, and two special guests will be on hand to help answer your culinary questions: the aforementioned chef Palermo and Judith Mandel, a former barista for Peregrine Espresso. It starts at noon and lasts just one hour. To whet your appetite, here’s a leftover question from last week’s chat:

Where’s the best place to find fresh chestnuts? I’ve had terrible luck finding good ones!

Can I make a request here? It would be ever so helpful if folks searching for products of some sort would mention where they live; that way, we can sometimes come up with answers that are a little more helpful. If I knew you lived in Greenbelt, for example, I wouldn’t spend a lot of time calling stores in Leesburg.

But back to your question. We’re a little past prime chestnut season, but I’ve found a few places where you might get lucky. At least two locations of Mom’s Organic Market — Fairfax (Merrifield) and Rockville — say they have fresh chestnuts right now, selling for $11.99 a pound. At least one location of Balducci’s (McLean) claims to have them, but the person who answered the phone said the nuts might be back in a storage area, not out in the produce department, so you might have to ask at the store for them. Their price is $7.99 a pound.

And there’s always the Internet. You can try a co-op in Florida called USA Chestnut, though they note on their Web site that the season is coming to an end. But they still appear to have organic chestnuts available at $6.95 a pound, not including shipping.

I hope you snag some, because our Recipe Finder has plenty of chestnut recipes you can try. Head to washingtonpost.com/recipes to find them. I’ll get you started with a few:

Roasted Chestnuts

Chestnut Puree

Marrons Glacés

Chestnuts in Spiced Honey

Chestnut Soup With Green Peppercorn Mascarpone

Tagliatelle in Chestnut and Pancetta Sauce

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