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What's Cooking, America?

Gas vs. coal grills, cabbage slaw, peppermint stick ice cream, shortcake...

Kim O'Donnel
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Thursday, July 1, 2004; 12:00 PM

Calling all foodies! The main event of the summer cookout/picnic season is almost here. Tired of burgers and potato salad or just looking for a new spin on these old favorites? Join host Kim O'Donnel for a special July 4th weekend edition of What's Cooking."

The transcript follows.

Kim O'Donnel (Craig Cola - washingtonpost.com)

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O'Donnel is a graduate of Peter Kump's New York Cooking School.

Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.

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Kim O'Donnel: Happy July, all. I've got a bunch of menu ideas for the long holiday weekend. If you're stumped, consider a few of these little tried and true gems....
How about starting things off with some Blueberry Lemonade and some snacks such as guacamole and hummus?


Make a big bowl of mayo-free potato salad, for kicks.

Fun main course ideas include fried chicken, whole grilled fish, or a bunch of

fish and veggie kebabs, or any old kebabs for that matter (try some grilled pineapple)...in the grilled fish recipe, check details for charmoula, a Moroccan marinade that will knock your socks off.

If marinades are of interest, you can check last year's video on jerk and tandoori; also check this week's Food section lede story for a great list of all kinds of rubs for the grill...

For desserts, consider cooling
lemon granita, a homey yet soul-satisying
Nectarine-Blackberry Slump, or a fruit clafoutis....

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Kim O'Donnel: Oh yeah, let's try to keep the hour al fresco, picnic, BBQ, Fourthy specific...and then next week, you can do the free for all...

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Northern Virginia - Picnic Side Dish with Red Cabbage?: I have a large head of red (purple?) cabbage from my CSA delivery that I need to consume and an outdoor potluck party this weekend to which I need to bring a side. Great match I'm thinking!! Any suggestions on a kicky sidedish utilizing that cabbage? Mayo-based coleslaw is totally out (my sweetie shares your aversion to the stuff). The main dishes are fried chicken and NC-style barbecue, so this dish doesn't need to fulfill a specific theme, but I would like it to hold up well at room/outdoor temp (tall order I know). I've located a handful of vinegar-based dressings for a coleslaw, but nothing has knocked my socks off yet.

And if I can offer up a CSA suggestion -- I'm very happy so far with my half-share in Great Country Farms (www.greatcountryfarms.com). A big plus is that they deliver every Thursday to my front door! This is our first year to do a CSA and it's been a hoot so far.

Kim O'Donnel: Hey there,
I love vinegar slaws too. Try shredding it or grating and mixing with some julienne red bell pepper, some fresh herbs like cilantro or fresh parsley, even some chilies....Rice wine vin is nice for these kinds of slaw...I also like a kick of strong mustard...and maybe some scallions...

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Kim! We are a mayo-hating family and thus always searching for interesting things to bring to bbqs. My orzo salad (with lemon, olive oil, toasted pine nuts, feta and scallions) is always a big hit, but frankly I am getting tired of making it. What else can I bring along those lines without mayo?? Thanks!!

Kim O'Donnel: See if you like the potato salad number I've listed above, with link...or the hummus (actually that link also includes details for tabbouleh)...

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Ballston, Va.: Hi Kim -- This might be an "out there" request, but do you know of any recipes for coconut gazpacho? I'm thinking this cool app will be great for the 4th, but I've never actually made it myself!

Kim O'Donnel: Funny, I was just looking at a recipe for coconut chutney, from South India...does anyone have thoughts on this coco matter?

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Washington, D.C.: Hello -- Looking for 4th of July (or anytime really) ideas that use a LOT of dill. (1-2 tablespoons doesn't even begin to make a dent in my garden.) Am open to anything, main, side, soup, veggie, not... Thanks!

Kim O'Donnel: Dill works well in potato salad, dear. Cucumbers...you can make a great big cuke salad with tomaters and lots o dill and make some red onion...

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Alexandria, Va.: I'm in charge of dessert for the Sunday festivities. I was thinking of making a strawberry and blueberry shortcake dish, but am looking for a good shortcake recipe to use. Anyone have one?

Kim O'Donnel: anyone with shortcakey thoughts?

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Thomas Circle, Washington, DC;: Hey Kim!; I have an odd fourth of July question for you, and I really hope you can answer it. My family makes a killer peppermint ice cream each fourth of July, and despite having the recipe, I am unable to re-create it. (The cuisinart ice cream maker I bought last year was useless, and I no longer have it.) Is there any place where I could purchase peppermint (preferably pink) ice cream?

Thank you!; Love the chats!;

Kim O'Donnel: Gosh, if they weren't eating lunch I'd ask my pals in the Entertainment Guide where they'd go for such a thing...if they don't come back in the next few minutes, perhaps ask Ms. B and the rest of that gange at 1 when they come online.

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Upstate New York: Here are two excellent mayo-free slaws:

Asian-Style Fruit Slaw

Asian Dressing:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fine-minced ginger root
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Fruit Slaw:
1 medium head Napa cabbage, sliced thin
1 cup thin-sliced red cabbage
3 nectarines or plums, rinsed, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
1/2 cup diagonal-sliced scallions
1/2 cup cashews, roughly chopped or broken
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup candied ginger, slivered fine

To make dressing: Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive small bowl; whisk to combine. To make slaw: Place all ingredients in a nonreactive large bowl and toss with dressing to combine. Makes 8 servings.

Farmers' Market Berry Poppy Seed Slaw

4 cups thin-sliced green cabbage
1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced thin
1 large carrot, shredded
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup raspberry, balsamic, or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons canola or walnut oil
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

In a large nonreactive bowl, combine cabbage, berries, carrot, poppy seeds, sugar, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and allow to rest 20 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Kim O'Donnel: Terrific ideas. Thanks so much!

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Washington, D.C.: I want to pick up some hot dogs or sausages for the grill at Whole Foods, anyone have reccomendations for favorite ones? Thanks!

Kim O'Donnel: A few I polled sung the praises of the Meditteranean lamb sausages...I've enjoyed some of the chicken varieties as well...hot dogs? Niman Ranch does a mean job.

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Philadelphia, Pa.: Hi Kim,

I've been a loyal reader since I lived in DC two years ago and now I have a question. My husband and I are headed to the beach for the holiday and are to be accompanied by our sisters and a few friends. We'll have a full kitchen at our disposal, but nobody wants to spend hours cooking or cleaning. I'm looking for some summery, make-ahead options that will maximize time in the sun and minimize time in the suds. Any suggestions from the foodies would be greatly appreciated!

Kim O'Donnel: Hey Miss Thing,
check some of the menu ideas I shared at the top of the hour. Fried chix for sure can be made in advance, as can the potato salad, hummus, blueberry lemonade, the desserts...see what you think. If you're still not satisfied, holler over...

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re: Orzo Salad: That sounds tasty. Can we get the recipe???

Kim O'Donnel: One person's boredom is another's amusement...

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Vienna, Va.: Hi Kim,
I'm going to the beach this weekend with my best friend and her family. I'd like to make something nice for her parents and sister's family. There will be about six adults and three kids. The only problem is that I need to make something that won't be perishable during the six hour drive to North Carolina. Any suggestions?

Kim O'Donnel: With zucchinis in season, consider this ditty for chocolate zucchini cake. It's so good you may even eat it for breakfast. Should help up well in the car...

Adapted from Mimi Montano's Chocolate zucchini cake
from Death by Chocolate Cakes by Marcel Desaulniers
I use extra virgin olive oil with great results here. If you don't like the flavor, vegetable oil is fine. Also have used carrots in place of zucchini,adding a little ground ginger as well.
Preheat oven to 325. Coat with soft butter a nonstick angel food cake pan or a bundt pan.

Combine 3 cups flour, 2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp.
baking soda and 1 tsp. salt.

Grate 1 large zuke with food processor or box grater. Set aside

Place 1 1/2 cups sugar and 4 eggs in bowl of electric mixer. beat on medium-high
for about 2 minutes, until light in color and thickened. Then use rubber spatula
to scrape down sides. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups olive oil in a steady stream
while mixing...continue to mix until batter is yellow in color and thick, about
1 1/2 minutes...Melt 3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate and add to bowl, mix in.
Then add dry ingredients (I find mixing with spatula over machine works better
at this point)...Then add grated zucchini, mix til incorporated. Add 2 cups
semisweet chocolate chips...Transfer batter to prepared pan, spread evenly.
Bake til skewer comes out clean, about 1 hour.

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Catonsville, Md.: I have been invited to a clam bake this 4th of July weekend. I was told that the clams will be cooked in a large pot with other seafood and veggies. What kind of wine would you suggest? What side dish goes would you suggest?

Thanks Kim

Kim O'Donnel: That sounds fun, Catonsville. I'm thinking a Viognier or a Sauvignon Blanc. Wait, hold that thought: My first choice would be a Spanish white, either an Albarino or a white Rioja. See if you can find of those. Side dish: I'm thinking a corn salad, of blanched corn kernels, diced red onion, fresh herbs, cumin, cayenne, lime juice...

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Arlington, Va.: I'm in the same CSA as the person with the purple cabbage. I used mine by making up my own cole slaw recipe. Instead of mayo I used a very small amount of vanilla yogurt (for the creamy texture) and sesame oil (for flavor), threw in a bunch of other 'asian-ish' seasonings, and added some colorful other veggies for color. This week's delivery brought 2 large yellow squash. To me they look like the usually gumball-sized patty-pan squash, but 10 times bigger. What can I do with these? Slice and grill?

Kim O'Donnel: Thanks for chiming in, Arlington, Really tho, you use vanilla yogurt instead of plain? For patty-pan, you can slice and grill or saute...I find summer squash needs herbs...I love'em with fresh chopped mint or parsley...

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Washington, D.C. re: shortcakes: This recipe, from epicurious, is great:

For biscuits
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled whipping cream
1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Make biscuits:
Preheat oven to 375?F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Blend flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt in processor 5 seconds. Add butter. Using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1 cup cream and orange peel. Process just until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball; gently knead 5 turns. Roll out dough on floured surface to 3/4-inch-thick round. Using 3-inch-diameter cutter, cut out 3 rounds. Gather dough and reroll as needed to make 3 more 3-inch rounds. Arrange rounds on prepared sheet. Brush with 2 tablespoons cream; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.

Bake biscuits until pale golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. (Can be made 2 hours ahead.)

Kim O'Donnel: Hey, this is great. Thanks for sharing.

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Seattle Grilling: Hi Kim,
We just moved into a new place and finally have a deck. Whoo hoo!; Along with planting lots of herbs and maybe even some baby greens, I'd love to get a grill to accompany the deck. We've had a small portable gas one, which was great for fast prep and cool down, but wasn't real hot. Should I buy a larger gas grill or a charcoal grill instead? Thanks and happy 4th!;

Kim O'Donnel: We've had all kinds of grill equipment questions lately, Seattle. One reader is really happy with her outdoor electric grill. Does anyone want to weigh in on grills?

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Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: For the poster asking about sausages at Whole Foods; I haven't had a single one of the Hans chicken sausages I didn't like. They're not cheap but they're very dense and delicious. The chipotle is nice and spicy and the feta cheese is also delicious. They can get dry if you cook them too long but if you're grilling they're perfect!

Kim O'Donnel: Thank you, AM. I guess I should also clarify that the sausages I mentioned earlier are available fresh, at the meat counter...

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Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: For the poster looking for pink peppermint ice cream: I get mine at Maggie Moo's.

Kim O'Donnel: Thank moo...

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Dill ideas!;:
There are a million things to do with dill!; Try dill in scrambled eggs, use dill, salt and pepper instead of salad dressing, make dilled mushrooms (dill, sliced mushrooms, worcesteshire sauce, a little vinegar and maybe some port sauteed), my dad used to make a killer veggie dip with dill -- however, as he has passed I can't get the recipe -- a good substitute though is cream cheese, garlic, lemon zest, worcesteshire sauce and tons of dill -- works for potato chips as well as crudites. Also, make a dill yogurt sauce for chicken pitas!;

Have fun!;

Kim O'Donnel: Excellent dill work, my dear.

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Washington, D.C.: Our favorite bbq side dish is a roasted veggie we do on the grill alongside the meat. I slice up zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, and dump them into a bowl with halved grape tomatoes. I marinate them for a few hours in olive oil, lime juice, and a little salt and pepper. Then I wrap them in a foil packet and put them on the grill about ten minutes before we toss on the steaks. They turn out great and complement the fiery steaksauce my husband makes.

Kim O'Donnel: The beauty of grilled veg is that you can make it up as you go along. The same combo you have could also do beatifully on skewers...thanks for sharing.

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Washington, D.C.: For the person with the head of red cabbage, I like it with red onion, raspberry vinegar, walnuts, part-skim mozzarella (grated), salt, pepper. You can steam the cabbage, chop fine, mix with the other ingredients, and bake until it oozes!

Kim O'Donnel: Another cabbagey idea...

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Chennai, India: Curried Potatoes
Can be made ahead & will keep well on long drives

Boil 4 large Potatoes until done.
Remove skin & roughly cut into big pieces
In a saucepan, add 2 tablespoons of oil. When hot add 1 teaspoon each of cumin, turmeric and corinader powder and 1/2 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes (Alternatively can add 1.5 teaspoons of curry powder). Add the potatoe pices. Lower heat to medium low & toss to coat potatoes evenly. Salt generously!; Its done. If you like eh potatoes crispy - let it saty on the pan longer & turn after 5-10 minutes.
Garnish with fresh cilantro or basil or dill or oregano

Kim O'Donnel: You're climbing right up my tree, Chennai. I love this kind of thing. Cheers!

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RE: Grills: Charcoal baby, all the way. The Weber Kettle is simple, compact, and easy to clean if you get the one with the dump feature at the bottom. And don't believe the people who say it takes too long to heat up. Just buy a chimney starter for $6 and the fabulous cowboy charcoal at Trader Joes. You'll have hot coals ready to cook with in 10 minutes.

Kim O'Donnel: One vote for the coal...

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Coconut Gazpacho?: Hi, Kim. I've never heard of coconut gazpacho, but maybe Ballston could throw some coconut into a mango gazpacho? I usually use mango, cukes, red onion, yellow or orange pepper, rice wine vinegar, cold water, sometimes jalapeno peppers or a squirt or two of Asian Chili Sauce.

Kim O'Donnel: Mango gazpacho, besides helping to bring about world peace, would be great with coconut....

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Alexandria, Va.: Hello,
I'd like to make steak fajitas on the grill. can you recommend a spicy seasoning marinade or a rub? Is flank steak the only fajita meat? Thanks!

Kim O'Donnel: You can get a hangar or skirt steak as well. Even a sirloin. Cut thin on the bias...I'm looking at a fun rub of crushed fennel seeds, olive oil, black pepper and salt...Not real spicy but oh so flavorful..You could make a relish or sauce to go with for serving...

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Clifton, Va.: Real hardwood charcoal, no brigettes(sic). Hotter than gas by several undred degrees. I have seen almost a 1000 degrees F on my Weber kettle. Great for searing prime steaks and tuna. Kingsford is like a WMD and adds a strange taste to food!

Kim O'Donnel: Another vote for the coal, but the real stuff, kids...

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Freeport, Maine: Had to jump in here with a shortcake suggestion. Current issues of Cooking Light and Bon Appetit both have great shortcake recipes inside. However, I find for quick, easy and great tasting, there is nothing like the recipe on the side of a Bisquick box!;

Kim O'Donnel: Excellent. I have it at my desk but where does the time go...

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Washington, D.C. - Grill thoughts: Gas and charcoal grills both have their pros and cons. The flavor from charcoal grills is undeniably better, but the hassle of dealing with the coals and the ashes can take a lot of work. Also, I've had trouble keeping smaller charcoal grills going for long bbq sessions. Now I use a gas grill, and I find that I use it a lot more frequently and all through the year (which might be even more important in Seattle where the weather is mild). The trade off in slightly less smoky flavor is worth it. I would also say that grills take a lot of punishment because of the high heat, and they inevitably have a 3-5 year life span. So buy a good one, but I wouldn't spring for the most expensive model. I would recommend getting two tanks, however - nothing's worse than running out of gas during a party... best to have a spare. Happy grilling!

Kim O'Donnel: Wonderful tips from someone who clearly has spent time on this issue...

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Lack of a grill : Hey Kim!;
My friends and I want to have a BBQ for the 4th but don't have a grill, any idea where we can get one for cheap or an alternative that makes the same great flavor!;
thanks!;!;!;

Kim O'Donnel: A lot of readers love the small Foreman gizmos...you can buy a hibachi, fyi if you want to do the outdoor thing...

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Annapolis, Md.: When I was growing up, a neighbor-lady use to give us watermelon spiked with fruit punch. I LOVED it, and would like to try a grown-up version. Any ideas?

Kim O'Donnel: So did she inject it with the punch?

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Washington, D.C.: What are some tasty and easy-to-make vegan dishes to bring to a cookout this Monday that will entrance both vegans and omnivores alike?

Kim O'Donnel: I think skewers are the way to go, even if it's all veggie/fruit and tofu...it's pretty hard to pass up these things, even as a hard-core meat eater...ever consider tofu skewers? Make sure you marinate the tofu...

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Virginia: Kim, Why not recoomend a nice MD or Va wine to Catonsville instead of a Spanish one. You promote local farms and farmers markets why note local vineyards! Grey Ghost or Barboursville in VA whites would be a perfect choice.

Kim O'Donnel: If there was a local wine that I enjoyed consistently, I'd be very happy to promote it. Just hasn't happened yet.

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Nani, Texas: Well I swannee, you're in fine form today!; Thanks to you and your lovely posters, I'm going to surprise my family this 4th by making the Berry Poppy Seed Slaw and Corn Salad for our picnic. (They think I'll be bringing the regular old standby potato salad-haha).

Kim O'Donnel: Nani, keep the love alive!

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Shortcake recipe: My mom always used the shortcake recipe from her age-old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. It's a bit more like a big biscuit--not too sweet or cakey, which I love!; She'd make them in 2 big 9" rounds, layer with berries and ice cream...Think I'll make one this weeknd now that I think about it...

Kim O'Donnel: Thanks, dear. There are lots of variations on this theme...

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For Thomas Circle-Ice Cream Request: I'm as close to positive as I can be that Friendly Restaurant sells Peppermint Stick ice cream that is light pink with little pieces of darker pink peppermint candy throughout. Best of luck, and ENJOY!;

Kim O'Donnel: Now the challenge is to find a Friendly's in Washington...

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Dallas, Tex. Side Dish: Why not make a cold cous cous salad? There are so many different vegetables and meats you can put. I love making it with grilled chicken, sesame oil, olives, red peppers, red onions, cilantro and a dash of lime juice. I'm sure your guests would love it.


Chef in Training

Kim O'Donnel: Yes, great idea. I did this for a video a few years back. I also love adding chickepeas to this number....

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Orzo Salad, DC: The orzo salad is super easy and like I said - everyone LOVES it. Here's what I do (take off on Epicurious recipe but I use less oil, more lemon):

1 lb orzo
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
6 oz or so feta, crumbled
1 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and green parts)

Whisk together lemon juice and olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Boil orzo about 1 minute less than the box says.
Drain and toss hot orzo with olive oil and lemon juice.
Cool, and then refrigerate until cold (you could do this overnight if you want). Stir and toss with pine nuts, feta, and scallions, and more salt and pepper if necessary.

Kim O'Donnel: Excellent. And I love that you improv as well..nice going.

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New York, NY: I need help!; We will be waiting with MOBS of people to watch the fireworks, so space and time aren't luxuries. We've got to get outside around 3 but won't eat until 8 or so, and I need to pack dinner/munchies/any picnic thing. What are some foods I could pack that can sit out for five hours? (Also, we're broke, so please, nothing expensive!;)

Kim O'Donnel: you're packing a little soft cooler bag, right? otherwise, I'm not going to recommend anything except plenty of water. With the weather going into the 90s, you'll need to keep any kind of food cold...so tell me, dear.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Kim,
Just had to tell you about this amazing rub I used on grilled salmon. I got it from Cooking Light and it's called Pastrami Salmon. It turned my kids aged 23 and 9 into Salmon lovers.
It's 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon each of powdered ginger, garlic, kosher salt, ground pepper,coriander, and 1/2 tsp of allspice. The sugar carmelizes on the grill and it's fabulous!
I'm making it again for the 4th.
P.S. I love your cooking demos!

Kim O'Donnel: I've seen this one. Glad for the first-hand report. Keep up the good work, dear.

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Re: peppermint ice cream: They won't have it this week, but it's worth the wait to try the Del Ray Dreamery's pepermint ice cream/custard (or any flavor, for that matter). They have it on tap July 24-25.

Kim O'Donnel: And if I may add, Dreamery is one of the best darn ice cream places on the planet...

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Gas Grill: For the clickster who worries about running out of gas in the middle of a party...

If you take a glass of hot (nearly boiling) and pour it down the side of your gas tank, you can find the gas line easily - the hot water will turn very cold at and below the gas line. Very easy way to see how much you have left in your tank.

I'm another proponent of gas, BTW. I love the real stuff (charchol), but gas is so easy that I can use it anytime - heats up quick. No muss, no fuss.

Kim O'Donnel: Excellent tidbits...a vote for gas...it looks split, folks.

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Rosslyn, Va.: What about people that want to grill but don't have one? Where can we buy a cheap one or what can we do to improvise??

Kim O'Donnel: Hardware stores, Target, even CVS...also, public parks have grills...any one know of a reliable one?

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re: Friendlys: There's one in Silver Spring/White Oak area. Another in Arlington, north of Ballston/VA Square, I believe.

Kim O'Donnel: and if you want to do the Friendly's peppermint, here are more details...

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Springfield, Va.: For the person looking for peppermint ice cream, Wal-Mart superstores carry a delicious version by Blue Bunny. I don't remember it being pink in color. I think it's more white with crushed candy pieces. Yum.

Kim O'Donnel: Another very obscure tidbit, which I of course, immensely appreciate. You people are wizards...

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Montgomery Village, Md. mom: For peppermint ice cream try York Castle in Silver Spring. 9324 GEORGIA AVE, SILVER SPRING, MD 20910 (301) 589-1616 They have lots of fun flavors, Call first because they change flavors frequently.
For the grill and deck question we love our Weber gas grill. It comes with an extra burner --we use it year around. I love its consistency.

Kim O'Donnel: Ah! Bueno, Mom! Forgot that they might have as well...and another vote for the gas..

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Rockville, Md.: Here's a use for a lot of dill: make gravlax. It requires large bunches of it. I have a lot of dill too and I'm letting it go to seed b/c the flowers attract a lot of beneficial insects and are quite attractive in the garden, with their umbrella shape.

Kim O'Donnel: Yes indeed. Nice idea.

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Side Dish Hit: Here is a side dish that is always a hit:
One box cooked farfalle pasta (or any other shape really)

one package herbed crumbled goat cheese

one bag spinach (wilted or boiled)

one package grape tomatos (halved)

Throw all ingredients except the pasta in large bowl, then toss with the pasta when it is stilll hot. The goat cheese kind of coats everything but leaves some chunks. This is easy and always a big hit -- hot or cold!;

Kim O'Donnel: Yes, does sound nice...I'd add some olive oil, too.

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Manassas, Va.: My wife found an interesting recipe for "fried" green tomatoes that are grilled or broiled.

1 Tblsp of Dijon Mustard
1 Tblsp of Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tblsp of Olive Oil
about 1 Tblsp of chopped fresh basil.

Slice the tomatoes and put the mixture on the slide facing the flame. Turn when soft and again coat side facing the flame. May need to make more coating (I laid it on too heavy for first side).

Looks and tastes like "fried" green tomatoes without the fried and batter.

Kim O'Donnel: Well done, Manassas. Sounds tasty.

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San Fran, Calif.: For the dill person, don't forget the dill pesto!! Freeze it and save, you'll be glad you did when winter comes. It can be thawed and used in any of the afformentioned recipes.

Kim O'Donnel: Dill pesto. Now that's one I haven't done. Do you add cheese, too?

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Clifton, Va.: Another idea for the shortcake person... I use scones (my recipe includes buttermilk) for my "shortcakes."

Spread a little unsalted butter and homemade raspberry jam on halved, warm scones, add sliced fruit, and whipped cream.

Fabulous!

Kim O'Donnel: Yes, yes...love it!

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Williamstown, Mass.: Hi Kim,
I'm having ladies over for book club one evening next week. I thought I'd like to serve Margaritas--but that sort of puts me at a loss for what sort of sweet to serve with it. It needs to be some sort of finger food. Does chocolate go with margaritas?

Kim O'Donnel: Can we discuss on Tuesday? I feel that desserts are out of the question with ye olde margaritas, dear. I was thinking, tho, lemon-cumin biscuits...let's talk soon.

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Frederick, Md.: Lack of Grill: I have devised several grills out of large metal containers and oven shelf grills -- one was in an old metal wheelbarrow (easy to move and dump over to clean because of the handles) and a simpler one of a large tin washtub-type container, filled with sand (until the coals would be the right distance from the grill) and topped with an old oven shelf. Never had any complaints about the food, and it was fun!

Kim O'Donnel: Terrific ideas, Frederick. I'd go camping with you in a hot second...

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Ice Cream, USA: Max's Best in Glover Park makes fantastic
peppermint ice cream and I believe it is
pink. If they don't have it on the menu that
day they may make it for you.

Kim O'Donnel: Another delicious idea for peppermint ice cream...

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Washington, D.C.: Kim, I'm making two salads (pasta and no mayo potato) for the 4th for a BBQ with about 30 people. Knowing that there will be a lot of food there, corn, beans, dip/chips in addition to burgers and hotdogs. How many people should I make the salads to serve? My base recipe says it serves 4 - should I quadruple it?

Thanks!

Kim O'Donnel: If you're using small potatoes, I'd say 2-3 per person. If larger, 1-2 per person. For pasta salad, consider 3 ounces pasta per person.

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Kim O'Donnel: It's time to split, my friends. Terrific energy, ideas. Have a grand ole time, ya hear? Be safe, don't forget the SPF, drink in moderation, unless of course, it's water. Let's catch up next Tuesday, after the hotdog hangovers...Peace.

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