What's Cooking

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Kim O'Donnel
Special to washingtonpost.com
Tuesday, June 6, 2006; 12:00 PM

Calling all foodies! Join us for another edition of What's Cooking , our live online culinary hour with Kim O'Donnel .

A graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education (formerly known as Peter Kump's New York Cooking School), Kim spends much of her time in front of the stove or with her nose in a cookbook.

Catch up on previous transcripts with the What's Cooking archive page .

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Kim O'Donnel: What will it be today: cherries or garlic scapes ? Life is grand when you're faced with such delicious choices at your local farm market this week. The goodies are arriving in full force, and I suggest you high-tail it after work this week to pick up some. What's ripe in your kitchen today? I'm eager to hear your field reports. Also would like feedback on the blog -- if there's something you'd like covered (more? less?), things you're curious about -- gimme your wishlists. And now, let's heat up that skillet...

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Budapest, Hungary: Quick question: Are hot paprika and hot red pepper flakes interchangeable? Do they come from the same source and are just processed differently?

Kim O'Donnel: Coming from Hungary, where paprika is an export commodity, an interesting question....Didn't see the word "hot" in front of paprika when I first read the question, as I was going to reply that typically paprika tends to come from mild peppers. However, there's plenty of hot stuff, and I'm not entirely sure that it's coming from cayenne, the pepper typically used in the flaked variety. Anyone have more background than this?

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washingtonpost.com: Savoring Summer Blog

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Yay! Herb bed: Hi Kim. I did a 3-foot raised herb bed, and it's cranking away! Tarragon, dill, rosemary, oregano, 2 basils, fennel, sage, parsley. I've already started throwing chives, dill, and, and tarragon in my salads. Pesto and pepper/tomato/mozzarella will take care of the basil. Any other suggestions to take advantage of this bounty?

Kim O'Donnel: These herbs will be great in potato salad, dear, as well as rice, bulgur wheat and pasta. A simple herbed pasta is such a treat in summer months. Tarragon great for poached chicken as part of a salad. Thinly slice the fennel and eat with peaches when they arrive at market.

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Fried chicken: Hey, Kim and chatters! I decided to attempt making fried chicken for the first time this weekend and it was a mess. Per the recipe, I soaked the chicken in buttermilk then tossed it in the seasoned flour mix and into the frying pan. When I went to turn the pieces over, the coating completely stuck to the bottom of the pan. What did I do wrong?

Kim O'Donnel: Couple thoughts: How hot was the oil, and how much did you have in the pot? You realize that you need about 1 quart of oil to do this, right? Tell me more. Also, check out my fried chicken video , which does the fried thing and then is finished off in the oven. Works like a charm.

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Madison, Va.: I'm looking for the receipe for the potato salad you talked about on the radio last Friday. I have relatives with some strange food allergies and this is something they can eat. Besides, it sounded wonderful!

Kim O'Donnel: Hey Madison, here are the details for mayo-free potato salad . As I said on the air, it's time to make t-shirts advocating the beginning of a mayo-free revolution...want one?

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Kim. Sometime over the last few weeks, you ran a recipe for Blueberry Buckle (or was it slump?). I would love to try it, but have been unable to find it through the search page. Would you please reprint it here or provide a link? Many thanks! I love your chat.

Kim O'Donnel: Strap yourself in for this Blueberry Buckle , dear. It'll send you to the moon, promise.

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Shepherd Park, Washington, D.C.: Kim,

I found some beautiful fennel at the farmers market this weekend and immediately bought some! Now what do I do with it?

Kim O'Donnel: I love it sliced very thin and mixed with fruit, be it oranges or peaches, even melon. Basil is also a wonderful pairing. You can also deep fry for a fritto misto thing like the Italian do..

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Kim, thanks for taking my question! I am getting my first CSA share of the season tonight and am looking forward to all the opportunities to try veggies that are unknown to me. That being said, do you have any Web site or cookbook recommendations for me to find "farmers market"-type recipes? Maybe one with different sections of recipes for different veggies? I have Mark Bittman's "Fish" cookbook, and love that I can flip to the section on salmon if I have that on hand, or the section on halibut if that is what I am in the mood for, etc. ... and find a bunch of recipes on how to prepare that specific fish.

Any ideas for a veggie version of this? Thanks so much, Kim! I am enjoying the summer blog!

washingtonpost.com: Savoring Summer Blog

Kim O'Donnel: Deborah Madison's "Local Flavors" and her vegetarian books -- on suppers, soups and a large more general overview are terrific resources particularly if you're keen to get more in tune with the seasons. I also have just got my hands on "The Organic Cook's Bible" by Jeff Cox which is intriguing. Plan to write this up and other new titles this week in blog, by the way.

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Alexandria, Va.: Dear Kim -

I was wondering what you would recommend for a one pot meal to bring over to my neighbor who just had her third child. I originally thought of a lasagna with a nice salad a loaf of crusty bread but that seems like just a winter meal to me. It would have to be kid friendly (for the two boys that are under 5 years). Thanks for your help!

Kim O'Donnel: I have a dear friend, Ms. B, who is about to pop her third this week as well, and have been wondering myself what I'd bring over to the house to feed the brood. I know how much she likes a curry, and so I'd probably whip up some chicken style, as it'd last longer than anything fish-based...and I might do some black bean or chickpea thing, probably a dessert, like that blueberry buckle mentioned earlier. I don't know if any of this would appeal, and i guess I have the benefit of knowing some of Mama's favorites so I'll oblige accordingly. Chicken parts often a hit with the kiddies, and I might think a meatloaf, too.

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Boston, Mass.: Just made a good quick office lunch -- glass noodles (made with hot water from the coffee maker), plus chicken broth, sliced cabbage, leftover stir-fry bok choy, farmers market chives, and Monday's baked chicken.

Tonight is braised choy sum with red-cooked beef.

Am jonesing to try scapes and ramps ... perhaps the peanuts might know of some Boston sightings?

Kim O'Donnel: Very enterprising of you, Boston. You make me proud. Okay folks in the Mass. area: where are those scapes???

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Spinach pie: I was going thru the archives and found a link to a Middle Eastern spinach pie recipe, but the link is dead. Is there somewhere else I can find it?

Kim O'Donnel: I hate when that happens. Sorry! Try this link instead.

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Mayo Free: Add me to the mayo-free petition! (I grew up on Miracle Whip.)

Kim O'Donnel: Excellent. I'll let you know the color and sizes when t-shirts comes in...

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Silver Spring, Md.: For the CSA-share person: try "Vegetables Every Day" by Jack Bishop. It has 300+ recipes for 50+ veggies.

Kim O'Donnel: Yes indeed. Thanks for that reminder!

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To Herby-Person: Barefoot Contessa (from Food Network) has a great recipe for Cheddar Dill Scones in one of her cookbooks to use up some of your dill. Only note -- she calls for cubed cheddar and I think it oozes out and burns too easily. I used shredded after the first try and it worked much better.

I'm jealous of your herb garden -- we just moved to a house with plenty of room for a garden, but we're too busy painting and renovating inside. Next year we'll concentrate on the outside!

Kim O'Donnel: Thanks for the dill tip. I'm also green with envy, I must say...although this year, I've got a few pots of herbs looking beautiful thanks to a friendly gardener.

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Uses for fennel: Try slicing it and sauteeing either alone or with onion and serving it on salmon. Another great way to use fennel is to put it in a tomato-based seafood stew and serve either with rice or rustic bread. Fennel + fish - great!

Kim O'Donnel: Totally agree that fish and fennel are a delicious pair. Thanks for the extra tidbit...

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Washington, D.C.: Thanks for the mayo-free potato salad recipe. I have been making something similar for years (I'm vegan) and my omnivorous friends love it and constantly ask for the recipe. I would really encourage using the optional Dijon mustard. While potatoes are still warm I mix them with the dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and garlic (or scapes in season). Before serving I mix in some chopped chives. It comes out so creamy that people don't miss the mayo. It is making me hungry just thinking about it. Yum!

Kim O'Donnel: Thanks for chiming in. I am with you on the Dijon addition...and yes, of course, those scapes are just killer with the potatoes. Let's meet at the front burner, shall we?

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One-dish meal: A summer version of lasagna that I like to make is to roast summer vegetables (zucchini, squash, tomatoes) and use that as the filler.

Kim O'Donnel: Nice. Eggplant, too! Also big fat onions would be lovely, as would portobellos...

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Washington, D.C.: For the person looking for a good cookbook that will help inspire ideas from new vegetables coming from the CSA I would recommend "Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini" by Elizabeth Schneider. It is like an encyclopedia of vegetables. Whenever you need information on history, storage, preparation (including recipes) of a vegetable you just flip to it in the alpha ordered book. I love the pictures which really help to identify things I'm not familiar with.

Kim O'Donnel: One of my favorite books, use it constantly. Thanks for adding on!

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Menlo Park, Calif.: Thanks for all your online work -- makes really great reading!

My herb garden, with little help from me, has decided over the past two years to bring different herbs to prominence, thanks to plants long-ago planted. Last year, I was surprised by an abundance of marjoram, which has repeated this year. But I'm also seeing dozens of stalks (or whatever you call them) of summer savory. (I don't remember planting this, but my memory for plants from previous years is awful.)

Do you have any suggestions for good ways to use this abundance of fresh "on the vine" herbs, aside from drying them? I'm wondering about grill use, for instance.

Kim O'Donnel: Summer savory is wonderful mixed with lavender and rosemary, ground a bit, with sea salt and sprinkled on top of slow roasted tomatoes. My goodness, it's sublime. Marjoram is wonderful stuffed inside a whole fish with leeks and chives. Use in a batch of gazpacho. Sprinkle into pasta. Georgeanne Brennan has a great book on cooking with herbs by the way, and Jerry Traunfeld, chef of Herbfarm Restaurant out in Seattle area, has a new book, that includes herby stuff.

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Washington, D.C.: Do you know how I can use avocado for lunch, besides just guacamole?

Kim O'Donnel: What about smearing it onto a piece of pita, with a red onion and tomato, some lettuce. Squeeze lime, sprinkle salt at office. Heavenly sandwich. Other thoughts for portable avocado-centric lunches?

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Farmers market: I went a little nuts at the farmer's market last weekend. I got tomatoes, asparagus, cucumbers, lettuce, parsley, strawberries, sugar snap peas ... I love summer! And I tried garlic snape -- one of the farmers pinched off a piece. What a bold flavor! I buy all this stuff and sometimes get a bit overwhelmed. But Sunday I made a very easy side dish -- I steamed asparagus, tomatoes and some pitted kalamata olives. Then sprinkled some feta on it. It was very tasty.

Kim O'Donnel: Good for you. Keep up the good work. It's easy to go nuts at the market when it's looking so luscious. See links earlier in hour to blog that feature recipe for garlic scape pesto so you can taste the magic for yourself.

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Boston Scapes: I would trying going over to the Haymarket downtown, you never know what you might find. Also hit up Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

Kim O'Donnel: Ah, beautiful. I love this forum.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi Kim,

I went to Homestead Gardens in Davidsonville, Md., on Sunday and had a blast. I bought plants: a patio tomato, lemon basil, lemon thyme, purple sage and some other herbs to grow. I wanted to buy the chocolate peppermint or cinnamon basil plant but wasn't sure what to use them for or how often I could use them, i.e., are they practical. Thoughts? Thanks.

Kim O'Donnel: The chocolate peppermint is great for garnish, methinks. I am a bit of a fool for wild mint; as a kid, I used to go over to the neighbor's yard and pick from her mint stalks for a quick snack. Still love to eat mint that way. Cinnamon basil I haven't heard, but that sounds like a great pairing with fruit, in cobblers. Wow. Intriguing.

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Arlington, Va.: I have a two-year-old red tart cherry tree that this year produced a BUMPER crop of cherries. I have already made two batches of low sugar jam that tastes wonderful because you can taste the fruit without the heavy sugar taste. I still have about 5 cups of pitted fruit left and more to pick. Any ideas what to make with them besides the standard pie and crips? I would like to do something fun and interesting with them. But definately WILL NOT let them go to waste. Although I love the jam they made I would rather not make another batch but will if I can't find something fun to do with them.

Kim O'Donnel: Cherry clafoutis , cherie. It's not a pie or a crisp. Kind of like a waffle, kind of like a pudding. And tres francais...It's a breeze in a food processor.

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Montgomery Village Mom: For third child, how about a basket of fresh fruit and tomatoes and cheese. You could also throw in the ingredients for a make your own pizza (my kids ages 4 and 6 love to do that with their dad.)

Kim O'Donnel: Nice idea. Fruit is always good and varieties a-plenty this time of year. I like make your own pizza idea if Pop is inclined...nice.

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Party Food: I have been serving skewars with a cube of watermelon, a cube of feta cheese, a sprig of mint and sometimes a kalamata olive. This is a great summer item to have out in a buffet or pot-luck.

Kim O'Donnel: I love this. I wonder if halloumi cheese would be a nice substitute... very clear, dear! Keep sending your ideas...

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Centre of Nowhere: Hi Kim!

Just checked out your blog, and was happy to learn the "locavore" term. This is me! Well, this is who I'm trying to become (and drag my family in there, too).

To that end, I have happily been raiding my local market, and bravely purchased some ground beef from a local farmer. Honestly, I just cooked it well and had it in a macaroni casserole, but it was the tastiest beef ever. I'm hooked!

My question is: what do we do once the farmers' markets are gone for the season? I have already started to read every label in the grocery store to learn where my dried/canned goods are coming from; but, how can we find out where the produce in the grocery store is from? And, is there a way to influence the store to purchase local stuff?

Thanks!

Kim O'Donnel: The heart of this challenge is during the winter months. You'll notice in the link to the Time mag story that some locavores are no longer drinking coffee because of its too-distant origin. It's an interesting conversation to broach. I am heartened to hear your foray into locally-produced meat. You'll discover that the vendor will be come a resource for you about cooking, agriculture. Just wait and see. What you are doing is part of the process in changing the landscape of the sustainable industry. Less than 20 years ago, organic was considered fringe. Now look at it, all hot and flashy. Stay tuned.

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Atlanta, Ga.: Hi! I do not know if my earlier post went through ... silly computers. Kim, I love the chat and all the recipes that come with it. I am stuck in Atlanta over the summer and have not found a single restaurant that serves ceviche. I have decided to cook it for myself. Are there any "regular" ceviche recipes? Thanks!

Kim O'Donnel: After Food section reporter did a piece on Peruvian cuisine (with recipe for ceviche I believe), I have pledged to do something on ceviche this summer. stay tuned for details. I want to test recipes through and through before sharing. Thanks for checking in.

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Montgomery Village Mom: So I usually write you with baking questions but today is my husband's birthday and he is the one who usually cooks dinner for me and the two kids. I want to surprise him with dinner(I already made a cheesecake with the kids this morning before I left for work as a surprise). The problem is I can't get home until around 4-ish and I have to get the kids about 5 p.m. today and we eat at 6 p.m. I am a totally novice cook. We have lots of rice that we cooked up in the rice cooker yesterday, Amy's sausages in the fridge, lots of veggies (broccoli, carrots), fresh basil, oregano, chives and canned beans and fresh pack tuna. Any ideas?

On the hot paprika and chili flakes. Hot paprika is made from a chili pepper but the type can vary. However, it's always ground versus flakes. So I am guessing they can be substituted with a flavor variation but I am not sure if you use more ground than you do flakes to get the same amount of spice.

Kim O'Donnel: Roast the broccoli. Have you ever tried this? Everyone, even the kids, will love it. Here are details:

1 pound broccoli florets, separated

1 inch-piece fresh ginger root, peeled and diced

1 clove garlic, peeled, smashed with a knife and minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoons cayenne or paprika

1 tablespoon olive oil

Black pepper to taste

Lather everything up in a bowl and then place in baking dish into oven at 400 degrees. Check after 10 minutes, then 15, etc. Done when fork tender. Serve with rice. Can those sausage be grilled? Basil and chives on top of rice for garnish...

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Charm City, Md.: One more suggestion for the veggie cookbook: Victory Garden Cookbook. Organized by vegetable with lots of pictures. Vegetarian and meated dishes too.

Kim O'Donnel: I've not seen this one. Will have to check it out. Thanks!

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Washington, D.C.: Thanks for taking my question I bought some fresh turnips this weekend at my farmers market and found a quick online recipe that called for them being steamed for 5-6 minutes (along with some carrots) and then tossed in a skillet with butter and sugar.

All I can say is YUCK ... pretty bland

Any other ideas on how to cook turnips?

Thanks

Kim O'Donnel: Roast them. It's the only way I like them (well I like them mashed with potatoes, too)...Lather on some olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper, add some herbs and roast at 400, until fork tender. Try now!

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Silver Spring: Another fennel idea: Slice about a quarter inch thick lengthwise, then salt & pepper, olive oil, and freshly grated parmesan. Roast until soft and caramelized.

Kim O'Donnel: You're barking up the right tree...roasted veggies, what would we do without'em? Thanks.

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Yay! Herb bed again: Just FYI for all the chatters, I did a "gardening by the square foot" thing. Build an 8" deep bed out of 2x4s (1 foot by 3), with casters on the bottom so I can turn it around, and get it out of downpours. 7" of very light soil (manure, peat moss, spagnum) and daily waterings. Great thing to have on a small patio or deck!

Kim O'Donnel: Wonderful inspiration. Thanks so much and please keep us posted of the garden's progress...

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Pro-Mayo!: Kim, What is it you don't like about mayo?? Just curious, because I love it! I can dip potato chips right in it, and I cannot eat a sandwich without it! (can't stand Miracle Whip though!) What do you do to get that tang that mayo gives on, say, a turkey sandwich?

Kim O'Donnel: I'll make my own, but it's the jarred stuff that makes me run for the hills. Its congealed processed texture and odor is what really gets me. A little strong mustard is all the tang I need, and if I really need a kick, I add a little horseradish. The goopy thing too. I'm getting woozy thinking about it.

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Olney, Md.: I joined a CSA this year for the first time and have been enjoying the bounty so far. The one problem is that there are LOT of greens. Basic lettuces, hardier greens, funky stuff I've never seen before, etc. I'm not sure what to do with all of them, which ones are good for sauteeing, and what to do with the ones that you don't want to saute, since I'm getting really tired of salads. I sauteed up a big bunch over the weekend and put them on pasta, but I think I'll get pretty tired of that after a while. Any suggestions for other things to do with greens and lettuces?

Kim O'Donnel: Send me a sample list of what you're getting and then I can help you divvy it up as how to prepare. By the way, when was the last time you made a Caesar salad at home? Thought so. Want details?

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Centre of Nowhere: Hi Kim,

For the woman bringing food to her soon-to-be-unpregnant-friend: try a good old fruit salad for the kids, and even rice krispie treats (you know, they aren't really that bad for you, and are so so so easy to make).

Also, bring over a big salad that the mom/dad can assemble: some cold, sliced chicken breast or ham, washed/dried greens, cut up cukes, cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, cubed cheese, hard boiled eggs... anything that you can imagine going into/onto a salad. The kids will probably pick out what they like to eat, but this way, everyone is getting something hearty and healthy without the work of the washing and the peeling.

good luck!

Kim O'Donnel: Nice ideas, and the pick and peck idea of salad stuff would go over with the whole gang, it seems.

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Rockville, Md.: Hi Kim. I am trying to find out how to grill scallops. I know I need a grill pan, but how long and so forth? I could eat those everyday. thanks so much!

Kim O'Donnel: Actually, you don't need a grill pan. You could line them up on a skewer and grill for less than 10 minutes. Lather with a little oil, salt, pepper, and make a sauce...could be soy/ginger, or herby...tell me your pleasure.

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Kim O'Donnel: Already time to run. So pleased to witness enthusiasm for local fruits and veg! Keep up the spirit. Meantime, I'll be blogging every weekday, and back on radio this Friday at 2:20 feeding Sam Litzinger something (107.7 FM, 1500 AM or washingtonpostradio.com). Til next Tuesday...

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