What's Cooking

Kim O'Donnel
Special to washingtonpost.com
Tuesday, June 20, 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.

The transcript follows.

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


Kim O'Donnel: Gooood afternoon! With the solstice taking place tomorrow morning, we can now say summer is nigh. Woo hoo! Hope you're enjoying the seasonal goodies as much as I am. For those of you in Arlington on Saturday, there was a stadium-length line for fresh berries at Courthouse market. What a hoot -- I loved every strange minute. (Check blog for details.) Line 'em up for fresh produce, I say! So, are there any Father's Day events of gastronomical note to share? Do tell. I'm all about that new ice cream maker of mine, but I think I better lay off the sauce. The doc says my cholesterol went down a whole bunch, so I don't want to erase all my hard work. Sorbet this week, perhaps? I'll be sure to post this week in blog. And now, I'm all yours...


Rhubarb ice cream?: Kim -- I've got an unexpected rhubarb bounty from a co-worker, and I'm planning on stewing the rhubarb and making rhubarb-vanilla ice cream. Any tips? I'll post next week on the results.

Kim O'Donnel: I wonder if you should do a rhube-strawberry mix, dear. Make vanilla, then during the churning you'd add your fruit. Rose syrup would be nice here, too. Please post in blog!


Washington, D.C.: Hi Kim! Do you have a simple basil pesto recipe on hand? And can I use a blender to make it? Thanks.

Kim O'Donnel: Here are details for pesto I made for a video I did way back. Have a look.

Basil Pesto

Adapted from "James McNair's Favorites" by James McNair

Word of advice: Taste all of your ingredients before making the pesto. Everything should taste good as you know it. If your oil or nuts are rancid, the pesto will taste "off."


2 cups basil leaves (Genovese basil is best bet)

1/4 cup pine nuts (variation: walnuts, almonds)

1 tsp. garlic (at least 1 clove, maybe 2)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (variation: pecorino romano)

Coarse salt

Options: Substitute almonds or walnuts for pine nuts. Substitute parsley, mint and/or cilantro for basil


The traditional method is to use a mortar and pestle. But in these times, a food processor does the job just fine.

Combine basil, nuts, garlic and whiz. While machine is running, gradually whiz in the oil, until everything is well blended.

Transfer to a bowl and add your cheese. Taste for salt. Can be used on the spot or refrigerated for a few days, covered. If you're going to freeze, omit cheese and add after the pesto thaws.

Yields about 3/4 cup.


Washington, D.C.: Hi Kim --

A friend is making dinner tonight and is cooking salmon that she bought yesterday. When we talked last night, she told me she was in the process of marinating the fish in lemon juice, until I told her that was a mistake because the acid might cook the fish. My question is this: if the fish was only in lemon juice for a few hours last night, can we still cook it tonight? Is it safe? Thanks so much!

Kim O'Donnel: The issue here will be texture rather than safety. It only takes about an hour to turn opaque, which really be the key to determining if your friend has made ceviche or not. If she has, then you don't want to cook it -- again. If it's still translucent, you could give it a whirl on the fire.


Summery Idea: Mojitos for a crowd...Zest 6-8 limes, squeeze out juice, add 1/2 cup sugar, dissolve. Take a bunch of mint, chop, and add. Let sit for 1 hour. Strain out solids. In a pitcher, add your mojito concentrate, 1 bottle of seltzer water, whole mint leaves, sliced lime, and simple syrup until sweet enough. Leave virgin or add white rum.

Now the big question...any tips on buying a nice glass pitcher that DOES NOT DRIBBLE???!!! Suggestions from the 'nuts?

Kim O'Donnel: Hey there, take a look at today's blog for this and other drink ideas. Where to buy a dribble-free pitcher -- excellent question.


Glover Park, Washington, D.C.: Kim, I have two perfectly ripe avocados that I would love to turn into guac -- but every recipe I have ever tried has been a HUGE disappointment! Do you or the chatters have one that is foolproof? I know how much better fresh is for me, but I long for the pre-made taste!

Kim O'Donnel: Guac needs these three elements: citrus, heat and salt.

For one avocado: Juice of 1 lime, 1 chopped garlic clove, at least 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 diced chili pepper. Mash and mix. Add cilantro if that floats your boat. Taste for salt. Add more if you need.


Olathe, Kan.: Watermelon granita and tomato sandwiches were on the menu here this past weekend. The watermelon granita was especially refreshing since it was hot and humid. All I did was blend watermelon, a little sugar and the juice of a lemon. I put it in the freezer in a 13x9 pan and stirred it up with a fork every hour or so. I made it even easier on myself by using a seedless watermelon.

Kim O'Donnel: Fantastic, Olathe! Keep the ideas comin'! You got good tomaters there already?


Rockville, Md.: Good afternoon Kim. I wanted to find out if you could suggest an easy way to prepare fava beans. I saw them a couple of weeks ago at the Dupont Circle farmer's market and if they are still around would like to try and prepare as a side dish.

Kim O'Donnel: I have been looking for favas but I guess in all the wrong places. Fava beans are best when simply prepared, blanched, then dipped in lemon, olive and salt. Check link I included.


Arlington, Va.: Hi Kim, Enjoy your chats and your new blog.

On the subject of homemade ice cream, how long do you typically chill your ice cream base before churning, particularly bases that have been cooked? Do you wait the four to six hours that is recommended? Would the results be the same if you make the base one day and churn it the next? I feel like I would make homemade ice cream more often if I could plan the timing better. Thanks.

Kim O'Donnel: Good point on the timing, dear. Put that freezer bowl in freeze 24 hours ahead. That night, make the custard. Next day, churn that custard and in 40 minutes, you'll be slurping on IC. You do need four-plus hours for cooked custard to set up, yes.


Silver Spring, Md.: Hi Kim. Have I missed rhubarb? I've never been a fan but my dad is and he has requested strawberry rhubarb something for his Father's Day present. He usually goes for pie but I'd like to do something different for him and I seem to remember (and wish I had printed out) you had a recipe for strawberry rhubarb upside down cake at some point. Could you share it again?

Also, I'd like to make my own taco seasoning and wondered if you or any of the chatters have a good recipe -- with proportions. Thanks.

Kim O'Donnel: I saw some rhubarb at Courthouse Market on Saturday. Anyone else know of rhube-y sightings? Cake? Here tis


Boston, Mass.: Hi Kim,

Mad scientist here. I tried to make lemongrass soda this last week, but with mediocre success. Here's what I did:

Used one bunch of lemongrass (2 thin bulbs and one thick). I'd never used it before, so I peeled off the outer thick leaves, and tried to bruise it a bit with the butt of my knife -- not sure I actually succeeded though, as it didn't flatten or anything, like garlic does when you bruise it.

I cut the lemongrass into half-inch slices and boiled for 20 mins in about two cups of water, squishing and separating the pieces with my knife, then added two cups of sugar and boiled five minutes more, fridged overnight.

The syrup was sweet, and mildly lemongrass flavored, and made soda water taste more sweet then lemongrassy. The syrup's texture was fairly watery.

If I had it to do over again? I'd try at least twice as much lemongrass, bruised more. I'd start it in one cup cold water (rather than 2 cups already hot water), and simmer covered for 20 mins, then go back to my tried and true simple syrup proportions -- add 2c sugar and boil for five minutes, then fridge overnight and strain.

Well, that's the report from the Somerville Lab.

Kim O'Donnel: Oh you're my new best pal! I love this. You were correct to remove outer leaves, and next time slice it open, lengthwise so you get at the inner flavor parts. I might even let it steep off heat for up to an hour. Keep us posted! Send me a pic and maybe I'll post on the blog.


Cooked custard tip: Really follow the directions when they tell you to press the plastic wrap onto the surface of the custard, as it sits in the bowl in the fridge. It really does eliminate the skin, and it helps prevent the custard from picking up fridge smells and off-flavors.

Kim O'Donnel: Totally agree. Great tip I learned from a pastry chef many years ago.


Bourbon IC Question: Hi Kim,

I am making the Vanilla Bourbon IC tonight and have a question about your directions. You say at the end to chill completely then put in the IC maker? I have the ICE-20 too, and am just wondering if the mixture needs to be chilled FIRST, then you put in the IC maker, or if putting it in the IC maker chills it. I want to get it right, so thanks!

Kim O'Donnel: Yes, completely chill the custard BEFORE it goes into the freezer bowl. You may have to wait for finished IC until tomorrow night. Hope you will survive the anticipation.


Boston, Mass.: I finally found garlic scapes and am pee-your-pants excited about it. So I'm gonna try scape pesto (assume it's the same as basil pesto, but with scapes in place of basil).

How much of the scape to use? My scapes are curly, and if I stretched them out I bet they'd be about 18 inches, but the stems aren't woody and the tips have a closed bloom...are there other ways to use scapes?

Kim O'Donnel: Hold those horses, Boston -- although I truly understand your excitement (I was that way at market on Saturday). Do look at my blog for scape pesto recipe !


Waldorf, Md.: Here's my guac recipe...foolproof and perfect every time!

Anthony's California Guacamole

This is a guaranteed hit, even for people who don't like guac (I used to be one of them!)


1 small white onion, finely chopped 1 small tomato, roughly chopped handful of cilantro (mostly leaves), chopped 3 Tablespoons of Lime juice (or more to taste) large pinch of coarse salt (or more to taste) 3 ripe Avocados (not firm .they should "give" when pressed with your finger)

Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside (this creates a nice salsa on its own if you like!). Slice Avocados in half lengthwise around pit and split the Avocado into 2 pieces. Use knife to lightly tap the pit and turn and pull pit out of flesh. Use tip of knife to score the flesh into a checkerboard pattern, and then scoop out with a spoon right to the skin. Combine into your "salsa" and mix thoroughly. Some of the Avocado will mash, which is what you want, to create a thicker consistency.

Serve with tortilla chips

Kim O'Donnel: And are you the Anthony everyone should thank after whipping up a batch? Do tell.


Tofu question: I tried the balsamic roasted tofu from Whole Foods' salad bar the other day and it was yummy. Suggestions on how to replicate? I didn't know you could roast tofu...it had a nice crispy edge, but it didn't feel like it was fried. Just marinate and roast like anything else? Can you grill tofu?

Kim O'Donnel: Hey there, I experimented over weekend doing barbecued tofu, and it was terrific. I marinated it in hoisin sauce, with a few other goodies, then skewered it up. I plan to share details soon in blog. Stay tuned.


Augusta, Maine: My wife has a rum drink that she came up with that is quite good. It's Coconut Rum, Pineapple Juice, Ginger Ale and Maraschino Cherries over ice (not blended). She calls it a Cherry Lei.

Kim O'Donnel: Augusta, although sweet, your wife's Cherry Lei needs to meet my Dark 'n Stormy. Let's make a date!


Washington, D.C.: Its fava bean season! My husband came up with this "recipe" and thought I'd share it. Its amazing. Take some shelled, boiled and shucked favas. Whiz them up in the food processor with some olive oil, toasted almonds, lots of basil, some fresh grated parm and S and P to taste. Spread it on toasted bread. SO yummy and bright and fresh.

Kim O'Donnel: Here's another take on the fava beans currently at market. Great idea! Thanks for sharing.


More ice cream custard tips: 1. use a thermometer to avoid overcooking (a mistake I've learned the hard way!)

2. strain with a fine mesh sieve

3. if you want to chill faster, place the custard bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Stir occasionally and replace the ice cubes as needed. You should be able to get it down to about 50-60 degrees in 20 minutes or so. This is also better for your fridge since you're not heating it up with a big bowl of 150 degree liquid.

Kim O'Donnel: A thermometer is a great idea for folks who are just starting out, I agree. Ice bath is key, and I wouldn't make ice cream without a sieve. Thanks for all.


Olathe, Kan.: The weather here was pretty mild so tomatoes got in early. I got mine at the farmer's market where everything sold has to be grown within 150 miles which is about a 2 hour drive out here. They were delicious.

There's a blueberry farm south of Kansas City that's open for picking your own. That's next week's destination with the kids, so do you have a lot of blueberry ideas?

Kim O'Donnel: Wow. Lucky you. Blueberry ideas? Check the blueberry buckle , for one. Then mosey over to blueberry lemonade for kicks. More blue ideas, folks?


Dribble Free: Hi Kim,

Try smearing a little butter or olive oil on the pitcher's lip to see if that won't help solve the dribble. The butter trick works fantastically for creamers, so I don't see why an oil/fat wouldn't also work here.

Kim O'Donnel: Interesting.


Washington, D.C.: For taco seasoning... I'm from Texas, so I just wing it and keep tasting until it gets to where I like it. I don't mix taco seasoning, but rather season the meat (or beans). I use cumin (lots of it), chili powder, salt and pepper, garlic powder (after sauteing garlic before the meat goes in), Mexican oregano and some dollops of salsa.

Kim O'Donnel: Cheers to you, Texas. I like it.


Washington, D.C.: Hi Kim -- In the summer I like to invite people over after work to lounge with a glass of wine outside (when it's not pouring rain) and am looking for appetizer ideas that can be thrown together in less than an hour after I get home. I'm kind of tired of the antipasto plate. Any ideas?

Kim O'Donnel: What do you think of the fava bean ideas? Also, a little garlic scape pesto -- oh yes! That can be served with baguette toasts or cherry tomatoes...or julienned peppers. A quickie shrimp on skewers with a herby green sauce is great for sharing. What else, folks?


Arlington, Va.: I tried to roast a chicken last night. I was, in the end, successful. But it took WAY longer than I thought it would. I had that bird in there (not very big mind you--2.5 lbs) for an hour and the internal temp was less than 120. What should my oven be set on? Should the bird be covered> Should I just cut it into pieces and roast it that way?


Kim O'Donnel: Hey there, oven should be at 375 to get it done in a reasonable amount of time. Bird does not need to be covered. Legs in first is a good rule of thumb. And to really speed things up, I take off all the skin (exc around the wings). This reduces cooking time by 20 minutes or more, and it's a lower-fat alternative. A spice rub is good here, though.


Washington, D.C.: I love my guacamole recipe too, and would argue that cumin is an essential ingredient. I also like it slightly sweet. These measurements are approximate, as I always do it by taste:

2 avocados (peeled and seeded) juice of 2 limes (or less if limes are really juicy) 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon salt (can substitute adobo seasoning) 2 teaspoons sugar (can sub sweetener) 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro chili powder to taste (optional) 1 roma tomato, diced 1/4 sweet onion, finely diced

1. Combine first 6 ingredients and chili powder if desired in large bowl. Mash together with fork to desired consistency. 2. Stir in tomato and onion. 3. Serve as a Tex-Mex salad dressing, with cut vegetables, as an entree topper, or with chips. Yum!

Kim O'Donnel: Ah, cumin. I love all the variations.


Morristown, N.J.: Kim:

When a recipe for baking calls for 4 extra large eggs, and you only have large eggs on hand, should you use 5 large eggs? This happened to me last week, and I added an extra egg and I don't know if that is what I should have done. Are there any rules with using eggs of different sizes when making cakes?

Kim O'Donnel: Great question. It's weird, and may seem nitpicky, but size here really does matter. Standard size for recipes is large, for most part. Its mass is usually about 68 grams, so multiply that by five. For XL eggs, it's 73 grams, so multiply that by four and figure out the difference. You may find there's little difference or a great one. Hope this helps.


Silver Spring, Md.: I live in an apartment and can't have a grill, but everyone always talks about these great grilling ideas. My grill pan takes forever to cook anything and smokes up the place. Do you have any experience with electric grills? How do they work? I'm thinking de Longhi rather than Foreman...

Kim O'Donnel: This is a great question and more of a conundrum than most homeowners with backyards and freewheeling grills realize. I don't have experience with electric grills. let's ask around...


Annandale, Va.: I'm looking for a recommendation on ice cream makers. I know you've mentioned the Cuisinart ICE, but do you and/or the peanuts have specific recommendations for good electric makers? Thanks!

Kim O'Donnel: Depends on how much you want to spend. The models under $100 will likely have a freezer bowl that you must freeze in advance. I've heard good things about Krups and Bonnie Benwick, asst. editor at Food Section, had praise for the Euro-Pro, which does three pints at one time. What's your budget?


Grilled turkey legs: I did these a couple of weeks ago on a lark and they are just awesome. Rub turkey legs with some seasoning and wrap in foil (make sure it is non-stick) and throw on the grill on low for about 45 mins (turn a couple of times but make sure they are well wrapped). Then take them out of the foil and throw on the grill over med heat with a bit of barbeque sauce. The meat falls off the bones and they taste great.

Kim O'Donnel: You are not the first to tell me this. Thanks for chiming in, and perhaps you should add to blog in grilling area ("Flames")...


Speaking of Roast Chicken in an Hour: Hi Kim,

A long time ago I heard an NPR story about roasting a small chicken (under 3 lbs.) in a 550 degree oven for an hour. I had to try it.

Basically, you salt and pepper the heck outta the bird the night before, then on cooking day, throw the bird into your preheated oven legs first and breast-side up. Halfway through, you flip the bird over onto its breast and keep on roasting until the hour is up.

I remember smoking out my kitchen this way, but also of very moist and tastily seasoned chicken, juices clear. Since then, I've prepared chicken this way a few times, but usually with less salt. Have you heard of this?

Kim O'Donnel: I have heard about it. It's the flipping part I don't like. A 550 oven might be better idea in November, too, when you need to be warmed up...


Food Science: Does the bourbon in the ice cream affect how quickly it freezes? I usually run the maker, then put the IC in the freezer for another day for better consistency. Any other liqueur recommendations? I have some pear brandy I'd like to use.

Kim O'Donnel: The bourbon actually affected the flavor after freezing. It mellowed out in alcohol intensity but seems to have affected sweetness, almost in a caramelize-y sort of way. I didn't find it harder or softer than my chocolate, by the way. Rum is a good ice-cream add, or what about brandy? Creme de Cacao for chocolate ice cream, possibly?


Foreman report: Yeah, the George Foreman is fine for a chicken breast, pork chop, or burger (anything that needs to be medium to well done). Chix breast in particular gets nice and crusty. Since it's enclosed on both sides, steaks turn a little grey. Better than nothing, but now that I have a gas grill out back I only pull it out when I'm in a hurry or the weather is lousy.

Kim O'Donnel: Thanks, it's been a while since I got a Foreman report. Have you ever thought about a grill pan, though? Just curious.


Arlington, Va.: My favorite recipe for sherbet is from Cooks Illustrated, and it includes variations for lemon, raspberry, and my favorite, orange sherbet (recipe below) -- absolutely delicious! The recipe calls for 2 T of vodka, and in contrast to most of their recipes, this one did not fully explain the rationale behind adding the vodka. I've read elsewhere that the vodka helps prevent ice crystals from forming, prevents off flavors, etc. Do you know WHY vodka is often added to frozen treats, and have you ever added it to ice cream? Thanks.

Orange Sherbet, Cooks Illustrated

1 tablespoon grated orange zest from 1 to 2 oranges, 1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces), 1/8 teaspoon table salt, 2 cups orange juice, preferably unpasteurized fresh-squeezed (see note), 3 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 to 2 lemons, 2 teaspoons Triple Sec or vodka, 2/3 cup heavy cream

1. Process zest, sugar, and salt in food processor until damp, ten to fifteen 1-second pulses. With machine running, add orange juice and lemon juice in slow, steady stream; continue to process until sugar is fully dissolved, about 1 minute. Strain mixture through nonreactive fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl; stir in Triple Sec, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in freezer until very cold, about 40 degrees, 30 to 60 minutes. (Alternatively, set bowl over larger bowl containing ice water.) Do not let mixture freeze.

2. When mixture is cold, using whisk, whip cream in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Whisking constantly, add juice mixture in steady stream, pouring against edge of bowl. Immediately start ice cream machine and add juice/cream mixture to canister; churn until sherbet has texture of soft-serve ice cream, 25 to 30 minutes.

3. Remove canister from machine and transfer sherbet to storage container; press plastic wrap directly against surface of sherbet and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours. (Can be wrapped well in plastic wrap and frozen for up to one week.) To serve, let sherbet stand at room temperature until slightly softened and instant-read thermometer inserted into sherbet registers 12 to 15 degrees.

Kim O'Donnel: Thanks for sharing. I do NOT know why vodka would be added to frozie treats. Looks like I need to do some homework.


In response to Silver Spring...: I own the Griddler by Cuisinart and love it. It's an electric grill / griddle / panini press in one. It does a good job of grilling and is compact to boot.

However, I'm still preferential to our Lodge cast-iron grill pan. When heated over high heat (or in a hot oven), it grills beautifully and quickly, esp since the cast iron retains heat so well. The only thing missing is the nice flavor that you get from grilling w/ charcoal...

Kim O'Donnel: Thanks for adding to this thread -- very helpful!


Matthews, N.C.: Recommendations for a cookbook for a teenager beginning to learn to cook? What do you think of "Teens Cook" by the Carle sisters? Thanks!

Kim O'Donnel: I've not seen this title. Tell me more. I like "Now You're Cooking" by Elaine Corn a beginner text which I think teens would appreciate.


20705: Hi Kim, I am planning to fix your blueberry buckle recipe, but my blueberries are a bit tart (sour?) Should I add a smidge extra sugar, or just leave it alone? Thanks!

Kim O'Donnel: You could, maybe just a sprinkle on top. I wouldn't worry too much, as there's sugar in cake batter and sugar in crisp topping for that trifecta feel.


Rockville, Md.: I gave in to temptation on Sunday and bought an entire case of champagne mangos. I've made fruit salad (with papaya, kiwi and cantaloupe), I've made mango sorbet, I've slurped several standing over the sink with my 3- year-old. But how else can I use the rest? I was thinking of mixing some mango and kiwi salsa to eat on top of some salmon, but that'll still leave several more to use!

Kim O'Donnel: Woweee! I want your mango sorbet recipe, dear. Salsa is key -- yes. Mango and black beans and rice is a lovely trio. Mango with grilled chicken, yes baby. Mango with vanilla yogurt and whipped up into a breakfast smoothie. And then of course, you can make yourself a well-deserved mango margarita!!


Silver Spring, Md.: Re: Guac.

My recipe is similar to the previously posted "Anthony" but with this variation: a clove or two of garlic through the press and a few minced pickled jalapenos.

I picked the extra two ingredients up from a restaurant in in NYC where they made it next to the table. It was the best guac I've ever had.

Kim O'Donnel: Muy bien y gracias!


Washington, D.C.: Hello ... I'm submitting early this question I keep wondering about: what's the benefit to a grill pan? Aside from attractive grill marks (and these are nice), is there any real benefit here? Maybe some air circulation, though I'm not entirely sure what that would do. And maybe you keep the food from cooking in its own grease. But it seems awfully close to searing in a skillet, and with thicker pieces of meat I end up finishing in the oven anyway.

Any ideas?

Kim O'Donnel: I'll throw this out to folks who own grill pans. They are key when you live in an apartment and can't grill outdoors. Thoughts, folks?


Crab and corn nibblies: To the person who has people over for drinks - here is a quick and easy item that can be made ahead and assembled right before the guests get there.

Crab and Corn salad: 8 oz Crab (real, not fake), 1/2 cup corn (frozen OK, but go with fresh if you can), 1/4 cup room temp cream cheese, 2 tbsp mayo, 1/4 cup green onion, 1 tbsp lemon, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp salt

Mix together: cream cheese, mayo, green onion, lemon, salt & pepper. Fold in crab and corn. Allow to chill.

Serve as a dip on regular crackers, or on baked tortilla chips:

Take 8 corn tortillas, and cut into 24 triangles. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 400 for a few minutes, until golden, then flip, spray, sprinkle and bake a little more. Allow to cool completely and place in an airtight container.

To assemble: place one spoonful of salad on each chip. Garnish with cilantro leaves (optional)

Kim O'Donnel: Thanks for adding to the after-work nibbles lineup...


Reston, Va.: We're planning an outdoor barbeque for July 1st. We're serving spare ribs, beef brisket and country roasted chicken. Besides having beer to go with the meal, can you recommend another type of alcoholic drink that will go well with the menu?

Kim O'Donnel: Go to today's post on Savoring Summer: blog.washingtonpost.com/savoringsummer and see if the idea of a Dark n' Stormy doesn't ring your chimes. You could also do a vodka-style lemonade number. What's your fancy, Reston?


Vodka in IC/Sorbet: Pure alcohol does not freeze, thus you can get a nicely soft consistency with your finished product. It allows you to be able to spoon your dessert out, instead of chipping it out. Of course, too much alcohol makes your IC/sorbet gushy. This is why the previous poster asked about the rum in the IC.

Kim O'Donnel: Thanks. I learn from you guys, too. I'm thinking that milk proteins and/or butterfats in the IC is inhibiting that softening from happening.


Mango bounty: Make a mango sauce (similar to the Trader Joe's jarred product), and freeze it for winter time. Just cook the mango down with some sugar and water, like you'd make stewed rhubarb or stewed prunes. Bag it, freeze it, and then thaw it out come December to pair with meats.

Kim O'Donnel: A most mango-licious idea...Cheers.


Kim O'Donnel: I must skedaddle and wear a few other hats today. Thanks for all the good humor and great counter tips. Check blog weekdays, and next week, I've got veggie hour, so it's twice in the mix. Til next -- and get your hands on some berries if you can! They're only here for a flash!


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