What's Cooking With Kim O'Donnel

Kim O'Donnel
Special to washingtonpost.com
Tuesday, March 3, 2009 1:00 PM

Calling all foodies! Join us Tuesdays at 1 p.m. ET for 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.

For daily dispatches from Kim's kitchen, check out her blog, A Mighty Appetite. You may catch up on previous transcripts with the What's Cooking archive page.


Kim O'Donnel: Hi folks. I've got some fun news and some not-so-fun news:

Let's do the fun stuff first: The

Eating Down the Fridge Challenge

is a-go! Readers from around the country (plus South Africa, Denmark and Australia) are signing up -- check out the

EDF Honor Roll

, which is growing by the day! There will be guest bloggers and special chat next Thurs March 12 devoted to the EDF.

Speaking of chats (and here comes the not-so-fun part)...As part of its cost-cutting measures, the WP is letting go of What's Cooking. The final chat will be Tues, March 17, after a 10-year run. Let's make the most of the next few weeks while it lasts! And in anticipation of your next question,

A Mighty Appetite

, my blog, will continue. I may devote one day of the week to your questions a la chat format, still figuring that piece out. You folks will be the first to know, and I'm posting updates on my

Facebook fan page


Anyway, let's cook, shall we? What's on your burners?


Alexandria, VA: Help! I keep setting off my smoke detector with my oven. Last night I greased a cookie sheet for biscuits at 450 degress --> smoke. Before that, olive-oiling baked potatoes produced smoke. Is is the butter/oil that's doing it, or high temps, or smoething else? Should I clean the oven?

Kim O'Donnel: clean the oven, doll! Then let's talk.


Chicago IL: Kim - I have recently fallen in love with beans (am on my second batch from Rancho Gordo) and I have a question about cooking dried beans. I know that you're not supposed to add salt early on, yet many recipes call for cooking the beans in broth or stock, which generally contains salt. Does the salt contained in the broth or stock make a difference?

Kim O'Donnel: Great question, Chicago. I've never tested this variation -- salt versus no-salt stock to determine if it makes a difference in beans, but it's an experiment worth chewing on. For what it's worth, I cook my beans in plain old water!


Philadelphia, PA: I've been cooking for myself since I graduated from college two years ago, but I am now looking into improving my skills and starting a cookbook collection. Any suggestions for good, general use cookbooks that aren't too basic? I was thinking of getting How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman (is this sacrilege to say here at the Post?), but I'm not sure where else to look-I've heard that Joy of Cooking is outdated and not worth it.

Kim O'Donnel: Bittman's "Everything" is a great resource -- but it all depends on what you're looking for. Like "Joy," it's huge, at least 1,000 pages. Ask yourself if you like big tomes or smaller volumes. then we can start honing in.


Say it ain't so (DC): I gotta say, I'm disappointed that they are nixing this chat. You might share with them that folks like me don't bother reading the paper anymore, but I come to washingtonpost.com every day to check out these real time chats. I'm not sure why I would bother if these go away!

Kim O'Donnel: thanks for your comments, DC. As a part of the founding team of Live Online (the former name for the chats), I know first hand how the chats have been a unique feature on the Web.


Fairfax, VA: Kim, My husband and I are among the many to whom cilantro (especially when raw) tastes like, shall we say "Not Food." Do you have any good ideas for other herbs to substitute for cilantro in recipes? Mexican, southwestern and Thai dishes seem especially likely to call for it, and I never know what else might work without tasting wrong. I just leave it out when it's not a major ingredient - bean soup, for example - but is there anything else to do?

Kim O'Donnel: Sounds like you've got the gene that says 'no thanks' to cilantro. Try flat-leaf parsley for Mex and Southwestern stuff. I think basil would be a better match for Thai dishes.


montgomery village md mom: Kim, I can't believe this is ending! I have been here since the beginning. You helped me through what to cook during my pregnancies and what to make for my kids (now ages 9 and 7) to get them interested in great food. And most memorably you and the rest of the hounds helped me accomplish making a wedding cake for my brother's wedding! It turned out quite well and I was so grateful for all the help from you and the other fellow chatters. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and encouragement through these chats. I have learned so much.

What are your favorite moments from the chat over the years?

Kim O'Donnel: So sweet. Every week is my favorite. Really.


Dupont Circle, D.C.: I'd to throw in a vote for Joy of Cooking. I'm 25 and have been using it constantly since graduation for basic reference questions: good for temperature guides, basics like sauces, icings, information on what an exact cut of meat is and how to cook it, and points out the basic parts of many standard dishes (i.e. what's in a cassoulet, etc.). That being said I don't have the Bittman although I want it too! Joy of Cooking feels totally timeless to me.

Kim O'Donnel: A great way to find out if a book fits is to take it out of the library -- give it a spin, and then buy if it seems to stick.


cookbooks: I highly recommend The Best Recipe (from the Cook's Country/America's Test Kitchen folks) if you want to learn technique, etc. and not just have recipes. The long-winded explanations are completely worth it - they often tell you why something produces a certain result. I've found this information really useful when cooking other recipes or improvising (e.g., recalling that doing x will thicken a sauce, or adding y will ensure a browned crust). The book also has lots of good, basic cooking recipes. I reach for it the most out of any of the 20+ books I own.

P.S. - Kim, your chats will be sorely missed!

Kim O'Donnel: Thanks for adding the ATK book to the list -- certainly has an appeal for beginners. Good call.


Cookbooks: I often need to add a recipe or two for vegetarian or Kosher friends who dine with us. I love the Moosewood cookbook which solves both problems and it generally well received.

I am lucky that I have two friends (a couple) who cook. They both cook and entertain a lot. Every year, as they experiment with new recipes, the collect the "keepers" and at the end of the year, they produce a cookbook with the year's keeper. I have seven editions at this point and we've lucked out that they are some of the best sources of new recipes.

Kim O'Donnel: Great idea. What service are you using to produce the cookbook? I love this.


Arlington, VA: I want to add in that I'm disappointed to see the chat go too :( I really love the community and feel like its a great resource. Has anyone looked into the idea of making this some sort of subscription based service? I know that I would be willing to pay to keep having your advice around!

Kim O'Donnel: Interesting idea, Arlington.


no more chat??: This is the 3rd chat today that I've read that's not going to be continued... I just don't get it. This really is where I get all of my information from(cooking ideas, recipes, trouble issues etc.). I seriously think the Post is going to have a decline in the number of "hits" per day and the number of subscribers.

Going to miss all the chats.

Kim O'Donnel: It's a sad day, particularly for the readership. I know for a fact that people have learned to cook in this chat.


Anonymous: Hi Kim,

An online friend from a recipe board I read said that you attended one of her events in Seattle--I gather it was focused on the taste and texture of meat. Sounds like it was a fun event, involving chefs and ranchers. She was nervous because the Post was going to be there, but I told her that if it was you, not to worry. :) Turns out it was you--did you have fun?

Kim O'Donnel: Hey there -- it WAS fun! Very eye opening. I may be writing about it in coming weeks. Will keep you posted on where the story runs -- those updates to appear on my Facebook fan page or if you want to get my weekly newsletter, send me an e-mail: writingfood AT gmail.com


Cookbooks: There's a smaller version of Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" that's really great.

Kim O'Donnel: Ah. Excellent point, thanks!


Madison, WI: Re: cookbooks. I have a Joy of Cooking and I love it. I'm not sure if that makes me outdated, but it's got great coverage of basic recipes and a pretty decent amount of less-than- traditional things in it (like the falafel I'm planning on making soon). When I was freshly out of college not that long ago, I also relied a lot on the Moosewood books, particularly Cooks at Home and Simple Suppers.

Kim O'Donnel: More on beginner cookbook faves...


Falls Church: When a loaf of quick bread (in this case, two loaves, made a week apart) comes out of the oven sunken and raw in the center, does that indicate that the oven temp is too high, or too low? (i'm using a fairly new supply of baking soda and baking powder, so thinking that can't be the problem. Very frustrating to ruin two loaves in a row and wondering if my oven is failing.)

Kim O'Donnel: Quick bread, not yeast bread, right? How long did it bake? Talk to me.


You're leaving!: I was sad when Michael Dirda left the online chats, but this was unexpected. Any chance we could send an email to Someone In Charge, if for no other reason than to express what a gift your presence has been here each week?

And I agree with another poster - the online chats are the thing that keeps me on this site every day. Is the other Food chat going away too?

Kim O'Donnel: I used to produce Dirda, so yes, I understand. Was hard to see Higgins garden chat go away, too. The Food section chat will continue.

If I were a reader wishing to express my thoughts, I'd probably send a note to the ombudsman, Andrew Alexander.


Arlington, VA: Sorry, I know its long, but I wanted to give people an idea of how to cook ahead and cook for cheap. This is what I did this weekend:

Eating on a Budget:

1 bag of dried black beans (Goya) - $1.99 1 large yellow onion, chopped - 79cents 4 garlic cloves, minced (divided) - 50cents Chicken or veggie stock - 1 14oz can $1.99 1 can of tomatoes and chiles - $1.49 Burrito sized tortillas - $2.49 Cheddar cheese, shredded - $2.99 for 8oz 1/2 cup Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs - $2.59 for 8oz 2 large eggs - $2.89 for a dozen 4 scallions, both white and green parts, minced - 69 cents for a bunch Hamburger Rolls - 3.19 for 10

Total = $21.60 for 13 meals

On Sunday: Soak the black beans in water for 2-3 hours. Divide into 3 portions.

In one pot, add 2 portions of the black beans and water and cook until tender. Set aside and let cool.

Black Bean Soup - 4 servings In another pot, saute half of the yellow onion and 2 gloves of garlic in olive oil until soft. Add the last portion of black beans and chicken/veggie stock (plus cumin, red pepper flakes, etc) cook until tender. Put about half the mixture into a food processor and blend, adding extra stock as necessary. Return pureed mixture to pot, and add half the can of tomatoes and chilles. Heat through. Eat on Sunday, and save the other two portions for days of the week.

Can be made on Sunday or later in the week Black Bean Burritos - 5 servings Take about half of the black beans out of the first pot. Puree half of that in a food processor with two tablespoons of tomato paste or sauce. Season with spices. Spread mixture evenly over 5 burrito tortillas. Add the rest of the black beans whole. Then sprinkle onions, and cheddar cheese. Drain the remaining can of tomatoes and chilles, and spoon on top of the burritos. Add other ingredients as budget allows (frozen corn thawed and seasoned; green or red pepper strips, scrambled eggs, tofu, etc). Fold burritos together, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and throw into the freezer. To reheat, unwrap from plastic, and loosely wrap in paper towel. Heat on high 1 minute, then flip over and heat on the other side for about 30 seconds.

Spicy Black Bean Burgers - 4 servings See Kim's recipe online. Store cooked black beans until ready to make.

Kim O'Donnel: Budg-tastic, Arlington! You go. I hope you're joining us next week for the EDF?


Egg subtitute: I didn't get a chance to post this last week. Do you have any idea what else I can use instead of eggs in baking? I'm thinking cookies, banana bread.... I have a couple of friends who can't eat eggs.


Seattle, WA

Kim O'Donnel: Hey neighbor, silken tofu is a great sub, but it's on an case-by-case basis. If you're interested, check out Isa Chandra Moskowitz's books -- she's a big baker and doesn't use any egg or dairy in her recipes.


Arlington Gay: Hi, Kim,

My 2 cents on cookbooks. I have a few, but find these days I rarely reference them. (Other than the Top Chef cookbook, which is just fun...). My favorite "cookbook" is Google, to be honest. I've found many basic to fancy recipes just by Googleing.

I'm also disappointed to hear about losing this chat. I may not have learned to cook here, but you and the chatters have definitely added a polish to my skills. I already wrote to the Ombudsman to register my disappointment.

Kim O'Donnel: Thanks GAFF for your 2! There are so many options for home cooks these days -- in fact, the problem is wading through the sea of options.


Philly again: At this point, lengthier cookbooks would probably be best because I've got a tiny kitchen and not tons of room for lots of books. I'm definitely interested in both technique and expanding my culinary repertoire.

Kim O'Donnel: Then "Everything" may be just up your alley. I'd also look at "A New Way to Cook" by Sally Schneider. Oh, and Mark Scarborough and Bruce Weinstein are coming out w/a new book I'm excited about: "The Ultimate Cook" with lots of how-to.


Winchester, VA: I am extremely sad you are leaving. I've always gotten GREAT ideas from this chat, and you always pull through for me when I'm stuck without dinner ideas. Speaking of which, any new ideas for my dinner tonight? Hopefully one that wouldn't involve too expensive items from the store? My go-to bean dishes, black bean tortilla soup and black bean quesadillas, are getting a little old, and we had chicken and pasta last night. I don't mind buying meat, as long as it's not crazy expensive like duck breast or filet mignon. I just need something new to try. Plus, I live in Winchester and our grocery stores are pretty basic. Doubt I could find duck breast anyway.

Second question - I have been trying to find bulgur. Whole Foods in Old Town didn't have it...any other ideas?

Kim O'Donnel: Re: bulgur: have you tried My Organic Market (MOM) in Arlandria?

Re: tonight's din: Can you get your hands on a stalk of lemongrass and a hunk of fresh ginger? If so, I've got a really easy Vietnamese-style chicken thing you could do for tonight, with rice.


Arlington, VA: I am sad the chats are going, too, but all the folks who are complaining should think about the fact that they are not subscribing to the Post, so it loses $ that way, and they are getting the web service for free. We have all gotten very spoiled, and need to start accepting that we might have to pay for services we value. I would be happy to pay for the WaPo online, but I afraid since it has been free to date, many people would scream about how they were entitled to it free. But still, I think the WaPo ought to try it out and see what happens. (for the record, I do subscribe the print edition, too, as you cannot get the same experience online as you do with a paper and a cup of coffee. I also use the site heavily, too. They are complementary).

Kim O'Donnel: The world of media is changing by the minute these days. I think too we may have to start getting used to the idea of subscribing to content, but it will be a tough sell for many, as you mention. Strange times indeed.


EDF: last night I told my husband about the EDF challenge coming up. He said, you know what that's called--because we have a phrase around the house for this kind of eating. At least once a week we declare a "usin' up" meal in which the odds and ends are pulled from the fridge and eaten, typically in a three or four course event. There might be a quesadilla appetizer, a little soup to follow, some veggies or another. You get the picture. I'm looking forward to working my way through the cupboards a bit next week!

Kim O'Donnel: Glad to have you on board -- send me an e-mail (kim.odonnel AT wpni.com) with your city and state and I'll include you on the EDF Honor Roll.


Re: Egg Replacer: I keep a box of Egg Replacer in my baking cabinet because I can't get through a dozen eggs quickly enough. I've purchased it at Whole Foods and TP/SS Coop. I think it is potato starch and who knows what other magic - mix powder with warm water and add to recipes as if it is an egg. I've used in cakes and cookies without a problem.

Kim O'Donnel: Thank you for adding to the thread!


Fayetteville, AR: On Cookbooks: Ina Garten's new "Back to Basics" is just that, pretty basic great recipes. Let me add to the others' comments, "Oh no! Don't go." This forum will be missed.

Kim O'Donnel: Thanks for chiming in, Arkansas!


Arlington Gay: Sea of options is an understatement, but recipes.com is usually pretty good. Did you know it's easy to find your recipes via Google? (Sometimes easier than searching wapo.)

I forgot to mention, Ombudsman's e-mail is AlexanderA@washpost.com. Meant to share that with the chatters in my first post.

Kim O'Donnel: I know, I use Google a lot to find the recipes I've written about! Thanks.


What to eat tonight in Winchester: Lemongrass--I sincerely doubt it. Never seen it in our stores. Ginger--possibly, but probably not. Sorry.

I've been really frustrated lately because I had a craving for brussel sprouts and couldn't even find them.

Kim O'Donnel: But...you could use lemon or lime zest in its place...No time to post recipe right here, but I can do that over at my Facebook page this afternoon. Or e-mail me and I'll get it to you.


Calgary, Alberta: I have read your chats in every city I've lived in (5 around the world) in the last 10 years and I feel that I am losing a warm, amazing friend. Thanks you for the thanksgiving fare you have inspired and the myriad ways you have enriched my life and those of my family and friends. Sigh. As if the world isn't sad enough these days.

Kim O'Donnel: Aw, Calgary. I urge you to keep checking my Facebook page for updates. And of course, the blog continues.


Eating down the fridge: Hi Kim. I'm sure we should eat everything in the fidge but how about the effect on the economy if nobody grocery shops?

Kim O'Donnel: I'm not trying to shut down the flow of money, but paving way for us to be more mindful about we already have, to think before we fill the cart, to be more efficient with our heaping pantries...


Washington, D.C.: I just want to second the idea of taking cookbooks for a test drive from the library. I have been trying to do that this year. My resolution is to try new recipes and throw away less food. So far so good. I'm hesitant to buy a lot of the books that I've gotten from the library because I'm a vegetarian, and most of the books I own are strictly so as well. But it's fun to look through others as well. Even if I don't try any of the recipes, I get ideas about things that would taste good together.

And yes, I do often flip through cookbooks before going to sleep at night...I'm a food nerd.

Kim O'Donnel: You're preaching to the choir here -- calling all food nerds!!


Best cook book: I go to yard, garage, estate sales and buy old cookbooks. for around a dollar you get a lot and if you don't like it, you don't care. You can make some great finds.

Kim O'Donnel: Nice!


Chicago: Kim,

I started EDF a week early because I'm going to be traveling part of next week, and I wanted to report my progress so far. Saturday night I made matzoh ball soup with a mix that had been in the pantry forever, veggie stock, and a bag of carrots that were starting to shrivel. Sunday night I made an African-style sweet potato, tomato, and peanut stew served over couscous, with leftovers for lunch Monday. Last night I made veggie chili with spaghetti and cornbread, with leftovers for lunch today. My kids were upset that we ran out of freezer waffles when I told them I was not buying them this week, until I pulled out a coffee cake I made a few months ago from the freezer. I could get out the waffle iron, but I don't think I need to.

Also, I wanted to say that I also will miss your chats but I'm happy the blog and Facebook stuff will continue.

Kim O'Donnel: Thanks for reporting in, Chicago. Sounds like you're doing great!


Lentil mush: So my first attempt into the lentil world did not fare as I expected. The "Rice and Lentil Pilaf" recipe turned into lentil mush with undercooked rice bits. Sad. Thoughts as to why the lentils went to mush/what I could to better next time? Lentils were cooked first then added to saute pan (oil/onions/garlic/spices/toasted rice) with two cups of water....stirred a few times but still half of it stuck to the bottom. Flavors were awesome but the mound of mush was unappetizing to look at.

And seriously, in the Web 2.0 age, you'd think the first thing to go would be a page in the paper, not a web chat. The Post should rethink this decision.

Kim O'Donnel: What color were the lentils? And how long cooked? Talk to me.


Silver Spring: I have my grandmother's copy of The Culinary Institute's cookbook (red cover) from some time around the mid-1950s. It is easy to use, has basic recipes and will even show you how to set a table, fold a napkin and cut up a roast.

Kim O'Donnel: Nice, Silver Spring. It's fascinating to me how certain cookbooks resonate with us.


Concerned, DC: Is there a list of all the chats that are being discontinued? I for one will email to say that I would definitely pay a subscription for chats. I have about 5 I follow every week including this one!

Kim O'Donnel: Even I have not been made privy to the chats that have been discontinued. A subscription is a brilliant idea, really.


B'More Cat and Chat Lover: Hey, Kim! A couple of comments.

In my family we refer to "usin' up" as "must-goes". All family vacations end with Must-goes night where we finish all the dribs and drabs of the week's meals in one night. It's loads of fun.

For the chatter with the smoke detector issue...it might be the heat not the smoke setting it off. I have an aged stove, with very little insulation. Just turning the oven on over 400 degrees can set off the smoke detector. My solution (while not recommended) is to remove the battery for the duration of the oven use. Since I have to use a step ladder to accomplish this, I keep the step ladder in place as a visual reminder to replace the battery as soon as the oven is off. Don't worry...I can't really leave the kitchen without passing the step ladder so I am very vigilant.

Oh, and I intend to replace my stove as soon as my tax refund is deposited.

Kim O'Donnel: Hey B'More, good tips as always! But a good cleaning of the reader's oven wouldn't hurt...


DC: Hey, Kim, I will miss you. I would love to learn to cook without recipes as guides. I'm good at soups and pan sauces, but I do get inspiration from you for flavor combinations.

I can't join EDF since we hardly ever have anything in it anyway, which makes it hard to come up with snacks. We tend to shop for one day at a time, and I'd love to get over that.

Kim O'Donnel: Maybe you'll learn a few new tricks just by lurking next week, DC. I think it's going to be eye opening!


Silver Spring: I'm going to miss these chats!

I went through the fridge, freezers (2!), the cupboards and the pantry last night.

Most common ingredients: 7 bags of frozen clam base (made from chopped clams, olive oil, butter, garlic and a mix of my grandmother's spices) and flours (King Arthur, generic all purpose, wheat, bread)

I borrowed a pasta maker attachment for the kitchenaid, so it looks like clams and homemade linguini are in my future.

Most embarrassing but darnit, I'm not going to throw it out unless you tell me to: a small package of store bought kugel received as a party-warming gift one year ago this week.

So I have some good & bad ahead of me!

And to the new Cookbook collector -- Dorie Greenspan's "Baking" if you are into fancy or unusual baking, and I have a couple separate cookbooks for things like different ethnic meals, crockpots, chocolate, bread and cookies. But I also have Joy.

Kim O'Donnel: I can't wait to hear what you come up with next week! This is gonna be fun.


Favorite Cookbook: Mine is "I'm Just Here For the Food," by Alton Brown. Like the ATK book, it spends a lot of time teaching you -why- you are cooking something the way to are, rather than just having you take a step-by-step direction. It's divided by cooking method (braising, baking, boiling, etc) which is great because it teaches you when to use each cooking method when dealing with various foods. Plus, it's written/illustrated in the way that only Alton Brown can...which helps keeps things entertaining.

Kim O'Donnel: Another goodie...thanks for adding to list.


Fairfax: Bulgur: I can get it at Shoppers Food, in ethnic aisles. If I want a particular grade that Shoppers doesn't have, I go to Mediterranean Bakery on South Pickett in Alexandria. Go at lunchtime and have one of their sandwiches!

Kim O'Donnel: Great tips, Fairfax. I second the emotion for a sandwich from Med Bakery!


Good beginner cookbooks: My favorite, and the cookbook that taught me a solid base by which I now feel comfortable tackling anything, is Julia Child's The Way to Cook. She gives the reader many Master recipes, where the technique is carefully explained, and then gives several variations all using the same base.

It's a great way to learn techniques, not all of them basic, in plain language with good pictures throughout. I'm comfortable cooking with pretty much anything I have in the house & she encourages you not to be tied to a particular ingredient, but rather to experiment with the Master recipes using what is fresh & in season.

Kim O'Donnel: Another great idea for a beginner text...


Reine de Saba: Kim, oh no, so sad that you're leaving us! You have definitely been a big part of my cooking life for the past 12 years. There is no justice in the world, let me tell ya. Hope you'll find lots of outlets for your great skills and karma!

Kim O'Donnel: Well, I'm not leaving entirely, as the blog will remain. However, I am trying to find a new home for the chat, and have been approached by a few organizations, so we'll see. I would very much like to continue a weekly chat, as I know how helpful it's been for readers to "talk" to someone about enhancing their kitchen lives. I'm keeping my chin up, if you are. We'll figure something out.


South Dakota: I love the idea of EDF - in our house I am the food police, and I hate waste. So we call the 'pick nights', meaning pick something for yourself out of the fridge or cupboard because I'm not cooking.

Kim O'Donnel: Well, come on down and join us! I need representation from South Dakota, my dear.


lee hwy: As far as cook books - right now I am working on starting an old fashioned box of recipe cards! This means that I can get recipes from all different sources (internet, library, magazines, etc) and put them all into one format and get them organized the way I like (and renamed - I hate digging through some of these books' indices...)

Kim O'Donnel: aha! i love recipe cards. take pix when you've got something to show, would love to see.


For Philly: I have The Joy of Cooking on cd-rom. I like it because I can do a quick search by recipe, ingredient, cooking method, etc. It will tailor the recipe to the number of servings I need, and will download a shopping list to my Palm Pilot.

I also second looking at yard sales, I have several of my grandmother's cookbooks from the 1930's and the World War II era. Interesting cooking!

Kim O'Donnel: I've always wondered if cooks like cooking cd-roms or not. Thanks for sharing...


Second the thought:: I'm sorry the Post is cutting back on chats. It's why I log on and read as much as I do. Seems like a quick fix and long term bad idea.

Ideas for cans of salmon I brought back from Alaska? Not cakes please - I'm going to try a chowder but other options welcome.

Kim O'Donnel: Cans of salmon, but no cakes. I'd prob do a take on "nicoise" salad -- with boiled potatoes, green beans, olives, a little Dijon, roasted red peppers...


self rising flour: I found the remnants of a bag of self-rising flour (maybe 1 cup left) in the back of the cupboard. Any thoughts on what to do with it?

Kim O'Donnel: Just how old is it, dear? Talk to me.


New York, NY: For the person starting a file box of recipes, I've had great luck consolidating using a binder with those clear sleeves. This way, I can put all different sizes in and all my computer print outs, plus the plastic is easy to clean off when you make a mess.

Kim O'Donnel: Another idea. I'd be happy to amass your ideas and put in blog space. Keep'em coming!


Lentil Mush: Brown lentils....cooked for 20 minutes on their own, drained, then mixed in with other ingredients/water and they simmered for at least 20 minutes or so until I pulled the whole thing off the heat in fear of having the entire mush stuck to the bottom of the pan.


Kim O'Donnel: Yeah, too much cooking time, too much liquid. You could prob. have gotten away with cooking them just once. You willing to try again? Holler and we'll fix you up.


Denver, CO: For Philly, as a single cook, I love Joy of Cooking! While the proportions aren't great for a solo cook, the seasoning combos are simple and easy. Here's my question for Kim: I roasted a butternut squash with a soy sauce-maple syrup glaze. While it was salty-sweet amazingness, I've now eaten some plain and some with whole wheat pasta. Any ideas for ways to spruce up the remaining (frozen now) pound?

Kim O'Donnel: Oh! Check out the recipe in Monday's blog space for roasted squash salad. After you thaw, however, check to see how it's held up in the deep freeze.


richmond: my cookbook (warning: VERY old school): One of those black and white composition books. Write the keepers in there and it's my 'bible.' If I clip the recipe from the paper, I tape it in there. I add notes about changes, time, etc. The pages just started falling out of my book, I explored going digital, but in the end bought a new spiral bound notebook to transfer the current keepers into.

Kim O'Donnel: I love it! I have many of these kinds of composition books stacked up in my office.


Kim O'Donnel: Time's up for today. We will have 2 chats next week -- Tues and Thurs (for EDF challenge), fyi. Chins up! We will cook up another pot of stew and keep the conversation going. Virtual hugs to all of you. Stop by and see me in the blog: A Mighty Appetite.


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