This Week's Top 5 Hotline Questions

April 12, 2012

Do you use the Hotline? If you haven't been lately, you're missing out -- between discussions about Easter ham and Passover desserts, questions about FOOD52 recipes, and friendly debates about the ins and outs of the kitchen, it's a lively place. Here are our top 5 Hotline questions of the week:

1. FOOD52er chicagoem asked the community:

Shop the Story

I'm in the market for a large (at least 7 quarts) dutch oven. Is Le Creuset worth the the extra $$? Is there another brand you'd recommend?

Recommendations ranged from Emile Henry to Martha Stewart to good old Lodge cast iron.

2. Keiperr asked for help with cooking up perfect rice -- not mushy and not sticky. One of our Whole Foods Market customers had this great advice:

Don't rinse your rice. Be sure to cover the pot and don't peek, and definitely don't stir it. Just don't! I learned this one the hard way...make sure your flame is low and the liquid is the correct amount and you will be ok. You can check rice that is cooking by itself in the pot at 20 minutes and then add a little liquid or cook a little longer as necessary. and most important of all, no peeking and no stirring.

3. The user newcook6 wrote into the Hotline wondering why her red pepper sauce thawed out mushy and separated after freezing for storage. boulangere's answer was voted as the best:

Try tossing a raw onion in the freezer for any amount of time. When you thaw it, it's going to have that same unpleasant spongy (eew!) texture you described. The next time you make the sauce, try transferring it from the blender to a saucepan. Heat it gently just to a boil. Heating will break down and soften the cell walls that turned spongy on you. Then you shouldn't have any trouble freezing, thawing, and enjoying it.

4. As a theoretical question, mensaque asked what Hotliners would do if the unthinkable happened in the kitchen -- as it did for a friend when she discovered after a meal that a lizard had fallen into the stew! ChefOno contextualized the dilemma by comparing it to a worm found in an apple:

If you're prepping apples for a pie and you find a worm in one of them, what do you do? (If you answered "throw the apple away", you didn't grow up on a farm and you haven't ever worked in a restaurant kitchen.) The only time a worm is a real issue is if you find half of one in an apple you're eating.

Still, not a problem we ever want to have!

5. And on the goofier side of things, a Whole Foods Market Customer asked the Hotline "Why are peaches fuzzy?" Things get pretty philosophical with answers from hardlikearmour, aargersi, and SKK.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.

1 Comment

susan G. April 12, 2012
For cooks in the hinterlands, conversations at the obsessive level are rare. Who wants to talk about minutia of how to improve press coffee, why jalapenos in the supermarket are so boring, or why the chicken crossed the road. I asked the first 2 on Hotline, and got thoughtful and helpful answers. The last question was answered when my neighbor across the road got chickens -- to scratch in my yard.. Hotline is a lifeline. Glad to see you highlighting it.