This Week's Top 5 Hotline Questions

May 31, 2012

Do you use the Hotline? If you haven't been lately, you're missing out -- between discussions about tomatoes and tortillas, questions about FOOD52 recipes, and discussions about the quintessential summer meal, it's a lively place. Here are our top 5 Hotline questions of the week:

1. With Memorial Day marking the start of summer, our minds have turned to ice cream, tomatoes, and the quintessential summer meal. Bates,Barley wanted to know which meal FOOD52ers look forward to most during those long winter months. Answers ranged from lobster and fried clams to grilled Mexican style corn, tacos, fresh tomatoes, paella, and vinho verde. 

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2. arielleclementine wondered if it is "bad to pick tomatoes while they're green and let them ripen indoors" to avoid unwanted pests. Instead of picking tomatoes while they are still unripe, mainecook61 suggested using:

a spun lightweight fabric like Agribon. It is sometimes called Reemay. You can get it from a seed company like Johnny's Selected Seeds. If you treat it well you can use it over and over. It lets sun and rain through but not insects (unless they're already underneath!). 

3. petitbleu has an ice cream maker that just doesn't seem to freeze ice cream properly. It make for a semi-slushy consistency, "and it's all downhill from there." FOOD52ers suggested using the basic Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, the fancier KitchenAid ice cream attachment, or going the old-fashioned route with rock salt and ice. 

4. Hoping to make fresh corn tortillas, biggreencookbook asked the community if a tortilla press is essential. The consensus? No need for a tortilla maker. A rolling pin or a cast iron skillet are just fine!

5. And, our Editorial Assistant, brette warshaw, who is currently curating her very own first kitchen in her column First Kitchen, asked us which five cookbooks we couldn't live without. Tons of answers followed, including The Joy of Cooking, How to Cook Everything, and Sunday Suppers at Lucques. What are your five essential cookbooks?


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I'm Laura Loesch-Quintin, a food writer and photographer, as well as the voice behind the recipe blog gourmette•nyc. Originally from Philadelphia, I was raised in a French-American household where vinaigrette, cornichons, and clafoutis were (and still are) staples. When not cooking, writing, or photographing, I can usually be found exploring the food markets of New York City.