Still have turkey in your freezer? Here is how to use it up.

The Washington Post Food staff recently answered questions about all things edible. Here are edited excerpts from that chat.

Q: I have some leftover diced turkey breast in my freezer. It was overcooked originally. How I can repurpose it in to something edible? I was thinking a soup, but I have visions of rubbery turkey impressionist soup

A: If it is kind of dried out, I’d recommend putting it in something with lots of moisture, such as a strata.

Also, if it is very dry, you can chop it up and mix it with mayonnaise or yogurt to make a turkey salad. Maybe add celery and nuts or seeds. That’s one of my favorite things to do with leftover turkey.


– Ann Maloney

Q: The eggs I buy are usually from the one of several farmers at my local market. This means they are sometimes not “standard” large size. In baking, should I be thinking about the weight of the eggs or the volume of the liquid. My instinct says the volume and if I need to add or subtract volume do I do it with the white, the yolk, or after beating (assuming the recipe does not call for separating them).

A: I would always go by weight, and really thorough baking recipes will provide you weight for not just solid ingredients, but liquid as well. At least, this is how pastry chefs/bakers think. A “standard” large egg is about 57 grams with shell, 50 grams without shell, egg white is about 30 grams and the rest is yolk.

– Olga Massov

Q: I pulled out a new recipe for an eggnog bread the other day, thinking that a loaf of this batter bread would make a nice little holiday gift for some neighbors. Just one little problem with the first batch, however. I am embarrassed to say that somehow I managed to leave out the baking powder. Yeah. So I have these two loaves that smell good, nice and eggnoggy, but are probably like lead texture-wise. (The other four loaves I made did have baking powder in them, looked great and have already been delivered.)

So my question is – any idea of how to use the “failed” loaves in some way, rather than just throw them out?

A: I’d make bread pudding with at least one of them. You might have to tweak any recipe you find a little bit to compensate for the nog, but I bet that would be delicious. Or, you could cut them into cubes and make sweet croutons out of them for topping a fruit crumble.

– A.M.

Q: I finally got an enameled Dutch oven. The instructions say do not heat it empty. My regular cast iron Dutch oven is so old it has no instructions. Do you have any advice about what will happen if I don’t preheat my new Dutch oven? Maybe it isn’t healthy for my old oven to heat empty either.

A: So, I think those instructions for heating are for the stove top, not the oven. I have a Dutch oven that I use for smaller stews and also for baking, and the one side-effect of what bread baking has done is darkened the outside of this vessel considerably. I don’t particularly care, because my Dutch ovens are my work horses, but I want to mention it here in case you see the discoloration and darkening and get sad. I’m considering an inexpensive Lodge deep pan for bread baking going forward, in case that’s something you are interested in.

– O.M.

Q: Is there a good, all-purpose substitute for coconut milk in things like stews, soups, and curries? I see so many good recipes, but unfortunately one picky person in my household (OK, me) hates all things coconut.

A: If you’re looking for the creamy texture, cashew milk might be a good idea.

– Kari Sonde

Q: What is the easiest (and tastiest) way to ice sugar cookies? I’ve tried before, but they always look like a drippy mess.

A: The good thing about sugar cookies is that even if they look a bit drippy they still taste great! I like to use egg white powder as it’s easy to measure and produces consistent results. I also add a pinch of salt to my sugar cookie icing, which helps balance all of the sweetness.

– G. Daniela Galarza

Q: I decided that I want to try to cook a whole duck this year. Do you think I’d be able to cook it in my Instant Pot (8 quart)? Any suggestions or tips?

A: The reason I wouldn’t cook a whole duck in an Instant Pot is because one of the best things about a whole duck is its crispy skin, which you wouldn’t get in a multicooker environment. Are you open to cooking it in the oven?

– O.M.

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