| Nov 12, 2013
Q: How long should one grind coffee beans? I'm breaking in a new grinder. Years ago I read that Starbucks ground their beans for 23 seconds and I did that. In the new grinder, 23 seconds turns the beans to dust.
—Paddy Meehan, Chicago
| Feb 18, 2014
Q: I buy expensive gin but cheap commercial tonic water. What are the other choices? I've seen some high-end bottled quinine waters but have not tried them. Are they any good? Can I make my own?
—Curtis Tuckey, Chicago
A: "Adding crummy tonic to...
| Jan 7, 2014
Q: I am planning to make Susan Spicer's goat cheese croutons with wild mushrooms and Madeira cream from her "Crescent City Cooking." I don't have any Madeira. Is Marsala an acceptable substitute?
--Andrew Maselli, Chicago
A: "Yes," says Spicer,...
| Dec 22, 2013
When Rachel Switall was earning her master's degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, she partnered with students who lived in Cabrini Green to create a magazine called Peaceful Times.
This was close to 20 years ago, when a series called...
| Nov 26, 2013
Q: I have a bottle of 1993 Bourgogne Blanc by Chartron et Trebuchet. Is it drinkable? It's a bottle I inherited, so I don't know how it's been stored.
—Patty Cooper, Chicago
A: Call me the cockeyed optimist, but I always hope a wine like this...
| Dec 31, 2013
Q: As a young boy, I dined many times at the Walnut Room in the Marshall Field's State Street store. I have searched all over the Internet, bought the Marshall Field's cookbook, but alas, I have not found the recipe for corned beef hash served at the...
| Dec 17, 2013
Q: Some years ago the annual holiday contest had a white chocolate cranberry cookie winner. It's one of my favorites, but unfortunately. I misplaced the recipe. Can you help?
--Charlene Jernegan, Flossmoor
A: Yes, I can! I thought at first that the...
| Nov 19, 2013
Q: My mother has been looking for a recipe that her mom used to make. It's called Hot Milk Cake. She said that her mom probably started making it around the 1940s when she lived in Virginia. None of my grandmother's siblings know what cookbook this...
| Feb 11, 2014
Q: Could you reprint in the Wednesday food section an old recipe called Walnuss Finger Cookies from the German Village in Columbus, Ohio? It's a very old recipe and my copy is yellow. Haven't made them in awhile and I'm not sure about the amount of flour....
| Feb 4, 2014
Q: Is it possible to make a good gluten-free bread at home?
--Laura Yee, Chicago
A: "Absolutely," exclaimed Shauna James Ahern, author with Daniel Ahern of "Gluten-Free Girl Every Day" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $29.99). I had telephoned her on...
| Jan 14, 2014
Q: I'm writing you because I am trying to track down a story my grandmother Anna Kiefer told me when I was a young girl about how she had submitted a recipe for Hungarian goulash for a contest that the Chicago Tribune was running, and that she won the...