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Mix in a little sweet into your savory picadillo

The Washington Post Food staff recently answered questions about all things edible and a new food newsletter – Eat Voraciously. Here are edited excerpts from that chat.

Q: The pandemic blues are really getting to me, and as a food lover living alone, I’ve been having trouble feeling excited about cooking. What are some recipes to help break you out of a cooking rut or that make you feel excited/inspired by food again?

A: I’ve been in the same boat. Cooking feels more like work than fun these days. I’m trying to stay inspired by reading about cuisines I don’t know much about and flipping through new-to-me cookbooks. I’m also writing a free newsletter to help us all get out of our cooking ruts. It’s called Eat Voraciously, and in it I share one easy recipe Monday through Friday. It keeps me going, one meal at a time.

– Daniela Galarza


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Q: I’ve never heard the name picadillo, but I’ve been making versions of this skillet dinner for years. I use whatever ground meat I have on hand (beef, turkey, or pork), plus mushrooms, bell pepper, onions, and garlic. I toss in a can of beans or whatever leftover veggies are in the fridge. I’ll see if my family is brave enough to try the raisins and olives in the mix.

A: It’s a common dish in many cultures, made in slightly different ways, but always economical and flavorful. I’m glad you might try it with the olives and raisins!

– D.G.

A: I urge you toss that small amount of raisins into the mix. I bet they won’t even notice. The subtle sweetness is just the perfect balance to the salty olives.

– Ann Maloney

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Q: How long should I simmer bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs? I want to shred the meat for salads and use the cooking liquid as a light stock.

A: I would think a gentle 25 minute simmer should do it and get you to cooked, tender meat without overdoing it.

– Olga Massov

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Q: How long can homemade chicken stock last in the fridge? I’ve made my own for some time and have always frozen it portioned out among plastic freezer bags, but honestly between just not wanting to take the time for that extra step and the environmental waste, I kinda just wanna let it sit in a bowl in the fridge and just use it as much as I can before it goes bad.

A: The USDA says meat broth can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days. If you like the convenience and speed of flat bags, you can invest in some reusable silicone ones. I freeze my broths in deli containers (pint and/or quart) that I use over and over again, so think about how much you tend to use at once. When I need it fast, I run it under warm tap water just long enough to loosen it from the sides, dump it into a pot and thaw/reheat on the stovetop. Doesn’t take too long, especially if I’m prepping other ingredients.

– Becky Krystal