Q: I have a recipe I want to try for an Italian sausage and kale gratin. But it has goat cheese in it, and my family members can sniff that out from miles away; they hate it. I was thinking I could maybe use a good ricotta, but that doesn’t sound exactly right to me. Do you have a suggestion?
A: The Food Substitutions Bible suggests cream cheese or mascarpone.
Q: I’m shopping for a 10-inch skillet and am leaning toward Anolon but am wondering whether you have any other recommendations. I am not a gourmet and need the skillet just for basic cooking.
A: We’re not big fans of Anolon. Try a basic Martha Stewart stainless-steel skillet (11 inches), which you can find for under $30. Easy to clean, distributes heat well yet feels heavy-duty.
Q: I’m making a scalloped sweet potato/russet potato dish that I’d like to prepare one day and bake the next. Do you foresee any problems with that?
A: Overnight refrigeration should be fine. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap.
Q: I bought a jar of fig butter at Trader Joe’s and, aside from schmearing it on toast with a little cottage cheese, wondered if I could cook with it.
A: We’ve used that fig butter on pizza and grilled cheese.
Q: I have a big round of queso fresco. What’s something interesting I can do with it?
A: We tend to think of queso fresco as a garnish. Try it on top of black bean soup or Southwestern grits.