Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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How to dispatch a whole head of cabbage all by yourself

Becky Krystal & Aaron Hutcherson

THE WASHINGTON POST – Each Wednesday, Aaron Hutcherson and Becky Krystal answer questions and provide practical cooking advice in a chat with readers. Recently, they were joined by Hetty McKinnon, author of Voraciously’s new Plant Powered II newsletter series, which features 10 weeks of delicious vegan recipes to inspire you to embrace the crisper drawer with renewed excitement.

Q: I have a large head of purple cabbage, and only me to eat it. What should I do?

A: A whole cabbage can be intimidating because it is a lot. I recommend breaking it down. I tend to use a cabbage like this: I will use half in a noodle stir-fry or cut half into wedges and pan-sear them, before cooking with a sauce and legumes like chickpeas or lentils. Then I’ll use one-quarter for a savory pancake dish like okonomiyaki or Korean jeon, and the remaining quarter, I’ll thinly slice and use to make a cold noodle salad or Thai-style slaw.

Q: I have a toaster-type air fryer. Is there a rule of thumb for converting stove/oven temps and times?

A: Air fryers are essentially mini convection ovens, and the general rule is to lower the temperature by 25 degrees and check for doneness 25 per cent sooner than the stated time. It may still take a little trial and error, but this is a good place to start.


Q: Do you have any suggestions for the best ways to grate garlic without shredding your fingers as it falls apart?

A: I recommend grated garlic when there is no or minimal cooking involved – in salad dressings, for example. Nothing is worse than eating a chunk of garlic in a dressing. And in my recipes, when I say grated, I mean grated. I use a fine Microplane for the best result.

Of course, if I’m feeling lazy, I will finely chop, but if a recipe calls for grating, it means you need to mince it.

Q: Is there a way to substitute dry yeast for fresh cake yeast?

A: Dry yeast is basically cake yeast that has been dried. Red Star said two-third ounce of cake yeast is the equivalent of two-and-a-quarter teaspoons dry yeast.

Q: What are a couple of different ways to cook summer squash? I’d rather not add a lot of cheese and butter, but am tired of trying to grill long slices and the ever popular sautéed with onions.

A: I grill or roast whole zucchini until completely tender and then scoop out the flesh and make a smoky zucchini dip, which I serve with flatbread..

Q: We like to grill outdoors in the summer, but I’m in a grilled veg rut and looking for new ideas. Do you have any favorites or suggestions?

A: I love grilling veggies, too (back when I had an outdoor grill!). I grilled everything – broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini. I absolutely love charred gai lan (Chinese broccoli) on the grill. The leaves get a little crispy, the stems remain firm with bite. The smokiness brings out its mustardy notes. It’s really good. That goes for other Asian greens, too. Also I can’t recommend grilling a whole head of cauliflower enough. Move it off the direct flame but leave it to cook in the cooler parts of the grill (if that is possible) for an hour or so, until it is tender through the middle. The smokiness is unbelievable. I serve it with a tahini sauce or a gochujang yoghurt – spectacular! If you have a smoker, a whole head of cauliflower is perfect in there.