Aaron Hutcherson & Becky Krystal
THE WASHINGTON POST – Every week, Aaron Hutcherson and Becky Krystal answer questions and provide practical cooking advice in a chat with readers. Aaron and Becky write and test recipes for Voraciously, The Washington Post’s team dedicated to helping you cook with confidence.
Q: What’s your preferred method for preparing corn on the cob?
A: Honestly, for me, it’s the microwave! I throw the whole ear in there and cook for three-and-a-half to four minutes for one ear and seven or eight for two. Let it hang for a few minutes, shuck and enjoy.
Becky Krystal (BK)
A: I like to just throw it – husk and all – on the grill or in the oven with whatever else I’m cooking and then serve it with butter and salt.
Aaron Hutcherson (AH)
Q: I’ve been asked to bring a vegan gluten-free dessert to an event and it’s left me struggling for ideas. The obvious thing at this time of the year with all the lovely fruit available would be a fruit salad but I’m just wondering if anyone has any other ideas that I can try.
A: A fruit crumble is a great option! Use non-dairy butter, vegetable shortening or olive oil in place of the regular butter. For the fruit, replace the three tablespoons of flour with half as much cornstarch. For the crumble topping, you could replace the flour with a gluten-free alternative, or in the past, I’ve just omitted it completely. – AH
Q: I have a hummus question. Should I go to the trouble to remove the skins from my chickpeas before putting them in the blender with the other ingredients? It seems like a lot of trouble for a little bit more smoothness.
A: You don’t need to, but removing the skins will result in a super creamy hummus. Also, you can make great hummus with chickpeas from a can too! – AH
Q: When making gazpacho, should I remove the seeds and insides of the tomatoes? Also which type of tomatoes are best to use?
A: Nope, keep it all! You want to get as much tomato flavour in there as you can. Keep in mind that the whole thing is getting blended. You can always strain it after that if you want a super-smooth texture. (I never bother.)
I’ll use pretty much any tomato on gazpacho other than the small cherry or grapes, which have not a lot of flesh compared to seeds/skin. Nice as a garnish, though. – BK
Q: I have just finished a very long nine-month kitchen (renovation) and during that time cooked very basically on a hot plate and a grill. We’ve eaten meat because that doesn’t require anything to be chopped. Now that I’m back in the kitchen, how do I start cooking again? Where do I go for inspiration? Easy recipes? What should be my game plan? Do you have any thoughts how you would approach it?
A: First of all, I bet your brand-new kitchen will help get you in the spirit of cooking. What did you like cooking before? Are there dishes you missed making?
This is also the time of year where I like to peruse all the fresh produce at the markets. Maybe that can inspire you, even if it’s just a pretty salad with lots of colourful seasonal ingredients. – BK