Q: I inherited a spaghetti squash from a friend’s community-supported agriculture basket. It’s foreign to me, and I don’t know what to do with it. Please give me really clear instructions for dummies on how to cut, prep and cook it.
A: Spaghetti squash is so called because the strands inside look like the pasta once the thing is cooked. I like to roast them, like I do most winter squashes.
Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and roast on a well-oiled rimmed baking sheet cut side down until it’s tender. Drain after roasting. Then use a fork to pull out the strands. You can then toss them with butter, salt and pepper, or make a casserole by adding tomato, maybe feta and olives, and baking. And many other things. Or you can toss it with spaghetti for spaghetti squash with spaghetti!
– Joe Yonan
Q: Can cheese be frozen?
A: Generally, professionals frown on freezing cheeses, particularly if the cheeses are fresh and still have considerable moisture content.
– Tim Carman
Q: How do you get a perfectly fried egg? The chef at our favorite restaurant can do it – yolk cooked but runny, white not even browned on the bottom – but I can’t. Help!
A: To not brown the egg white at all, you keep the heat to medium-low, and cover the pan to help the white cook fully on top; just stop before you film over the top of the yolk, too!
You can also add a little water – or more than a little, to make what are called blindfolded eggs, sort of a cross between fried and poached.
But I have to say, I also really like fried eggs when the whites are crispy and even puffed from high heat. Have you ever fried them in a LOT of oil? That’s fun to do, too.
Q: To make good use of some lovely garden carrots, farmers’ market celery and onions – and to save time for weeknight meals – I’d like to prep and freeze mirepoix. I think I should saute it at least halfway before dividing and freezing. Correct? My guess is that freezing celery and onion uncooked will create mush upon thawing. Other recommendations? Or is this just a bad idea from the start?
A: I’m in favor of all the prep-ahead you can muster!
You can freeze your mirepoix vegetables raw or cooked; I’d prefer the latter. To freeze raw, spread the ingredients on a baking sheet and freeze till hard, then transfer to a zip-top bag. The frozen mirepoix could go straight into a soup or oiled skillet; make sure you cook it long enough to extract excess moisture.
– Bonnie S. Benwick