Winner's Q&A

Winner of Your Best Recipe with Corn

By • June 11, 2014 • 16 Comments

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Congratulations to zindc, whose Savory Masa Corn Cakes with Green Chile, Cheese, and Lime Crema won the contest for Your Best Corn!

Savory Corn Masa Cakes on Food52

Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
For me, food has always been both an outlet for creativity and a way to express affection. When my husband and I met in New York City, we were both “starving” artists in our early 20’s: He was studying painting at Cooper Union and I was an actress. Not long after we were introduced by a mutual friend, I cooked a meal for him on a two-burner hot plate in the unfinished cement-floor basement where he lived. I remember making Chicken Marengo, rice pilaf, and asparagus with hollandaise sauce, all dishes I had learned to cook by watching Julia Child on television. That meal clinched it for him, and we are about to celebrate our 43rd anniversary.

What's your least favorite kitchen task? 
Anything involved with cleaning. I love to cook but hate to clean. I always pray that no one looks too closely at my kitchen floor.

Your favorite kitchen tool? 
It's a toss-up between my Vitamix blender and my ceramic blade mandoline. I use both almost every day.

Best Corn on Food52  Mandoline on Food52

What is your idea of comfort food?
Comfort foods that I gravitate towards most often are tamales, enchiladas, refried beans, and cooked salsas. I grew up in Los Angeles and my parents were fairly adventurous eaters. As a child I was taken to Mexican restaurants, and the flavors of corn masa and chiles are fundamental to the development of my personal palate.

What is your greatest kitchen disaster?
As a young cook, I invited a fairly sophisticated older couple to my house for dinner. I chose to cook a complex recipe from a Dione Lucas cookbook which I’d never made before -- big beginner’s mistake. It was a boneless lamb leg stuffed with a sausage forcemeat; rolled, tied, and roasted, and served with a caper sauce. I knew that lamb should be served pink, but didn’t troubleshoot the recipe. If I had, I would have realized that if the lamb stayed medium rare, the pork sausage in the center wouldn’t cook through. When I sliced the roast I found raw sausage in the center, and everyone had to wait while I frantically broiled the sliced roulade. The lamb, of course, was well done when I finally served it. It was an important lesson about the need for good cookbook editing, and I’ve never slavishly or unquestioningly followed a recipe since. However, I sometimes court danger by serving company a dish I’ve never made before.

 This article was brought to you by Sunshine Sweet Corn.

Photo by James Ransom


Jump to Comments (16)

Tags: corn, fresh corn, corn contest, contest winner, recipe contest, interview

Comments (16)


9 months ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

These sound really delicious!


10 months ago Summer of Eggplant



10 months ago healthierkitchen

Great recipe zindc! Hope to meet you in DC sometime!


10 months ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations, zindc! Love your stories. 43 years. Wow.


10 months ago lapadia

Congrats zindc, love your Q&A and recipe! I totally relate to your personal comfort food palate…growing up I’d spend time with the LA relatives, every summer; one aunt & uncle owned a restaurant = a culinary adventure based around the exact food you’ve mentioned!


10 months ago zindc

Thanks to everyone for all of the good wishes. I'm totally thrilled to have made it to the winners' circle, with so many great cooks entering these Food52 contests.


10 months ago dymnyno

Congratulations zindc! I love your recipe as well as your tale of 43 years ago!


10 months ago Acourtne1

So where's the recipe and instructions. You're right, I want to make it right away.


10 months ago zindc

You'll get to the recipe if you click on the photograph.


10 months ago zindc

Or the hyperlink in the headnote.


10 months ago EmilyC

Congrats on your win! I enjoyed reading your Q&A as well.


10 months ago Bevi

congrats zindc! These sound great, and I will make them later this summer!


10 months ago cookbookchick

Congratulations, zindc! I'll be trying this as soon as I get my hands on some fresh corn this summer. I love your stories, too!


10 months ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations! Love that first meal you cooked for your husband - that's a great story


10 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

congrats, zindc! Can't wait to try these.


10 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Congrats, zindc! Love your recipe, and am looking forward to making it for my family -- this weekend, if possible! ;o)