The Contests

WEEK 13

September 23, 2009 • 0 Comments

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Congratulations to this week's winners!

lastnightsdinner won the contest for Your Best Beef Salad with Beef Chopped Salad.

JackieK won the contest for Your Best Fruit Tart with Savory Plum Tart.

We asked them both to answer a few questions about cooking and eating.

lastnightsdinner

lastnightsdinner

Describe a food memory that has influenced the way you cook or think about food.

 

 

 

 

 

My grandma’s kitchen was, and still is, always full of people, laughter, and the aroma of delicious food. I have wonderful memories of the whole family getting together at her house for regular Sunday dinners and holiday meals, of standing at her kitchen table literally up to my elbows in masa while she taught a bunch of us how to make tamales, and of stopping over at her house after my college classes to sit and chat with her over a bowl of her “garbage soup.” I think what I have taken away from these memories is that food brings people together, and while I do enjoy preparing a meal for myself, I’m happiest when I’m sharing a meal with my husband or feeding a crowd. 

What's the wackiest dish you've ever made that actually tasted good?

Wacky?  Hm.  I don’t think I really do anything wacky, but I do make a fried provolone sandwich in the summer when tomatoes are at their peak.  It’s soft country bread slathered with mayo, thick sliced tomato, salt, pepper, and a crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside slab of provolone cheese fried in olive oil.  A childhood friend’s father introduced me to these and they’re positively addictive – though you need a great garden tomato for it to really work well.  And a hefty stack of napkins.

What is your favorite food publication and why?

My husband and I are big fans of the Edible publications – Edible Rhody (our local), plus the editions from Boston and our old New York stomping grounds.  It’s nice to see local products celebrated, discover new restaurants to visit or products to seek out, and with the current issue I have one more reason to be a fan – my husband is now writing for them.

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster. 

When I was dating my first long-term beau and just starting to get adventurous in the kitchen, I had a bright idea to make a big pot of duck and sausage gumbo for his parents, just like one we had when we vacationed with them in the Florida panhandle. It was a weeknight, and I started with a whole, very large, very frozen duck. I put it into a huge stockpot to cook, made my roux and prepped everything else I would need to assemble the gumbo after the duck meat and stock were ready. Several hours and glasses of wine later, that duck was still frozen solid. We ordered pizza.

What's your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

We live in a carriage house, and when you walk through the front door from our patio you walk right into the kitchen. We have a huge window and one of those wood-framed screen doors, so the space gets great light and feels very open and airy. This time of year the patio is almost an extension of the kitchen – we eat out there often, and do a lot with our grill and smoker. It’s a pretty sweet setup.

My one complaint about our kitchen is that I wish we had a bigger refrigerator/freezer. It’s an appropriate size for the space, but not for the way we use it. We’ve talked off and on about getting a small chest freezer, but we don’t really have anywhere to go with it.

Apron or no apron?

Apron if we’ve got company, no apron if it’s just us.

What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?

A Lady, a Tramp, and a plate of spaghetti and meatballs – it doesn’t get much sweeter than that.

What, in your opinion, is the best culinary city in the world?

I haven’t traveled much, but the years I spent living in New York were directly responsible for my growth as a cook and a diner. 

What do you crave most often? a) sweet, b) salty, c) sour, d) bitter, e) umami

Umami

When it comes to tidying up, you prefer to: a) clean as you cook, b) do all the dishes once you've finished cooking, or c) leave the kitchen a shambles for your spouse/roommate/kids to clean.

I clean as I cook.  I can’t stand dirty countertops, stacks of bowls in the sink or drips on the stove.

 

 

 

 

 

JackieKJackieK

Describe a food memory that has influenced the way you cook or think about food.

The first time I really cooked was when I studied abroad in Italy during my junior year of college. I was in Florence and as part of the curriculum I was able to take a cooking class. It was just for fun as I wouldn't get credit for it at my American university. This was the first time I was exposed to from-scratch cooking methods, fresh ingredients and the idea of cooking by taste and feeling. It tremendously influenced not only my cooking style but my love for the craft.

What's the wackiest dish you've ever made that actually tasted good?

More than a few strange creations have come out of my kitchen but the one that stands out the most was bitter melon curry. I came across this strange looking vegetable at a local farmer's market about a year ago called "bitter melon." I had no idea what it was, how it tasted (other than bitter) or how to use it. But I bought it anyways and did some experimenting until I finally created a good and edible dish. Not my favorite meal for sure, but it was tasty.

What is your favorite food publication and why?

Gourmet Magazine because it has good, seasonal ideas that often inspire me to try something new.

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster. 

Hands-down my worst kitchen disaster was when I prepared brisket in someone else's home using a glass roasting pan.  When it was time to add the liquid I set the pan on the granite countertop and poured in room temperature broth. The pan shattered sending meat, onions, broth and glass everywhere. It was a complete disaster and my own fault.  

What's your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

Least favorite thing about my kitchen is it's size: a very small city apartment kitchen with little storage. My favorite thing about it is the old range which I think is older than me but works surprisingly well. I'll never forget when my young cousins visited and spent 10 minutes watching the numbers slowly spin on the old-fashioned clock dial, they thought it was really cool. 

Apron or no apron?

Only when I'm working.

What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?

This is a tough one but I'm going with the scene in Bridget Jones's Diary where she tries - and fails - to prepare dinner and winds up with blue soup.

What, in your opinion, is the best culinary city in the world?

Chicago of course.

What do you crave most often? a) sweet, b) salty, c) sour, d) bitter, e) umami

Sweet, then salty, then sweet again. I need the balance of the two.

When it comes to tidying up, you prefer to: a) clean as you cook, b) do all the dishes once you've finished cooking, or c) leave the kitchen a shambles for your spouse/roommate/kids to clean.

Clean as I cook, usually.

 

 

 

 

 

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