Winner's Q&A

Winner of Your Best Vegetarian Holiday Side

December 1, 2010 32 Comments

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Congratulations to ChezSuzanne, whose Crispy Delicata Rings with Currant, Fennel & Apple Relish won this week's contest for Your Best Vegetarian Holiday Side -- earning her a $200 gift card from Williams-Sonoma, plus big prizes from Viking and OXO, and a spot in the next food52 cookbook!


  Delicata Squash with Currant, Apple & Fennel Reilsh

Q&A with ChezSuzanne

Who is your culinary hero?
I think it’s a split between Alice Waters who brought gardens of fresh veggies to the Berkeley, CA elementary schools; Michael Pollan of Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food fame, for making so many people really think about the content of the food they feed themselves and their families; and Jamie Oliver for bringing food consciousness into school cafeterias and the homes of the kids. It’s people like this who will keep pushing for changes that must happen to our food culture, especially in this country.

Is there a dish that you are known for among friends and family?
Does wine count? Seriously, maybe desserts and soups in general. And really, there are many days that’s all I really need to be happy.

What do you listen to (if anything) while you're in the kitchen?
That depends on the weather and time of day. If it’s a nice day, the windows and doors are all open and I’m listening to the birds and the wind rustle through the bougainvillea hugging the house. If it’s evening or weekends, I’m listening (under duress at times) to sports, news and whatever else my husband has on the nearby TV. Sigh.

What's your favorite recipe from a cookbook?
I really got into making ice creams this past summer, and one that I keep going back to is Mocha Latte Ice Cream out of Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet.

What is the kitchen activity that's most cathartic for you? Least cathartic?
Most cathartic: without a doubt, making bread. I love every stage of watching the dough come together, rise, and brown in the oven. Least cathartic: trying to get all the dishes in a meal to be ready at the same time. NOT cathartic at all.

Is there an ingredient you're really into right now?

What taste do you crave most often? a) Sweet, b) Salty, c) Sour, d) Bitter, e) Umami
Sweet. I can have just dessert for breakfast, lunch or dinner; and have. At one time I was buying a cake every week and eating the entire thing by myself. It was so embarrassing after awhile that I felt I needed to use different cashiers at the grocery store. No one goes to that many birthday parties.

You whip cream: a) by hand, old-school style, b) using a mixer, of course!
Hel-lo! Mixer! Of course.

Given the choice you would rather have: a) more pantry space, b) a chest freezer
Well what I really want is a nice big roomy refrigerator, but given the choices, I’ll go with more pantry space. My husband had a nightmare last week that he walked into the kitchen and everything started falling out of the cabinets. My kitchen isn’t that bad, but the nightmare wasn’t completely unfounded I admit. I have kitchen items tucked away in the most unlikely places due to my limited cabinet space.

What was the menu for the last dinner party you hosted?
That would be Thanksgiving, which was largely a food52 feast. The turkey was grilled, thanks to AntoniaJames’ question on foodpickle, which was joined by MrsWheelbarrow’s wonderful What We Call Stuffing that many of you have tried and loved; Best Ever Maple Sweet Potatoes by eleonore which were very yummy; my Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Apples; and drbabs' amazing Ginger Apple Torte. Some mashed potatoes and cheese grits were thrown in there somewhere too. All in all, quite a feast, thanks to everyone out there.


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Comments (32)


over 4 years ago lacousine

You go girl! I remember when you were buying those cakes--from the grocery store. This interview was FUNNY. Love ya

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Ah yes, I can still remember the cashiers asking me every week if I was sure i didn't want a message of some kind (like Happy Birthday so-and-so) piped on. Jeez........

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

And love ya too, ma cousine.


over 4 years ago Marlabear39

I can vouch for the best Thanksgiving feast for the past 2 years with Chez Suzanne @ the helm. We were lucky to have the meal she described, and even the winning sqush receipe which certainly deserves this honor.

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Awwww, thanks so much Marla! What a nice thing to say! It's always fun to cook for you guys. Love you! -Susan


over 4 years ago Krystal Ford

Congrats. Looks delicious.

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks so much Krystal. I've got my eye on your Chocolate Chili Butternut Squash Soup. I'm planning on making it this weekend - sounds so delicious.


over 4 years ago Waldito

Congratuations, Chez Suzanne! Will add your prize-winning recipe to the 25th feast and yes, wine most certainly does count.

Beautiful photo of you amid bulbs. Pea-green with envy.

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks so much Waldito! And wine counts for me too :-)


over 4 years ago Midge

Yay ChezSuzanne! What a great Q&A and photo.

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks so much Midge!!


over 4 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations ChezSuzanne! Love the Q&A and always love your recipes too!!!

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks aargersi, and ditto in spade back to you!! I love your recipes too!


over 4 years ago onetribegourmet

Congrats ChezSuzanne! Great Recipe! :)

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks onetribegourmet! I hope you like it if you try it!


over 4 years ago lapadia

Congrats again, ChezSuzanne! Loved reading your Q&A and such a lovely picture of you sitting amongst the flowers!

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks so much lapadia!!


over 4 years ago melissav

Congrats Suzanne. Well deserved!

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks melissav! I've made your butternut squash winning recipe a couple times now and just love it!!


over 4 years ago TasteFood

Yippee! Love the garden flowers. It will be a lovely venue for the Food52 springtime brunch


over 4 years ago Daphne

Just thinking the same thing! Chez Suzanne's smile among the tulips is sweet.

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Well, I promise to have lots of garden flowers, but I need to confess this picture was taken by a friend of mine while we were visiting Filolies, of gardens-on-steroids fame,....but I'll do my best for the spring brunch!


over 4 years ago dymnyno

Congratulations...I made it last night and my husband asked where I got it...he has been a little confused about my cyber friends, but when I told him that I had met you he was really impressed!!!

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks Mary! Myles and I are looking forward to visiting your winery and seeing you and your husband soon!!


over 4 years ago lastnightsdinner


over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks LND!!


over 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Great pictures and so nice to get to know you, as DrBabs said.

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Thanks so much, Cathy!


over 4 years ago healthierkitchen

Congratulations! I have my delicata squash ready to go.

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Hope you like it! Would love to hear what you think of it!


over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Once again--congratulations! It is so fun to get to know you, and thanks for the shout-out for my cake!

over 4 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

You're very welcome drbabs - I can't wait to make your cake again, it was so good. My great-nephew ate your cake before he even touched his ice cream, which is a first!