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Winner of Your Best Salad with Apples

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Congratulations to wanderash, whose Not-Too-Virtuous Salad with Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette won this week's contest for Your Best Salad with Apples earning her a beautiful from Williams-Sonoma, plus big prizes from VikingOXO and Tiny Prints, and a spot in the next food52 cookbook!



Q&A with wanderash

  • Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking. 
  • I’m five years old; my mom is holding my hair back and I am throwing up. She asks me what it was that I ate. I answer, “I think the mushroom soup had a flour thickener in it.” 

  • My guess is that most five year olds don’t know what a flour thickener is. I was born with celiac sprue disease (gluten intolerance) and at a very young age I began to really think about what I was eating. I learned to identify textures and ingredients in my food. Guessing ingredients was sort of my “stupid human trick” around the lunchroom table.

  • What's your least favorite food?
  • White pepper and sautéed chicken livers.

  • What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
  • Thus far, 2011 has been filled with lots of traveling and eating, but not much time spent at the stove…. I think the pork belly curing in my fridge for this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge is going to be the tastiest treat I have made so far.

  • Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
  • The most recent was the morning of a going-away brunch I was hosting for a friend. I made six quiche crusts the night before; they were baked and ready to fill. I thought I was being clever when I stored the crusts in the oven over night. It was not so clever when I turned the oven on, forgetting about the oven-cum-crust-cabinet and burned all six. 

  • What is your idea of comfort food?
  • When I am sick, it is the soft boiled eggs my mom makes and hot ginger, lemon, honey tea. For the cold, I comfort chilled bones with soups and meaty braises. When I am sad, I reach for creamy, rich ice cream.

  • Apron or no apron?
  • Definitely apron. I’m a messy cook.

    • What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
    • Oddly, the scene that sticks most vividly in my mind is in Christmas Story when Ralphie’s mom is trying to get Ralphie’s little brother to eat. He has a typical childhood-induced aversion to food. Mom, in a desperate moment, suggests he ditch his utensils and eat like a “little piggy”. Using his mashed potatoes as a landing pad for his face, he begins snorting up his food, giggling happily. How often have I wanted to do that? 

    • If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
    • I am going to cheat and lump the whole line of the first kitchen I worked in after culinary school (La Toque)?specifically Ken Frank (chef-owner) and Nancy Kaplan (chef de cuisine). They are the people who really taught me to cook, taste and move like a chef?the rhythm of it all. And they would undoubtedly bring spectacular wines!

    • You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood
    • C. Alone and with friends, it depends on my mood. (Although when other people get involved I can be a little controlling.)

    • When it comes to tidying up, you usually: a. clean as you cook, b. do all the dishes once you've finished cooking, c. leave the kitchen a shambles for your spouse/roommate/kids to clean.
    • a. I clean as I cook, but inevitably most of the pots and pans are left for my husband. (He would probably call foul on the first part of my answer.)

    💬 View Comments ()

    Comments (20)


    over 4 years ago mark_sikes

    Make salad not war.


    over 4 years ago MyCommunalTable

    Great Q&A. Congrats. Thanks for letting us get to know you better.


    over 4 years ago jifferb

    I was always so jealous of you when we were kids - that you got to eat only the pizza topping (like every other kid I thought the crust sucks!), that you got "special" cookies (coconut macaroons), and "special" bread (rice cakes)... I was not so jealous of you however during our two week YMCA camp canoe trip through northern Minnesota when that bear broke into the gruber and ate all the glutton-free food! Anyway, I second the notion of bottling this dressing - amazing. And I can't wait to hear how your pork belly turns out. Nicely done, as usual, dear wanderash!


    over 4 years ago wanderash

    Ha! Remember when we got sugar cereal at the cabin, and I was the only one who could get away with dumping the entire box of Lucky Charms out on the table and picking out all of the marshmallow "lucky charms". I guess there were perks!


    over 4 years ago AntoniaJames

    AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

    Love the recipe, love the profile answers, and love the photos, especially the one of your darling little man with the gingerbread house. Don't blink! He'll be bigger than you before you know it. ;o)


    over 4 years ago monkeymom

    Congratulations wanderash! Great recipe!


    over 4 years ago Bevi

    Congrats! I am making your salad for house guests in a few weeks.


    over 4 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

    Congratulations wanderash!


    over 4 years ago melissav

    I had your salad last week and it was great. Well deserved win!


    over 4 years ago FFiori

    Hooray! I ate this for lunch today, and it was fantastic! Congratulations!


    over 4 years ago mrslarkin

    Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

    Congrats, wanderash! Love that gorgeous apron!


    over 4 years ago wanderash

    Thanks! (The apron is from World Market :)) I always for get to take them off when I sit down to eat, so I have started buying cute ones.


    over 4 years ago betteirene

    Congratulations! Virtuous, maybe not, but it's nonetheless healthy and very, very tasty. If only there were more so-not-boring gluten-free recipes! I have a friend with Celiac Sprue, and he's taught me a few gluten-free recipes, all pretty bland. I nominate you to change that. I think that you should get "pinged" every time a gluten-free question comes up on foodpickle and be its resident expert. First question: How do you make gluten-free crust for quiche? Please post the recipe!


    over 4 years ago wanderash

    Thanks for the nomination; however, I'm not much of an expert. It is hardly a focus for me, it is just how things have always been. Because I was born with Celiac and all of these flours and substitutions are pretty recent, I don't really make many GF gluteny things. I think people get stuck trying to recreate gluten-centric dishes, when it is so easy to eat flavorful, delicious meals and not mimic gluten-foods. For example: South Indian cuisine is practically void of gluten and it is anything but bland!


    over 4 years ago cheese1227

    Fabulous win. Congrats.


    over 4 years ago hardlikearmour

    hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

    Congrats, wanderash! We're having friends over for dinner, and your salad is on the menu.


    over 4 years ago wanderash

    That is awesome! Thanks for letting me know!


    over 4 years ago drbabs

    Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

    Congratulations, wanderash! So great to get to know you!


    over 4 years ago wanderash

    Thanks drbabs! We are moving back to the states soon and I am looking forward to meeting some food52ers in person.


    over 4 years ago lastnightsdinner

    Yay, wanderash! Great Q&A, and great recipe - congratulations!