The Contests

WEEK 16

October 14, 2009 • 1 Comment

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Congratulations to this week's winners!

MrsWheelbarrow won the contest for Your Best Mushroom Soup with Creamy Mushroom Soup.

Aliwaks won the contest for Your Best Recipe with Paprika with Smoky Fried Chickpeas.

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

MrsWheelbarrow

MrsWheelbarrow

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

 

 

When I was about five years old, my grandfather took me to the old Union Oyster House in Boston – a place he happily lingered many an afternoon. He sat me up on the bar and offered me an oyster. I will never forget that taste – how surprising and briny and slippery it was.  Over the years, he introduced me to picking Maine blueberries and the resulting cobbler, Nova lox (and asking the deli man for the salmon cheeks,) and his Sunday morning specialty, Onions & Eggs. Years later, and shortly before he died, we cooked lobster in black bean sauce, carefully following the recipe in Irene Kuo’s brand new cookbook. He loved food, and taught me to love it, too.

What's something you could happily eat every day?

Homemade baguette with salted butter, super fresh poached egg, baby arugula salad with lemon, shallot, excellent olive oil, fleur de sel & cracked pepper.

What is the best meal you've ever had?

L’Ambroisie, Places de Vosges, Paris. The truffles were in high season and every course featured the most astonishing huge pieces of shaved truffle - draped over scallops sauced with Jerusalem artichokes, in a feuillete which, when cut open released the aroma of truffle and butter - ah! Really, the entire experience was exceptional, but the highlight was the Poulet de Bresse, roasted to perfection with paper thin truffles slipped under the skin. The service was impeccable, the wines were superb, all ending with several tiny little desserts on a pretty chinaplate and Armagnac with a handwritten label. 

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster. 

Houseguests are asleep in guest room near kitchen. I was making Hidden Eggs and needed to put the sauce through the very loud blender. Afraid I would wake them, I carried the blender outside to the patio and, holding it by the base, leaned over and plugged it in to the outlet.  The toggle switch was turned on, so it started blending, the lid from the blender fell in, I dropped the whole thing and pieces of rubber and plastic and sauce splattered the patio, dog, herb garden and me.

What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

I’m so lucky. I have a huge kitchen with a lot of counter space and big windows that look out to the garden. But my favorite thing is the little corner off the breakfast room that I refer to as The Cooks Library. I have a wicker chaise surrounded by piles of cookbooks. The least favorite? The pantry is dreadful. Way too deep (2.5’) without a good light, and things are lost in there for months. Which could explain why I have so many jars of peanut butter.

Apron or no apron?

I received a chef’s coat for Christmas last year. It’s really comfortable and a wardrobe saver. If not the chef’s coat, definitely an apron. I have some vintage frilly ones that come out for holiday baking.

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

Toss up between the feast scenes in Big Night and Chocolat. Therein lies my struggle – savory or sweet?

What do you listen to (if anything) in the kitchen?

I usually catch up on podcasts – This American Life, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and The Splendid Table. If I’m doing big processing (for canning) or big party cooking, I might listen to a book on tape. Most of the time, day in day out, it’s the TV that gets my divided attention.

You prefer to cook: a) alone b) with others

I would say I love to cook with friends, but I’ve been told I’m very bossy in the kitchen, so most of the time, while I might have company, I’m cooking alone.

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.

Definitely clean as I cook, until the very end. I’m very fortunate as my husband does all the end-of-the-meal cleaning.

 

 

 

AliwaksAliwaks

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


That’s difficult; sometimes I feel that all my memories are related to food, but at a pure basic level, the smell of chicken soup in my grandmother’s kitchen was the smell of love, and I try to bring that into my cooking.

What's something you could happily eat every day?

There’s an Italian dish called arrosticini...Tiny cubes of lamb gri lled on skewers with salt and hot pepper...They are soul satisfying.

What is the best meal you've ever had?

There have been so many, but here’s one: I was in London, it was kind of a miserable out and I was extremely hung over, but I wanted to have one last meal with my friend the wonderful fantastic Marlena Speiler, and she was bringing me to a middle eastern restaurant in West London... So, fortified with many cups of tea I jumped on the tube and met her...How can I describe it, I had eaten all of these thing before, hummus, fattoush salad, merguez sausage but they had never ever tasted like this. The merguez sausages were tiny, hand formed, so flavorful, so intense, and with them came glasses of iced honeydew juice, pale green and almost indescribably luscious. It was in a word glorious.

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster. 

Every year my father and I begin “discussing” Thanksgiving somewhere around Labor Day. And it usually starts with a “conversation” about brining the turkey. While he agrees that the brined turkey is very good, he has an aversion towards going to Home Depot to buy a 5 gallon bucket; he also refuses to not put pool chemicals in the bucket from the year before. I take a train for 3 hours to get to his house, so bringing my own bucket is a bit much, esp since I am usually laden with farmers market purchases & stock. So one year we had a standoff: there is no bucket, but I am going to bring the turkey anyway. So I did it in a garbage bag and a large stock pot. It was revoltingly salty and weird. So now when I bring up brining, he says, "last time you brined it, it was awful." So he won -- we do not brine. Though this year I am doing a salt rub.

What is your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

There is room to walk around and there are windows. I love that, but it would be better if the windows were on the other side. The worst part is that there is approximately 10” x 14” of counter space.

Apron or no apron?

No apron. The multitude of  tiny oil stains on almost all my casual clothes will attest to that.

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

Tie btw Babette's Feast and Big Night.

What do you listen to (if anything) in the kitchen?

Depends on what I am cooking. Sunday morning breakfast is usually The Beatles, but sometimes opera when I’m cooking a big tomato sauce or a stew. More often than not it's the Grateful Dead, and if I’m cooking A LOT and I have to work fast, then it's Nine Inch Nails and Rage Against the Machine.

You prefer to cook: a) alone b) with others

 a. alone

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.

All of the above -- it's all about the mood.

 

 

 

 

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Comments (1)

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almost 5 years ago KelseyTheNaptimeChef

Great recipes! Mrs. Wheelbarrow - I love Chocolat - you can't go wrong with a movie about chocolate starring Johnny Depp!