The Contests

WEEK 18

October 28, 2009 • 2 Comments

Congratulations to this week's winners!

Maria Teresa Jorge won the contest for Your Best Chicken with Mustard with Chicken with Creamy Dijon Mustard Sauce.

Sonali won the contest for Your Best Autumn Puree with Autumn Celeriac Puree.

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

 

Maria Teresa Jorge

Is there a dish that you are known for among friends and family?

“Pumpkin and carrot soup with orange” and “Pear and Almond Tart."

What's a food you really don't like?

Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

What is your favorite fall dish?

Roasted pumpkin, parsnips and sweet potato with rosemary to serve with long slow roasted pork or lamb.

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.

Ah, that was years ago, quite an impressive disaster. I have always cooked since very young and I got married in Brazil at 17. My mother in law, who absolutely hated cooking, enjoyed my passion for cooking and asked me to cook lunch for 18 formal guests. I chose to make Chicken Fricassé because it was something we had at my mother’s house in Portugal when we had formal dinners. I slowly braised the chicken pieces and at the end I added the egg yolks to thicken the sauce. It was all intuitive because I learned cooking by watching but had no idea of proportions or any recipes to follow. So when I added the lemon juice. I had no idea how much juice to put in. So I squeezed 5 lemons and added it to the sauce. It was so sour that I wanted to die and disappear from the face of the earth. I had to serve it as it was because I had no alternative – was I embarrassed! But as I was only 17, everyone was kind and the dessert made up for my agony.

What was the menu for the last dinner party you hosted?

Entrée: Pear and Gorgonzola risotto, Beef in Barolo wine (it marinates for 4 days in the fridge with raw vegetables and then it’s slowly cooked for 4 hours) served with a green salad, individual pear and almond tartlets with red peppercorn and vanilla home made ice-cream.

Apron or no apron?

Most of the times yes and I keep promising myself to wear them all the time, I keep cleaning my hands on it which is disgusting but very practical.

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

I absolutely love the 1988 Danish film “Babette’s Feast” but to tell you the truth Ratatouille is no. 1 on my list of movies. I have watched it with my granddaughter a million times and my favourite scene is when Ratatouille sits near the pan adding ingredients and moves his little paws bringing in the smell of the pan. It is so contagious that I now do it all the time and when I cook with my 7 year granddaughter, I ask her to try the food for salt and taste and she does the same movement before giving me her opinion. It was after seeing Ratatouille that at 50 years of age, I abandoned all my projects and decided I wanted to take cooking as a career.

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

If I am doing something more complicated I like to concentrate and don’t listen to anything and I prefer to be alone in the kitchen. If I am cooking something I know by heart I like to have the radio on.

You prefer to cook: a. during the day b. at night c. whenever

All the time.

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.

Clean as I cook.


Sonali

Is there a dish that you are known for among friends and family? 

Spanakopita Lasagna- it's a Greek/Italian lasagna with spinach, feta cheese, and a filo crust.  

What's a food you really don't like?

White chocolate

What is your favorite fall dish?

Risotto and anything braised

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.

I competed in the Sutter Home Build a Better Burger Contest last year, which aired on the Food Network. Part of my recipe included deep frying onion rings in a saucepan on a gas barbeque and I was using a candy thermometer with a rubber handle to monitor the temperature of the oil.  I closed the lid of the grill to get the oil to heat up faster and a minute later, I saw a huge fire coming from my grill.  It turns out that the rubber handle from the thermometer had melted off and fallen into the barbeque!  Fortunately, the Food Network cameras didn't catch the incident and my burgers didn't end up tasting like burnt rubber!

What was the menu for the last dinner party you hosted?

Watermelon, feta, and jalapeno bites; NY Steakhouse burgers with frizzled onions and tarragon mayonnaise; Mexican corn on the cob with cotija cheese; Heirloom tomato and mozzarella salad; and Summer berry trifle with lemon cream. 

Apron or no apron?

No apron.

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

The scene in "Spanglish" when Adam Sandler's character makes the most mouthwatering BLT sandwich with a fried egg and cheese.  In the DVD extras, they show Chef Thomas Keller teaching Sandler how to make it.

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

I usually have the T.V. on tuned into the Food Network.  Sometimes I play music- usually a mixture of R&B, pop, and hip hop with some 70s thrown in. 

You prefer to cook: a. during the day b. at night c. whenever

c. whenever

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. and c.  (I clean as I cook but at the end, my husband finishes up the dishes and tidies up!)

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Comments (2)

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Lnd_jen

over 4 years ago lastnightsdinner

Congratulations, winners!

Stringio

over 4 years ago testkitchenette

Congrats Sonali!