Congratulations to ChezSuzanne whose Orange Ricotta Pillows with Lillet Kumquat Compote won this week's contest for Your Best Citrus!
Q&A with ChezSuzanne
1. Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
There was a wonderful woman who took care of me during the day for many years while my mom worked when I was growing up. She had a small house and raised her own chickens, and had a small apple orchard, a Concord grape arbor, a big garden and a huge blackberry patch. I have so many wonderful memories of sitting on a high stool watching and “helping” her make preserves and can her fruit and vegetables before taking them down to her root cellar. As an adult, it has awakened in me such a desire to cook and preserve food I have grown or is grown locally and to expose young children to cooking.
2. What's your least favorite food?
Organs. Just can’t stand them. Any of them.
3. What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
A rustic vegetable soup I made from various veggies in my refrigerator, that I shredded some chicken and threw into it. Sounds crazy, as it was a simple soup, but it was one of those unplanned dishes that just came together and was so full of flavor.
4. Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
Besides a certain “putting way too many beets in the blender making beet soup” incident in culinary school last year, what comes to mind right now is learning how to bake at high altitudes. I made a birthday cake for a friend of mine at 7000 feet in Lake Tahoe (California/Nevada) a few months ago. I knew I needed to make adjustments and did quite a bit of homework, but still was way off the mark. It was a triple layer hockey puck chocolate cake that fell over since the Italian meringue filling couldn’t begin to support it. It was truly horrible, but my friends bravely ate it and asked for more. Now that’s real friendship.
5. What is your idea of comfort food?
Breakfast for dinner is the first thing that comes to mind. It doesn't matter if it's pancakes or eggs, but if I'm having it for dinner, it's comfort food for me.
6. Apron or no apron?
No apron, but I really should reconsider this….
7. What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
Oh man, I know there are some, but I just can't think of any names right now :-(
8. If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
My great grandmother, Mamma. She was an amazing cook and baker. But I'd want us to cook the dinner together. There's so much I could learn from her.
9. You prefer to cook:
b. with others
c. it depends on your mood
Generally, my last answer in the above question notwithstanding, a) alone. Cooking is a meditation for me. There is nothing I like better than to have an empty day spread out in front of me, like a blank canvas, when I can spend the day in the kitchen.
10. 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.
My husband would be shocked to read this but I do a combination of a) and b) for awhile; but we'd both agree that I typically end up at c).