The Contests

Week 26

December 23, 2009 • 3 Comments

Congratulations to this week's winners!

Cordelia won the contest for Your Best Holiday Punch with Hot Spiced Drunken Apple Cider.

 

Wanderash won the contest for Your Best Edible Gift with Ancho Chili-Cinnamon Chocolate Bark.

 

Cordelia

Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.

Getting up every Saturday and making Borekas (Bulgarian savory pastry made with puff pastry and filled with cheese (feta\Kashkaval), spinach or potatoes) with my grandma as a young kid. Discovering dough, discovering how simple ingredients can be converted to happiness, unforgettable memories and roots. Everything food started there for me. I think my next task in the kitchen is to make puff pastry from scratch…

What's your most treasured kitchen tool?

My hands. I like to do everything that I can with my hands. Actually if I could I would eat everything with my hands. I get food right when I taste it and feel it. But if I have to choose, probably the Le Creuset Tarte Tatin pan I got from my mom years ago that is used for many other things as well, the dishwasher, and of course getting a KitchenAid was a life changing experience.

What are some holiday dish(es) you make every year?

I get bored quickly; therefore each year I need to try something new. But I might stick with some things: for Rosh Hashana 7 salads for 7 blessings (see my recipe page); Churros for Hanukkah; and since my grandma passed away this year, I have to continue making my favorites for Passover: leek patties, beef tongue and spinach-matzo quiche. And for every other happy occasion – my grandma’s marzipan (for example when celebrating engagements...).

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.

I am surprised I don’t have a lot more to tell about, since I go against common sense and try new things every time I entertain people. But I did mess up borekas (see question 1) the first time I made them by myself. I did not realize that they sell sweetened puff pastry as well, which apparently does not go very well with feta filling. It was a bit embarrassing after I bragged to friends about being a borekas expert, making these with my grandma since I was 3...I still ate them convincing myself they weren’t that bad.

What was last best restaurant meal you ate?

Grilled beef tongue at Stika and Spruce in Seattle. Never thought about making tongue this way. And chestnut gnocchi at La Spiga.

Apron or no apron?

No apron -- I am too lazy. But if I get one of these fancy ones that look like old fashioned dresses that they have now everywhere, I’ll wear it, cooking or not.

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

Everything in Dinner Rush. The “star chef” is yummy too. The ratatouille scene in Ratatouille. When Maya explains to Miles why she‘s into wine in Sideways.

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

Finally, I have gas burners again. Now I just desire to have a window, hopefully with a view, even just of a little garden. Can I have an island too?

You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on my mood

Probably alone; it is my time to relax. But I like to coach people on how to cook. And I would love to cook with a professional chef -- any takers? Thinking about the next question, I don’t mind somebody who helps with cleaning after me.

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 other half would love this question. Luckily I cook well and he loves to eat, so he is willing to keep me although I like to mess up the kitchen and leave it all to him to clean. I really tried to teach my cats to do it…

 

wanderash

Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.

I was born with celiac sprue disease, which means I have a gluten-intolerance. At a young age, I had to be very aware of what ingredients made up different foods. This was in the 70’s in the Midwest, decades before the slew of gluten-free products hit the shelves. My mom embraced it as a challenge, and was always very creative with her cooking.

What's your most treasured kitchen tool?

Hmmm… I think it would have to be my food processor. My parents received it as a wedding present in 1973. It weighs a ton and has a robotcoup engine, made in France. They don’t make them like they used to!

What are some holiday dish(es) you make every year?

I switch it up every year. Although, homemade pumpkin and peppermint ice cream are staples throughout the holiday season, without fail!

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.

It was my first day working, at my first job out of college. I was freelance catering and I was tasked with making about 40 pounds of chocolate chip cookie dough. After mixing batch after batch in the giant Hobart, I formed the dough into wax paper logs, put it in the freezer and went home for the day. I returned to the kitchen the next afternoon to find the staff sitting around a tower of sheet pans with melted chocolaty goo and a gallon of milk, eating the “cookies” with a spoon…. I forgot to mix in the flour!

What was last best restaurant meal you ate?

We went out for appetizers and drinks a few nights ago to one of our favorite restaurants in Guadalajara… Il Latina and gorged ourselves on softshell crab tacos. Yuuuummmmmmmmmmm!

Apron or no apron?

Apron, when I remember. I’m getting better.

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

I’m stuck on the scene in Harry Met Sally when Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm in the diner…. Food has that affect on me too!

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

Unfortunately, there is not much I love about my current kitchen. But, it is open on one side, above the countertop. My son eats in his highchair on the other side of it-- I like to think that he is getting his first cooking lessons from there. Least favorite is my stove. There is no simmer setting, no temperature regulation and the pilot goes off at the most inconvenient times.

You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on my mood

c.

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. “Clean as you go; it’s the sign of a pro.” However, there is always a mountain of dishes in the sink at the end of the meal. My husband rocks the dish pit!

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Comments (3)

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Gizma_and_frou_frou

over 4 years ago Cordelia

Thanks everyone for voting (for all of us), this is so exciting. Great present for the holidays! I hope you enjoy all recipes.

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

I had such a hard time with this one...I loved all the finalists' recipes! Big congrats to the winners, though!

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over 4 years ago lastnightsdinner

Congrats to the latest winners, as well as to the runners-up! It's getting harder and harder to choose my favorites :)