The Contests

WEEK 3

July 16, 2009 • 6 Comments

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Congratulations to this week's winners!

Helen won the contest for Your Best Grilled Lamb with Grilled Blade Chops over Greek Salad

Susan won the contest for Your Best Green and/or Wax Bean Dish with Fasoolya Khadra.

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

Helen

Helen

Who is your culinary hero?

2 parts Nigella Lawson to 1 part Suzanne Goin.

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

When I was younger, my grandparents threw a big Christmas party every year, at their house in Philadelphia. It was centered around singing and food. The food was the same every year, and it was incredible. Each of their 4 kids contributed something, be it a million kinds of Christmas cookies (my Mom- the weeks of prep were awesome), to trashcans full of eggnog (Uncle Sam). But the food (smoked salmon, eggplant parm, Swedish meatballs...) was a touch esoteric, and totally amazing. And everyone loved it. It's when I think I must have realized that throwing parties, with a focus on food, was something truly special. 

What is your favorite recipe from a cookbook?

Gordon Hammersley's roast chicken, in "Bistro Cooking at Home", Nigella Lawson's coca-cola cake, Suzanne Goin's brisket with lentils. 

 

What is the kitchen activity that's most cathartic for you? Least cathartic?

I love peeling tomatoes and pearl onions. I hate picking and chopping herbs. 

Is there an ingredient you're really into right now?

I should say some delicious market find, but honestly? I've been playing a lot with dairy (creme fraiche, mascarpone, yogurt, sour cream, even) in both sweet and savory dishes. 

What taste do you crave most often? a) Sweet, b) Salty, c) Sour, d)Bitter, e) Umami

a. Sweet, b. Salty. Honestly, it's a toss up.

You whip cream: a) by hand, old-school style, b) using a mixer, of course!

By hand, always.

Given the choice you would rather have: a) more pantry space, b) a chest freezer

a. More pantry space.

Your stove is: a) gas, b) electric

a. gas

When it comes to tidying up, you prefer to: 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.

c. leave the kitchen a shambles for your spouse/roommate/kids to clean.

 

Susan

Who is your culinary hero?

My mom, and Helen Johnston.

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

When I first moved into an apartment in college after several years of dorm living, my roommate and I were so excited to have a stove that we made plans to roast a chicken. I think I spent hours preparing to go to the grocery store and buy all the necessary ingredients for this chicken and the simple salad that we wanted to eat with it. After sniffing every bunch of rosemary at the Evanston Whole Foods and actually calling my mother to ask whether there would be a big difference between a chicken that weighed 1.81 lbs. versus 1.76, I went home ready for a major culinary effort. After I essentially dumped everything I had purchased in a shallow pan and drizzled with olive oil, a ten minute project at most, I called my mom (again) to see what to do. I think she was pretty amused at the amount of effort I put into roasting this chicken, since she used to roast chicken for our family at least once a week. "Susan," she said, "you just put it in the oven and take it out when the drumstick is loose when you wiggle it. You really can't mess it up."

Of course, she was right. My roommate and I picked all the meat off the chicken with our hands it was so good. The next time I roasted a chicken, it was just as delicious ... perhaps more, because I realized that a high level of anxiety is not actually a necessary ingredient for delicious food.

What's your favorite recipe from a cookbook?

Before I turned 14 and developed an attitude but after I could use the stove by myself I used to make poached chicken from Pierre Franey's 60 Minute Gourmet for family dinner. I was so proud of myself for helping my mom, and now of course I love that recipe.

What is the kitchen activity that's most cathartic for you? Least cathartic?

I love cutting tomatoes, and I hate cutting onions. My eyes water like crazy.

Is there an ingredient you're really into right now?

I love parsley. I just rip the leaves and put it in everything.

What taste do you crave most often? a) Sweet, b) Salty, c) Sour, d)Bitter, e) Umami

Salty! Always salty.

You whip cream: a) by hand, old-school style, b) using a mixer, of course!

I lack the upper arm muscle for hand mixing.

Given the choice you would rather have: a) more pantry space, b) a chest freezer

Chest freezer.

Your stove is: a) gas, b) electric

Gas! Thank god.

When it comes to tidying up, you prefer to: 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

In the following order: c., a., b.

 

 

 

Comments (6)

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over 4 years ago KelseyTheNaptimeChef

I love your roasting chicken story! I had a similar experience, my first roast chicken managed to turn out well after several calls home to mom!

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almost 5 years ago Rhonda35

Helen - I love your story of roasting chicken while in college. I, too, used to think that roasting a chicken required the planning and effort of, perhaps, climbing Everest! Thanks for sharing and I look forward to trying your winning Food52 recipe.

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almost 5 years ago Rhonda35

Oops - I meant Susan! No short term memory left, apparently!

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almost 5 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Helen, where were you when Merrill and I were testing all those 1960s recipes that called for pearl onions!? I actually find the frozen ones not so bad.

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almost 5 years ago Helen

never tried the frozen ones. enjoy the monotony of the real ones. oddly satisfying...

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

almost 5 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Susan, I love Pierre Franey, too. One of my favorite recipes of his is Spaghettini with Vegetables and Pepper Vodka Sauce.