The Contests

WEEK 5

July 31, 2009 • 0 Comments

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Congratulations to this week's winners!

 

Leslie won the contest for Your Best Salad Dressing with Salad Dressing

Heather won the contest for Your Best Cherry Recipe with Roasted Duck Breast with Sour Cherries

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

Leslie

Leslie

Who is your culinary hero?

I have three professional heroes: Marcella Hazan, Alice Waters, and of course, Julia Child; and one non- professional: my mother, who was a superb cook with great taste.

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

I would have to say that the year I lived in Paris (after college) was exceptionally influential in shaping the way I cook, think about, and prepare food. The route  from my apartment to the Sorbonne and the College de France (where I was a student) was a 10 minute walk and traversed the then-spectacular open air market on the Rue Mouffetard. I got an education in the selection and preparation of fish, poultry, and beef from the very friendly and helpful vendors and learned how to pick the freshest fruits and vegetables.

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

I love to get all the ingredients (from the pantry, garden, and refrigerator) arrayed on my countertop and begin to peel, chop, sliver, pound, pulverize, or whatever needs to be done to begin a recipe. While I love cooking (and like baking, too), I do not like to measure ingredients with spoons or cups, or a scale. I much prefer to use my eye and my hands (not a very good idea when baking, however).

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.

I was using an immersion blender for the first time to puree a pot of lentil soup, and inadvertently (and disastrously) raised it above the level of the soup. The soup was delicious, but I was cleaning kitchen cabinets, the floor and ceiling for days. What a colossal mess.

If you were able to plant something in the White House Garden, what would it be?

I think Michelle Obama and the DC school kids made excellent choices for the White House garden. If I could plant something it would be rainbow Swiss chard, which is beautiful, delicious and nutritious.

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

I generally listen to show tunes (currently I am enjoying Stephen Sondheim musicals), jazz vocalists, and world music when I am doing serious cooking. For daily cooking I listen to NPR's All Things Considered.

Apron or no apron?

If I remember, I put an apron on. 

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

It must be umami, since a, b, c, and d are not the tastes I crave.

Your favorite cutting board is: a) wood, b) plastic

Definitely wood.

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.

I tend to clean as I cook, but my husband will complete the last round of clean up if he's home. 


Heather

Heather

Who is your culinary hero?

Jacques Pepin 

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

It was 1973 and I was nine years old. My mother and I were traveling through Greece.  We stopped to eat at a seaside restaurant.  We had feta cheese with tomatoes; cucumbers, olive oil and bread, and my mother let me drink the wine.  I had never tasted food with so much flavor.  Everything was simple, yet satisfying, because it was all so fresh.  I can still taste the sweetness of those tomatoes and cucumbers, the slight sharpness of the creamy feta and the peppery flavor of the olive oil. There was no going back  --- I was hooked on fresh, delicious food from that point on.  For me, everything starts with the ingredients when I’m planning a meal.  The recipe comes second. 

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

Most cathartic: making risotto; least cathartic: peeling butternut squash.

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.

Starting a fire in our kitchen after it had just been painted and we were about to have a dinner party.  White ceiling was turned black and there was no main course to eat. 

If you were able to plant something in the White House garden, what would it be?

An herb garden because every family should have one. 

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

I love listening to selected shorts while I’m cooking because it combines my two favorite things; food and writing.

Apron or no apron?

Yes and I always regret it when I forget.

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

Sweet.

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

I tidy up as I cook.

 

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