The Contests

Week 42

April 14, 2010 • 15 Comments

Congratulations to this week's winners!

MrsLarkin won this week's contest for Your Best Chewy Sugar Cookie with Chewy Sugar Cookies #2.

MrsLarkinChewy Sugar Cookies #2

Aliwaks won this week's contest for Your Best Roasted Pork Shoulder with Luciana's Porchetta.

AliwaksLuciana's Porchetta

Scone Lady

(MrsLarkin takes her duty as the Scone Lady of Pound Ridge very seriously)

MrsLarkin

Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
I’m a first-generation American. My parents were born and raised in San Marino (the world’s oldest republic, surrounded by Italy.) Growing up in our Italian family, pretty much all of my memories are food-related. This is just one of many. When I was in grammar school, sometimes my mom would pack my lunch box with biscotti. And my Charlie Brown thermos would be filled with café latte. It brought me happiness. And today, as a baker, it gives me great satisfaction to bring that same happiness to others.
 
What's your least favorite food?
Surprisingly, fried zeppole. The smell really bothers me.
 
What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
Does New Year’s Eve count? My Pan-Seared Pork Belly was pretty amazing.
 
Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
You name it, I’ve done it. This one’s not so much a disaster, as it’s just a really funny story involving my kitchen. A few years ago, when I was getting ready for the Department of Agriculture food inspector to come approve my kitchen for my Home Processing Licensing, everyone in my family got the stomach flu except me. I imagined the Health Department would descend upon my kitchen with a SWAT team of white-jacketed latex-gloved inspectors to perform all kinds of swipe-tests, the likes of which you’d see in a CSI episode. So as I’m diligently scrubbing and sanitizing every speck of my house the days before my appointment, my family was throwing up every half-hour or so, EVERYWHERE. (Thank goodness for Pine-Sol.) P.S. One plain-clothed inspector came, stayed for about a half-hour, approved my kitchen, while my family was safely tucked away upstairs in their rooms.
 
What is your idea of comfort food?
Roast chicken, mashed taters, gravy and veggies. And a really nice glass of Rosenblum Vineyards Zinfandel, my favorite wine.
 
Apron or no apron?
Aprons, always. They help to keep flour off of me, which usually covers me from head to toe.
 
What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
So many to choose from! But one of my favorites is from "Elf" when Buddy the elf says: “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.”
 
If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
Sconeman (aka my husband)
 
You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood.
That would be C. When I’m working, and making a gazillion scones, I need to be alone. But if it’s a dinner party, or just getting dinner ready for my family, I like the help and enjoy socializing while cooking.
 
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.
I’d say 95% of the time, I clean as I cook. But sometimes, when things get unwieldy, Sconeman will offer to do it, and I gratefully accept!

Aliwaks

Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
I was lucky enough spend my early childhood in East Hampton, Fire Island and New York City. My early food experiences were varied and wonderful. I remember taking deep breaths full of coffee beans at Dean and Deluca, eating steamers that were barely an hour out of the water, picking wild blackberries and getting fresh apple cider doughnuts from the farm stand. I remember breakfasts of fresh eggs from our very own chickens with my mother’s homemade rye bread and grilled sausages. At the other end of the spectrum were Sunday’s with my grandparents, smoked salmon (nova, sliced thin), whitefish, fresh bagels, bialys, scallion cream cheese, black and white cookies from Zookies, dim sum brunches and or dumplings and Peking Duck at Peking Duck House in Chinatown, grilled sausages at the San Gennaro festival, warm pastrami on rye with mustard and a cold cream soda at the 2nd Avenue Deli, a folded over slice from Mariella Pizza on 16th & 3rd, eaten on the way home from school. Then there was the crispy duck with blackberries at 65 Irving Place in the winter and steamed lobster at Le Dock in the summer. I spent some time in India as a young girl and I still remember the taste of the mangoes and tea and toast, both cooked on a cast iron stove and doused with sweetened condensed milk. There were so many many foods that were part of my early life, it is difficult to describe one that influenced me,  they all come together in a multifaceted spectrum of tastes and textures, colors and smells.

What's your least favorite food?
Canned black olives. I would categorize their taste as hairy plastic. Though I do enjoy sticking them on my fingertips.

What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
Oh my goodness! I made my first pavlova last week, it was amazing...like creamy sweet air! A brown sugar pavlova with tangerine curd, orange flower scented whipped cream and strawberries marinated (or macerated?) in vanilla sugar, tangerine juice and orange flower water. It was sooo wonderful, and so incredible that eggs can do that!!

What is your idea of comfort food?
Conceptually I would say food that makes me feel safe and comfortable, with a kind memory attached. Toast is very comforting, especially when made by someone else. When my boyfriend’s grandmother died I made him cinnamon toast. I find eggs comforting, soft boiled or soft scrambled or egg salad that’s still slightly warm, especially for dinner after a long, hard mean day. Funny that I don’t find omelets to be comfort food. But, there are also foods I find comforting to make, like chicken soup or risotto or stews, the long process can take me out of a bad place and put me in a safe calm place.

Apron or no apron?
I’m getting into the apron, got a cute one as a Christmas present.

What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
I really wish I had one--probably the scene in "Julie & Julia" when Julia and her sister are sitting in a café eating cheese. It's funny and made me run out and buy a baguette and a camembert. I could taste it when I watched it, and I could remember that feeling that taste of cheese...in France...oh oh oh!

If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
Such a hard question! Who would I want to impress more than anyone? It would be a tie between Julia Child and Alice Waters, I admire them both so much! Why can’t it be for two people????

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

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.
All of the above.

 

Comments (15)

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over 4 years ago shayma

many congrats to the two lovely ladies!

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over 4 years ago Lizthechef

Brava, guys - my computer is ka-put, hence the belated but well-meant congratulations!!

Ap5

over 4 years ago ying

What's that smell? Why, it's VICTORY against CI! Congratulations, mrslarkin & Aliwaks!

Monkeys

over 4 years ago monkeymom

This is so exciting. A big congrats to you both!

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over 4 years ago KelseyTheNaptimeChef

Congrats - great recipes and stories. Can't wait to see the CI showdown - you are sure to do well - we are behind you! :)

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over 4 years ago cheese1227

We are all pulling for you in the next round of this particular contest.

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over 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Wow. So so excited for you both! Fantastic recipes, well written, and great headnotes, Wonderful to meet you both through this amazing community.

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Congrats, aliwaks!!!!!!!!!!! So glad to be in this with you! And thank you to everyone for your kind comments. So grateful for this community of supportive, inventive, crazy foodies - I feel lucky to have met you.

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over 4 years ago Aliwaks

Ha! why did I sent in that pic??? Its my cheff-y intense look. THANKS everyone!!!

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over 4 years ago NakedBeet

Great getting to know both of you! ; )
And LET'S go kick some bowtie with those recipes! woot woot.

Winnie100

over 4 years ago WinnieAb

Yay for 2 great recipes and the awesome cooks who conceived them! So nice to read these stories and learn more about you both...for some reason I imagined Mrs. L as a blond so it's good to see the real you (and not the scones that grace your profile page, lovely as they are) in a photo!

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations, y'all! And Mrs. Larkin, I brought the Chewy Sugar Cookies #1 into my office today and my co-workers are FIGHTING over them. Great work! Looking forward to the showdown!

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over 4 years ago dymnyno

CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU BOTH!!! You are both creative, hard working and inspirational....the trifecta of GREAT CHEFS!

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over 4 years ago lastnightsdinner

Huge congrats to these latest winners!

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over 4 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

WooHoo and CONGRATS!! Such great recipes and stories ... now - onward into the fray!