The Contests

Week 48

May 26, 2010 • 15 Comments

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Congratulations to this week's winners.

Brooke's Kitchen won this week's contest for Your Best Caesar Salad with Goat Cheese Caesar Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Parmesan Crisp.

MrsWheelbarrow won this week's contest for Your Best Salmon with Salmon in Sorrel Sauce.

(Brooke's Kitchen puts finishing touches on a chocolate cake for her fiancee's birthday)

Brooke's Kitchen

Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved to cook. My grandfather loved to cook big, southern breakfasts when he and my grandmother came to visit from North Carolina. I would always sit in the kitchen and watch him make soft scrambled eggs, crisp French toast and fry up thick strips of bacon. My mom has always loved to cook as well and she has really influenced my style of cooking and shaped me into a more adventurous eater. I feel so fortunate that she is in my life and that we can share new and old recipes. And there is no better meal than one cooked by your mom!

What's your least favorite food?
I really like most foods, but I absolutely despise olives. I am also not a fan of cucumbers unless they are pretty well hidden in something (such as tzatziki).

What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
I am pretty sure that I was able to perfect my bolognese this winter. The numerous D.C. blizzards allowed for a lot of time in the kitchen and a lot of spaghetti! My next challenge is to make homemade pasta to go with it. I also recently made an amazing strawberry-rhubarb pie. Everything turned out perfectly. The crust rolled out perfectly, the filling was just the right consistency, and it had the most gorgeous lattice top! It was definitely a proud moment.

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
That would have to be in high school when I was making homemade brownies for a potluck lunch. I accidentally misread the amount of salt needed in the brownies (I may have glanced at the recipe and looked at the sugar measurement instead of the salt--oops). I ended up putting an exorbitant amount of salt in the batter. Everything looked and smelled fantastic until I tried a bite of the finished product. I can still remember the taste--it is burned in my memory. Now I double (sometimes triple) check the salt measurement if I am following a recipe just to make sure I don't make that mistake again.

What is your idea of comfort food?
That is tough because my idea of comfort food changes with the seasons. A few of my favorite things include: anything with a runny egg on top, fresh pasta, my best friend Nancy's mom's homemade bread, and my mom's chocolate cake. I also think that a fresh, in season strawberry or peach from the farmer's market is pretty hard to beat.

Apron or no apron?
I have always been a no apron girl but recently bought myself the cutest apron from Anthropologie. I forget to put it on most days, but I am determined to be an apron wearing cook and one day I would love to have a fabulous collection of them!

What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
Well I am really not a movie person but I loved the whole movie "Ratatouille." It was adorable! I also really love the escargot scene in "Pretty Woman." I'm sure there are better answers but I am drawing a blank right now!

If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
This is a hard question. I would love to cook for Ina Garten because I love her style and she seems so warm and friendly. I have learned so much from watching her all these years on the Food Network. I really think that I would be too nervous to cook for anyone famous though! I enjoy cooking for my family and especially my fiance, Andrew who is always so appreciative of anything that I make--even the disasters.

You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood.
C. I usually like to cook alone but like having people around when I cook. I always enjoying cooking with my mom when I am home. I also hope to one day have a large open kitchen where everyone can congregate in the middle of the house. Right now, in my tiny apartment, it is usually just me and my sous-chef, Henry (my 3 year old Maltese).

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.
C. I am a believer in the cook never cleans. Although I try to "tidy" up a bit as I am cooking, I usually leave a large mess that my fiance later cleans. He's a good sport and a heck of a dish washer.


(MrsWheelbarrow's Salad Bowl planter, which supplied enough romaine to test Caesar salad recipes.)

MrsWheelbarrow

Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
When I was about 10 years old, my mother was hosting a dinner party, and I was in the kitchen helping her, as I usually did. At the end of dinner, she and I gathered in the kitchen to get dessert ready--cherries jubilee. My poor mother was terrified of lighting herself on fire, so she would douse the cherries in brandy and then toss matches toward the dish from miles away. Eventually there were at least two dozen dead matches floating in the cherries. I fished them out, grabbed the bottle, tossed in some additional booze, set it on fire and carried it into the dining room. I developed a reputation at that point for being fearless, and willing to try to cook anything.

What's your least favorite food?
Bell peppers of any color. If they're in my food, it's ruined.

What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
I've been making many types of sausage since taking a charcuterie class last fall, and the boudin blanc made with rabbit and veal is really exceptional. I served the boudin as Thomas Keller suggests (Bouchon) with pureed potatoes and plumped, boozy prunes.

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
I marinated short ribs in a sticky glaze, put them on the grill and immolated them in less than 10 minutes. They were reduced to ashes, even the bones. That was last summer--and while I've had other disasters since, that remains the most spectacular.

What is your idea of comfort food?
I think the perfect comfort food is the egg. Poached. Fried. Scrambled. Shirred. Made into a custard. Or custardy ice cream. Eggs elevate a sauce. Complete a salad. Top off black beans. Is there anything better than dipping toast points in runny yolk?  Spaghetti carbonara. I could go on....

Apron or no apron?
Chefs coat--a Christmas present from my husband!

What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
The original "Sabrina," when Audrey Hepburn is going to the Cordon Bleu and learning to crack eggs.

If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
I'd like to make dinner for Michelle Obama. Talk to her about her garden, local eating, and more. What would I make? I would shop the farmer's market and make something entirely seasonal and locally sourced, of course. And I would make my sour cherry pie, because I know she's fond of pie.

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

It really depends what I'm cooking. I'm happy to be in the kitchen alone, but if I'm canning, I want a bunch of people around. It's a big job to process 50 lbs. of tomatoes and I like to have company.
 
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 clean as I cook, and Dennis does any remaining dishes after dinner. 


Jump to Comments (15)

Comments (15)

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Brookedowdy

over 4 years ago Plum Pie

Thank you so much everyone! I am thrilled. And Mrs. Wheelbarrow - I'd love to come to the next Food52 DC get together. How fun!

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over 4 years ago mariaraynal

Congratulations to the winners and finalists! Such wonderful recipes, as always.

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over 4 years ago KelseyTheNaptimeChef

Congrats winners! How funny that you are practically neighbors!

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over 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

Thank you so much, everyone. I'm making the Caesar salad today for lunch and can't wait. Brooke, you'll have to come to the next DC food52 get-together!

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over 4 years ago shayma

gorgeous recipes- many congrats, girls. and i love the chef's jacket, Mrs. W. x shayma

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over 4 years ago TasteFood

Congratulations winners and finalists!

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over 4 years ago Savorykitchen

Yay winners - both recipes looked so great. Gotta make my salmon while I still have sorrel on hand.

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over 4 years ago lastnightsdinner

Congratulations!

Monkeys

over 4 years ago monkeymom

Congrats winners and finalists. It is so often so hard to choose! Thanks for all the great recipes.

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over 4 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Congratulations ladies, superb recipes. *sigh* - someday I'll have a trophy by my name :-)

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations to you both--2 great recipes!

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over 4 years ago Lizthechef

Congratulations to the winners. I plan to try both your recipes this weekend - thanks for menu-planning for me ;)

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over 4 years ago dymnyno

CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU BOTH FOR GREAT RECIPES AND YOUR INSPIRATION TO EVERYONE!!

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over 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

It's a D.C. sweep! Congrats to the winners and finalists. Great recipes.

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over 4 years ago dymnyno

That's right! Last week the West Coast SF Bay area swept the contests...this week the East Coast rules!