The Contests

WEEK 9

August 26, 2009 • 4 Comments

Congratulations to this week's winners!

lastnightsdinner won the contest for Your Best Grilled Pork Recipe with Smoky Pork Burgers with Fennel and Red Cabbage Slaw.

loli won the contest for Your Best Watermelon Recipe with Watermelon and Goat Cheese Salad with a Verbena Infused Vinaigrette.

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

lastnightsdinner

lastnightsdinner

What is the dish that you are best known for among friends and family?

I don’t know that I really have a signature dish, but my guacamole is a crowd-pleaser, and I’m told I have a way with eggs.

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

My grandma’s kitchen was, and still is, always full of people, laughter, and the aroma of delicious food. I have wonderful memories of the whole family getting together at her house for regular Sunday dinners and holiday meals, of standing at her kitchen table literally up to my elbows in masa while she taught a bunch of us how to make tamales, and of stopping over at her house after my college classes to sit and chat with her over a bowl of her “garbage soup.”  I think what I have taken away from these memories is that food brings people together, and while I do enjoy preparing a meal for myself, I’m happiest when I’m sharing a meal with my husband or feeding a crowd.

What is your idea of comfort food?

Mashed potatoes, refried beans, grits or polenta – something creamy, spoonable, and better with a little cheese.

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.

When I was dating my first long-term beau and just starting to get adventurous in the kitchen, I had a bright idea to make a big pot of duck and sausage gumbo for his parents, just like one we had when we vacationed with them in the Florida panhandle.  It was a weeknight, and I started with a whole, very large, very frozen duck.  I put it into a huge stockpot to cook, made my roux and prepped everything else I would need to assemble the gumbo after the duck meat and stock were ready.  Several hours and glasses of wine later, that duck was still frozen solid.  We ordered pizza.

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

Heirloom shell beans.

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

My husband and the cats, or whatever is on my iPod.

Apron or no apron?

Apron if we’ve got company, no apron if it’s just us.

If you had to choose the cuisine of one country (other than the U.S.) to cook and eat for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

It would have to be Italian. 

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

Definitely umami. 

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 clean as I cook.  I can’t stand dirty countertops, stacks of bowls in the sink or drips on the stove.

 

Loliloli

What is the dish that you are best known for among friends and family?

Sandwiches, the options are really endless. You can make them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Mine always involve some kind of cheese, must be the french blood coming out :) 

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

Going back to the dish I entered in the contest, I always think of my grandma in the south of France during the summer months who would cook all day in the outdoor kitchen using mostly ingredients that my dad and grandfather would pick during the day in the garden.  Everything was so fresh and usually always involved incredible olive oil!

What is your idea of comfort food?

Pasta and cheese and a good bordeaux, or bread and cheese and a good bordeaux.  Always makes me happy.

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.

When my mom and I owned a catering company one of the passed hors d'oeuvres were homemade dumplings filled with vegetables and tied with a piece of chive.  Needless to say it took me 3 hours to fill and tie these dumplings.  We then set them on parchment paper overnight in the fridge.  When we arrived at the clients home to prep and steam the dumplings I realizes that they were all stuck to the parchment and due to condensation, when we lifted them the entire bottom ripped off.   I'd say we saved about 10 out of 100 dumplings.  I was crying inside for sure and never made them again. Haha! 

If you could plant something in the White House garden, what would it be?

Raspberries.

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

Queen and Coldplay.

Apron or no apron?

No apron, comfy clothes and my hair up (is that too much info?)

If you had to choose the cuisine of one country (other than the U.S.) to cook and eat for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Turkey. My husband is from there and I just never get sick of the food. There are so many options and it's always comforting and satisfying.    

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

b. Salty

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.

a. clean as you cook. It has been perfected after working for Thomas Keller.

 

Jump to Comments (4)

Comments (4)

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Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 5 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

loli -- what was the outdoor kitchen like? Was there a wood oven?

Lauren

about 5 years ago loli

Actually my grandpa build it from scratch. It is an extension of the house with a roof and openings on each side with gravels on the ground. There is a wood oven where we usually make everything from pissaladiere, to grilled salmon. He even put in a fridge and a dishwasher there, it is quite practical :)

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 5 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

lastnightsdinner -- love the duck story. I once boiled artichokes for a boyfriend's family and the pot hadn't been rinsed out properly beforehand. They turned out soapy.

Profile

about 5 years ago lastnightsdinner

Wow, thanks so much, you guys! I am truly honored to be in such great company.