The Contests

WEEK 10

September 2, 2009 • 0 Comments

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Congratulations to this week's winners!

Meredith Shanley won the contest for Your Best Tomato Recipe with BLT Panzanella.

Sandy Smith won the contest for Your Best Frozen Dessert with Lemon Basil Sherbet.

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

Meredith Shanley

Meredith Shanley

What is the best thing you've made recently?

BLT Panzanella...haha.  Actually, I recently made a killer lasagna for a friend who just had a baby.  I call it special occasion lasagna (it doubles as my hubby's birthday lasagna). It basically takes all day. Homemade pasta, ragu of braised pork shoulder and short ribs, parmiggiano bechamel.  Ok, now I'm hungry...

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

Can I have two?  My family went on a weekend trip to Tinker's Island, off of Cape Ann, and we stayed in a old, ramshackle lighthouse cabin that had no electricity.  Sounds like the set up for a horror film, right? But we had, in fact, chosen to be there.  My Godfather, who was with us, is a fantastic baker, and figured we might as well have beach plum tart, regardless of the fact that we didn't have an oven.  So we cobbled together a pate brisee, picked and sliced plums, tossed them in sugar, and made the best tart ever, over a camp fire.  The second isn't really a specific memory, more a sense of being in my grandmother's kitchen in summer and watching her trim beans fresh from her garden, or make pickles, or slice a tomato that was still warm from the sun, all the while yelling at the squirrels to stay away from her squash blossoms.  I've been so influenced by both of these people (and also my mother) when it comes to cooking and eating. I truly believe that the best things you can eat are the things you've grown yourself, or made from scratch, slowly and lovingly.  

What's the best restaurant you've ever been to?

Really?  This is impossible. I love a little spot called My Place By The Sea, in Rockport, MA, and I love Lot 30 in Charlottetown, PEI.  But more because I've had some really wonderful, happy times there.  In NYC, where I live, I am always more than glad to eat at 'Cesca.  The pappardelle bolognese at Angelo's of Mulberry Street makes me think I've died and gone to heaven, the pizza at Grimaldi's in Brooklyn is totally worth the wait, and I'd be hard pressed to find something better than the kobe beef dumplings and yellowtail with jalapenos and yuzu from Nobu 57. 

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster. 

When I was in high school I created a dish called scrambled pancakes, because I could never flip them.  More recently, I had everyone (including my watchful mother-in-law) over for my hubby's birthday dinner, and I made this delicious Guinnesss cake with bourbon whipped cream. That is, it was delicious when our pastry chef at work had made it.  Mine was horrible, I had to run out to the store in the middle of mixing it because I didn't have baking powder, and it stuck to the bundt pan so that I had to serve individual slices to the birthday boy, with only 1 candle.  Whoops. 

What's your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

My favorite thing is that my kitchen is a very cheerful Wedgewood blue.  Not the walls.  The cabinets.  Floor to ceiling blue.  My least favorite thing is that it is a million years old and the oven is starting to fall out of the wall.  

Apron or no apron?

No apron.  They're always too long and ride up.  

What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?

When Harry Met Sally, Katz's Deli, "I'll have what she's having." That, or the Christmas dinner scene at Clark W. Griswold's house in Christmas Vacation, when the turkey disintegrates.  "I told you we put it in too early!"  Classic. 

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?

Italy.  See question 1, my Grandmother's garden.  I love the way Italians approach food, as a part of the good life.  Eating fresh, seasonally and slowly, and keeping it simple. Savoring and sharing food with the people you love. I think, as a cook, what I actually like better than cooking is the act of feeding people.  And to me, Italian's feed, eat and love equally, and with abandon

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

b, plastic. 

When it comes to tidying up, you prefer to: a) clean as you cook, b) do all the dishes once you've finished cooking, or c) leave the kitchen a shambles for your spouse/roommate/kids to clean.

a.  Definitely a.  But that came as a result of culinary school. 

 

 

Sandy SmithSandy Smith

What is the best thing you've made recently?

A wild Maine blueberry lattice-top pie.

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

When my sister and I were kids, we would spend a few weeks each summer at my grandparents' home way out in the country. My grandmother had a huge garden, and most of what we ate came out of it. She baked her own bread, made her own salad dressings, and preserved pickles, applesauce, jams, even berry juice. The memories of watching her harvest and prepare foods so close to the source has stuck with me all my life. My own food philosophy has coalesced around this notion of "real food" ~ accessible, enjoyable, whole food. To this day, I can't smell fresh dill without thinking of my Oma!

What's the best restaurant you've ever been to?

I really liked The Eccentric when it was open, in Chicago.

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster. 

I recently cut off the tip of my middle left finger. While I was teaching my daughter how (not) to cut parsley.

What's your favorite thing about your kitchen? Least favorite?

I love the way my kitchen is equipped, and I have great counter space. If I could change anything, I'd update the cabinets/appliances and improve the lighting.

Apron or no apron?

Apron, definitely.

What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?

Every single scene of the movie Babette's Feast.

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?

Italian ~ it's so diverse and delicious, and essentially healthy, too. I never, ever tire of Italian food.

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

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

Clean (reluctantly but necessarily) as I cook.

 

 

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