Winner of Your Best Vegetarian Holiday Side

December  1, 2010

Congratulations to ChezSuzanne, whose Crispy Delicata Rings with Currant, Fennel & Apple Relish won this week's contest for Your Best Vegetarian Holiday Side -- earning her a $200 gift card from Williams-Sonoma, plus big prizes from Viking and OXO, and a spot in the next food52 cookbook!


  Delicata Squash with Currant, Apple & Fennel Reilsh

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Q&A with ChezSuzanne

Who is your culinary hero?
I think it’s a split between Alice Waters who brought gardens of fresh veggies to the Berkeley, CA elementary schools; Michael Pollan of Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food fame, for making so many people really think about the content of the food they feed themselves and their families; and Jamie Oliver for bringing food consciousness into school cafeterias and the homes of the kids. It’s people like this who will keep pushing for changes that must happen to our food culture, especially in this country.

Is there a dish that you are known for among friends and family?
Does wine count? Seriously, maybe desserts and soups in general. And really, there are many days that’s all I really need to be happy.

What do you listen to (if anything) while you're in the kitchen?
That depends on the weather and time of day. If it’s a nice day, the windows and doors are all open and I’m listening to the birds and the wind rustle through the bougainvillea hugging the house. If it’s evening or weekends, I’m listening (under duress at times) to sports, news and whatever else my husband has on the nearby TV. Sigh.

What's your favorite recipe from a cookbook?
I really got into making ice creams this past summer, and one that I keep going back to is Mocha Latte Ice Cream out of Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet.

What is the kitchen activity that's most cathartic for you? Least cathartic?
Most cathartic: without a doubt, making bread. I love every stage of watching the dough come together, rise, and brown in the oven. Least cathartic: trying to get all the dishes in a meal to be ready at the same time. NOT cathartic at all.

Is there an ingredient you're really into right now?

What taste do you crave most often? a) Sweet, b) Salty, c) Sour, d) Bitter, e) Umami
Sweet. I can have just dessert for breakfast, lunch or dinner; and have. At one time I was buying a cake every week and eating the entire thing by myself. It was so embarrassing after awhile that I felt I needed to use different cashiers at the grocery store. No one goes to that many birthday parties.

You whip cream: a) by hand, old-school style, b) using a mixer, of course!
Hel-lo! Mixer! Of course.

Given the choice you would rather have: a) more pantry space, b) a chest freezer
Well what I really want is a nice big roomy refrigerator, but given the choices, I’ll go with more pantry space. My husband had a nightmare last week that he walked into the kitchen and everything started falling out of the cabinets. My kitchen isn’t that bad, but the nightmare wasn’t completely unfounded I admit. I have kitchen items tucked away in the most unlikely places due to my limited cabinet space.

What was the menu for the last dinner party you hosted?
That would be Thanksgiving, which was largely a food52 feast. The turkey was grilled, thanks to AntoniaJames’ question on foodpickle, which was joined by MrsWheelbarrow’s wonderful What We Call Stuffing that many of you have tried and loved; Best Ever Maple Sweet Potatoes by eleonore which were very yummy; my Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Apples; and drbabs' amazing Ginger Apple Torte. Some mashed potatoes and cheese grits were thrown in there somewhere too. All in all, quite a feast, thanks to everyone out there.


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • lacousine
  • Marlabear39
  • Krystal Ford
    Krystal Ford
  • Waldito
  • Midge
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


lacousine December 6, 2010
You go girl! I remember when you were buying those cakes--from the grocery store. This interview was FUNNY. Love ya
TheWimpyVegetarian December 6, 2010
Ah yes, I can still remember the cashiers asking me every week if I was sure i didn't want a message of some kind (like Happy Birthday so-and-so) piped on. Jeez........
TheWimpyVegetarian December 6, 2010
And love ya too, ma cousine.
Marlabear39 December 4, 2010
I can vouch for the best Thanksgiving feast for the past 2 years with Chez Suzanne @ the helm. We were lucky to have the meal she described, and even the winning sqush receipe which certainly deserves this honor.
TheWimpyVegetarian December 4, 2010
Awwww, thanks so much Marla! What a nice thing to say! It's always fun to cook for you guys. Love you! -Susan
Krystal F. December 2, 2010
Congrats. Looks delicious.
TheWimpyVegetarian December 2, 2010
Thanks so much Krystal. I've got my eye on your Chocolate Chili Butternut Squash Soup. I'm planning on making it this weekend - sounds so delicious.
Waldito December 2, 2010
Congratuations, Chez Suzanne! Will add your prize-winning recipe to the 25th feast and yes, wine most certainly does count.

Beautiful photo of you amid bulbs. Pea-green with envy.
TheWimpyVegetarian December 2, 2010
Thanks so much Waldito! And wine counts for me too :-)
Midge December 2, 2010
Yay ChezSuzanne! What a great Q&A and photo.
TheWimpyVegetarian December 2, 2010
Thanks so much Midge!!
aargersi December 2, 2010
Congratulations ChezSuzanne! Love the Q&A and always love your recipes too!!!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 2, 2010
Thanks aargersi, and ditto in spade back to you!! I love your recipes too!
onetribegourmet December 2, 2010
Congrats ChezSuzanne! Great Recipe! :)
TheWimpyVegetarian December 2, 2010
Thanks onetribegourmet! I hope you like it if you try it!
lapadia December 1, 2010
Congrats again, ChezSuzanne! Loved reading your Q&A and such a lovely picture of you sitting amongst the flowers!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 2, 2010
Thanks so much lapadia!!
melissav December 1, 2010
Congrats Suzanne. Well deserved!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 2, 2010
Thanks melissav! I've made your butternut squash winning recipe a couple times now and just love it!!
TasteFood December 1, 2010
Yippee! Love the garden flowers. It will be a lovely venue for the Food52 springtime brunch
Daphne December 1, 2010
Just thinking the same thing! Chez Suzanne's smile among the tulips is sweet.
TheWimpyVegetarian December 2, 2010
Well, I promise to have lots of garden flowers, but I need to confess this picture was taken by a friend of mine while we were visiting Filolies, of gardens-on-steroids fame,....but I'll do my best for the spring brunch!
dymnyno December 1, 2010
Congratulations...I made it last night and my husband asked where I got it...he has been a little confused about my cyber friends, but when I told him that I had met you he was really impressed!!!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 2, 2010
Thanks Mary! Myles and I are looking forward to visiting your winery and seeing you and your husband soon!!
lastnightsdinner December 1, 2010
TheWimpyVegetarian December 2, 2010
Thanks LND!!
MrsWheelbarrow December 1, 2010
Great pictures and so nice to get to know you, as DrBabs said.
TheWimpyVegetarian December 2, 2010
Thanks so much, Cathy!
healthierkitchen December 1, 2010
Congratulations! I have my delicata squash ready to go.
TheWimpyVegetarian December 2, 2010
Hope you like it! Would love to hear what you think of it!
drbabs December 1, 2010
Once again--congratulations! It is so fun to get to know you, and thanks for the shout-out for my cake!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 1, 2010
You're very welcome drbabs - I can't wait to make your cake again, it was so good. My great-nephew ate your cake before he even touched his ice cream, which is a first!