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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!
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.