Congratulations to singing_baker, whose Roasted Fennel and White Bean Dip won this week's contest for Your Best Dip, earning her a Michael Aram Wisteria Serve Tray from Williams-Sonoma, plus big prizes from Viking, OXO and Tiny Prints, and a spot in the next food52 cookbook!
Q&A with singing_baker
- Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
- When I got my first issue of Martha Stewart Living. It was an October issue and I love autumnal food. I made this wild rice and apple soup served in a pumpkin shell and everyone was blown away. I tend to like rustic food with upscale twists and I felt that this soup was humble, but then placed in a roasted pumpkin bowl upscaled it and made it outstanding.
- What's your least favorite food?
- There aren't many but one I can't stand is okra. Slimy!
- What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
- The best thing I made this year would have to be Tyler Florence's Seared Salmon with Mustard Braised Brussels Sprouts. It's from his new cookbook Tyler Florence Family Meal. It is amazing -- there are so many components but they all complement each other beautifully. He even pairs it with a beef demi-glace, which you'd think wouldn't work but it does. And then he tops it with pancetta and potato chips. Perfection!
- Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
- One sticks out in my mind as being the worst. I decided to make my own wedding cake when I got engaged and instead of doing something simple it had to be the ultimate wedding cake. This was not a wise decision and many people warned me but I tend to be very stubborn. I had made some tiered cakes in the past and thought it wouldn't be a problem. Months in advance I constructed many sugar flowers such as roses, hydrangeas, calla lilies and so on. Two days before the wedding I decided I would put the cake together. My mistake was putting the sugar flowers on the cake that day as opposed to the day of. They were cascading down the right side of the cake and, as time passed, the cake started to tilt little by little. By the day of the wedding it was the leaning tower of cake. But you know what? It still tasted delicious, which I guess is what's really important anyway.
- What is your idea of comfort food?
- My idea of comfort food is definitely some sort of pasta. Either some fresh pappardelle noodles with bolognese or mac and cheese.
Apron or no apron?
Apron! The worst is getting flour on yourself when you are wearing dark clothing. Actually the other day I got chocolate ganache on a brand new white wool sweater from J Crew. I wanted to die. LOL.
- What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
- This is pretty random but I love the scene in Sideways when Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church go out to eat with Virigina Madsen and Sandra Oh and they're eating great food and drinking great wine -- that scene always stuck out to me, not to mention it is a great movie.
- If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
- Without a doubt Martha Stewart, she is my idol! If she could bring a date I would tell her to bring Dan Barber because I love him too.
- You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood
- Alone. When other people are in the kitchen they seem to get in the way. It's just more efficient to do it by myself. Maybe when I get a bigger kitchen I'll try to cook with others.
- 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.
- Without a doubt I leave the kitchen a total wreck. It usually looks like a bomb went off. At the moment, my husband and I don't have a dishwasher -- it's terrible and there are always dishes everywhere! I always invite my mother-in-law over to dinner because she loves to do dishes.