Congratulations to lastnightsdinner, whose Linguine with Sardines, Fennel and Tomato won this week's contest for Your Best Seafood Pasta, earning her a beautiful 8-Quart All Clad Stainless Steel Multipot from Williams-Sonoma, plus big prizes from Viking, OXO and Tiny Prints, and a spot in the next food52 cookbook!
Q&A with lastnightsdinner
- Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
- 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's your least favorite food?
- I can’t say I actively dislike any food – I’ll try anything at least once! Oranges and grapefruits make me break out in a rash, though, so I avoid them.
- What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
- I made potato gnocchi for the first time in years. Crisped up in some sage brown butter, and sprinkled with pecorino and some of our house-cured duck prosciutto (thanks to Charcutepalooza), it made for a pretty fabulous meal.
- 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.
- What is your idea of comfort food?
- Mashed potatoes, refried beans, grits or polenta – something creamy, spoonable, and better with a little cheese. And anything with a runny egg on top always satisfies.
Apron or no apron?
I’ve always been anti-apron unless we’ve got company, but lately I’ve been rethinking my stance.
- What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
- A Lady, a Tramp, and a plate of spaghetti and meatballs – it doesn’t get much sweeter than that.
- If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
- Our families are so spread out and we rarely get the chance to get together, so having everyone together around a big table and feeding them well would be a dream come true.
- You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood
- I can be a little type-A in the kitchen, but sometimes it’s fun to cook with a crowd. And my husband and I do a pretty good job of staying out of each other’s way when we’re cooking together – which we’ve been doing a lot more of this year.
- 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.
- I clean as I cook. I can’t stand dirty countertops, stacks of bowls in the sink or drips on the stove.