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Meet the Winner of Your Best Spring Chicken

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The votes are in—which means a big congratulations are in order to MariaR, whose Za'atar Grilled Chicken with Fava Bean and Feta Dip was voted the winner of our Your Best Spring Chicken contest! Here's a little more about the winner:

Za'atar Grilled Chicken Wings with Fava Bean Feta Dip
Za'atar Grilled Chicken Wings with Fava Bean Feta Dip

What's your least favorite food?
Beets. They taste like dirt to me. They are also so trendy that they tend to show up on every menu and basically every week in our CSA. My husband and I joke that they haunt us because anytime we do a tasting menu, anywhere in the world, beets will be in one of the dishes.

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What's one recipe that's been on your bucket list for a while? Why?
Less so a recipe, more so an area of cooking. As a physician with a background in science, I have been intrigued by molecular gastronomy. I've tried a few techniques here and there but am really fascinated by the intersection of the kitchen and the lab. I had the chance to eat at Alinea a few years ago and it changed my life. Would love to delve more into it.

The cookbooks currently inspiring MariaR.
The cookbooks currently inspiring MariaR. Photo by MariaR

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
It was definitely the first time I tried to cook octopus with one of my friends for a small group. We had such high hopes that we could get it tender and tried all the usual internet tricks. We failed. Our husbands refused to even try it since it was harder than rubber and tasted like socks. They still make fun of us for it.

What is your idea of comfort food?
A bowl of spaghetti with Marcella Hazan's tomato and butter sauce. Or Honduran breakfasts—tortillas, refried beans, eggs, avocado.

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Apron or no apron?
No apron, though I really should wear one. I'm clumsy.

Honduran-style breakfasts are one of MariaR's comfort foods.
Honduran-style breakfasts are one of MariaR's comfort foods. Photo by MariaR

What ingredient (or cooking tip/trick/recipe) have you been excited about lately?
Indian spices. An Indian friend has been giving us cooking classes of dishes he grew up with, and the discovery of spices such as black cardamom, asafoetida, amchoor powder, and black salt has been so fun.

What do you make when you're only cooking for yourself?
Noodles or eggs. Sometimes both at the same time. One of my favorite things to make for myself is spaghetti with fried eggs. Easy, quick, delicious.

Summertime ice cream store order: Go!
Avocado gelato! The one from Capogiro in Philly is unreal.

Tags: za'atar, chicken wings