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A big congratulations to The Suburban Soapbox, whose Tomato Upside-Down Cornbread was voted the winner of our Best Fresh Tomato Showstopper contest (and is inspiring us to experiment with all kinds of savory upside-down cakes and breads)! Here's a little more about her:
What's your least favorite food?
This is a tough question because I eat anything! Except for escargot… I’ve tried to like it many times but each time I reconfirm that it’s not my favorite food by any stretch of the imagination.
What's one recipe that's been on your bucket list for a while? Why?
I really want to make a cassoulet from scratch, complete with duck confit from scratch. The whole deal. I have yet to set aside a whole weekend to complete it but I think this is my year. It’s just classic comfort food that makes me think of a cold, snowy day complete with crackling fireplace. I think everyone should take a crack at cassoulet without any shortcuts.
Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
My mother-in-law was coming to visit for the weekend and I really wanted to "wow" her with my cooking skills. The only problem was, I wasn’t the most careful planner when it came to timing everything. So, I made cider-brined pork chops that were cut extra-thick, acorn squash, and a wild rice casserole. I forgot to soak the rice, so the casserole was cooked with rice that was hard, chewy, and basically inedible. The pork chops were cooked way too long—no brine could ever save them. And the acorn squash wasn’t cooked long enough. It was terrible. She was not convinced that I was the gourmet chef my husband had bragged about.
What is your idea of comfort food?
Warm, cheesy, carby heaven, like a five-cheese baked mac and cheese with a crispy, buttery panic crust—or warm rice pudding. Basically, I’m addicted to carbs.
Apron or no apron?
Apron for baking, no apron for cooking.
What ingredient (or cooking tip/trick/recipe) have you been excited about lately?
I really want to start making more savory oatmeal. I love it for breakfast, but it makes a fabulous side dish and a great substitute for rice/pasta/polenta!
What do you make when you're only cooking for yourself?
Spaghetti aglio e olio, with freshly grated Parmesan, crushed red pepper, a bit of artisan butter, and really, really amazing olive oil. It’s fast, easy, and totally satisfying.
Summertime ice cream store order: Go!
Mine would be a hot fudge brownie sundae with a giant scoop of salted caramel ice cream. My go-to order every time I visit my favorite ice cream joint.