Our latest contest theme, Your Best Summer Salad, challenged our talented and creative community to create a salad using the plethora of fresh and delicious produce available in the summer. We can always count on our community to rally together, and the entries did not disappoint.
We tested and tasted our way through an impressive array of salads, and although it was difficult, we were able to narrow it down to two: QueenSashy's Late Summer Tomato Corn Verrines , a sweet salad with a spicy kick, playfully served in a jar showcases the best of summer produce, and Arisa Slutsky's Tomato Confit and Kimchi Panzanella, a creative take on an Italian classic, loaded with flavor from the pairing of roasted and fresh tomatoes, kimchi, and herbs.
Thank you once again to our community who cast their votes to help us decide on a winning salad. The community has spoken, and we have a winner. Cue the drumroll....
Congratulations, Arisa! Everyone loved your salad. We are excited to learn more about you and your winning recipe in the Q&A below. We also want to congratulate QueenSashy whose Late Summer Tomato Corn Verrines was absolutely delicious.
What's your least favorite food? Black licorice! I don’t understand why people like it (but I like fennel which people say tastes like licorice)!
What is the best thing you've made so far this year? The matzah ball soup I made for Rosh Hashanah this year was spectacular. My husband, Andrew, comes from Jewish background, and his dad who tried the soup said “it is the best matzah ball soup [he] ever had!” My secret ingredient is a dash of fish sauce. Yes, it is not a typical ingredient in Jewish food, but it instantly adds a depth to my homemade chicken bone broth!
Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster. Oh, there are many episodes of kitchen disaster! My most recent one was my attempt to make dumplings with tofu instead of ground meat. I wanted to make [the] dumplings [a] little healthy, but the final product was steamed mush. The texture was awful, and there was no flavor at all. I served it for dinner anyways, but even my four-year-old, who is the easiest eater, didn’t want to have the second bite!
What is your idea of comfort food? My go to comfort food is a big bowl of matzah ball soup, my adopted comfort food, or egg rice porridge which my mom always made for me when I was a kid. I make these when my family member is feeling under the weather or if I simply crave comfort food. So I guess my idea of comfort food is hot liquid with starch! Hot udon noodle is another favorite :)
Apron or no apron? No apron! I love the idea of wearing an apron, and I even bought a cute one to wear it. Somehow I always seem to forget to put it on, and by the time I remember it, I already made a stain on my white shirt, so why would I try to put it on at that point?!
What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie? My ultimate favorite food scene is from the timeless masterpiece, The Godfather, where Clemenza offers [Michael] his tomato sauce how-to. It is my favorite movie to start with, but the particular scene does such a fantastic job portraying family, its ties and its tradition. I also love Clemenza’s advice itself from the scene: “…a little bit of sugar, and that’s my trick.” It is such a great cooking tip. I almost always add a pinch of sugar to sauces and dressings I make! It just balances things out so nicely.
Who is someone you'd love to cook for, and why? My family! My husband and my four-year-old boy are the reason I really started cooking. My mom is a great home cook, and I always loved food since I was little, but it was not until I had my own little family that I started cooking and became a better cook. I love cooking for them and [sitting] down together to eat and talk about bugs, which is my son's current favorite topic!