Thanks again to Amy for participating in this month's Q&A sesh! Also, Amy's birthday was two days ago, so happy birthday once again to her! :)
FAVORITE ALL-TIME RESTAURANT
Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, New York. While Stefie and I have not gone there together (yet), I think it is better than any of our New York City stops. In all fairness, this not just a restaurant; it is an experience. As my dad said the first time we went there, I was completely “agog”. And don’t think you can take a short cut and visit the NYC location -- for the real thing you have to take a drive to the suburbs. But I guarantee it will be worth it.
MOST REGULARLY FREQUENTED SPOT(S)
Whenever in New York City, a favorite repeat stop is Tao! It’s always good, always busy, but you can always get a table. And does Bloomingdale's count as a most regularly frequented spot? Because that is a must, too.
DRINK OF CHOICE
It is too hard to pick just one, and it absolutely depends on my mood. Favorites include a gin and tonic after a hard day at work, a mojito on a hot summer night, a good glass of red wine, or the always-delicious sangria.
SOMETHING YOU SECRETLY INDULGE
High-quality dark chocolate -- I simply can’t resist it, so I allow myself to indulge in one square every day after lunch. It’s okay- it has antioxidants!
DISH YOU MOST ENJOY PREPARING
I love to bake, and creating birthday cakes for my friends and family is my favorite thing to prepare. I would not necessarily consider it a dish, but it brings me the most joy to bake a cake for someone’s birthday or for a special occasion. It beats the store-bought stuff every time, and everyone deserves cake on his or her birthday.
THE HOMEMADE DISH YOU ALWAYS LONG FOR
Ever since I was a little girl, my mom would make me dinner on my birthday and ask what I wanted. The answer is always Dilbert Chicken. The real dish is a roasted chicken with dill and lemon stuffed in the cavity. We nicknamed it "dill-butt chicken," but Dilbert sounded more appetizing, and the name stuck. I still crave this dish every year on my birthday.
GASTRONOMIC GETAWAY/ADVENTURE OF CHOICE
I love traveling and trying new foods. Whenever I am at a new restaurant, I try to order something special. One day, I hope to go to Italy and really have a foodie adventure.
Alex Guarnaschelli! I think she is a great Chef and so much fun to watch on TV, whether in her own cooking shows or as a judge on Chopped. For my 22nd birthday, Stefie took me to Alex’s restaurant, Butter, and it was one of the best meals we have had together. They even had a special menu with my name on it, which I got to keep. I think Alex produces more than good food; she provides a memorable culinary experience.
When I was in high school at the Bergen County Academy of Culinary Arts and Hotel Administrations, we had a chocolate competition. During my senior year, I made a chocolate génoise cake with a hazelnut mousse surrounded by a hard chocolate band and topped with chocolate ribbons. I learned the chocolate ribbons technique from Alice Mendrich by watching a video online over and over again until I could replicate her perfect ribbons. On the day of the chocolate competition, my cake was perfect, but I know I will NEVER be able to do it again.
Applesauce -- does that count? And rude waiters -- it isn’t that hard to smile.
FAVORITE DESSERT OF ALL TIME
Cake of any kind -- I had my first chocolate soufflé with Stefie, and it was absolute heaven.
Gale Gand’s Just a Bite was the first cookbook my mom ever gave me, and while I don’t make many of its recipes, it is still one of my favorites. When I moved to St. Louis, my friend Mel gave me a copy of 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know, and it has been so much fun to read and cook from.
CULINARY WORDS THAT NEVER LOSE THEIR PANACHE
Ganache -- you can never go wrong with dark chocolate and heavy cream!
FOOD BLOG(S) YOU JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF
You are reading it! ;)