Wednesday, April 22, 2009

And quiz results #4!

And another questionnaire comes across the finish line with Jon and his chica Heidi (image above of infamous boule bread. Personally I haven't had it, but how could anything that good lookin' not taste amazing?).

What's rotting in the back of your fridge right now?

Cilantro! We never go through it quickly enough, in spite of our best efforts.

Who inspired you to cook?

Armandino Batali and his sandwich shop in Seattle, and Mark Bittman from the NY Times.

What was the first dish you remember cooking as a child?

For Jon: scrambled eggs, from the 'Mickey Mouse Cookbook.'
Heidi: Hamburger helper.

What ingredient(s) do you always have in your refrigerator or pantry at home?

Olive oil, cumin, cinnamon, pork.

What dish or dishes would you say you have mastered?

Jon: Balsamic roasted chicken, various breakfast breads (nothing too fancy, waffles, french toast, etc), and a simple no-knead boule bread. Oh, and various pork chops and pork tenderloins.
Heidi: Pumpkin bread, blood orange-olive oil bread

If you could have dinner with three people from any time in history, who would they be?

Limiting ourselves to living persons just to help narrow it down, here are a few options we've considered:
A) Werner Herzog, Salman Rushdie and Ricky Gervais
B) Mike Tyson, Rem Koolhaas and and Sasha Baron Cohen
C) anyone who asks if they can gnaw on the bone of the entree, anyone who asks for extra pan drippings, and Mario Batali (to cook the dinner for us)

What ingredient do you despise?

Jon: ditto for me on the eggplant. Too slimy!
Heidi: mayonnaise

Favourite kitchen tool?

Jon: Iitala salt and pepper grinders (when they work), the silicone spoontula, or the pressure cooker.
Heidi: pyrex shot glass measuring cup

What's your one weakness as a cook?

Jon: Does an allergy to all seafood count?
Heidi: How about an allergy to dairy? Beyond that, occasionally leave things to languish on the stove, and portion estimates when cooking for guests can be way off.

And your strength?

Jon: My love of bacon, of course.
Heidi: Improvising!

Best music to cook to?

Anything poppy, since you can use it as a rough timer. One song equals 3-4 minutes.

What new dish are you planning to try in the near future?

Not sure but it will be reliably pork-infested.

Where and what was your last great meal?

Jon: New Orleans red beans and rice, corn bread, wilted greens and pecan pie all made by Heidi last week as a late celebratory birthday dinner for me.
Heidi: Three carnitas tacos with tomatillo salsa from the El Tonayense taco truck, just this afternoon. Divine.

What snack food can you not live without?

Jon: Salt and pepper potato chips. And marcona almonds with rosemary and sea salt. I've been given a monthly limitation on those...
Heidi: Dried mangoes.

Dessert or cheese?

Dessert, fo' sure.


  1. I find your pork-centric bias fascinating! Why so piggy? That and someone who lists the pressure cooker as a favourite item. I was given one years ago and have only managed to find a couple of dishes to prepare in it - I'd love to know why yours is indispensable...

    Great to see other voices on the blog!

  2. Jon, one day all that pork's gonna come back and bit you in the butt. Good thing you have a lot of good karma with you, ain't that right Heidi?...

  3. Have you seen the movie where Werner Herzog boils and eats his boot, after promising to do so if Erol Morris completed a particular film? And that dreadful dinner scene at the beginning of his film about the sea monster. Beware!

  4. Ha, I've only heard about that Herzog boot incident...I guess it's pretty famous. After watching his last 3 movies I've decided it would be hilarious to think about him following me around and narrating my life as it happens...goading me, second guessing my decisions, etc. I could listen to that accent all day. That, and Bernard's.

    As for the pork, that started with my living in Italy and growing a taste for salami and prosciutti there. But it was really tough to find (let alone afford) good cuts of uncooked/uncured meat there, so I never tried really cooking with it. However, when I moved back to Seattle (the hometown) my interest was renewed by Armandino Batali's experimental salami...his unusual flavors (paprika salame, mole, etc) took fancy pork off of the pedestal of sacred Italian traditions and made it approachable. Living in San Francisco has only exacerbated the pork fetish...from crazy good pork shoulder tacos to pork chops it's all here and all good.

  5. As for the pressure cooker we got one about 2 years ago and use it for everything. Risotto is stupid easy in it. Here's how it goes: prepare everything the way you would normally right up to the point where you start adding stock a little at a time. At this point, you just put in all of the stock (although it uses about 2/3 less than a traditional recipe I think), close the lid and let it go for 6 minutes at high pressure. Purists will rail against it as not being as creamy, but it's still pretty smooth and there's practically no stirring at all. Pork chops go for 1 minute 15 seconds, BBQ baby back pork ribs in 25 minutes (I'm talking meat falling off the bone tender here), chicken chasseur in an hour, red beans and rice in 30's all good. See if you can't find a pressure cooker cookbook to get you started (I recommend 'Pressure Cooking for Everyone' from Chronicle Press)...if you can't, let me know and I'll fire up the scanner.

  6. I've got a recipe for beef short ribs in a spicy hoisin sauce with prunes that I like, but haven't gotten more adventurous with the cooker... I'll check out that cookbook - thanks for the tip!