Congratulations to gingerroot, whose Savory Duck Buns (a.k.a. Kalua Manapua) won the Best Slow Cooker Recipe contest, earning her a serving bowl and set of four individual bowls from Williams-Sonoma's Jars Cantine collection!
The winning cook at a bountiful farmers' market; her winning Savory Duck Buns (a.k.a. Kalua Manapua)
Q&A with gingerroot
It’s midnight and you’re hungry. Do you reach for something savory or sweet?
My go-to midnight snack usually includes a bourbon or rye, neat -- is that savory or sweet? A recent favorite pairing was Basil Hayden and a homemade chocolate chip cookie.
An ideal dinner party includes a) 2 people, b) 4 – 6 people, or c) 8 or more.
Definitely c -- to keep things lively.
How did you first become interested in cooking?
I have always loved trying new foods and remember helping in both of my grandmothers' kitchens as a young girl. The oldest of four, one of my fondest memories is having pizza competitions between the siblings and my dad. We’d make dough, sauce, and add our toppings, and he’d do the same with different recipes. I’m pretty sure the kids always won.
If you were reincarnated as a single dish, what would you be?
It would definitely be an Asian soup like bun rieu chay or tan tan with vegetables -- comforting, but with a spicy kick.
Describe your weekend cooking style.
Weekends include dishes that are more involved, like a long-simmering sauce or stew. I also try to get ahead on the following week’s breakfasts, which means batches of pancakes or waffles (which are then frozen).
Is there one ingredient you can’t live without?
Right now, it is salt-preserved lemons. I recently braised pork shoulder with fennel and used preserved lemons instead of olives. It was a delicious variation!
Gingerroot's garden helpers with last summer's sugar baby watermelons
Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
This past Christmas I averted near-disaster as nearly every electronic appliance I touched (microwave, oven) went a little haywire. Thankfully, my mom arrived and saved the day (read: she was able to turn off the oven and operate the microwave without trouble).
What music (if any) do you listen to in the kitchen?
I love to listen to a variety of music when cooking (though often forget to turn it on!) -- although lately it has been The Shins (Port of Morrow).
Which cookbook(s) do you reach for most often?
I get a variety of different root vegetables in my CSA box (kohlrabi, hakurei turnips, cassava, radishes, carrots) and recently bought Diane Morgan's Roots, and I have been enjoying everything I have made. We also just harvested carrots from our raised beds, so I'm especially looking forward to all of those recipes to keep things interesting!
What is your most cherished food tradition?
Thanksgiving has been my favorite food tradition for as long as I can remember. I have fond memories of gathering around my grandmother’s table, in awe of the bounty of food she had made for our family. Now that she is gone, I try to carry on her legacy and relish cooking all day. I love waking up when it is still dark and starting the day by making a friend’s Butternut Sage Scones (she is an ah-mazing baker!) for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. Last Thanksgiving, I made another friend's Bacon Bird, and it was one of the best turkeys I've ever made. I look forward to continuing these traditions with my own family.
To learn more about gingerroot and see all of her recipes, view her profile.
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