What is your favorite cookbook?
CAT: Hmm. I have a Nigella Lawson cookbook, How to be a Domestic Goddess…, which I’ve read from cover to cover more than once, but which I’ve never once made anything from. I love her, but I find my recipes on foodgawker.com or my own brain.
SUE: The internet, it is such an amazing resource between blogs and sites like Epicurious you can find anything. My go to cookbook is the classic Better Homes and Gardens, my mom used this cookbook for everything and it’s an excellent resource for basics.
What is one family recipe you would be sure to pass onto the next generation?
CAT: This question has a million answers. Off the top of my head- Dad’s tuna mac, my mom’s chicken paprikash, my grandma’s brownies, my aunt Suzy’s M&M cookies, my mom’s baked beans, my mom’s honey mustard chicken, my mom’s beef burgundy, my mom’s Christmas morning chicken and asparagus crepes…
SUE: My parents’ spaghetti sauce recipe, they created it together when they first got married. It’s beautifully simple and always brings me home.
What are 3 items in your kitchen that you couldn’t live without?
CAT: This is a Sue question, definitely. She’s crazy for fancy kitchen gadgets, and she puts them to genuinely good use. Whereas in my world, Linda has a lovely Kitchenaid mixer that I never even use. So, my answer is, the big old chopping knife my mom got me for Christmas, our bamboo cutting board, and our big nonstick skillet, which I love at least as much as I love my boyfriend (sorry!).
SUE: Wooden spoon(s). My J.A. Henkels Chef’s knife. My Lodge enameled Dutch oven(s), and on a side note- even though Cat is right, I do have a lot of kitchen gadgets (like the potato ricer that I DO use) I always fall back on the basics.
What kind of cuisine would you like to learn more about?
CAT: Indian. In fact, I once contemplated finding an Indian guy to marry so I could access his Indian grandmother and she could teach me how to make real channa masala. This would also work with a Mexican guy and learning how to make real tamales. Was this question about dating?
SUE: Curries. Specifically Indian style curries.
Favorite restaurant in the city you live in?
CAT: 3 way tie between Pok-Pok (palm sugar and fish sauce chicken wings!!!), Voodoo Donuts (Maple Bacon Bar!!!) and Genie’s at breakfast, because they make the best spicy Bloody Mary I have ever had.
SUE: Right now, Olivea. It is this quaint little Mediterranean-influenced restaurant in the uptown area of Denver. Every meal I have had there has been amazing. They really shine in their ability to highlight the fresh, clean flavors of their ingredients.
CAT: Grilled hotdogs, my mom’s baked beans and my dad’s tuna mac. You can all look forward to this exact meal also being served at my wedding someday.
SUE: Something that included Kruse and Muer bread and really good bourbon. – I feel the need to note here that the last time I flew to Denver from Detroit, Sue made me pack her Kruse and Muer bread in my suitcase. That’s how much she loves it. -Cat
What’s the story behind the name?
CAT: So. Sue and I have been more or less joined at the hip since 7th grade when we met because Sue was wearing iridescent white lipstick and I thought she was the coolest. Because of that, people often said our names together, like Cat-Sue. Sometime in high school, someone said that our names together sounded like a sneeze: cat-SUE! And it does. So, we named the blog – catsue. Bless you. Let’s eat!
What is your fondest food related childhood memory?
CAT: Once when I was a kid, my mom went out of town and my dad was in charge, and he let us have snow cones and Cheetos for breakfast. It was awesome.
SUE: I have so many. Although I wouldn’t consider my family to be food-centric, some of my fondest memories were made around our dinner table, and baking chocolate chip cookies with my mom and my sister. One memory that specifically sticks out in my mind though, is going to the “pick-your-own” farm and picking everything from various berries to green beans, and then coming home and making jam, and sitting on the porch drinking sun tea and tipping green beans to freeze.
Favorite comfort food dish?
CAT: I’ve never really understood this term, so instead I’ll answer the question: What do you cook when you come home from work and are starving and there’s nothing reasonable in the fridge like leftovers? An egg sandwich, egg over medium, with cheese, spinach and chipotle mayo, because those are things I always have in the house.
SUE: Soup, I love soup. There is nothing quite like a bowl of soup and a toasty warm baguette. I love all (homemade) soups. Chicken noodle, corn chowder, chili (that counts in my book) potato leek, minestrone, ham and bean…you name it.
What would your dream kitchen be like?
CAT: This is also a Sue question, she is always talking about kitchens, and she also does a way better job than I do of optimizing her kitchen space. Case in point- her really cool pegboard thing for hanging pots and pans. Anyway- it would be exactly like the kitchen in my parent’s old house, which had the perfect balance of counter space and room for people to stand around and bug the cook.
SUE: I don’t know where to start, but I can tell you some must-haves. Sky lights (we said dream right?) LOTS of countertop space, an independent ice maker, a Kitchen –aid stand mixer, a huge chalkboard, a big wood table with chairs on one side and a bench on the other, and a beautiful Viking gas burning stove…and about a million other things.
What is the weirdest thing you ever ate?
CAT: I have had sushi a few times with people actually from Japan, and on one of those occasions, I tried this funny dish which turned out to be mashed sea anemone with chopped up sea urchin in it. It was an orange paste with chunks of what really looked like purple gummy bear in it. The weirdest part was that it tasted EXACTLY like cheese.
SUE: Crickets- science class 7th grade.
What do you listen to while cooking?
CAT: Episodes of Bones or Linda talking to me.
SUE: Some chick flick on HBO or Van Morrison.
What do you always get at the grocery store that is not on the list?
CAT: Wine. Wait, no, wine is always on the list. Okay, onions. I buy a lot of onions. Who wants to be cooking and discover they’re out of onions?
SUE: Some kind of beverage: pineapple juice, Simply lime-aid, Izze, grape soda…whatever suits my fancy that day.
Who is the best cook you know (serious edition)?
CAT: My mother. Bar none.
SUE: Alton Brown. Cat said I should say my mom, but I’m not going to. Sorry Mom, you’re a great cook, and I learned a lot from you, but Alton has continued my education. I love the science of cooking and baking- and those are the things Alton Brown has inspired me to learn and explore.
If you had to eat dog food or cat food, which would you choose?
CAT: I don’t want to answer this question, which is stupid because I insisted that it be on the list. Dog food, because my cat Jeff has really bad breath.
SUE: Cat- because its tinier.
What’s better, hotdogs or hamburgers (this was a question my dad would ask us when we were kids. Also included was: What’s better, grape or cherry Kool-aid? What’s better, Sprees or Sweet tarts?)?
CAT: Hotdogs. Grape. Sweet tarts.
SUE: Hamburgers. Grape (thank you Monaghan family for introducing me to this lovely treat that Audrey would not buy). I don’t like fruit flavored sweets, so neither.
What is your proudest cooking achievement?
CAT: It might be the sandwich I just ate, which was delicious. I made pasta carbonara a few months ago that was restaurant perfect. I tempered the hell out of those egg yolks, that sauce was like silk. Creamy, cheesy, bacony silk.
SUE: The privilege of being the “pastry chef” at the Berkshire. I have no professional training, but they took a chance on me, and so far people have been loving my desserts. Either that, or the 140 cheesecake lollipops I made for my friend Beth’s engagement party (they were amazing- and took days).
We received a few GREAT questions from our buddy Heidi- here they are:
What do YOU do with the space between the cabinets and the ceiling?
CAT: I actually don’t have that in my current apartment. My cabinets go right up to the ceiling, much to the chagrin of my hobbit roommate.
SUE: Stuff everything I possibly can up there. Currently I have a Tupperware cake keeper, my food processor, my mixer and various attachments, rolling pin…and a bunch of other random stuff. Oh the joys of a galley style kitchen.
What does your significant other contribute to your cooking style?
CAT: He eats it.
SUE: Meat mostly. He will say he doesn’t need meat to complete a meal…and then later I’ll find him snacking on a piece of bacon. But in all honesty, he is an amazing griller- he smokes meat, makes a perfect steak, grills the crap out of chicken and makes the best burgers known to man. I also had no idea that tapioca pearls and V-8 would make a delicious beef stew….but it did. – I can attest to this, Nick makes a mean burger. There’s something about his patty-making process. – Cat
Did you eat “hot” lunch or “cold” lunch in elementary school?
CAT: Mostly cold. My mom always packed me Minute Maid 100% juice boxes, which I hated. I wanted Boku, which was like 5% juice or something. But I never missed Pizza Day.
SUE: On rare occasions my mom would give us money for hot lunch- I always tried to make that day Frito Pie Day. Mostly I had strawberry milk and peanut butter and honey sandwiches.