Deborah Schneider is the chef/owner behind the buzz-worthy and praise-worthy SOL Cocina in Newport Beach. Herewith are her answers to our silly survey.
1. Dish that you cook that most represents you.
That would be our Toffee Cake with Butterscotch Sauce, which has followed me for many years. Like me, it draws inspiration from all 3 of my 'homes.' The recipe has English roots (I'm Canadian) with dates and orange zest, but I make the sauce with piloncillo and serve it warm with a scoop of ice cream and tons of gooey sauce in typically over-the-top American style. I want one right now.
2. What was the last meal you had at home?
The last thing I actually cooked at home was a recipe I was testing - a piece of flap meat which I butterflied and pounded out to 1/16th of an inch, so it was almost a foot across. I rubbed it with chopped garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and coarsely ground guajillo chiles. Then I threw it on a very very hot grill for 15 seconds a side and ate the whole thing myself, with my hands, standing up, with sliced serrano chiles, and didn't share with anyone. (The last thing I actually ate here was a bowl of shredded wheat this morning. Does that count?)
3. Your favorite restaurant (other than yours):
A dead tie between El Taco de la Ermita (Los Salceados) and Tacos Las 3 Salsas by the fish market , both In Tijuana. Not restaurants exactly but the best tacos EVER.
4. Fast food guilty pleasure:
Kettle corn, warm. I find myself using both hands to stuff it in my mouth and I still can't seem to eat it fast enough.
5. Complete this sentence I would like to [verb] [Food Network Star] with [noun].
(for example: "I would like to BEAT BOBBY FLAY with A STALE BAGUETTE." or "I would like to SHOWER GIADA DE LAURENTIIS with FLOWERS"):
I don't watch Food Network, but just from the little I've seen, I think I would very much like to feed Guy Fieri to his hairdresser.
6. Last meal of your life, what would it be?
Answer #1: Something that took a very, very long time to prepare. Like, a year.
Answer #2: Wild mushrooms sautéed with garlic and a chunk of wagyu flap meap grilled over wood, with nothing on it but oil and salt.
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7. Items you always have in your refrigerator:
1% milk, cheese, apples, garlic and serrano chiles.
8. Your most indispensable kitchen tool or appliance:
Aside from my knives? My 10-inch cast-iron frying pan which I bought at the swap meet for a buck in 1983, and still use daily. I should also mention the dog, who keeps the floor clean for me.