She’s the only “foodie” deserving of that title and a woman who truly needs no introduction (although very important and worth noting is that she refers to herself as a “professional eater” — a woman after our own hearts); She is a culinary expert, food writer, cookbook author, and of course our favorite Top Chef judge! So we are excited to proudly present the inner workings of Gail Simmons fridge.
There is an amazing Cobble Hill market we go to every Sunday. It’s the biggest chance we have to get fresh produce. We were out of town in Hudson Valley this weekend, so instead we stopped at some really great farm stands along the way. We have a problem as a family in that we hoard Summer things. My daughter right now is on a two-peach-a-day minimum, so we are getting lots of pieces and plums.
We keep the produce in this basket which I bought in Vietnam on my honeymoon. We have a ton of bamboo stuff.
I am always recipe testing so there are always random things in my fridge. The problem with recipe testing is there is a long lead so for example, I was testing something that had oranges in them, which would be for winter, so we had to buy a ton of oranges, which we wouldn’t necessarily have this time of year because they aren’t in season. That’s also why I have a lot of heavy whipping cream in my fridge. It’s not something I drink by the glass, but we were testing recipes. These were specifically for a cookbook which I am writing the proposal for right now. These are all the recipes that will be in the proposal. The whipping cream was going to be for a black licorice caramel sauce. The recipe kind of changed and we ended up making a black licorice double chocolate cake. (which you can have when you leave because I need to get rid of it!) And the oranges were for a Hokkien noodle which is a very common noodle made by hawker stalls in singapore. I ate these noodles when we were shooting Top Chef 6 years ago. They have shrimp and pork belly and two types of noodles and they are always served with calamansi. They look like a lime, they are green on the outside but they are orange on the inside and are a little sweeter than limes. You can’t get them here so to sort of fake their flavor I was using limes and clementines.
GROWN UP BABY FOOD:
My daughter loves zucchinis, it’s one of her favorite foods. “Peachies and kinis” are her favorites right now, so we always have a ton of those. We roast them for her. My daughter is also obsessed with mushrooms. So we make her a lot of sauteed mushrooms.
I found that once I became a mom, I go grocery shopping and I buy a bunch of stuff, and I am sure this happens to tons of moms, but you forget to buy groceries for yourself. I spend 200 dollars and the grocery store and all I have done is buy things for her and I think of all the things I can make and cook for her and then my husband will be like, so did you buy anything for dinner tonight? I often forget things for us.
I do a half teaspoon in her milk at night. Those are specifically children’s probiotics.
So when we got home last night it was late, we wanted to get her to bed. I made corn, so I made a corn salad with scallions limes and feta. I believe in leftovers. I think people think I am a lot fussier than I am. When I know there are good leftovers in the fridge I can eat them for like four days straight. I repurpose them. If I make a big quinoa salad, I will make them into quinoa cakes and eat them for breakfast. This corn was corn on the cob last night, but now it’s a corn salad…Yes, I am a definite leftovers person.
In New York, people always have a roast chicken. it’s the easiest thing. This particular roast chicken is from Dirty Bird in Tribeca.
Celery sticks because I always need it for recipe testing. I was also making a soup so I needed mirepoix. I use what I need and then cut the rest into sticks and we all snack on them. I love the taste of celery. I feel like it’s an underrated flavor, but I love using it all types of ways like in salads etc.
Maple syrup. This is my favorite thing in my fridge. I am from Canada. I am from Toronto and my husband is from Montreal. This is always here and is always full of maple syrup, because I put maple syrup kind of on everything. Maybe I should do a maple syrup cookbook! This is from a store called Fete Ici, which means made here. It’s a tiny little store on a tiny little street in a beautiful neighborhood I love. They sell these beautiful maple syrup containers, they are all different designs. I give them to friends as gifts. I always have this in here and I refill it all the time, and it’s a constant reminder of home.
There are always pickles in my fridge. My father my whole life made pickles. So I have made his pickles a lot. His set the bar for me. He was pickling before Brooklyn was pickling!
Mine are pretty good, but I don’t have the patience to let them sit as long as he does. He used to keep them in our basement upside down for 3 months, 4 months. I want them sooner than that, so they aren’t as sour. When we moved to this neighborhood. Sahadi’s and Damascus which are two very old middle eastern bakeries and kind of provision stores are four blocks away. We replenish weekly. I love their pickled turnips – I eat them all the time. And these are their pickled persian cucumbers. Most people don’t pickle with these, they pickle with kirby’s, but I love them. There are always olives in here too.
Cherries, also for a recipe. I have to now figure out what else to do with sour cherries because this is literally the smallest container I could find. Sour cherries are a very traditional middle eastern ingredient. The best place to get them I have been told is out in Brighton Beach. But I couldn’t get out there, and I was testing a sour cherry mignonette for oysters and I wanted the sour cherries so I got the tart dried ones. I did a version with the dried versions that I reconstituted and one with these jarred sour cherries. I liked the reconstituted dried sour cherries better. They had a little more sweet flavor and the texture was better. But I bet these jarred ones would be great over ice cream.
This is ginger liqueur that is really delicious. I was buying wine for a dinner party I had about a week ago and our local wine store was sampling this and I loved it and bought it. I make cocktails with it. I am generally a tequila person. But I also like brown spirits like bourbon. I was in Mexico shooting last fall in San Miguel, which is a spectacular place. I was there for 8 days and it was there that I started really drinking and enjoying mezcal and tequila.
These are for your eyes. I keep them in the fridge. They have been in there for about a year. They are a depuffer. Everyone looks in the mirror and has their one thing. My thing is that I feel like I always have puffy eyes. So when there is a puffy eye emergency, I literally slap these on. My makeup artist gave them to me a long time ago. They are orange patterned and I believe have some citrus in them. I think they also have a cucumber version out there.
I am really into mustard. It’s my condiment of choice. There is nothing you can’t put mustard on. I always have multiple kinds. This mustard is from Dai Due, a restaurant in Austin Texas. They do an awesome food and wine festival every April in Austin and I was there and got to eat there. The chef does a lot of preserving and canning, makes his own jams and mustards, duck fat and beef tallow. He has a butcher shop in the front. There is this very elaborate pulley- system so they put the large pieces of meats on these hooks and they go from the front of the butcher shop to the back of the kitchen. I got his mustard because I ate it with some of the meat he prepared and loved it.
These are various butters and spreads. This is a maple spread that I always buy when we go to Canada. It’s a whipped maple that I spread on toast. The Ottolenghi is a passion fruit jam that one of my friends at Food and Wine brought back for me as a gift. Tahini is another staple in our house, we make salad dressing, hummus…This is a random asian section. Fish sauce, miso, I’m a big fish sauce fan. This is a really amazing quality fish sauce that my friend introduced me to a few years back. The company is called Red Boat, but they actually do a collaboration with Bliss which is actually a maple syrup company. They age the fish sauce in bourbon barrels.
This is sambal which they also serve with those noodles that I am obsessed with right now. This was made and sent to me by Mei Lin who was the winner of Top Chef last season. She gave this to me for Christmas and we have been using it because it’s really delicious.
My condiments fall into themes, it makes life easy.
I’m a big hot sauce person. This one is from Miss Lily’s. They also have a hotel in Jamaica called the Rock House. We go to Miss Lily’s a lot just to pretend that we are still in Jamaica.
This is some verjus which has not been opened. It’s for cooking. It’s been there for a year. We will get to it one day. I feel like a lot of people have those things in their fridges that they want to use and it’s there, and intend to use one day, but haven’t quite yet.
VEGAN ICE CREAM FOR DAD:
My poor dad is a chocoholic and vegan. He decided to become vegan a couple years ago- he’s 75. He wanted to do it because he thought it would be a fun challenge. So we bought some soy vegan ice cream for him for when he visits.