A Quick Bite With Susan Antonacci

A Quick Bite With Susan Antonacci

Known around the office for her upbeat attitude and warm heart, as Canadian Living‘s editor-in-chief Susan Antonacci, mom to Gabe (25) and Gia (22), also happens to know a thing or two about yummy food. With one of the country’s leading editorial test kitchens, she is privvy to an endless array of delicous food. She’s also the proud, new mama to Scooter McGee, her fluffy black pooch. She swears by Banana Republic and often lends her time to charity projects, like her most recent turn as co-chair of the Heart and Music Event, which supports Ovarian Cancer research and treatment.

Susan and her fun and stylish fashion crew, lead by Karen Kwinter, styled Scarlett and I in this season’s chunky knits for their latest issue. Luckily, for the crew (and the clothes), cooking was put on-hold that day. Please check out the January 2011 issue of Canadian Living magazine, on newstands now.

P.S. We love the recipe for Greek-Style Macaroni and Cheese on page 90. -LK with KF.

Q: What’s your earliest food memory?

A: Watching my mother bake.  She baked everything from chocolate eclairs,  donuts, pies and cakes to fudge, peanut brittle and sponge toffee.

Q: What was your favourite food as a child?

A: Hmmmm…. I loved food.  Escargot in garlic butter and shrimp cocktail were two faves.

Q: Is there a food you loathed as a child and have since learned to enjoy? Or maybe you still can’t stand it? Tell us–what is it?

A: Cows Tongue — my sister and mother loved it.  I still can’t bear the look or taste.

Q: What’s your default, throw-together-and-wow-everyone meal?

A: For summer casual, there’s nothing I love more then having over a pack of people.   Fresh oyster as a starter, with a few condiments, fresh corn-on-the-cob with a a couple of butter choices (usually hot smoked paprika butter, or fresh basil butter).  Followed by a seafood cook-up:  lobster, soft-shell crabs and mussels and serving with a green salad and an east-coast style potato salad.  Throw down the newspapers or sheet and dig in.  For the non-seafood people, my husband’s homemade Italian sausage with loads of toppings.  It always turns into hours of sitting around the table and there are many laughs.

For winter there are a few faves.  Fresh pasta — cannelloni, manicotti or shells stuffed with ricotta and spinach served with Aunty Mary’s secret meatball recipe.  Rack of Lamb with a Balsamic Reduction served with smoked rice and veggies.  Both really easy to do and lots of stuff that you can do ahead of time.  For the vegetarians in my life (and I have many), vegetarian chili or a ginger-squash soup with a warm artichoke salad and chickpea salad always seems to do the trick. Trust me, all of these recipes for both Summer and Winter are easy!

Q: What’s the one meal you would love to cook but fear it’s too complicated?

A: Okay, first-off to my veggie-friends — please don’t judge me. I have always wanted to do a pig roast but it has always felt like an intimidating process.  The preparation and watching the cooking process….

Q: What’s your favourite thing to cook or bake with someone else?

A: Homemade pizza with my husband.

Q: What do you love most about cooking?

A: Doing it with family or friends or cooking for family and friends.

Q: What’s your favourite memory with your children, Gia, 22 and Gabe, 25?

A: Italian Christmas Eve (La Vigilia) when Gabe was a year old and we discovered he loved escargot. By the time we caught on to what he was doing, he had devoured almost three dozen. I also remember making maki for my kids’ lunches because they didn’t like sandwiches. I would add anything they liked to it–it wasn’t always traditional Japanese cuisine!

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