Thursday, December 13, 2007

The results are... IN!

Our three “celebrity” guest judges (Aluminum Chef Sadie, Easy-Bake Ophelia and Louise la gourmande) have been working overtime, scoring each of the five recipes entered by contestants Carolie, Saskia and Mary.

After tallying all the results, I am happy to announce that Carolie has won “The First Ever Recess for Writers… er… Cooks Contest” with her recipe entitled “Southern Spring Brunch”!

Because there were five entries, I will be donating $10 to the charity of her choice. (Carolie, let me know what it is at your convenience!)

Of course, all the entries were fabulous in their own ways; consequently, I thought you might like to hear what the judges had to say about each one:

Entry #1: Carolie’s “Southern Spring Brunch”

Easy-Bake Ophelia: “Is it a soup can … or a cookie cutter .. or a summer pudding mold … you decide! Loved that Carolie actually completed the task of naming her dishes.”
Aluminum Chef Sadie: “A lovely suggestion for a bridal shower, provided the guest of honor is already ‘in bloom’ and craving pickles with every meal.”
Louise la gourmande: “Extra credit for excellence in writing and elegant use of cooking terms.”

Entry #2: Carolie’s “Heart of the Snow Tiger”

Easy-Bake Ophelia: “Minus the fine china, isn’t this dish served at the hospital?”
Louise la gourmande: “French title – Coeur de tigre de neige.”
Aluminum Chef Sadie: “Will appeal to the hopelessly self-important who must be told what to eat… I have to get my appetite back after reading ‘grey, quivering matter’.”

Entry #3: Mary’s “Lazy Woman’s Option”

Louise la gourmande: “Extra credit for yard-work tip.”
Aluminum Chef Sadie: “The title is eye-catching and quite appealing, yes, and anything fried in butter can’t be all bad. Way to incorporate lawn care into your recipe, though surely a lazy woman would find someone else to do that for her, no?”
Easy-Bake Ophelia: “Loved that Mary pointed out to us all that something you ingest can also be used as a weed-killer! Mmmmm…. I hear murder-mystery contest next …”

Entry #4: Carolie’s Third

Louise la gourmande: “My, she’s [Carolie] prolific.”
Easy-Bake Ophelia: “This recipe sounds yummy, and I liked the creativity of the rolls!”
Aluminum Chef Sadie: “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but that ungodly pickle/radish mousse sounds kind of good! Or perhaps it’s the lesser of all the evils? I wonder if it could be used as a spackle for sidewalks, working hand in hand with Mary Witzl’s weed killer? Ladies, you might be on to something here.”

Entry #5: Saskia’s Entry

Aluminum Chef Sadie: “Gluten appetit! That’s a lot of buttermilk to consider, even for this dairy loving gal. The French toast sounds great, though I could do without the pickle garnish - unless I were “in bloom” and craving that unholy combination.”
Louise la gourmande: “Rembrandt’s favorite meal, perhaps?”
Easy-Bake Ophelia: “Of all the recipes, this one sounded the most edible… Loved that the strawberries were turned into syrup for the buttermilk French toast.”

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THE WINNING RECIPE:

Carolie’s “Southern Spring Brunch”

Ingredients:

2 cups of strawberries7 kosher dill pickles (you may use the pickle brine for extra points)4 cups of buttermilk3 radishes5 slices of wheat bread1 stick of butter2 eggs

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Thinly slice strawberries, macerate in 2 cups buttermilk.
2. Thinly slice radishes and three of the dill pickles horizontally into coins, marinate in bowl with dill pickle brine to cover.
3. Arrange two clean tin (steel) cans with both tops and bottoms cut off onto a baking sheet. Use one tin can to cut two circles from each of three slices of whole wheat bread. Butter each circle of bread on both sides.
4. Place a single circle of bread in each tin can, spoon 1/3 strawberries with buttermilk onto bread. Add another circle of bread, then another third of strawberries. Add third circle, and all of remaining strawberry/buttermilk mixture. Cover entirely with a layer of bread scraps, leftover from cutting circles.
5. Place a circle of parchment paper, cut to fit, on top of bread scraps. Place a slightly smaller can (an UNOPENED can of sliced olives perhaps?) on top for pressure, add yet another can (Beans? Tomatoes? Soup? Or a clean brick!), and refrigerate.
6. Whirl one of remaining slices of bread in a processor to create fine crumbs.
7. Slice two of the remaining pickles lengthwise into four long planks each, and blot as dry as possible with paper towels.
8. Beat one egg and half a cup of buttermilk in a small bowl until foamy.
9. Dip pickle planks into beaten egg/buttermilk mixture, then into breadcrumbs, and set on a rack to dry for five minutes. Repeat egg and breadcrumb dip on each plank, and fry each in remaining butter (reserving two teaspoons of butter for later use) briefly until golden. Drain on a rack set over paper towels.
10. Soak final piece of bread in remaining buttermilk until extremely soft.
11. Whip bread/buttermilk mixture until smooth, add remaining egg and all of remaining egg/buttermilk dip mixture from pickle process, beat until frothy.
12. Coat two oven-safe ramekins with 2 teaspoons reserved butter. Divide bread/buttermilk/egg mixture between ramekins.
13. Bake in oven until slightly puffed and mostly set.
14. Turn strawberry bread puddings upside down onto pretty dessert plates (leaving behind pressed out buttermilk and strawberry juice), using can of sliced olives to hold down puddings as cans are removed.
15. Cut final dill pickle in half. Slice thinly, but NOT all the way through each half. Fan slices out and tuck ends into base to create curled pickle fans. Use fans to garnish souffles.

Menu:

* Radish & cucumber salad in dill and garlic dressing
* Crispy butter-fried dill pickle planks
* Buttermilk souffles with dill pickle fans
* Strawberry-buttermilk summer puddings

11 comments:

Carolie said...

Hurray! Thank you so much for offering this clever contest, and for allowing me to babble on and on (thus avoiding things like cleaning the house, working for clients, or actually posting at my own blog)! My gratitude to the guest judges for their comments. I'd also like to thank my parents, my brothers...

Ooops, sorry about that. I tend to get carried away.

My charity of choice? Here are two...select the one which appeals to you more:

1. The Heifer Project -- providing livestock and training to teach poor communities around the world sustainable agricultural practices and help them regain self-sufficiency.

2. Purchase a gift or make a donation to your local foster child program.

Thanks again!

Carolie said...

p.s.--it's Heifer International, at www.heifer.org. Also, here is a link to a foster children gift program in Massachusetts. Not sure if there is something similiar in your area: http://www.eagletribune.com/punews/local_story_333093856?page=3

The Quoibler said...

Carolie:

It was all my pleasure, indeed! I'll definitely do this again!

Oh, and Heifer International was just given $10 to support a share of a goat. :)

Angelique

Shameless said...

Wow ... what a mouthful! Ummm, I'm not sure if I can follow all that. I think I'll write a poem instead, and read it to you while you do the baking and the eating. lol

SzélsőFa said...

Congratulations to Carolie!
I must admit I lost counting steps at step 3...I like dishes that are easy to make...
But here!! The invention!!! The fantasy!!!
The charity!!

Well done to you all!

Church Lady said...

Hmm...never had fried pickles. But it does look interesting!
Congratulations to the winner!
:-)

TIV: the individual voice said...

Congratulations Carolie. I believe that this is one meal my picky eaters will relish. And Angelique, I must add that I adore that gorgeous photo of you and your son and the heading "The Meaning of Life."

Carolie said...

Thanks for all the kind congratulations!

I did use my imagination a LOT...I'm really not sure quite how well the dishes I described would work out! I have a feeling the souffles would do better with quite a bit more egg, and the pickles would be happier with a lot more bread crumbs and more egg (fried pickles are delicious, one of my favorite treats!)

The summer puddings would probably work well (as I've made something quite similiar), but would be tastier with a little added sugar and less buttermilk.

Saskia said...

I wonder what an Iron Chef would have made?

Thanks for the contest, Angelique, it was fun :)

And thanks to the reviewers for calling my creation edible. That is what I was going for :)

The Quoibler said...

Shameless: I think plenty of ladies would love to be serenaded while cooking! :)

Szelsofa: I'm pleased with the creativity of the dishes... when I do this again (around the beginning of January), hopefully it'll be ingredients with which you're familiar! I know you're super-innovative, especially when it comes to fresh veggies.

Church Lady: As someone who really likes dill pickles, I think fried ones would be interesting to try. Carolie... how would you ideally make them?

tiv: That was so sweet of you to comment on our pic. I do love it, too. I should put one from our first Christmas together (when he was a baby.) I look haggard, but he looks good enough to eat!

Carolie: Ha! I was thinking, "What would I add if I could", too. But I think everything would work on some level, though perhaps not be as sweet or as springy as we'd ideally like. Still, that's the fun of the contest! :)

Saskia: I think an Iron Chef would actually be appalled at not having any "extras". Remember that when they make their creations, they have the opportunity to include all sorts of goodies, an unparalleled supply of spices, and the finest "stuff" from around the planet. So in my humble opinion, you ladies could compete any old day!

Carolie said...

Here are a couple of fried pickle recipes, Angelique...though one could just pat sliced dill pickles dry, dredge in flour, beaten egg and either cornmeal or breadcrumbs and fry. A tempura-type batter would work pretty well, too. Many people use those very sour dill pickle chips meant for hamburgers, but I find them very sharp, and somehow, too green. I like kosher garlic dills the best, but that's not very southern of me!

Recipe #1: (This one sounds the best to me!) http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/pickles/recipe-fried_pickles.html

Recipe #2: Emeril's version... http://www.saltinstitute.org/friedpickles.html