Sunday, October 23, 2016

#71: tomatoes - September 2015

Our first tomato cookoff was held at Bronwen's Mount Pleasant apartment on the 7th of September. It was a lovely, warm evening, with that wistful end-of-summer feeling about it. There was room enough for all of us to sit at the kitchen table, drinking wine and enjoying the breeze.

stewed tomato salsa
Cass: "absentee salsa" stewed tomato salsa with garlic, cilantro, & green peppers* heirloom tomato & roasted garlic tart
Jen: "once bitten, twice shy" puff pastry tart with roasted garlic, roasted heirloom tomatoes, capers, & fresh herbs (recipe adapted from here)
smoked tomato risotto
Malloreigh: "smoke tomatoes erryday" smoked tomato risotto with cherry tomatoes, garlic, & basil
zucchini linguine
Liang: "Mario & Luigi" zucchini linguine with roasted tomatoes, chili flakes, & pine nuts
Bronwen: "awesomesauce" spaghetti & homemade marinara with basil & olive oil garnish
salsa two ways
Allie: "it takes two to salsa" sun sugar tomato, cucumber, & cilantro salsa; roasted heirloom tomato, jalapeño & poblano pepper, & avocado salsa

*Cass competed for the first time, and in absentia, so we had more dishes than attendees.

seconds: Jen
presentation: Jen
creativity: Malloreigh/Allie
tomatoeyness: Cass
perceived effort: Malloreigh
overall favourite: Jen

overall winner: Jen

best name: (unscored category) Allie

Sunday, September 25, 2016

#70: farmers' market & garden - July 2015

Our farmers' market & garden cookoff was held on the 19th of July at Ravenclaw House (Mal & Allie's). The idea was to use fresh, in-season items from your garden or the farmers' market. It was a very hot day, like much of the summer, so we enjoyed some cold beer and white wine while trying to catch a breeze from the open living room door.

pesto risotto
Jen: "green with heat stroke" garlic*-roasted zucchini* and basil* pesto risotto with toasted pinenuts
Bronwen: "nacho gazpacho" salmorejo (cold tomato*, bread, & olive oil soup) with patata* brava & coconut bacon
Allie: "that redhead Italian" bread* with bruschetta (tomato*, garlic*, & basil)
zaru soba
Kristina: "market after dark" zaru soba (cold noodles) in a soy & rice vinegar sauce with shiso*, mint*, okra*, tomato*, & homemade pickled ginger
jam & bread
Chris: "jammin'" baguette and 4 kinds of homemade jam topped with various fresh herbs*, with arugula* & blackberry* garnish
polenta tart
Malloreigh: "pie de la polenta" polenta tart with peach* filling, blueberry* sauce, & fresh basil*

Starred items are garden or market fresh.

seconds: Bronwen
presentation: Kristina
creativity: Kristina/Malloreigh
perceived effort: Bronwen
best use of theme: Jen/Kristina
overall favourite: Allie/Bronwen

overall winner: Bronwen

best name: (unscored category) Jen/Bronwen

Saturday, September 17, 2016

#69: barbecue (second edition) - June 2015

Our second BBQ-off was held at Blühaus on the 21st of June, hot & sunny. While attendance was sparse, we ended up with a nicely complete meal.

cerulean cheese salad
Malloreigh: "cerulean cheese salad" arugula, grilled peach & pear, cashew blue cheese, and walnuts in a raspberry mustard vinaigrette
Thai tempeh
Jen: "dad jokes Thai tempeh" pad Thai-inspired marinated grilled tempeh with coconut ginger creamed corn, bean sprouts, & peanuts
roasted roots
Allie: "Earthbound" buttery barbecue-roasted fingerling potatoes, carrots, onions, & onion scapes
dessert bread
Ash: "the most ancient traditions" barbecue-baked focaccia bread with apples in a bourbon caramel sauce

Also in attendance was Tamara's dog, Bea, though much to her chagrin, she did not get to try the food.

seconds: Malloreigh
presentation: Ash
creativity: Malloreigh/Ash
best use of theme: Jen
perceived effort: Ash
overall favourite: 4-way tie!

overall winner: Malloreigh/Ash

best name: (unscored category) Allie

Saturday, April 30, 2016

#68: sushi - May 2015

Sushi cookoff was held at Ravenclaw House on the 24th of May. It was a beautiful spring evening, and we enjoyed drinking sake in the living room with the front door open.

Kristina: "one lump or two?" shiso & pickled plum onigiri with torched miso; carrot & pickle garnish
Jen: "innananari" bean curd nigiri with sriracha mayo and black sesame seeds
squash temaki
Ash: "just squash it all together" squash temaki (hand roll) with potato, kale, cilantro, pumpkin seeds, and red curry sauce*
tempura roll
Malloreigh: "it's sushi, mate!" tempura-battered chicken-style seitan with cucumber & avocado in an inside-out roll, served with sesame mayo
battera sushi
Chris: "don't Osaka the boat" Osaka-style battera sushi with black & white rice, torched avocado, & fresh herbs; garnished with sake plum dressing, black sesame seeds, & gooseberry

Also in attendance were Jeff and two others (Maddie & Allie, I think).
*note: when I asked Ash about the photo, they specifically wanted me to photograph the messiest-looking cone.

seconds: Jen
presentation: Kristina
creativity: Chris
perceived effort: Malloreigh/Chris
sushivity: (best use of theme) Jen
overall favourite: Kristina

overall winner: Chris

best name: (unscored category) Kristina

Thursday, November 19, 2015

#67: appetizers & cocktails (fourth edition) - April 2015

Our annual appetizer & 1oz cocktail cookoff was held on Sunday the 26th of April at Blühaus. We are all too old to get wasted on a worknight so we were very careful about our alcohol intake.

Ash: "half course zinger" East Van vodka with lemonade & ginger* airmail to China
Malloreigh: "airmail to China" Peking mock duck confit crêpe with plum sauce and green onion; served with a 5-spice airmail (lemon, champagne, Mt. Gay rum, & 5-spice syrup)
not lacking licks
Amanda: "not lacking licks" beet chips topped with an apple, kale, lemon, & lilac salad; served with nettle tea & gin muddled with mint, lemon balm, & topped with candied lilacs
pickleback to the future
Jen: "pickleback to the future" beer-battered deep-fried pickles with dill aïoli; served with a pickleback (a shot of whiskey with a pickle brine chaser)
hair of the dog
Jeff: "a bite of the dog that bit me" beet slider with traditional fixings on a homemade bun; served with a vegan Caesar
double double
Chris: "double double" salt & pepper fry bread with plum anise jam & basil; served with coffee, cassis liquer, & lemon gin

Also in attendance was Kristina.
* Ash's drink was served as an apéritif, because they burnt the spicy candied almonds that they planned to serve with it and had no time to remake them.

seconds: Jeff
presentation: Amanda/Jeff
creativity: Amanda
perceived effort: Amanda
best pairing: Malloreigh
overall favourite: Malloreigh/Jeff

overall winner: Amanda

best name: (unscored category) Jen

Saturday, October 24, 2015

#66: Greek food - March 2015

Greek-off was held at Ravenclaw House on the 23rd of March. It was a rainy day and a cosy affair, more of a dinner party than some of the more well-attended cookoffs, but with the rich & hearty food we made there were no complaints about that!

Jen: "Purple Rain" fasolada (traditional white bean soup) with celery, carrots, lemon, & a kalamata olive garnish
arakas kokkinisto
Allie: "Greek vegan dot com" arakas kokkistino (stewed peas & tomatoes) with roasted lemon & rosemary fingerling potatoes
nugget potatoes
Bronwen: "ba-ta-ta ya-yiourt ka-shew" garlicky baked golden nugget potatoes with minty cashew yogurt sauce
Malloreigh: "kno way!" knafeh (crispy baked pastry with cashew cheese filling) with syrup

seconds: Bronwen
presentation: Bronwen
creativity: Malloreigh
Greekness: Jen
perceived effort: Malloreigh
overall favourite: 4-way tie

overall winner: a never-before-seen 4-way tie!

best name: (unscored category) also a 4-way tie

Sunday, October 18, 2015

#65: sweet vs. savoury - February 2015

Our sweet vs. savoury cookoff was held at Flatland on the 23rd of February — the last cookoff held there was the previous February! The theme was to take something usually served sweet and make it savoury, or vice versa. We had a couple new attendees, which is always welcome.

ridin' dirty
Jen: "ridin' dirty" handmade parsnip gnocchi and oyster mushrooms sautéed in herbs & garlic, with porcini cocoa crumble and ginger pear sauce
mac & chocolate
Ashley: "mac & chocolate" noodles in cashew cheese with spicy tomato & 100% dark chocolate sauce
miso macaroons
Nic: miso sexy macaroons" coconut cookies with miso & cocoa, on a bed of nori
Malloreigh: "basketti" kugel with oregano-scented coconut cream and tomato jam
dessert nachos
Laryssa: "nacho average day" tortilla crisps with mango salsa, coconut ginger cream, rum-lime chocolate, & candied cashews

Ashley attended and competed for the first time. Also in attendance were Ryan (a coworker of Jen's) and two other people I've forgotten in the many months since.

seconds: Jen
presentation: Nic
creativity: Ashley
best use of theme: Ashley
perceived effort: Jen
overall favourite: Jen

overall winner: Jen

best name: (unscored category) Laryssa