Saturday, March 26, 2011

#22: fusion - March 2011

Fusion cookoff was held at Jeff Downer's on March 21st. When someone commented on how bare the walls were in the dining area of the kitchen, Jeff said that the room never gets used, so we dragged the couch in from the other room and made a point of using it. It was a cosy affair with plenty of beer & wine and only a few entries, which made it feel a little like a prix fixé menu that we could all enjoy without having to worry about how uncomfortably full we would be by the end.

Amanda: "Roman Hands, Thrussian Fingers" borscht with lemongrass, galangal and baby corn, served with piroshki filled with cilantro (Thai-Russian)
borscht with lemongrass galangal
Jeff D: "small town sushi" cheeseburger sushi with all the fixins, including fries and onions rings (American-Japanese)
cheeseburger sushi
Malloreigh: "Brezhnev's 9-year-itch" qorma, borscht, horseradish-dill sour cream, served with buckwheat pancakes, otherwise known as blini (Afghan-Russian)
qorma, borscht, and buckwheat pancakes
Jen: "drunken tourists" Polenta rounds with a red onion & watercress salad in a whiskey-mustard dill dressing, topped with smoked tofu sautéed in Guinness (British-Italian)
polenta with watercress salad in a whiskey-mustard dill dressing
Jeff Z: "mi vietnamita es terrible" lettuce wrap with a bean, salsa & veggie stir-fry, sushi rice, cheese, and cilantro cream (Vietnamese-Mexican)
Mexican lettuce wrap
Arinn: "the kilted Aztec" spicy chocolate shortbread with cayenne icing sugar (Mexican-Scottish)
spicy chocolate shortbread

It should be noted that Arinn flew from Calgary the same day, and her entry was made in Calgary the night before and brought in her carry-on. Also in attendance were Tim, Malloreigh's friend Vanessa, and Anita towards the end of the evening.

seconds: Jeff D
creativity: Amanda/Jen
presentation: Jen
fusionificnessocity (in actual words, most interesting/best pairing): Arinn
overall favourite: Malloreigh

overall winner: Jen (first victory!)

#21: coconut - February 2011

Coconut cookoff was held at Manitoba House on Valentine's Day. We all agreed that it was better to not buy into a commercialistic holiday and instead spend it celebrating our love of food, booze, and each other. Amanda's roommate Cassandra also took this month's cookoff as an opportunity to film a short (just over two minutes) documentary for a film class.

The Cook Off from Cassandra Edes on Vimeo.

Jesse: "I can't believe it's not butter... chicken" masala mushrooms in a butter chicken-style sauce*
Amanda: "CLT" BLT-style sandwich made with coconut fried with hickory smoke and maple syrup
Malloreigh: "the pros of cross-oceanic slavery" satay-style button mushroom/eggplant skewers with coconut-curry sauce, rolled in toasted coconut and basil
Melissa: "rawesome coconut pudding" coconut & chocolate pudding with mint and cinnamon garnish
Kaylie: "Cocaine-nut Eurasian delight" crab cake-style coconut patty on a fried wonton wrapper, with shaved jicama and carrot and a homemade habañero hot sauce
Jeff D: "jackalope laundry presents" coconut tamales with a spicy bean sauce
Jeff Z: "you, me, & the Mexican drug lord" coconut-mango spring rolls with cilantro, garlic, & lime; wrapped in rice paper and topped with a spicy coconut cream sauce
Angelique: "movie star's chocolatey island delight" coconut ice cream with chocolate sauce
Jen: "big trouble in little China" Chinese coconut buns
Tim: "the Bermuda pie-angle" coconut cream pie

*Jesse was sick and couldn't make the event, but sent his dish along with Jeff and Jen. He and Melissa were both competing for the first time.
Also in attendance were Amanda's roommates and a friend of Angelique's whose name I can't recall.

seconds: Amanda/Jen
presentation: Kaylie
coconuticity: Angelique/Jen
creativity: Jeff D
overall entrée: Kaylie
overall dessert: Angelique

overall winner: Kaylie

We also had a vote for best dish name which was not scored, and the winner for that was Jesse.

Kaylie's winning entry
Kaylie's winning entry

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

#20: food from your childhood - January 2011

This cookoff's theme was to reinvent food you ate as a child and was held at Yaara's on January 24th.

Angelique: "the party favourite" spinach dip in a breadbowl
Tim: "sweet winter pie" sweet potato pie with Jack Daniels and maple syrup
Amanda: "meat curtains" meatloaf pockets made with quinoa, tempeh, & shallots in a tamarind-malt vinegar sauce and wrapped with portobello mushrooms & green onion
Jen: "a Scotsman in Disney World" Mickey Mouse-shaped Scotch style pancakes & veggie sausage
Malloreigh: "eggs mixed up with toast" rye toast with runny eggs (vegan egg yolk recipe here)
Kaylie: "Frito bandito" Frito pie with mushrooms, onions, black beans, spicy tomato sauce, cheese & cilantro (recipe here)
Luc: apple crisp
Yaara: "Tsipora chocolate cake" dense flourless chocolate cake

Also in attendance were Krystyna and Jeff Z. We got stoned and made playlists of songs from our childhoods, which included a lot of early 90s hip-hop.

seconds: Kaylie
presentation: Kaylie
most kid-friendly: Jen/Yaara
best adaptation: Amanda
overall favourite: Yaara/Kaylie

overall winner: Kaylie

spinach dip
Angelique's entry
quinoa & seitan 'meat'loaf pockets
Amanda's entry
apple crisp
Luc's entry

#19: tea sandwiches & hot drinks - December 2010

This cookoff was held at the Treehouse on December 9th. For the first time in cookoff history, no one had a camera with them, so the only record is in shitty iphone photo form. Also in attendance were Dan, Krystyna, Angelique's brother Winston and his girlfriend.

Laryssa: "beat route" beet, fried cheese & arugula on rye, with vodka in beet-orange juice
Malloreigh: "Julius Faux-Oeuf" egg salad on whole wheat, with a hot caesar (made with V-Go)
Angelique: "low seniority party in Vietnam" 7-layer dip on cornbread, with an avocado milkshake*
Kaylie: "patience is a virtue" pecan butter and portobello mushroom on leek sourdough, with gingerbread-flavoured butter rum
Jen: "the English grandmother" smoked tofu and tangerine marmalade on homemade croissants, with jasmine tea & amaretto

*Angelique did not know that the drinks were supposed to be hot.

seconds: Malloreigh
presentation: Laryssa
best pairing: a 4-way tie - Laryssa/Angelique/Kaylie/Jen
best drink: Jen
best sandwich: Kaylie
overall favourite: Malloreigh

overall winner: Malloreigh

We got very stoned and drank the leftovers of Laryssa's drink straight out of the 4L milk jug it was brought in.

hot caesars
Malloreigh's drinks.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

#18: apples - November 2010

Apple-off was held at Blühaus on the fifteenth of November. Some bottles of Sleeping Giant fruit wine were opened, and a large amount of Granville Island's Winter Ale was consumed.

Amanda: "blintzed by day, blintzed by night" golden delicious apple, shallot, parsley, lemon and cheese blintzes
blintzed by day, blintzed by night
Jen: "Kiev orchard" perogies filled with ambrosia apple, Yukon gold potato, and cheese; with facon bits, chives, and cardamom sour cream
an orchard in Kiev
Malloreigh: "the apple/root route" fuji & granny smith apple, leek, potato & fennel soup, with a latke of the same ingredients
the apple root/route
Dan: "heartburn for days" granny smith apple nachos with olives, kale, hummus, hot peppers, and tomato; served with salsa fresca
[I don't have a photo of Dan's entry to share, unfortunately]
Yaara: "baked apple boats" red wine-soaked figs, walnuts, cinnamon, and ginger baked on top of gala apples
baked apple boats
Jeff D: "manus domestica" savoury chestnut, onion and ambrosia apple pie with raisin-balsamic reduction
savoury apple pie
Jeff Z: "Adam & Eve & ice cream" peach wine-poached apple below an oatmeal cookie with apple juice-infused raisins; topped with candy apple ice cream
Adam & Eve & ice cream

seconds: Amanda
presentation: Jen/Jeff Z
appleness: Yaara
creativity: Jeff D
overall favourite: Amanda

overall winner: Amanda

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

#17: squash - October 2010

Squash cookoff was held in Nina's cosy kitchen on the rainy fall evening of October 28th. It was a rather small event, with only six entries, but plenty of wine and tea and good times.

Jen: "dead leaves" parmesan-breaded zucchini sticks, with roasted red pepper marinara-style dip
roasted red pepper marinara
Amanda: "Indian autumn" roasted acorn squash with brown basmati rice, cloves, cinnamon, and toasted squash seeds
cardamom roasted acorn squash
Malloreigh: "calce autunno" butternut squash & oyster mushroom ravioli w/lime red curry sauce (base recipe here)
squash & oyster mushroom ravioli
Jeff Z: "intermission" butternut squash & sage soup with vegan crème fraîche and chives
butternut squash & sage soup
Nina: "peared squash" butternut squash stuffed with pear, cranberry, red pepper, walnuts, and cilantro
stuffed squash
Dan: "a saucy squash" kale & butternut squash salad with beets, cranberries, pecans, and spaghetti squash-vinegar dressing
kale & butternut squash salad

seconds: Jeff
squashness: Nina
accompaniment (in other words, best flavour pairings): Mal/Nina
presentation: Nina
overall favourite: Mal

overall winner: Jeff (two in a row!)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

#16: mushrooms - September 2010

Mushroom cookoff ushered in the autumn on September 27th at Blühaus. Everyone really busted out the big guns for this one; there was nothing that wasn't 100% delicious.

Laryssa: "dark drunken muskcap*" French onion soup served with mushroom-buttered toast
*this was smudged on the record so I'm not entirely sure this is what it said
Jeff Z: "badger(x7) mushroom" crimini mushroom caps stuffed with black bean hummus and cucumber salsa, topped with black sesame seeds, fried enokis, and onion hair
Amanda: "calanari" enoki mushroom tempura with plum-mint chili sauce
Angelique: "fatty fungi" portobello, cream cheese, and shallot perogies
Jen: "Italian stallion" portobello mushroom, sundried tomato & artichoke heart risotto
Yaara: "a vegan hooker in montreal" mushroom poutine
Dan: "en chanterelle au Port Alberni" hand-picked chanterelles with grapefruit, tomato, apricot, peppers and pecans on a zucchini boat
Malloreigh: "romance" portobello & shiitake with red onion, pecans, and raspberry-lime truffle dressing
Kristina & Chris: "crazy robot face" heirloom tomato salad, marinated mushrooms, and chimichurri served with olive bread

seconds: Jen
presentation: Jeff
creativity: Dan
mushroominess: Laryssa
overall favourite: Angelique

overall winner: Jeff

crimini mushroom caps
Jeff's absolutely beautiful mushroom caps

#15: pears - August 2010

We took an extra-long break from cookoffs in the summer with no events from May through July; people were broke, moving, travelling, working outside of Vancouver, etc. August 30th we picked up again with the pear cookoff at Jeff Downer's.

Amanda: "summer truck stop pancake" pear potato pancakes with roasted garlic-balsamic sauce & green onions
Malloreigh: "pear stack tophat" parsley-scented crostini with arugula, caramelized pear & fig, smoked tofu, and slivered almonds (recipe here)
Yaara: "not at all" smashed pears & yams with garlic, purple onions, and Thai basil
Jeff D & Cody: "primordial three-piece suits" taylor pear & black bean empanadas with sweet potato, coriander, and cloves, topped with cilanto & garlic-infused olive oil tofu sauce
Laryssa: "pears in a sleeping bag" caramelized onion & pear quesadillas
Jen: "a produce stand" poppyseed crackers topped with homemade blueberry cream cheese, spinach, cucumber and pear, spiced with paprika, coriander & powdered ginger

second piece: Jeff & Cody
pearness: Laryssa/Jen
creativity:Amanda/Jeff & Cody
presentation: Malloreigh
mouth feel: Malloreigh
overall favourite: Jeff & Cody

overall winner: Malloreigh/Jeff & Cody

Despite the small number of competitors, there were something like twenty people in attendance, many of whom seemed to be just happening by and showed little interest in the process of the cookoff outside of eating the food... it was hectic and loud, and difficult to keep people focused. We decided in the future to be more rigid about enforcing the 'please bring booze to share' rule for guests who are not competing, in order to keep the cosy and friendly atmosphere and food-focused group we all appreciate at the cookoffs.
Mal's entry
Malloreigh's winning entry
my pear cookoff entry
Jen's labia-esque entry

#14: crêpes - April 2010

Crêpe-off was held at Manitoba House (Amanda's) on April 11th. Also in attendance were Laryssa, Dan, Corinna, Rob, Jeff Z, and Angelique.

The winner was Dan with an 'eggs' Benedict & asparagus crêpe. Amanda's were roasted pear with orange & lemon juice, zest, and cardamom, topped with orange caramel sauce with cloves & poppy seeds. Apparently it was a lovely spring day and everyone had a nice afternoon relaxing on the porch with mimosas.

#13: avocado - March 2010

Avocado-off was held at Jeff Downer's on March 21st. It was a massive competition - thirteen competitors! Yet again I have no photo of the scoreboard so this is all from what I can recall.

Amanda: chilled avocado soup with a grenadine topping
Jeff Z: avocado and tomato pizza with avocado-cilantro cream topping
Jen: smoky bean chili with avocado sour cream
Dan: pasta with an avocado sauce
Corrina: handmade avocado noodle
Malloreigh: avocado and sundried tomato ravioli in a wonton wrapper (recipe here)
Kaylie: avocado pie with soy chorizo and root vegetables
Yaara: avocado sushi
Anna (I think that was her name?): avocado chocolate pudding

and a few more I can't remember, I know Jeff D made something but I forget what, and there was at least one more avocado soup!

Jeff's pizza (pictured below) was agreed by many to be the best pizza they had eaten in ages, but the winner overall was Malloreigh's beautiful and delicious handmade ravioli.
avocado pizza

Saturday, March 12, 2011

#12: curry - March 2010

Curry cookoff was held in early March at Dan's bachelor pad in Strathcona. I remember there being something like 11 entries, but I don't have a clear photo of the scoreboard so I can't be sure. A fuckton of rice was made and Jeff Z did not make an entry, but contributed a large pot of chai with almond milk. Some entries I recall:
Amanda's chana masala
Malloreigh's eggplant panang curry
Jen's swiss chard dahl (homage to the accidental chard pie)
Laryssa's coconut & red pepper tofu curry
Dan's tropical fruit & black bean curry

and I think Kaylie, Corrina, Jeff D, and Ryan also contributed.
Malloreigh, note-taker of the ages.

#11: soup & sandwich - January 2010

This was the first cookoff that was organised on facebook, and it was a fiasco. Dates were changed numerous times, people complained about not being able to make certain dates, and in trying to please everyone, Malloreigh gave up and passed the helm over to Laryssa. I'm writing about this despite not being in attendance in order to try and get the blog caught up, so if someone wants to post the details please do so. Apparently the food was of course good but the event was tainted with all the frustrations of trying to organise it. We agreed that in the future dates must be chosen at the end of the cookoff prior, and if a couple of people can't make it, them's the breaks.

No cookoff was held in February because of the Olympic shenanigans forcing people to be extra busy, or working graveyard shifts, or out of town; we instead opted to have two in March.