Wednesday, December 26, 2012

#40: French food - November 2012

French cookoff was held at Blühaus on the 15th of November. It was somewhat sparsely attended; perhaps people were intimidated by the prospect of French cooking? Regardless, there were some delicious dishes and a respectable amount of wine.

Sarah: "tasses de confort" French onion soup with faux beef broth, caramelized onions, black pepper, and melted mozza
French onion soup
Jeff*: "Remy's ratatouille" roasted aubergine, zucchini, tomato, and yellow squash with bell peppers, in a mushroom & port demi-glace
Remy's ratatouille
Chris: "tarte d'Alsace deconstruit entre breton galette avec duxelle aux champaignons, sur salade rougette avec herbes et moutarde" cheesy tarragon mushrooms with brandied thyme fried onions, topped with a buckwheat crêpe; on a bed of arugula salad in mustard dressing
tarte d'Alsace deconstruit
Malloreigh: "speak Niçard to me, baby" chickpea socca with caramelized onions, dulce pissalat (anchovy-like salty sauce), roasted garlic, and green olives
Niçoise pissaladière
Hayley: "the crêpes popped Suzette's cherry" spelt crêpes with oranges and brandy-cherry sauce, with a homemade brandied cherry garnish
crèpes Suzette
Jen: "poire some sugar on me" cognac-caramelized pears with Dauphinoise-style bittersweet chocolate & cognac truffles
poire some sugar on me

*Jeff's was an absentee entry; he had to work but still wanted to compete.
Also in attendance were Kristina, Steph, and Bronwen.

seconds: Jeff
presentation: Jeff/Chris
le plus Français: Malloreigh
creativity: Chris/Malloreigh
overall favourite: Sarah

overall winner: Chris

best name: (unscored category) Jen

Thursday, November 22, 2012

#39: squash (second edition) - October 2012

Squash-off the second was held at Flatland on the 25th of October. It was very well-attended, with three first-time competitors and loads of glorious fall food.

chocolate volcano
Hayley: "chocolate volcano" chocolate custard cake with an unknown squash (possibly kombucha based on her description) & chai spices, with coconut-pumpkin seed crumble and cranberry-brandy reduction
curried squash pizza
Jen: "New Dehli vice" butternut squash & red pepper masala curry cooked with pumpkin wine, on a gluten-free cauliflower crust, and topped with raita, cucumbers, & cilantro
figs in a blanket
Amanda: "conspiracy theory" red kuri squash, balsamic fig, & green apple in a gluten-free pastry, with balsamic reduction
craft dinner
Malloreigh "craft dinner" pasta shells in a cheesy butternut squash sauce with pumpkin ketchup
biscuits 'n' gravy
Yaara: "dip my biscuits" butternut squash, green onion, & roasted garlic biscuits with coconut gravy and kalonji seeds
spaghetti squash surprise
Kelsey: "Surrey special spaghetti squash surprise" spaghetti squash in tahini sauce with spinach, tomatoes, and garlic
pumpkin scones
Sarah: "ermagherd, permpkhin skerhns!" butternut squash & pumpkin scones with a cardamom-spiced coconut whipped cream
foncé gâteau
Grey: "foncé gâteau rouge de la pasion" chocolate zucchini cake with a raspberry chili coulis, and grape garnish
butternut squash ice cream
Brennan: "big tushy bushy winter" butternut squash soy ice cream with nutmeg & clove, topped with pepitas
autumn gnocchi
Angelique: "autumn gnocchi" butternut squash gnocchi with a cranberry-raisin relish, topped with white chocolate pumpkin sauce

Also in attendance were Jeff Z, Steph, Allie, a boy who came with Kelsey (name forgotten, I should really write this stuff down), and Liang (though she wasn't there long enough to vote). Kelsey, Grey, and Brennan all competed for the first time.

seconds: Malloreigh/Yaara
presentation: Amanda
squashiness: Kelsey
creativity: Jen/Amanda
overall favourite: Malloreigh/Grey

overall winner: Malloreigh

best name: (unscored category) Sarah

Friday, October 26, 2012

#38: salad (second edition) - September 2012

A v.2.0 of salad-off was held on September 22nd, at Yaara's place in Strathcona. It was warm and lovely out, so we had the front door open most of the evening, enjoying the air & light.

apples & greens
Amanda: "cocks orange pippin salad" purslane, pea & fava tips, apple (Cox's Orange Pippin variety), mizuna, & raisins in a lemon-caraway dressing
quinoa & campari tomatoes
Jen: "you say tomato, I say fuck you" quinoa & tomato salad with peaches, kalamata olives, homegrown lettuces, almonds, and parsley, in a cabernet vinegar and mustard seed dressing
roasted beets & squash
Laryssa: "fall is beeting down on us" kale, basil, roasted beets & squash, pear, and toasted almonds, with a pickle brine & roasted garlic vinaigrette
chocolate rain
Yaara: "sonic death monkey" spinach, avocado, fried tofu, roasted red pepper, & toasted coconut in a chocolate-lime dressing
the mighty Caesar
Hayley: "fake bacon, bitches" romaine lettuce, baby cucumber, white onion, wasabi rice cracker 'croutons', and facon bits, in an almond cream caesar dressing with capers

Hayley competed for the first time. Also in attendance were Angelique and a friend of Yaara's named Grey.

seconds: Yaara
presentation: Jen
best combo: Yaara
creativity: Yaara
overall: Laryssa

overall winner: Yaara

best name: (unscored category) Amanda/Laryssa/Yaara


Laryssa, smoking

Yaara, laughing

Saturday, September 15, 2012

#37: greens - August 2012

Greens-off was held at Blühaus on the 16th of August. Unfortunately, it was again sparsely attended, with a mere three competitors, but at least this time there were enough others present that we could vote on the entries. We sat out in the backyard and enjoyed the summer evening with beer and candlelight after the sunset.

fruits & greens soft serve
Yaara: "the amused bush" kale, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, banana, & mango raw ice cream with sunflower butter and basil
asparagus-pistachio soup
Jen: "the cussed soup" asparagus, basil, kale & pistachio soup garnished with paprika and basil chiffonade
Kelis's envy
Sarah: "Kelis's envy" almond milk, banana, kale, & rosewater shake with cinnamon & cardamom

Also in attendance were Nina, Adam, and Yaara's friend (or possibly man-friend?) Josh.

seconds: Jen
presentation: Yaara
creativity: Yaara
greensiness: Jen/Sarah
overall favourite: Jen

overall winner: Jen

best name: (unscored category) Sarah

Saturday, August 18, 2012

#36: picnic - July 2012

Picnic cookoff was held on the 22nd of July at McLean Park in Strathcona. Unfortunately, almost no one showed up... only three people! We didn't take a hiatus last year during the summer, as we had done in previous years, and it worked out fine and so we decided to keep them going again this summer because people seemed pretty excited, but apparently not like we thought.
We couldn't vote with so few, but we kept a record of the entries anyway.

Amanda: "Amanda + Megan sexy sandwich" sliced strawberries, pineapple mint, and homemade strawberry jam between cornbread jalapeño pancakes
cornbread jam sandwich
Yaara: "ultra-thin for her pleasure" rice wraps filled with avocado, mango, fried tofu, lettuce, basil, & green onion, served with a spicy strawberry salsa
rice wraps & salsa
Jen: "but it's not oatmeal!" oat cookies made with homemade almond butter, a blueberry jam centre, and fresh sage
sandwich cookies

We shared our food with a lady who came by doing a survey about the neighbourhood and she declared us all winners.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

#35: brunch - June 2012

It had been almost two years since the last breakfast-themed cookoff (tofu scram), so we went for an all-round brunch theme. It was held at Tim's place in Mount Pleasant on the 24th of June, and was not as well-attended as most cookoffs; it seems a lot of people were working or out of town. The weather was lovely, and after weeks of rain, we gladly sat on the balcony.

roasted tomato polenta benny
Jen: "heirloom fungi" mushroom & herb polenta benny with fried tofu, roasted heirloom tomatoes, and a coconut milk garlic sauce
pesto cornbread benny
Yaara: "circles are for squares" cornbread benny with pesto, marinated tofu, and roasted red pepper, topped with coconut sauce & green onion
Indian brunch
Malloreigh: "Bangalore, noon" Indian-style brunch of saag paratha (spinach-filled pancake), masala potatoes with cilantro, and a coconut-chili chutney
sausage benny
Laryssa: "sausagefest redux" cornbread biscuits with peach-chipotle mayo, seitan sausage, roasted cherry tomato, and swiss chard
breakfast stew
Veronica (& Fred): "gigantic Greek debt" rosemary bread topped with a tomato stew of giant Greek beans, veggies, lemon, & dill
eat your salad
Tim: "eat your salad" a skewer of smoked tofu, pear, orange pepper, & ginger with a maple-plum sauce

Also in attendance was Kathleen, an out-of-town friend of Malloreigh's.

seconds: Jen
presentation: Yaara/Laryssa/Tim
creativity: Tim
brunchiness (most evocative of that special 'brunch' feeling): Jen
overall favourite: Jen

overall winner: Jen

best name: (unscored category) Veronica

melon sangria

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

#34: appetizers & cocktails (second edition) - May 2012

We all decided we'd had such a good time at the first appetizer & 1oz drink-off that we hosted a second one, on the 28th of May at Malloreigh's lovely new residence in Mt Pleasant. We also decided to try and start a little earlier (so that we could maybe finish eating before 11pm), and thus got to enjoy a bit of glorious sunlight at the start of our evening. We all got nicely sauced, largely due to the fact that most people didn't seem to realise that the shot glass held 2oz rather than the 1oz we had agreed on.

homemade yam & fig cracker
Amanda: "amber morning" homemade yam & fig cracker filled with basil-garlic aioli and a fresh basil leaf. The drink is mandarin tea with lemon and Ballantyne's scotch.
tempeh & asian pear salad
Jen: "Pearoshima" tempeh & asian pear salad with chives & green peas in a mustard & homemade mayo dressing, on a bed of pea shoots. The drink is a sake bomb with Sir Perry cider.
sticky rice risotto balls
Malloreigh: "soju or truth" sticky rice risotto balls with shiitake mushrooms and a crust of panko crumbs, served with a sesame citrus sauce. The drink is soju, sake, and ginger purée with orange rind. (recipe here)
Turkish lentil balls
Sarah: "boozin' on the Bosphorus" Turkish-style spicy lentil-brown rice kebabs with a mint yogurt sauce, homemade feta, and a melon slice. The drink is raki (Turkish anise liqueur) with pomegranate juice & bitters.
shitfaced picnic
Yaara: "shitfaced picnic" fried tofu sandwich with caramelized onions & mushrooms on kamut bread, garnished with a green olive. The drink is gin and limonata.
asparagus wonton
Bronwen: "for lemon's sake" asparagus wonton with chives, homemade kimchi, and a lemon-ginger garlic soy dipping sauce. The drink is a yuzu sake & Hendrick's gin martini with lemon.
drunk food
Michael: "radler senfational brezel" mustard, vegenaise, soy & sriracha dip with pretzels. The drink is pilsner and carbonated lemonade.*
flaming fruit
Gabi: coconut milk grilled mango and pineapple with coconut milk ice cream and (seen in below photo) flambé rum. The drink is a Coke float with coconut ice cream.
flaming fruit

Gabi and Michael both competed for the first time. Also in attendance were Tim, Jo (sp? a friend of Amanda's), and Kaylie.
* Michael didn't expect his entry to be taken seriously because he used store-bought pretzels, but he did happen to serve up at a time when everyone was drunk and craving salty snacks. He also told us a very nice bit of history about German bicyclists and beer and pretzels.

seconds: Amanda
presentation: Gabi
creativity: Malloreigh
best appetizer: Amanda/Malloreigh
best drink: Sarah
best pairing: Sarah

overall winner: Amanda/Malloreigh

best name: (unscored category) Jen

Friday, May 11, 2012

#33: pizza (second edition) - April 2012

Our first-ever redo of a cookoff theme was held at Blühaus on the 21st of April. Apparently everyone was eager to heed the new rules, because we had a whopping 11 entries! Jeff made a 'house crust' for people who didn't feel comfortable making their own, and all crusts were wheat-free (most were spelt unless otherwise specified). It was a fairly warm day with a promising bit of sunlight, and everyone was quite happy to smoke outside and drink plentiful amounts of beer. We also decided to do portraits of competitors with their food, as with the pie-off (Yaara and Tim were the only odd ones out who did not make pan pizza).

pesto calzone
Yaara: "funny things with black sesame" calzone filled with caramelized onions, fried tofu, and pine nuts, topped with black sesame & mozza and served on a bed of spinach with a tomato-coconut dipping sauce
chili pizza
Steph: "Fernando" chili with kidney beans, mushrooms, and chipotle sausage, with cheddar on top and a garlic-chive sour cream dip
salad pizza
Amanda: "I fucked your mom last night" tomato-mango-cilantro sauce and chili-spiced mushrooms topped with a salsa of red onion, roma tomato, grape, radish, and cilantro
spicy banana pizza
Dan: "I need a dope beat" avocado-banana-chile sauce with red peppers, caramelized onion, tomato, and cheddar
tropical pizza
Laryssa: "sausage fest" smoky pineapple sauce topped with soy chorizo, pineapple, thai chili, basil, & caramelized onion; served with a creamy garlic dipping sauce
BLT pizza
Jen: "the baconator" garlic mayo sauce topped with homemade coconut bacon, tomato, cracked pepper, and arugula
home is wherever I'm with you
Jeff: "pizza names are for chumps" gala apple, homemade cheese, spicy maple-candied pecans, and arugula tossed with lemon oil
plantain pizzas
Tim: "big booty banana cake" panacón (deep-fried green plantain) crust with a white bean mushroom sauce, topped with mango, tomato, garlic, and red onion
korma pizza
Sarah: "korma chameleon" garlic buttered crust with korma sauce, green peppers, pineapple, spinach, and mozza
deluxe pizza
Jamie (aka Cat Stache): "cat kibble" rosemary-infused crust with tri-colour peppers, sun-dried tomato, fried onion, asparagus, portobello mushroom, and cheddar
pesto artichoke pizza
Nina: "the moment of awakening" sorghum-tapioca flour crust with rosemary, topped with pesto, red pepper, artichoke, portobello mushroom, and homemade cheese

Steph and Jamie both competed for the first time. Also in attendance were Malloreigh, Amanda's friend from work, and a friend of Dan's whose name I can't remember.

seconds: Yaara
creativity: Tim
presentation: Yaara
best sauce: Sarah
best crust: Tim
overall favourite: Jen

overall winner: Jen

best name: (unscored category) Tim

just for good measure, a close up of the winning entry:
BLT pizza close-up