Saturday, March 31, 2012

#32: tarts - March 2012

This cookoff was held at Amanda & Laryssa's on the 7th of March, just over two weeks after the February one, so that Jeff Downer could attend while he visited from Boston. We were a little disappointed to find that there were only four competitors (the same amount as the very first cookoff), yet three times as many people in attendance. As a result, instead of being too full to move, we actually ordered Indian food after the competition because we were all still hungry.
We also decided that newcomers MUST compete on their second attendance, and that regulars should not sit out more than one cookoff in a row if it can be at avoided — in order to keep things interesting and varied, not to make people feel unwelcome or intimidated. The idea is for all of us to be trying new things, challenging ourselves, and improving our cooking skills.

Jen: "even artichokes have hearts" white bean, spinach and artichoke in a peppered spelt & coconut oil crust with a kalamata olive and gluten-free cracker garnish
white bean tarts with spinach & artichoke
Malloreigh: "flaming bag of dog poop" string-tied filo pockets filled with shiitake mushroom, red pepper, onion, and pepper leaves with a purée of red pepper, sunchoke & garlic
filo pockets
Amanda: "a caravan in Morocco" fig reduction & black tea-poached pears in a pastry crust with pumpkin seeds and garam masala
fig & pear masala tarts
Nina: "full moon nut job" garlic, pistachio, & cashew* in a spelt filo pastry with a sauce of raspberry, cranberry, peach, lemon, & ginger
garlic pistachio & cashew tarts
*Nina sacrificed votes here because she forgot about the nuts rule, and Amanda couldn't taste her entry.

Also in attendance were Jeff D, Jeff Z, Steph, Sarah, Kajin, Kevin, Katie (I think?), Kaylie (later), and perhaps someone else I'm forgetting.

seconds: Malloreigh
presentation: Malloreigh
creativity: Amanda/Nina
best crust: Jen/Amanda
overall favourite: Malloreigh

overall winner: Malloreigh

best name: (unscored category) Nina

Malloreigh's entry being plated
Amanda plating

Thursday, March 8, 2012

#31: Mexican food - February 2012

Mexican-off was held at das Blühaus on the 22nd of February. We took care to make everything gluten-free after accidentally poisoning Yaara with seitan at the last cookoff, but alas, she was stuck at home with a migraine the day of. Nevertheless we all stuffed ourselves to the point of bursting and drank until the wine ran out.

Jen: "gastronomical digest" tortilla soup featuring black bean, corn, zucchini, and red pepper; topped with pepperjack Daiya, lime juice, avocado, and homemade chili-garlic tortilla crisps
tortilla soup
Dan: "carnitas" corn tortilla filled with spicy pulled pork-style dried rubbed jackfruit with caramelized onions and mushrooms, topped with mango black bean salsa
pulled 'pork' tacos
Nina: "¡hot tamale sunrise!" tamale pie: bean, corn, and tomato base with a polenta topping and cilantro garnish (I apologize for the brutally bad focus on this photo)
tamale pie
Laryssa: "molé, muthafucka!" spicy chocolate tempeh, nuts, & seeds in a cheesy corn quesadilla topped with mango salsa and cilantro-lime sour cream
molé quesadillas
Kaylie: "a la vergäs" fig, oyster mushroom & candied spicy almond in a mini taco with pickled onion, crispy fried potato, and garlic cream sauce
fig & oyster mushroom mini taco
Malloreigh: "the ugly do-over" mango guacamole with fire-roasted tomato salsa and homemade tortilla chips
mango guacamole
Amanda: "ribbed sugary cocks" churros rolled in chili-cinnamon sugar and dipped in dark chocolate sauce
gluten-free churros

also in attendance were Jesse, Steph, and Sarah.

seconds: Amanda
creativity: Kaylie
authenticity: Jen
presentation: Kaylie
overall favourite: Dan

overall winner: Kaylie

best name: (unscored category) Amanda

Sunday, March 4, 2012

recipe: chipotle cider sausage & apple chili

SoCo adobo
Jen's chipotle cider chili with Southern Comfort cornbread

-1/2 each red & white onions, diced
-6 garlic cloves, minced
-4 vegan chorizo sausages (I used Field Roast brand, if you're making your own you'll need about a pound)
-5 or 6 sliced white mushrooms
-1 large or 2 small apples, cored, peeled, and diced
-2 cans dry cider (you could also use pilsner or ale if you prefer)
-28oz can peeled tomatoes with their juices
-1/2 each 19oz can of kidney and black beans
-1 to 2 tablespoons chilies in adobo sauce, chopped roughly
-chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste

yield: one big-ass pot of chili, enough to feed at least six hungry people

1. Cook the onion and garlic in oil for about 6 minutes. Remove sausage from casings and add it to the pan, breaking into small pieces with a wooden spoon (it will break up easier once it's warmer, so don't worry if you're having trouble at the start). Cook 4-5 minutes.

2. Add mushrooms, salt, pepper, chili powder, and chipotles. Stir for 1 minute, then add 1.5 cans of the cider along with the apples. Cook until the liquid has reduced by half. While this is happening, you can drink the remaining half-can of cider.

3. Add the tomatoes, breaking them into smaller pieces. Add the beans, cover partially and simmer at least 1/2 hour. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Garnish with cilantro and sour cream and serve with cornbread.

My Southern Comfort-infused cornbread was made using the Veganomicon skillet cornbread recipe, swapping out 1/3 cup of the milk for SoCo.