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

Sunday, August 2, 2015

#64: diner food - January 2015

Our diner cookoff was held at Bronwen's Mount Pleasant apartment on the 14th of January. Wine was poured and much wintery comfort food was eaten.

bourbon for breakfast
Laryssa: "bourbon for breakfast" cheesy tofu scram with slow cooked bourbon baked beans, cauliflower tater tots, and maple bourbon ketchup
baked mac
Liang: "I dunno, mac & cheese?" macaroni in a cheesy sauce of cashew, potato, carrot, & coconut milk, baked topped with breadcrumbs
Ash: "L is for loser" coconut bacon & tomato sandwich with avocado mayo on homemade bread
tempeh reuben
Malloreigh: "reuben cube" tempeh corned 'beef' with sauerkraut & Russian dressing on rye bread
rhymes with orange
Jen: "rhymes with orange" macaroni in a cheesy roasted red pepper & herb sauce, topped with crispy fried onions and sriracha
grilled cheese, man
Bronwen: "it's like, grilled cheese, man" tomato grilled cheese sandwich with fries and homemade ketchup
mozzarella sticks
LJ: "the secret ingredient is not cheese" breaded mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce
strawberry milkshake
Allie: "lait shake fraise" strawberry milkshake

LJ competed (and attended!) for the first time. All attendees were competitors.

seconds: Liang
presentation: Jen
creativity: Laryssa
most authentic: Bronwen
perceived effort: Ash
overall favourite: Ash

overall winner: Ash

best name: (unscored category) Laryssa/Malloreigh/Allie

Saturday, July 11, 2015

#63: red & green (second edition) - December 2014

Our holiday cookoff was a second try at red & green food, held at Ravenclaw House (Mal & Allie's) on the 15th of December. The holiday mood was strong; Christmas cards everywhere and rum & nog in hand.

peas porridge hot
Jen: "peas porridge hot" split pea soup with green peas, roasted red peppers, & roasted garlic
fresh pasta
Malloreigh: "duct tape for everything" homemade ravioli with spinach, tofu ricotta, & mushroom; served with pesto and a caper & sun-dried tomato sauce
lemon tree
Allie: "red lemon, green lemon" lemon cookies with red and green sugar

Also in attendance was Ash, although we kind of forced them to come over and be our tiebreaker. Bronwen also stopped by for a short time.

seconds: Jen/Allie
presentation: Malloreigh
creativity: Malloreigh
colour: Allie
perceived effort: Malloreigh
overall favourite: Jen
overall winner: Malloreigh

best name: (unscored category) Malloreigh



Saturday, April 11, 2015

#62: dumplings - November 2014

The dumpling cookoff was held at the Adult Dream Home (Ash & Maddie's) on the 17th of November. It was small enough that we were all able to sit at the dining table, like a dinner party.

buddha dumplings
Liang: "buddha dumplings" filled with white & wood ear mushrooms, tofu, seaweed, & chives; served with vinegar-soy sauce (not pictured)
dill stew
Allie H: "morning dumplings" rosemary drop dumplings in a dill & potato stew
JJ's dumplings
Maddie G: "JJ's dumplings" filled with tofu & dill; served with chili oil, soy sauce, & a pickled prune
bite-size pies
Ash: "apple cheeks" pastry rolls filled with apple & smoked tofu; served with a spiced cashew cream sauce

Maddie competed for the first time. Also in attendance were Jen, and Allie's brother Spencer (I think that's his name).


seconds: Liang
presentation: Maddie
creativity: Ash
dumpling-ness: Allie
perceived effort: Maddie
overall favourite: Ash

overall winner: Maddie

best name: (unscored category) Ash

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

#61: Thanksgiving - October 2014

Our Thanksgiving cookoff was held on the 23rd of October at Blühaus. This was a rather unique cookoff for two reasons: first, dishes were assigned via random draw, and second, the food was eaten together instead of being served individually. We chose the most traditional dishes for the people we were certain would attend, and last minute competitors were given a choice of a few other things that are often seen at Thanksgiving dinners (this is how we ended up with two kinds of yams).

Allie S: protein centerpiece– rosemary rubbed seitan with bourbon caramelized shallots, roasted pears, and parsnips
potato balls
Liang: potatoes– potato & spinach balls with green onion
Allie H: stuffing– walnut bread with carrots, celery, roasted pumpkin seesds, & cranberries
brussels sprouts
Malloreigh: brussels sprouts– roasted sprouts with pomegranate molasses, mint, and pomegranate seeds
mushroom gravy
cranberry sauce
Jen: sauces– mushroom gravy with rosemary & sage; cranberry blood orange fig sauce
pumpkin apple pie
pie & ice cream
Ash: pie– pumpkin apple pie with ice cream and pumpkin seed brittle
candied yams
Jeff: yams– candied yams with cinnamon pecan butter
Chris: terrine– roasted yams, onions, & apples with tarragon mustard

We opted to leave out the presentation and perceived effort categories because some dishes by default have an advantage or disadvantage.
seconds: Allie S/Allie H/Chris
compatibility: Jen
creativity: Ash
best use of theme: Allie H/Malloreigh
overall favourite: Chris

overall winner: Chris


Sunday, January 4, 2015

#60: soup - September 2014

Our soup cookoff was held at Ravenclaw House (Mal & Allie's) on the 17th of September. We had several newcomers, which was welcome! The photos are iphone-quality, unfortunately, because I forgot my camera.

cream of mushroom
Allie: "bowling for soup" cashew cream of mushroom with rosemary & thyme
heart and soul
Liang: "heart and soul" curried coconut cream & cauliflower with red pepper and lime
pho the first
Malloreigh: "faux" homemade 'beef' broth with noodles, shredded carrot & daikon, fried tofu, bean sprouts, lime, & basil
Ash: "boysenborscht" homegrown beets & beet greens with capers and a horseradish-dill sour cream
pho the second
Angelique: "pho shizzle, miso horny for your noodle soup" rice noodles in miso broth with enoki mushrooms, anise, cinnamon, & lime
hot and sour
Jen: "Wu-Tang dynasty" hot & sour broth with tofu, wood ear mushrooms, cabbage, & crispy chow mein noodles
pho the third
Michelle: "yoga soup" noodles in broth with fried tofu, broccoli, sesame oil & seeds, and rice cake

Michelle competed for the first time. Also in attendance were her partner Jill, Jeff Z, Danger Mike, Allie S, and Maddie G.


seconds: Allie
presentation: Malloreigh/Angelique
creativity: Angelique
texture/mouthfeel: Allie
perceived effort: Ash
overall favourite: Allie

overall winner: Allie

best name: (unscored category) Allie