An 11-inch holly blog with a phoenix feather core
by Rebecca on 2008-08-02
Last night, we had a small Italian cook-off challenge with our friends Liz and Reed, our friend Sarah, and her friend Alicia. (Sarah and Liz knew each other at BYU, and Sarah is in our ward this summer, so we thought it would be fun to get everyone together.) The cook-off consisted of making an Italian appetizer, entree, and dessert. The challenge consisted of cooking with only limited ingredients.
Each of the participants received a list of ingredients to bring to the party. Our list had things like eggplant, red potatoes, arugula, berries, mascarpone cheese, flour, sugar, and lady fingers. The other guests brought chicken, Italian sausage, an array of fruits and vegetables, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, cocoa powder, garlic cloves, and cream.
When the party started, we divided into two teams and selected a head chef.
Then the teams had a few minutes to make up a menu and decide which ingredients they wanted to try to get. We put all the ingredients out on the table and took turns using a spinner for selecting ingredients. The spinner had three options: “choose your ingredient,” “swap an ingredient with the other team,” or “the other team chooses your ingredient.”
After we selected, swapped, traded, traded back, swapped again, and ended up with our final list, it was time to start cooking. We had 90 minutes to do whatever we needed to get our food ready. We were all using the oven, microwave, stove, counter space, knives, spoons, serving bowls, anything we needed to make our food. I thought that we might end up tussling over a few essentials (like a good chefʼs knife or a mixing bowl), but everything worked out just perfectly. (Thanks, Liz and Reed, for letting us take over your kitchen!)
Our team ended up making Italian bread slices with tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic, and olive oil for the appetizer; a stir-fry of sausage, bell peppers, and stewed tomatoes over a bed of Italian greens, more tomatoes, cheese, and a balsamic vinaigrette with a side of roasted potatoes for the entree; and roasted peaches with a honey almond ricotta topping with balsamic vinegar reduction drizzled over the top for dessert.
The other team made a breaded eggplant appetizer; bowtie pasta with garlic chicken, onions, and squash for the entree, and an out of this world tiramisu for their dessert. Everything was delicious, and we had so much food! I was really impressed at what everyone came up with using nothing but the ingredients at hand and a little bit of imagination. Thanks to all for a fun and delicious evening!