Cooking Contest Central

bobby dean

One of my favorite recipe contest moments. Bobby Dean sneaks in a hug at the Beringer Great Steak Cook-Off

Lots of people ask me about how to get involved in recipe contests. I always recommend my favorite go-to web site for recipe contest information. It’s Cooking Contest Central or better known as CCC. Some may balk at the yearly $25.00 subscription rate, but truthfully my time is much more valuable. Instead of searching the web for contests or visiting other sites that may be free I prefer this easy to use up to date source. It has all the information I need including contest news, rules and regulations plus a forum to chat with other like-minded cooking enthusiasts. Not only that, but CCC often runs exclusive recipe contests for its members. A real bonus because who doesn’t want to win $500.00 on occasion. The contests are judged by real food experts and don’t involve the dreaded voting. I recently won a contest sponsored on the site by Mann’s. The contest required I use their broccoli slaw and I think I stood out in the field because I used it in two ways. I hope you like the recipe as much as the judges did.img_3524

Stir-Fry Shitake & Broccoli Slaw Burgers

For the slaw

1 (12 oz.) bag Mann’s Broccoli Cole Slaw, divided

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1-tablespoon olive oil

1 (4 oz) package stemmed and sliced fresh shitake mushrooms

¼ cup sliced scallions

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

For the burger

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 ½ cups Mann’s Broccoli Cole Slaw (reserved from slaw recipe)

1 tablespoon mirin

1 pound (80% lean 20% fat) ground beef

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ cup sliced scallions

4 brioche buns, toasted

4 tablespoons hoisin sauce

4 crisp lettuce leaves

Reserve 1½ cups of broccoli slaw for burgers. Pour remaining slaw into a large bowl; toss with salt. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until mushrooms have released their liquid and are just golden brown. Add mushrooms and scallions to slaw mix in bowl. In small bowl, whisk soy sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, honey, fresh ginger and sesame oil until blended. Pour dressing over slaw mixture; toss well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and toss again. Set aside while preparing burgers. In same skillet used to cook mushrooms, heat 1-teaspoon olive oil. Add reserved 1 ½ cups slaw and cook stirring 5 minutes or until softened. Add mirin, stirring, just until liquid evaporates. Cool slightly. In large bowl, combine ground beef, salt, pepper, scallions and cooled slaw mix; blend well. Shape into 4 patties about ¾-inch thick. Grill, broil or pan-fry burgers 4 to 5 minutes per side or until fully cooked. Layer bottom half of toasted rolls with hoisin sauce, lettuce and a burger. Top with a generous amount of shitake slaw. Cover with bun tops and serve.

You can also check out the CCC Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/CookingContestCentral/

 

Blended Mushroom Meatball Sub

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A couple of weeks ago I shared some of the World Food Championship experience here. Today I want to share one of the recipes I prepared in the kitchen arena. This sandwich is a tribute to my home town of Kennett Square (AKA mushroom capital of the world) and my Italian roots. It’s a bit of a twist on a chicken parmigiana sandwich and filled with flavor thanks to Saucy Mama.

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Fontina Stuffed Chicken & Mushroom Meatball Sub with Crispy Cheese Frico

1 (28 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes

1 shallot, peeled, halved

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1-teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon sugar

parmesan cheese rind

4 ounces cremini mushrooms, very finely chopped

1-tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus additional for sautéing meatballs

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat, ground

2 links Italian sausage, casings removed

2 tablespoons parmesan garlic marinade

½ cup day old Italian bread crumbs

¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus ½ cup coarsely grated

1 egg

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

8 fresh basil leaves, chopped plus additional for garnish

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, plus for garnish

12 (1/2-inch) pieces fontina cheese

Italian seeded or plain rolls, sliced through top and opened like a boat

Pour tomatoes and juice into a medium saucepan. With hand, crush each tomato. Add shallot, butter, salt ,sugar and cheese rind; bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare meatballs. Brown mushrooms in olive oil until they have released their liquid; cool slightly. Gently, but thoroughly, combine mushrooms, chicken, sausage, marinade, breadcrumbs, ¼ cup finely grated parmesan, egg, pepper, basil and parsley. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out 12 leveled portions of meat mixture. Dampen hands with water and form each portion into a meatball pressing one piece of fontina into the center wrapping the meat around the cheese. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sear meatballs to a golden brown, turning as needed. Add browned meatballs to sauce. Cover and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes or until fully cooked. Heat oven 350F. Crisp rolls on sheet pan in oven for 6 to 8 minutes. Prepare parmesan cheese frico. Pour a heaping tablespoon of Parmesan onto a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet and lightly pat down. Repeat with the remaining cheese, spacing the spoonfuls about a ½-inch apart. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Cool.

To assemble sandwiches: fill rolls with meatballs. Sprinkle with herbs and crumbled parmesan frico. 

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Thanks to my fabulous friends for the memories in Orange Beach

Town Tour & Ancho Avocado Ice Cream

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Welcome to Kennett Square, PA known as the “Mushroom Capital of the World”. Yes, our portobellos, cremini, oysters, trumpets, maitakes and fresh buttons are awesome and probably what you are buying in your local grocery store. Come September thousands will visit our 31st annual Mushroom Festival and get a taste of mushroom farming at its best. I am excited to see which fabulous home cook wins the mushroom cook-off earning their way to compete at the World Food Championships.

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The rest of the town is pretty great, too, also quite famous for Longwood Gardens. Last night husband and I did a stroll celebrating the first Friday of the month. The stores stay open late. People are dancing in the street to live music and the award winning food is always abundant and delicious. From crepes to burgers to mushroom soup (of course) there are so many casual to high end restaurants to choose from.

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On this particular warm summer evening I just wanted ice cream from the best place on earth and husband, much to my surprise, was all in on the idea. If you ever come to Kennett Square you absolutely have to stop by family-owned La Michoacana ice cream shop where you can sample traditional Mexican flavors like corn sprinkled with cinnamon or my favorite avocado with chile. Trust me! The best! Come visit!

LaM

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Back home I wondered if I could make a no-churn version of avocado ice cream. You all know I am obsessed with the endless flavors of no-churn. Have you tried the Margarita or Almond Joy, yet? They are so simple, creamy and scoop-worthy. With only a few ingredients needed you are on your way to frozen flavor town.

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Whatever flavor you choose to experiment with don’t forget to taste as you go. For the avocado I added extra lime juice and then had the epiphany to toss the chile powder right into the mix. Yes, that is my fingerprint you see. Please don’t do that. Use a 1 time tasting spoon to taste as you go. It’s cleaner.

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And one more tip: place your bowl and beaters in the freezer for a few minutes before whipping the cream. Cream whips up better when it is icy cold.

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No Churn Ancho Avocado Ice Cream

1 (14 oz) can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk

¼ cup fresh lime juice

2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, chopped

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Ancho Chile Powder

2 cups heavy cream

In a blender, combine condensed milk, lime juice, avocado, salt and chile powder; process until completely smooth. Beat cream to just stiff peaks; fold into avocado puree. Pour into freezer-safe containers. Freeze for at least 6 hours. Scoop and serve with an extra sprinkle of chile or some fresh seasonal fruit. Makes about 1 ½ quarts.

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Overall my version of avocado ice cream is quite good with a rich creamy texture. Next time I might bump up the flavor with a touch more salt and citrus. Happy National Ice Cream Month & Independence Day. Celebrate your freedom and whatever is happening in your town.

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