Our family was lucky enough to be in town this year for my dad's annual New Year's Day Food Competition! Some years he's done an "Iron Chef" type of competion, but this year it was more like the show "Chopped" on the Food Network. There were 3 teams. Each team was given a box with the same 6 ingredients and we had to make 2 dishes in 1 hour utilizing all the ingredients in some fashion. The ingredients were:
- chicken breasts
- penne pasta
- butternut squash
I was cooking away when my little nephew came into the house from the deck looking scared and came up to me saying, "Um! Spencer put the glass bowl on the fire and it broke!" I just smiled and reassured him that it was okay. It reminded me of the stories I was told of my mother when she was a newlywed and was trying to cook dinner for my dad one night using a glass bowl they got for their wedding. She put it on the stove and began to cook when suddenly it exploded. She was frightened, but assumed it must've been a cheap-piece-of-junk glass bowl, so she just got another of their glass bowls out and started over again on the stovetop. Yup, that one exploded too. She was running out of glass bowls, but she wasn't a quitter, so she continued starting over with a glass bowl on the stove until there were no bowls left. After each explosion, my dad, a college student, who was trying to study in the other room would call out in concern, "Is everything okay? Do you need help in there, hun?" But my mom insisted that he keep studying and she was fine and would make dinner. I love that she exploded all their wedding gift glass bowls in an act of service and love.
Back to the competition, Spencer came in a few minutes later and told us that my curious little nephew had gone outside where my dad and Spencer were busy cooking. He found an empty purple glass bowl, filled it with snow and placed it on the open flame on the camp chef stove. The bowl exploded. No one was hurt and the scared little boy ran back into the house. So, it wasn't Spencer who exploded the glass bowl afterall.
Our team presented a penne pasta salad with fried ham bits, avocado slices, and roasted butternut squash, tossed together with cheese fantastico dressing, olives, and parmesan cheese. I wondered if we may have had too many flavors going on in this dish, but it actually tasted great. And the carrot curls were cute on top. To my surprise this dish won the best plating award.
Spencer made a delicious chicken dish with apple and berry gastrique on a bed of seasoned butternut squash cubes. The chicken was full of flavor and I love that Spencer brought us something with a really technical name, something I assume he learned in his culinary program. I definitely liked his gastrique and thought it to be the most unique and tastiest sauce.
Micah's team rolled their chicken around a generous piece of ham, then breaded and baked it. They made a bed of pureed the marsala squash and penne with herbs. I have never had a marsala dish that I've liked, but this one changed my mind about marsala. Micah taught me that if it's cooked right it takes on a sweet flavor and it can be awesome! This dish won my vote for best flavor.
|Getting ready to vote.|
|Amara showing off her "number practice."|
|Malia showing off her "number practice."|
|There's Bill, Mandy's dad, being a great grandpa.|
|Rexton can judge next year.|
|This picture is blurry, but I was trying to get the 3 generations in the same photo.|