Monthly Archives: December 2004

The Winner!

Paper Chef Winner icon Dec 2004

We have a winner! The Paper Chef for December 2004 has been crowned – and it is Viv of Seattle Bon Vivant. Alberto of Il Forno and eGullet was the judge this time around. Thank you!

Let’s have a recap.

The entrants were:

Carolyn Smith-Kizer at 18thC Cuisine with Squash in Almond Crust with Spicy Applesauce

I personally thought that this was a superb-sounding dessert and will try to make it someday.

Sam Beach of Becks & Posh with Spiced Marzipan Marmalade Tartlets

Sam gets a special award for making her entry with her first ever blog post of a recipe she made up – and a wonderful one it is too!

Viv of Seattle Bon Vivant with Curried Chicken and Squash Soup with Meyer Lemon and Ginger

I liked this entry stylistically because it was a little more of a challenge to go with the savory option and use the green leaf cilantro rather than coriander as the seed form of cilantro.

Just to remind you, here was the challenge:

Use the following four ingredients, plus any others you want to make something over a weekend and post about it.

1)Cilantro (coriander to you Europeans – AND to allow variety we will allow the seed form – which is coriander to everyone – and that means we can go sweet or savory with this event)

2)Ginger (any form)

3)Almonds (any form)

4)Winter squash (any kind) this is the seasonal ingredient. I’m thinking butternut, acorn, pumpkin, kabocha, etc.

Viv gets to use the icon at the top of the post on her site however she wants and once it is published she will get a copy of the forthcoming “Digital Dish, five seasons of the best of food blogs,” (tentative title) from Press For Change Publishing.

Results announced Friday!

OK, I know you all can’t wait and I DO have the results of the Paper Chef competition, but I don’t have the time to write it up properly yet. Job interview today, real work yesterday and tomorrow, but somehow I will get it up here sometime tomorrow. So bear with me, please.

I did learn that an extended deadline seems to work a little better for some potential participants – they actually want to go out to restaurants and clubs and stuff on the weekend!? Who wants to do THAT when they could be inside reading cookbooks in poor light and burning things in the kitchen?

Paper Chef Entries

Well, we didn’t get a big turnout, but what a classy one!

There were only three entries for the inaugral Paper Chef event, but what entries they were! Just to remind you, here was the challenge:

Use the following four ingredients, plus any others you want to make something over a weekend and post about it.

1)Cilantro (coriander to you Europeans – AND to allow variety we will allow the seed form – which is coriander to everyone – and that means we can go sweet or savory with this event)

2)Ginger (any form)

3)Almonds (any form)

4)Winter squash (any kind) this is the seasonal ingredient. I’m thinking butternut, acorn, pumpkin, kabocha, etc.

Alberto over at Il Forno is to judge and once he makes his selection I will announce the winner.

Here are the entrants:

Carolyn Smith-Kizer at 18thC Cuisine with Squash in Almond Crust with Spicy Applesauce

Sam Beach of Becks & Posh with Spiced Marzipan Marmalade Tartlets

[UPDATE] Viv informs me that she is the Seattle Bon Vivant (which explains the name at least a little – and possibly her personality too??) with Curried Chicken and Squash Soup with Meyer Lemon and Ginger

Two desserts and a savory soup – yum!!!

Reprieve (until tomorrow)

For those who didn’t carefully check the previous postings, the deadline for Paper Chef has officially been extended until tomorrow at Noon (and for all future Paper Chef events the deadline will also be the Monday at Noon). We don’t have all that many entries as yet but the ones we have are doozies.

Pour encourager les autres

Well, we’ve got a few entries that have come in for the Paper Chef. I am going to post one as well even though I am NOT allowed to win, I would feel sorely done by if I couldn’t take part. Of course, it isn’t quite the pure experience it is for everyone else since I am the one picking the secret fourth ingredient and I know the list from which the three other ingredients get randomly selected…but, I still want to do it. So, here is a recipe for a sweet/hot/spicy side dish to go with indian/caribbean/african food.

This was inspired by making an indian meal for friends, the happy conjunction of the Paper Chef, and my love for Tarka Dahl. Tarka Dahl is one of the simplest and most profound indian dahl’s or lentil puree dishes. The way I make it, following the precepts of Madhur Jaffrey, is to make a thick lentil soup/puree of red lentils by cleaning them thoroughly, simmering them for 50 minutes with water, turmeric and salt. By then they really don’t need any pureeing. Then make a “tarka.” This is a spice and oil flavoring made by cooking very flavorful spices in hot oil and then adding the whole lot to the lentils and stirring it in a few minutes before serving. We usually use some combination of garlic, ginger, cumin seed, coriander seed and chillies.

So I decided to make a butternut squash puree with a tarka. Here it is…

Squash “Tarka”

One large butternut squash

Two large onions

3 cups stock

1 tsp salt

8 tbsps vegetable oil

piece of fresh ginger (2 by one by one inches)

2 tbsps lemon juice

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp red chilli flakes

1/2 cup toasted almond slivers

Carefully peel one very large butternut squash. I do this over a cutting board with a big chef knife by slicing strips of peel away from the squash. Then halve and remove the seeds and cut into half inch cubes.

I took a large, heavy pot and put oil in on medium heat and then added the squash. While it cooked I peeled and diced two large onions and added them and cooked the squash and onions stirring frequently for about fifteen minutes. Add the salt at this point, too. Then I added three cups of stock (I used chicken but vegetable would probably be a bit ‘cleaner’). I stirred, turned it way down low and left it to cook. After another thirty minutes it was pulpy and I mashed up any lumpy bits with a spoon. I added two tablespoons of lemon juice at this point but I think it may have been unnecessary. Meanwhile I took a piece of fresh ginger about two inches by one inch and peeled it and minced it up as fine as possible.

Then I made the tarka. I took a heavy cast iron frying pan and added four tablespoons of safflower oil. Then I heated it very high and added a tablespoon of coriander seeds, half a teaspoon of chilli flakes and the ginger and cooked until the seeds were popping and the ginger browned. Immediately add all the oil and spices to the squash, stir thoroughly. Sprinkle all over with toasted almond slivers (I just bought these).

It was described as really unusual and very good.

Paper Chef Deadline Update

Due to popular demand (OK fervent begging by one person) the deadline for Paper Chef to post a recipe is extended to Monday PST at Noon.

The first ever Paper Chef Event – December 2004!

The final ingredients are:

1)Cilantro (coriander to you Europeans – AND to allow variety we will allow the seed form – which is coriander to everyone – and that means we can go sweet or savory with this event)

2)Ginger (any form)

3)Almonds (any form)

4)Winter squash (any kind) this is the seasonal ingredient. I’m thinking butternut, acorn, pumpkin, kabocha, etc.

Start as soon as you read this – and email a link to your entry about what you cooked before Sunday Noon PST.

Winner gets to put up the prestigious Paper Chef Winner icon (which will be supplied) and also some kind of prize. In this case it will be a free copy of “Digital Dish” – a compilation of the best food blog writing of the past year or so. The book will be published by Press For Change Publishing, the publishing company I am starting. You will start to se more details about the book online in the next month or so. The winner will have to wait until January to receive their prize, however.

Semi-Official Paper Chef Rules

On the first Friday of every month at some point prior to Noon PST, I will announce a list of four ingredients that must be used, along with any other ingredients you choose, to make a dish and then write about it by Noon PST on Sunday, 48 hours later. An impartial guest judge will pick the best sounding recipe to them and the winner will be awarded the “Paper Chef” title for that month along with a meaningless prize of no intrinsic value that I will donate. Anyone who wants to is welcome to submit ingredient ideas and all suitable ones will go onto a list. Three of the ingredients will be randomly picked from the list and the fourth will be seasonal or trendy or in the news in some way. If the list of four is totally unsuitable (maraschino cherries, english mustard, liver and suet) then we will redraw randomly until it is conceivable to cook with all four ingredients.

Ingredient suggestions go to the Paper Chef forum on Is My Blog Burning up to midnight the day before the event. Ingredients that are NOT selected will be rolled over for a month and then removed. Anyone can suggest one ingredient – not more.

No sign up is necessary to take part. Just send an email to [email protected] before Noon PST on the Sunday to point to your entry.

Four hours to go….

In four hours (or a little less) I will post the official ingredient list for the first ever Paper Chef event!

See previous posts for semi-official rules (subject to change as the breeze blows).

Ginger, almonds, chicken, anchovies, cinnamon, savoy cabbage, cilantro, oranges

What do all these have in common?

They are the nominated ingredients for the Paper Chef challenge to be held this coming weekend starting at Noon PST on Friday. Right here at Tomatilla! is where the final list of four ingredients will be published and you will have until Noon Sunday PST to cook something using the four ingredients and anything else you choose and then post a recipe and entry to your blog. (Or you can send it to me and I’ll post it here if you have no blog – you can get your own blog at Blogger)

Our totally impartial judge – in this case the world famous Alberto of Il Forno and eGullet – will pick a winner – the recipe he most likes – sometime Monday and the winner will be announced here Tuesday.

Anyone who wants can nominate ingredients (real ones please) by going to the official food blog event center of Is My Blog Burning? Just join and look for the Paper Chef forum. Alternatively, leave a comment here or send me an email.

More official rules can be found at the announcement of the Paper Chef event.

Come join us and have some fun cooking this weekend!