Paper Chef #25 Kickoff

It looks like we are going to hold the Paper Chef in the same general time period as in the past but stretch it a bit. That means that the official start of Paper Chef 25 will be Wednesday September 5th when I will reveal the three random ingredients. Then on Friday the 7th I will reveal the fourth ‘special’ ingredient or theme and from then on you will have until Noon PST the following Wednesday (the 12th) to cook your dish using the four required ingredients and post to your blog about it. All winners will now get – eventually – a copy of Digital Dish (since I only have about 2000 left over).

Anyway – for those in the know, the Paper Chef experience starts with ingredient nomination – we need a list of ingredients from which to randomly select our special three. Usually we have a bunch to carry over but I think it is time to start fresh since all the ingredients from last time are six months old at this point!

Also, normally everyone only gets to nominate one ingredient, but in order to build up a good selection, you all should nominate TWO ingredients. I will start with Chile peppers and Zucchini (courgettes).

I’m also going to do a little Paper Chef revue to remind you all what all the fuss is about.
But first, the officially revised ‘more like guidelines…‘ of Paper Chef.

The Rules

Absolutely only the fun of it and for no other reason whatsoever, the Paper Chef challenges each and every one of you reading this to let loose your culinary imagination and make up a dish of your own. Loosely based on the ideas of the Iron Chef, fond TV favorite in the US and Japan, and on the British show Ready, Steady, Cook! (fond favorite in the UK), the Paper Chef is all about creativity and constraint, challenge and cooking.

About a week and a half before the event opens, I post an ingredient list from previous events here at Tomatilla! Older ingredients fall off the list, as does anything that actually got used in an event. Those ingredients are ‘banned’ for a month just to prevent the choices being cream and chocolate and cream and chocolate and cream and chocolate and…you get the idea. Any reader of the blog can nominate a new ingredient (one nomination per month per person please) and it can be anything within the bounds of good taste (both kinds).

Three ingredients are chosen at random from the final list and the host (usually me but not always) picks one more ingredient that is topical or seasonal or that suits our whimsy. The first three random ingredients are announced on the Wednesday before the first Friday of the month (hey – they are official rules – so they should be incomprehensible). The fourth special ingredient is announced on the first Friday of the month.

Then you get five days (Friday Noon to Wednesday Noon) or so to make up a recipe, cook it and post the recipe to your blog. Then post a comment here or send an email to owenl1998 at yahoo dot com to be included in a roundup. Optionally, if you are up to speed on these things there will also be a Technorati tag to place on your post to make it easier for everyone to find posts.

It is also absolutely OK to substitute if you just cannot find an ingredient or if you or someone who will eat the dish has an allergy – just try to substitute with something close to the original to remain in the spirit of the occasion. We know that ingredients are fresh and in season at very different times in different places around the world.

There are a constantly changing set of categories categories every month at the discretion of the judge (but always at least one). Despite extremely fancy creations from many entrants, a good simple entry is just as likely to do well.

The previous month’s winner gets to be judge if they want (and is ineligible to win that month but can still enter) and gives out whatever kinds of awards they like. It is also OK to NOT want to judge, in which case I’ll find a judge of some nature for that month.

I’ve had lots of questions about things like photographs. Photographs are NOT necessary to take part. Nor is having you own blog – I’ll be happy to post a recipe for you if you want. However, it is clear that having a nice photograph will help influence the judges – if they see it looking good it is a lot easier to imagine it tasting good…

We aren’t sticklers for timekeeping here – but turning an entry in after the judging is done probably means you won’t win. And – on the point of competition – most of the people who enter seem to like it being a competition – so it is one. But it is NOT a competitive competition – it is more like a collaborative competition. People love to see the inventive ideas others come up with.

To get you started here are the first few Paper Chef competitions…

Paper Chef #1: Cilantro, Ginger, Almonds and Winter Squash

The winner was Curried Chicken and Squash Soup with Meyer Lemon.

Paper Chef #2: Potatoes, Savoy Cabbage, Chicken and Lemon

The winner was Lemon Chicken Egg Rolls with Citrus Dipping Sauce.

Paper Chef #3: Wheat Flour, Cinnamon, Creme Fraiche and Oranges

The winner was Very Posh Cheese and Biscuits.

Paper Chef #4: Eggplant, chocolate, stale bread and pomegranate.

The winner was Cocoa-Pomegranate Roast Chicken with Eggplant Stuffing.

Paper Chef #5: Prosciutto, sherry vinegar, green garlic and goat cheese.

The winner was Garlic chive and Goat’s Cheese Ravioli with Sherry Vinegar Reduction and Prosciutto Shards.

OK – nominate ingredients in the comments or to my email…


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