Monthly Archives: October 2007

Paper Chef 26

If I get started now I think we can pull this off! So….

Paper Chef 26 ingredient nominations are now open.

the current ingredient list is: Zucchini (courgettes), crawfish (crayfish), scallions (spring onions), cocoa nibs, italian prune plums, saffron, blueberries, olives, chicken, peaches, rosemary, five spice (the chinese blend of five spices), ‘skin’ (presumably of anything), basil, cod roe, lard, sardines, caraway seeds, lemon cucumbers, cardamom and apples.

You can only nominate ONE ingredient this time around since we now have a list and you cannot nominate those used last time (smoked swordfish, chile peppers or eggplant/aubergine) and please don’t skirt around it by nominating smoked salmon or something similar.

Winners – let me know your address and at some point in the future I’ll mail you a copy of Digital Dish.

As a reminder, here are

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.

Paper Chef winners and more

OK, despite all my intentions I am not getting updates done at anything like an acceptable pace. However, in an effort to keep moving, here are the official winner(s) of Paper Chef 25. Since we had a couple of single dish entrants and a couple of multiple dish entrants I am going to just decide to have a singel dish winner and a multiple dish winner this time around.

As usual, it is practically impossible to make any kind of differentiation – the entries are always all so very good. But a choice must be made. So for nest single dish entry, the winner is Mrs Anderson (Heather) of Gild the Voodoolily for her chowder. Abby of eat the right stuff was a worthy runner up (and not a first time entrant as I had said) for her smoked aubergine and elephant garlic soup. And we also had Jonski Farms enter a burger, dip, almost-bengan bhartha combo.

Hard as that decision was, the multiple entry was even harder, especially since the two entrants are two of my all time favorite food blogs ever. Both of them have won Paper Chef before. Both could write knockout cookbooks (and should!) I thought about awarding a tie but that would be a cop out. So I thought and thought and thought some more. And ended up giving the win to Ilva of Lucullian Delights because the pasta dish she made is so simple. Runners up are the Belly Timber crew and especially their ‘Oven-roasted Indian eggplants filled with a paste made from the extras on hand: bell pepper, garlic, chives, Thai chiles, and more of that delicious cherry-smoked cod.’

I am going to ask that all four winners and runners up be part of the next judging panel if time allows – let me know if you are up for it – the next Paper Chef will be kicking off very shortly.