In other news, Stephanie got to participate in a fun cooking competition yesterday with some of our friends in the ward. The competition was a secret, so none of the 4 competitors knew what was going on until it began. Stephanie was very surprised, but it ended up being a lot of fun.
The competition was done in the style of the Food Network show Chopped. Basically, there were three rounds--appetizer, entree, and dessert. For each round, the chefs are given 30 minutes to prepare a dish that incorporates 3 ingredients not revealed beforehand (they provided the ingredients). Sometimes the ingredients are pretty random, and the chefs don't have much time to make a decision and run with it. It's really exciting to watch and, as we learned yesterday, it's also exciting to participate!
For the first course, the chefs had to make an appetizer incorporating olives, vienna sausage, and swiss cheese. Stephanie decided to go with the pigs-in-a-blanket idea with this course. She made a biscuit dough from scratch and folded in some finely chopped olives. She cut the sausages, stuffed them with swiss cheese, and baked them for 10-12 minutes. While they were baking, she prepared a fry sauce with ketchup, mayo, and pickle juice. Her final presentation gave this simple dish a bit more of a sophisticated feel (by the way, the photo doesn't do it justice).
For the second course, the chefs had to make an entree incorporating turkey, peanuts, and blackeyed peas. I thought Stephanie would go the Southern route with this one, but she decided to adapt the thai fettuccine recipe for this course. She made the thai sauce using the normal ingredients and then added the blackeyed peas and peanuts--they added some nice texture to the meal. She pan-seared the turkey and then sauteed the finely julienned bell peppers with the turkey. She laid the noodles down, smothered them with some sauce, and then garnished the plate with peanuts and uncooked bell pepper. Again, the photo doesn't do it justice, but it turned out well.
For the final course, the chefs had to make a dessert incorporating grits, banana, and dulce de leche. In the end, we called Stephanie's creation a "grit split." The bottom layer was cooked grits mixed with dulce de leche and cinnamon--it was actually really tasty. On top of that she did a traditional banana split with the banana, ice cream, chocolate sauce, more dulce de leche, raspberries, and peanuts. This is probably the best photo we got.
It was a lot of fun, and there was a lot of good food there. The judges were especially impressed with Stephanie's first two courses and accordingly, she won the competition! She said it was a great confidence booster for her. The amazing wife she is, she was still willing to come home and help carry on our Valentine's Day tradition of having a heart-shaped pizza for dinner (we celebrated yesterday--we have church until 5:00 and we didn't want to eat dinner late tonight).
I'm so blessed to have Stephanie as my wife and Heather as a daughter. Stay tuned and we'll keep you updated with everything. Love you!