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Old 01-30-2008, 01:16 PM   #1
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Food competition meal ideas?? Help!

hi everyone! I'm new, and this is my first post. I hope this is an appropriate forum for me to ask this question :-)

I'm a college student, and I've always been interested in cooking, but i never really pursued it until this past summer, when I was home from school, bored, and entertained myself by cooking.

Now I've gone and jumped in over my head-I decided to enter myself in a cooking competition at my school. I've got a $100 grocery budget supplied by the competition's organizers, and I'm supposed to go out, get what I need, and then come back and make a meal that will be judged based on taste,originality, etc. And if somehow I'm a finalist, I'll have to make another meal to enter in the final competition.

Sooo I was hoping some of you more experienced chefs could help get me started? I want something pretty easy, and hopefully won't take very long to make, and will still be tasty enough to win :-) my idea so far is maybe some sort of pork chop with apples? thats about all I know I can do and not totally tank. and then also a dessert and/or appetizer. other than that, I have no idea where to begin.

thanks so much everyone! any help I can get will be so appreciated!!

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Old 01-30-2008, 01:52 PM   #2
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This looks fancy, tastes great but in reality is simple to fix.

Try a pork loin roulade. Get a pork loin. Slice down 1/2 to 3/4" in until you are withing the same distance from the bottom. Turn the knife 90 degrees and continue cutting and "unrolling" the meat as you go. You should end up with a slab of meat.

Create a stuffing. Get imaginative but make sure it's moist. Spread the stuffing on the meat, roll up like a jelly roll and tie with butchers twine. Figure out a glaze with the flavors you want, glaze the roast, cover loosely with foil and bake.

This will have many flavors in it. Find a side dish to accompany it. It should not be complex, but it needs to compliment the flavors of the roulade. If you are expected to do full meal you will need at least a salad course, the main dish with side dish, desert. Do not go crazy and make everything complex. Focus on the main dish. Everything should compliment that.

Here is a photo set of how it's done.. (at least how I do it).

pork_roast Photo Gallery by Jeff Gegner at pbase.com

Make sure you bake it until it is done. Allow it to rest out of the oven at least 30 minutes then slice straight down perpendicular to the loin. You will have beautiful spirals of meat with stuffing to place on the plate.




Quote:
Originally Posted by r0ck0nlcrss16 View Post
hi everyone! I'm new, and this is my first post. I hope this is an appropriate forum for me to ask this question :-)

I'm a college student, and I've always been interested in cooking, but i never really pursued it until this past summer, when I was home from school, bored, and entertained myself by cooking.

Now I've gone and jumped in over my head-I decided to enter myself in a cooking competition at my school. I've got a $100 grocery budget supplied by the competition's organizers, and I'm supposed to go out, get what I need, and then come back and make a meal that will be judged based on taste,originality, etc. And if somehow I'm a finalist, I'll have to make another meal to enter in the final competition.

Sooo I was hoping some of you more experienced chefs could help get me started? I want something pretty easy, and hopefully won't take very long to make, and will still be tasty enough to win :-) my idea so far is maybe some sort of pork chop with apples? thats about all I know I can do and not totally tank. and then also a dessert and/or appetizer. other than that, I have no idea where to begin.

thanks so much everyone! any help I can get will be so appreciated!!
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Old 01-30-2008, 03:07 PM   #3
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The question is how much time do you have before the contest, how much time are you willing to spend on it, and how much money can you invest in the project?

In a competition you need to go with what you know how to cook very well.

A basic recipe, such as pork chops and apples done very well will often beat a recipe with more pizzaz, but with poorer preparation.

If you need an app and a dessert would concentrate on developing those and go with the standby for the main.

Just my opinion, good luck.
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Old 01-31-2008, 03:37 PM   #4
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You seem to have some good suggestions for your main so I will try to help with the appie, side and dessert.

I am presuming this will be done soon, so a winter appetizer would be appropriate. Why not try a warm spinach and mushroom salad. Heat olive oil in a pan, and at some sliced shallot (or red onion) and minced garlic. Stir just until the onion is opaque (no brown). Add some more oil if needed, deglaze with a small amount of balsamic vinegar, and the add some some pecans, dried cranberries and sliced crimini (or other) mushrooms and sweat until the musrooms are just releasing their juices. In a seperate pan, sweat baby spinach leaves in OO or butter and plate, topping with the mushroom mixture.

For a side, you want something colourful with the chop so why not rice with added wild rice and some baby carrots and brocollini spears (3 each per plate).

Finally, for dessert get your apple in with a nice apple crisp topped with cinnamon whip cream. To make it colourful you can get some frozen berries to add in with the apples.

Don't know if that is more (or less) than you wanted to do, but I thought I would pass it on. I have been in food competitions and have found that it is nerve-wracking so go with what feels comfortable and save any energy for presentation.

Let us know how it goes.
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Old 01-31-2008, 03:44 PM   #5
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Do you know who will be judging it?

Different ages have different palates.
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Old 01-31-2008, 06:32 PM   #6
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You have gotten some great ideas.

This is just like a test, the more you study (hone and make the recipes) the better off you will be.

Everyone else there, it sounds like, are your peers. Don't panic, this is meqnt to be fun, it is not going to affect your GPA.

Go in as calm as you can, don't be psyched out by the pre-competition chatter by the other contestants. In college tried to keep to myself before an exam, some folks will discombobulate anyone by their nerves.

When it is all over, congratulate yourself no matter what the outcome. You took a shot.

And then a day or so afterward ask yourself if you liked the experience and would like to try it again.

If so, analyze what you did right, and more importantly, what you did wrong. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses in everything we do. It is the folks who know how to maximize their strengths and work on their weaknesses that eventually prevail

Again try to have fun. It is a competition, sure, but you can learn a lot about yourself from it.

Good luck.
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