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Old 05-22-2009, 10:53 PM   #1
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ISO help w/Cooking Challenge Sunday, May 24th

OK So I just got home from my friends house. We had Ribs, Corn, Baked Beans (Grandma Browns), and store bought potato salad that was actually pretty good... But I digress.

Kat is someone whose cooking skills I respect. She like me is an amateur, but she's pretty good. This started out as fun between her and I for Sunday, and has blossomed into a full out cooking challenge including two other home cooks. None of us are pros, but all of us enjoy cooking new things, and that is the main part of the challenge.

So here it is:

Each of us has to cook twice baked potatos. Kat cooks a twice baked potato caserole of some sort, I have a pretty good recipe for standard twice baked and the others I'm not sure about.

The other part of the challenge is to cook an entre that you have never done before.

I hate to lose at anything so I'm hoping I can get some inspiration from those in the know. Please keep in mind that I am strictly an amateur. I'd like to try and find something relatively simple (I am up for a challenge as that's part of the fun for me) but I really want something that'll knock their socks off if I can pull it off. Preferably something that will go with twice baked spuds. I think DW is making her killer pasta salad for the masses as well, so it could go along with that. I don't need anything that requires a sofisticated pallet but I do want a dish with great flavor.

I'm open to all suggestions, but please keep in mind that this is happening in two days, and I don't have a budget to practice it first. This is a one time shot at something I've never done before. Standing Rib Roast would not be a good suggestion. Something fun and out of the norml is what I am looking for. Grill, oven or stove-top.

Thanks

Matt

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Old 05-23-2009, 05:09 AM   #2
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This went over well with the folks here.
Good Luck to you!!!
Grilled Shrimp Alfredo

Serves 4.
(Variation: Substitute sea scallops for the shrimp.
Follow the same instructions for grilling. Scallops will be too delicate
to toss with the pasta; top plates individually with scallops instead.)



For the grilled shrimp
1 lb medium shrimp, raw
1 stick butter
2 garlic cloves


Peel garlic, roughly chop, and add to butter in a glass measuring cup with a spout.
Microwave butter and garlic mixture to melt.
Peel shrimp, remove tails, and put on skewers.

The grilling technique
Place shrimp skewers on grill, directly over coals. Quickly pour half of the melted garlic butter over the shrimp, along each skewer. There will be a towering flame engulfing the shrimp as the butter burns off. Allow the flame to tower for 20-30 seconds, then cover the grill to quench the flames. Continue grilling for 2-3 minutes. Flip skewers and repeat the process with the remaining butter. Cover, grill for 2-3 minutes, then remove the skewers.

For the pasta
1.5 lbs fresh fettucine
Heat water to a boil; add pasta, boil until just al dente (1-2 minutes).

For the alfredo sauce

1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Heat 3/4 cup of the cream and butter in a saute pan until thickened.
Add pasta, toss well in pan, add remaining cream, cheese, and shrimp,
toss together, and serve immediately from pan onto warmed serving plates.
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Old 05-23-2009, 06:53 AM   #3
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Twice-baked potatoes are hearty, cheesy and starchy, so you want a protein-based entree with complementary flavors that will stand up with them. Actually, BBQ would be nearly perfect, but I suppose that's out because ya'll just had it.

How about medallions of beef (tenderloin) with a flavorful sauce? Like a reduction of balsamic vinegar with butter and herbs. Simple, but hearty enough to stand up to twice-baked potatoes and a contrasting sweet-savory flavor.

Please forgive the stream-of-consciousness recipe, but this is off the top of my head. Don't know how many folks, so I'll be generic.

Sauce:
1. Simmer a reasonably decent balsamic vinegar (Modena is fine) until volume is reduced by half or until vinegar forms a syrup.
2. Finish the sauce by whisking in 2oz of cold butter per cup of syrup until sauce is velvety.

Meat:
1. Heat up a frying pat to quite hot. Yeah, I would use a pan rather than grilling or broiling these.
2. Season the medallions with salt and black pepper to taste.
3. Sear in the frying pan over high heat to seal in the juices, then reduce heat just a bit and cook until just less than desired doneness. Remove to warmer.
4. Reduce heat to medium and lightly caramelize some minced shallots in butter in the frying pan, adding some minced garlic for the last minute. Don't brown the garlic.

Plating:
1. Put about a tablespoon of sauce on a warmed plate, making a puddle a little bigger than the meat. Place the meat on the plate, top with a spoonful of the shallots & garlic and drizzle a little more sauce over the top.

Eh, just an idea. I'm sure you'll have a great time whatever you do. Enjoy!
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Old 05-23-2009, 07:45 AM   #4
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Pork tenderloin Shish-K-Bobs....To include things like, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, pineapple, (fresh would be best) cherry tomatoes etc. Towards the end of grilling, glaze with a pineapple juice brown sugar mixture.

Have Fun!
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Old 05-23-2009, 09:04 AM   #5
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Baked Steak?

I just got this from a friend on Facebook.

need a fairly long roast, or loin strip. roll it up with asper-grass,broccoli , and whole carrots inside. cook it in a meatloaf tin glazing it with maple syrup...improvise... the juice makes a thin au-juice to put on the potato. when its done you cut it as you would meat loaf leaving a nice spiral on the plate. decorate to taste.I've always wanted to try Boisenberry syrup instead of maple...but its not easily found up here in the north.

I kind of like the look of it but I really don't care for the taste maple syrup. I have no idea if I can get boisenberry syrup, nor do I know what it tastes like. What else could I sub in for the glaze? And what type of roast would you use?

Matt
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Old 05-24-2009, 07:50 AM   #6
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Today is the day.

I'm going to go with the idea from my friend. But I still don't know what cut of meat to use. His idea is posted above.

I looked yesterday, and didn't see any meat that excited me, so I picked up a london broil. My plan is to butterfly the meat. Rub the inside with garlic. Lay out the veggies alternating rows. Roll up pin-wheel style, and tie it off. Season the outside heavily with S&P, and sear it in a rocket hot skillet. Plop it into a 13x9 baking dish, and into the oven at 300 uncovered. Baste with Blackberry syrup after 10 minutes in oven, and then every 15 minutes after that.

Will it work? I'm worried about the veggies being underdone when the meat is rare to medium rare.

How can I make sure the meat is ready? Being a pinwheel type of dish, I can't stuff a thermometer in it.

Should I try to find a different cut of beef? Would the same recipe work with pork loin?

Matt
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