Cooking and Hanging Out with ValleyWriter and The Royal Foodie Joust Winners!

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We had a great time this fall in New England this year visiting family and friends. Thanksgiving is over, and posted, and so now the time has come to share some of the highlights in eating and visiting that we enjoyed in New England. We traveled from Connecticut to Vermont and back again. In fact we drove up to New England from Florida, stopping at my Aunt’s house in VA both on the way up and on the way back. We got to spend time with Roberto’s daughters Rachel and Gwen as well as many friends along the way. It was a wonderful time – a time I have looked forward to every year since we moved to Florida.

We spent a large portion of the trip in Western MA. I lived in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts for over 10 years. I came to live there by way of education, and then after 4 years of college, decided to stay. I was just so enamored of the place – the quaint towns, historic buildings, and good food, as well as all the cultural activities taking place due to all the colleges in the area. I made a lot of lifelong friends while I lived there and was definitely part of a community. When I think about that time in my life, I get a warm and fuzzy feeling – and I always enjoy spending time there. I have moved away from New England twice since I lived there, once to go back to my home state of Maryland for a few years, and the other when we moved to Florida three years ago. Each time I move away, I find myself missing it, and it doesn’t take long before New England re-claims me. I guess I am a New Englander at heart, and I am proud of it! :)

People in New England are just nice. It is a very eclectic kind of place sometimes, and so it is typical to have friends from all walks of life. People are just more accepting of paradoxes, creativity and uniqueness. I don’t know how to describe it, but I always find myself gravitating towards New Englanders wherever we are, and that is how we met Valley Writer and Mr. Valley Writer.

We met them, almost 2 years ago, when we were all newlyweds, spending our honeymoon in Jamaica. We originally met them at a social for newlyweds and then ended up running into them at breakfast one morning. So we decided to sit together. We found out we had a lot in common. She and I are both writers (this was before her now famous blog), we both have black cats with asthma, and we both were practically neighbors at one point without even knowing it, in a small New England town called Hatfield. She met her husband the same way I met Roberto – online, and in the same time frame. So likely I ran across Mr. Valley Writer’s profile in my searches…who knows. But there was just so much in common (besides the love of food and cooking) that we knew we were meant to be friends. We visited with Mr and Mrs. Valley Writer last year when we were in New England . Then this year, they graciously invited us to stay with them for a few days.

cooking-at-ambers_preparing-duck-together

When we arrived, the first thing we did was take a quick drive to a local farm, and pick up her last CSA of the year. We picked out some nice root veggies to make some roasted roots – my favorite – to go along with dinner that night. The plan for dinner that night was to make duck. Neither of us had ever made a duck before, so we were both very excited at the prospect. We were worried about the method of cooking, we didn’t want it to be dry.

cooking-at-ambers_preparing-duck

So we decided to do it beer can style, and used a raspberry wheat beer in the preparation. It turned out really delicious – although it did make the house a little smoky – all that delicious duck fat (which of course was reserved for later use)!

cooking-at-ambers_cutting-duck-for-serving

We enlisted Roberto to cut the duck – and of course he had to wear Amber’s Flirty Apron that she won a few months back from The Foodie Blogroll.

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(Mr. Valley Writer likes to keep his identity hidden….just WHO is HE?)

The food was really good that night, but the company was the best part! We all had a great time getting re-acquainted with each other and getting to know each other better – and it was a breeze. Sometimes you just really hit it off with another couple, and this was one of those times!

cooking-at-ambers_cooking-pork-loin

Unfortunately Mr. And Mrs. Valley Writer both had to work while we were visiting. So the next night, to thank them for their hospitality, Roberto and I decided to get some extra ingredients, and cook them dinner. There was already a pork tenderloin in the fridge, so we decided to add some wild rice, glazed carrots, and miniature carrot cakes from Whole Foods (which used to be called Bread and Circus in that part of the world) to complete the meal. We prepared the pork in a fresh apple cider and dijon mustard sauce, and it was delicious. When they got home from work, we all started working together in the kitchen! What else can you expect from a bunch of foodies? This time we had Mr. Valley Writer do the honors on cutting the meat.

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Again the food was great and the company spectacular! We had a wonderful few days spending time with them, and look forward to continuing our friendship when we move up to Vermont this spring!

Thanks Valley Writer family for your hospitality and friendship! Please check out her post about our visit together on her blog, Adventures in the Pioneer Valley !

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In addition to Finest Foodies Friday, I am also phasing the Royal Foodie Joust Winners and New Ingredients posts over to Foodieblogroll.com. So if you want to read about the winners and the new ingredients. Please visit Foodieblogroll.com.

Also for more foodie fun, don’t forget to join us at my friend Ben’s blog for a Homemade Party!

BBQ Buffalo Cheddar Burgers with Maple Caramelized Onions

caramelized-onion_burger_ready-to-eat

So last week Kat from A Good Appetite won last month’s Royal Foodie Joust with her Brie Stuffed Maple Burger with Spicy Apple Bacon Compote. That got me thinking (and drooling, slightly) about burgers…and maple, one of my favoritest ingredients on the planet. She said that she thought that maple went really well with beef, so I wanted to see if it went just as well with buffalo. I suspected it did.

I love buffalo meat, it is leaner than beef and has more CLA in it, because buffalo must eat grass to survive. To read more about CLA, and why it is important, click here. I also love burgers and it is often our meal of choice for movie night. This meal accompanied the movie Appaloosa with Viggo Mortensen.

I am also a huge fan of caramelized onions. They go good with just about anything you can cook up. Seriously, I bet putting them on ice cream would be awesome. Ever had garlic ice cream? That stuff is fan-freaking-tastic. I only have had it once, but it is a food memory that has stuck with me for probably more than 15 years. So really, I might try the caramelized onion thing, but not today.

caramelized-onion_burger_beer-and-syrup

Back to the onions. Recently I had made cinnamon spiced caramelized onions to go on a spicy carrot soup. I didn’t blog about it, but the recipe is pretty much like the one I did for Yogi Times way back when. Just added some nice cinnamon to the onions as they were doing their caramelizing thing. They turned out pretty good, so I figured that adding maple to this batch would be worth trying. Top the burgers with these maple-y onions, some Vermont sharp cheddar and some local St. Augustine, FL datil pepper BBQ sauce, and see what happens. A burger of transition, one that features the local delicacies of our current and future homes.

Well what happened is that the sky opened up and…wait no, that didn’t happen… What really happened is that it was one of the best burgers either of us had in a while. Kat, thanks for the inspiration, and I am sure before the fall and winter is over, I will be taking a stab at your winning entry!

Read the rest of this entry »

Royal Foodie Joust Winners: Apple, Maple and Cayenne

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I love the fall, it is certainly, without a doubt, my favorite season. So when Natasha, from 5 Star Foodie , winner of last month’s Joust, sent me her choice of ingredients for this month I was thrilled!

Apple, Maple and Cayenne are three ingredients that really exemplify fall fare. It seems that the Jousters felt the same way, because we had 17 awesome entries this month! Everything from soup, to seafood and salsa to caramel apples! Be sure to check out all the recipes and tantalizing photos here on the Foodie Blogroll forum!

We welcomed several new Jousters this month, who will hopefully become regulars, and welcomed many of our seasoned Jousters back, after a much deserved summer break! I hope this will encourage some of you to join us this month too! Things are always exciting, and changing in the Jousting fields! We have a fantastic group of ingredients this month too. I will announce them at the end of the post!

About the Joust:

The Royal Foodie Joust is an awesome and fun monthly peer voted competition that is hosted on The LeftoverQueen/FoodieBlogroll Forum! It gets better each and every month as the competition gets stiffer and more creative, as Jousters try to outdo each other! It is also one of the friendliest competitions I have ever seen. So please don’t be intimidated to come and join us this month in another round!

We don’t bite, unless of course there is real food in our faces ;)

The only rules for the competition is that each Jouster create only one dish and each entry must feature three ingredients in common.

This competition has been referred to many times as the “Iron Chef” of the Food Blogosphere. Each month’s ingredients are chosen by the previous month’s Best Overall Entry winner. The Best Overall winner of each Joust not only wins the Queen’s favor, bragging rights and a cool icon to put on their blog, but is also awarded with a super awesome Royal Foodie Joust Apron! There are also prizes for the winners of the other two categories: Best Photo and Most Unique Interpretation

So what are you waiting for? Come over and join us this month!

If you would like to participate in this month’s Joust, be sure to submit your entry by 12 NOON, Eastern Standard USA time on the First of the following Month (Nov. 1, 2009)!

If you have an idea you would like to share about how to make the Joust a better community event, please join us in discussing it here.

Although there were so many awesome entries this time around, there can only be one winner in each category, and each month making that call gets harder! Onto those winning entries now!

This month’s Best Overall winner is Kat from A Good Appetite. Her winning entry is Brie Stuffed Maple Burger with Spicy Apple Bacon Compote .

12_brie_stuffed_maple_burger_with_spicy_apple_bacon_compote_by_kat

Her recipe was inspired by a local restaurant, Blue Door that does some really interesting takes on the classic Minneapolis Juicy Lucy. Their most recent version stuffed with brie & topped with apple compote was only available for one day. Kat and Matt, couldn’t make it there that day so they decided to put their our own spin on it at home. “In our version the beef is flavored with a little maple syrup & then stuffed with brie. The apple compote is spiced up with cayenne, sweetened with maple syrup plus given a little saltiness with some bacon. Put it all together & you really have an amazing flavor combination. The apples go surprisingly well with the beef.”

I could certainly sink my teeth into this amazing burger! Congrats Kat for taking the win this month!

As food bloggers (and food appreciators) we all know that pictures speak a thousand words and this month’s Best photo winner goes to Peter, aka Protos Souvlaki for the Soul with Spicy Carrot and Apple Cakes with Maple Buttercream Frosting

15_spicy_carrot_and_apple_cakes_with_maple_buttercream_frosting_by_protos

For his Joust entry Peter made us some mini carrot cakes. He added the cayenne pepper to the “spice mix” which also included nutmeg, cinnamon and ground cloves. He added the maple syrup to a buttercream frosting that went on top. True to his Greek roots, he also used olive oil, Greek yoghurt and a combination of wholemeal flours and almond meal in his recipe. I really love the look of these cute little cakes!

The Winner for Most Unique Interpretation of the Ingredients is awarded to Joan of FOODalogue with her 3 Alarm Fruit Pizzette

03_3_alarm_fruit_pizzette_by_foodalogue

This pizzette is an amazing combination of flavors! Joan says she always has bits of recipes and flavor combinations swirling around in her head that helps her to create her super flavorful dishes on her blog. This is what she says about her Joust creation:It may make you sweat a bit, but the layers of flavors will totally entice. You’ve got heat from the cayenne pepper and jalapeño mustard; sweet from the maple syrup and apples; salt and gooeyness from the cheese; freshness from the cilantro, scallions, lime zest and starfruit; and crunch from the pumpkin seeds and toasted flatbread.” Unique and delicious indeed!

Thank you so much to our winners, all the participants and everyone who voted! Remember, even if you don’t enter the Joust you can still vote for your favorite entry on The Foodie Blogroll Forum!

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This month, here in North America, we celebrate Halloween! So for this month’s Joust, Kat has decided to use the colors of Orange and Black to inspire you for this month’s Joust!

Here are your ingredients:

Orange – Pumpkin (or anything other orange flesh squash, i.e. butternut, acorn, kabocha)
Black – Stout, Porter or other dark colored Beer (if you don’t want to use alcohol, you can substitute in cola)
Sugar

Please post your entries here!

Let the games begin!!! :)

September Royal Foodie Joust Winners – and this Month’s Ingredients!!

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The Royal Foodie Joust is an awesome and fun monthly peer voted competition that is hosted on The LeftoverQueen/FoodieBlogroll Forum! It gets better each and every month as the competition gets stiffer and more creative, as Jousters try to outdo each other! It is also one of the friendliest competitions I have ever seen. So please don’t be intimidated to come and join us this month in another round!

We don’t bite, unless of course there is real food in our faces ;)

The only rules for the competition is that each Jouster create only one dish and each entry must feature three ingredients in common.

This competition has been referred to many times as the “Iron Chef” of the Food Blogosphere. Each month’s ingredients are chosen by the previous month’s Best Overall Entry winner. The Best Overall winner of each Joust not only wins the Queen’s favor, bragging rights and a cool icon to put on their blog, but is also awarded with a super awesome Royal Foodie Joust Apron! There are also prizes for the winners of the other two categories: Best Photo and Most Unique Interpretation

So what are you waiting for? Come over and join us this month!

If you would like to participate in this month’s Joust, be sure to submit your entry by 12 NOON, Eastern Standard USA time on the First of the following Month (Oct. 1, 2009)!

If you have an idea you would like to share about how to make the Joust a better community event, please join us in discussing it here.

Now onto the winners of this month’s event. The ingredients for this month were chosen by last month’s Best Overall winner, Raquel from Cafe Nilson with her Spicy Banana Zucchini Balls.

She chose, Papaya (ripe or green), Tarragon and Cheese . Many people struggled with these ingredients, but having a challenge sometimes pushes us out of our comfort zone and allows the creativity to begin to flow! This is pretty much the point of the Joust – a fun time expanding our culinary take on different ingredients in a competitive yet friendly environment where doing something different can be very rewarding!

But there can only be one winner in each category, and each month making that call gets harder! Onto those winning entries now!

Our Best Overall and Best Photo Winner is awarded to Natasha from 5 Star Foodie. Natasha is on an incredible foodie mission to eat at all the Michelin 5 Star restaurants in the United States. Her blog features reviews of those restaurants and also recipes that she has been inspired by her 5 Star experiences to create at home! So this girl knows good food, so it is no surprise that her blog is so popular and her recipes so good! Her winning dish was Tarragon Lobster Cakes with Spicy Papaya Queso Blanco Sauce

05_tarragon_lobster_cakes_with_spicy_papaya_queso_blanco_sauce_by_5starfoodie

They sound absolutely delicious – sweet and spicy, and the photo is mouthwatering!

The Winner for Most Unique Interpretation of the Ingredients is awarded to Dhanggit from Dhanggit’s Kitchen .

Her winning dish was Papaya Brioche with Cheese and Farm Eggs Omelette with French Tarragon Bearnaise Sauce

02_papaya_brioche_with_cheese_and_farm_eggs_omelette_by_dhanggit

I was impressed with this combination of flavors. I mean who doesn’t love brioche? Adding papaya to it brings it to a whole other level! Then adding the omelette and tarragon bearnaise really makes this dish something very special and unique!

Thanks again to all the participants for another great Joust! :)

If you would like to see all the entries please check them out here!

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Now for this month’s ingredients. Natasha has set us up with some really beautiful autumn inspired ingredients!

Apples
Cayenne Pepper
Maple Syrup

Now that the foodie blogosphere is coming back from vacations, holidays, and quiet time, I am looking forward to an exciting Joust this month! If you have never participated, now is the time! These are some great ingredients that most people always have on hand, or are readily available! So please come and join us for your chance to win a Royal Foodie Joust Apron or Royal Foodie Joust Mug!

August Royal Foodie Joust Winners, and this month’s ingredients!

icon-foodie-joust

The Royal Foodie Joust is an awesome and fun monthly peer voted competition that is hosted on The LeftoverQueen/FoodieBlogroll Forum! It gets better each and every month as the competition gets stiffer and more creative, as Jousters try to outdo each other! It is also one of the friendliest competitions I have ever seen. So please don’t be intimidated to come and join us this month in another round!

We don’t bite, unless of course there is real food in our faces ;)

The only rules for the competition is that each Jouster create only one dish and each entry must feature three ingredients in common.

This competition has been referred to many times as the “Iron Chef” of the Food Blogosphere. Each month’s ingredients are chosen by the previous month’s Best Overall Entry winner. The Best Overall winner of each Joust not only wins the Queen’s favor, bragging rights and a cool icon to put on their blog, but is also awarded with a super awesome Royal Foodie Joust Apron! There are also prizes for the winners of the other two categories: Best Photo and Most Unique Interpretation

So what are you waiting for? Come over and join us this month!

If you would like to participate in this month’s Joust, be sure to submit your entry by 12 NOON, Eastern Standard USA time on the First of the following Month (Sept. 1, 2009)!

If you have an idea you would like to share about how to make the Joust a better community event, please join us in discussing it here.

Now onto the winners of this month’s event. The ingredients for this month were chosen by last month’s Best Overall winner, Betherann from Kitchen Courage who has been a regular Jouster for quite some time, and is currently training for her first trialthalon! The ingredients she chose were Banana, Honey and Tumeric. These ingredients were a little on the exotic side for some Jousters, but isn’t that what the Joust is all about, getting creative? What better way to get creative then by working with some new ingredients and combinations?! As a result, we had a lot of very interesting entries! But there can only be one winner in each category, and each month making that call gets harder! Onto those winning entries now!

The winner in the Best Overall Category is Raquel from Cafe Nilson with her Spicy Banana Zucchini Balls.

spicy_banana_zucchini_balls_by_cafenilson

I am happy to admit that she got my vote! I thought that her creative use of ingredients, to make something that would be really delicious and original was spot on. Congratulations Raquel! I hope you enjoy your apron! :)

The next category was for The Best Photo! As we all know food photography is a major skill for food bloggers, and so in this category your photo has to be good enough to eat. In this case, it was decided that the entry that most fit that category is Sweet Banana Curry Shrimp by LK from Healthy.Delicious.

sweet_banana_curry_shrimp_by_healthydelicious

Her multi-layered dish really looked good! Perfect for fresh summer eating!

The final Joust category to be voted on is Most Unique Interpretation of the ingredients. This is where people can really get in touch with wild creativity and try something new. Rob aka gfron1 from The Curious Blogquat won this category with a Pacific Martini.

pacific_martinis_by_gfron1

If you have never visited The Curious Blogquat, I will tell you that it features a lot of interesting food ideas and techniques, inspired by molecular gastronomy. So you can guess that this recipe was rather intricate, indeed, and a wonderful summer cocktail!

Thanks again to all the participants for another great Joust! :)

If you would like to see all the entries please check them out here!

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Now for this month’s ingredients. Racquel has chosen another set of really interesting ingredients:

Papaya (ripe or green)
Tarragon
Cheese

I know these ingredients may be a challenge for some of you, put I do suggest to take this as an opportunity to really take your cooking skills to another level  and just have FUN! So please join us here !

June 2009 Royal Foodie Joust Winners and new ingredients for this month’s competition!

icon-foodie-joust

The Royal Foodie Joust is an awesome and fun monthly peer voted competition that is hosted on

The LeftoverQueen/FoodieBlogroll Forum! It gets better each and every month as the competition gets stiffer as Jousters try to outdo each other every month! It is also one of the friendliest competitions I have ever seen. So please don’t be intimidated to come and join us this month in another round!

We don’t bite, unless of course there is real food in our faces ;)

The only rules for the competition is that each Jouster create one dish and each entry must feature three ingredients in common. This competition has been referred to many times as the “Iron Chef” of the Food Blogosphere. Each month’s ingredients are chosen by the previous month’s Best Overall Entry winner. The Best Overall winner of each Joust not only wins the Queen’s favor, bragging rights and a cool icon to put on their blog, but is also awarded with a super awesome Royal Foodie Joust Apron! There are also prizes for the winners of the other two categories: Best Photo and Most Unique Interpretation

So what are you waiting for? Come over and join us this month!

If you would like to participate in this month’s Joust, be sure to submit your entry by 12 NOON, Eastern Standard USA time on the First of the following Month (July 1, 2009)!

If you have an idea you would like to share about how to make the Joust a better community event, please join us in discussing it here

Now onto the winners of this month’s event. The ingredients for this month were chosen by last month’s Best Overall winner, my good friend Nuria from Spanish Recipes! The ingredients she chose were Rice, Tomato and Bacon. These ingredients are simple yet delicious with so many ways to be creative. Which is exactly what the entries were!

But there can be only one Best Overall Winner and this time it was LK from Healthy Delicious with her Spicy Gumbo with Andouille and Bacon Wrapped Shrimp.

14_spicy_andouille_gumbo_with_bacon_wrapped_shrimp_by_healthydelicious

Just look at how delicious this dish is. She used locally produced sausages to make her favorite soup. Please go check out her blog post to learn the tricks to making a good roux. Congrats LK, you made a dish that appeals to everyone!

Our next winner is Best Photo. This is awarded this month to my good blogging friend Ben of What’s Cooking? He made a really picture perfect dish – Joust Rice Cakes .

09_mexican_rice_and_bacon_cakes_by_arimou0

He started by making a cup of turkey bacon and filled them with a mixture of Mexican rice, beans and cheese. Talk about yum. Ben has really been getting into food photography and it really paid off in this competition! Congrats Ben!

Our third category is Most Unique Interpretation of the ingredients. This is one of my favorite categories, and since we made it a category, I have seen the creativity of Joust entries just skyrocket. People are playing with their entries a lot more, and I am really enjoying the results. This month’s winner is Raquel from Cafe Nilson with her Tomato and Bacon Pizza with a Rice Crust

07_tomato_and_bacon_pizza_with_rice_crust_by_cafenilson

We love pizza in this house, and I am trying to find more ways to eat more rice and other grains besides wheat, so I am sure to try this one!

Thanks again to all the participants for another great Joust! :)

If you would like to see all the entries please check them out here

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Now for this month’s ingredients. LK has chosen:

Strawberries

Basil

Whole Grains

Again, really simple and accessible ingredients for everyone – yet a flavor combination that is unique and interesting! I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with! :)

Please check out the rules of Joust participation here

AND

Please post your entries here

Let The Games Begin!

May 2009 Royal Foodie Joust Winners

icon-foodie-joust

The Royal Foodie Joust is an awesome and fun monthly peer voted competition that is hosted on
The LeftoverQueen/FoodieBlogroll Forum! It gets better each and every month as the competition gets stiffer as Jousters try to outdo each other every month! It is also one of the friendliest competitions I have ever seen. So please don’t be intimidated to come and join us this month in another round!

We don’t bite, unless of course there is real food in our faces.

The only rules for the competition is that each Jouster create one dish and each entry must feature three ingredients in common. This competition has been referred to many times as the “Iron Chef” of the Food Blogosphere. Each month’s ingredients are chosen by the previous month’s Best Overall Entry winner. The Best Overall winner of each Joust not only wins the Queen’s favor, bragging rights and a cool icon to put on their blog, but is also awarded with a super awesome Royal Foodie Joust apron! There are also prizes for the winners of the other two categories:
Best Photo and Most Unique Interpretation

So what are you waiting for? Come over and join us this month!

If you would like to participate in this month’s Joust, be sure to submit your entry by 12 NOON, Eastern Standard USA time on the First of the following Month!

If you have an idea you would like to share about how to make the Joust a better community event, please join us in discussing it here

Now onto the winners of this month’s event. The ingredients for this month were chosen by last month’s Best Overall winners, Peter and Christey from FotoCuisine and instead of choosing ingredients, they chose the colors Red, White and Green to inspire people to create dishes that focus on both how food tastes AND looks! We had a lot of very creative dishes come out of this Joust.

But there can be only one Best Overall Winner, and this time, the title was given to my friend Nuria of Spanish Recipes with her Piquillo Peppers stuffed with Cod Brandade over a Parsley sauce:

piquillo1

This dish was beautiful to look at, and I am sure the taste was amazing. Nuria always comes up with very creative, fresh and gorgeous dishes on her blog, and this was no exception. The photo was so inviting that she also won in the category of Best Photo – which seems to be a trend as of late – Best Overall winners also taking the top spot in Best Photo. I guess having a good photo makes it almost possible for you to taste the dish from the screen, giving you the extra edge. Ah the power of food porn! So congratulations to Nuria for your picture perfect dish. You will be receiving a Royal Foodie Joust Apron AND mug! :)

We have a different winner for The Most Unique use of ingredients – or in the case, the most unique use of colors. Now this dish was the first dish to be entered into the Joust this, month, and just like I told the winner, the amazing Elle, from Elle’s New England Kitchen, when I saw this dish, I knew it was a winner, as it was just so creative. So without further ado, here is Elle’s “Guacamole” Ice Cream :

guac-ice-cream

She made an avocado ice cream, and instead of tomatoes, white onion and cilantro, she used strawberries, coconut and mint. And a shortbread cookie “tortilla chip.” How cool is that? She set the bar really high from the get-go, and it really got other participants thinking outside the box! Thanks Elle, and congrats! :)
You will be receiving a Royal Foodie Joust Mug!

Thanks again to all the participants! :)

>If you would like to see all the entries please check them out here

Now for this month’s Challenge:

Here is a message about the challenge ingredients from Nuria:
RICE because it’s the most consumed cereal in the world and because everybody should have bowl of rice at least twice a day. TOMATO because it’s a basic ingredient in the Mediterranean diet; cheap and healthy. And BACON because… who doesn’t love bacon?”

(If you are a vegetarian, vegan or cannot eat pork, please feel free to use a bacon substitute! :)

Please check out the rules of participation here

AND

Please post your entries here

So let the games begin!

Caramelized Papaya with Flan Ice Cream for Cinco de Mayo

caramelized-papaya-flan-ice-cream_ready-to-eat

Our friends Chris and Erin, from The Olive Notes host a weekly community potluck dinner for all their friends, here in Saint Augustine. It is a way for all of us to get together on a regular basis. You don’t have to RSVP, just be sure to come with a dish, dessert or a drink based on a pre-determined theme. Sometimes these Tuesday night Community Dinners fall on a holiday, and today was one of those times. So of course the theme for tonight was Mexican.

I really didn’t know what to make. I hadn’t gone to the grocery store in about a week, so I started rummaging through the pantry. Originally I thought I would fall back on beans and rice. However I saw a can of coconut milk and a can of sweetened condensed milk. I had a mango in the fridge, so I thought about making a mango-coconut ice cream. That was until I pulled the mango out and realized it was still hard. However, next to it was a papaya that was very ripe.

When I pulled out the can of sweetened condensed milk, I read the back and the recipe was for flan. Lo and behold, on the ingredient list was also a can of coconut milk and a few other ingredients I had on hand. I was in the mood for ice cream so I decided to use all the same ingredients for the flan, but instead make ice cream. I cut the papaya into rounds, took the seeds of of the middles, sprinkled them with sugar and popped them under the broiler for a few minutes. Once they got caramelized, I took them out, squeezed a fresh lime over top and sprinkled the papaya liberally with cinnamon.

caramelized-papaya-flan-ice-cream_papaypa-on-tray

I made the ice cream, while the papaya was cooling, and once it was blended and still soft and creamy I scooped a big dollop of ice cream and placed it in the hole of each papaya slice. I also put a fresh mint leaf on top – and it was almost the color of the Mexican flag! Then I put it in the freezer to harden.

This was a nice cool treat to end a meal of spicy Mexican dishes! Happy Cinco de Mayo Everyone!
I am a bit late with this, but I dedicate this dish to Peter and Christey of FotoCuisine, who picked the ingredients for this month’s Royal Foodie Joust, which were the colors, Red, White and Green.

Voting closes tomorrow, so be sure to cast your vote for your favorite overall, best photo and most unique interpretation of the dish. Stay tuned to the LOQ blog to find out the winners!

(*still to come – the last of Italy – Rome)


Caramelized Papaya with Flan Ice Cream


INGREDIENTS:

1 can of coconut lite milk
1 can (from coconut milk) of whole organic milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 large organic eggs
1 tsp Tahitian vanilla extract
1 large papaya cut in rounds and de-seeded
sprinkling of sugar
juice of 1 lime
dusting of cinnamon
fresh mint leaves for garnish

METHOD:

Peel papaya and cut the papaya into rounds, take the seeds of of the middles, sprinkle rounds with sugar and pop them under the broiler for a few minutes. Once they get caramelized, take them out, squeeze a fresh lime over top and sprinkle the papaya liberally with cinnamon.

While the papaya is cooling, make the ice cream. In a large bowl blend 3 milks, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Pour into ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the ice cream is blended and getting frozen, yet still soft and creamy scoop a big dollop of ice cream and place it in the hole of each papaya slice. Garnish with a fresh mint leaf and serve.