Sunday, January 04, 2009

Cooking Club : Color, Emotion, Ingredient

IMG_6300, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Goodness me, this post has taken an awful long time for me to even think about getting to. I've been a very busy, busy bee. I'm always startled by the amount of time and effort being a student takes. It takes me about 8 weeks to get used to a new schedule and classes, and then a few weeks later it's over, and I've got a little break before the next quarter, then the whole thing starts all over again. Outside of school, I've had a lot on my mind and on "my plate", so to speak. I feel like I've been doing a whole lot of soul searching the last 6 months. My life has seemed like a turbulent storm of change, lots of people coming and going, I'm not a huge fan of change, I may have already mentioned this. Yet, I feel ready for a bigger change. You know when they speed up images of traffic, and it looks like one large, fast moving, caterpillar of lights? Life has felt a bit like that. Nothing profound, just lots of busy movement. It's hard to explain, and as I've realized recently in my english comp class, I'm no poet. Not even sort of/kind of. I should just get on with the food then, shouldn't I?

I loved this dinner, I couldn't profess my love of this dinner enough. Not necessarily all of the dishes that were made and consumed, but definitely the concept. Let me explain. I'm Top Chef obsessed. As a teenager and very young 20-something I was sick for a lot of reality tv (except for dancing and singing, oh and bachelor type shows. . . gag me). As I've gotten a tiny bit older I've really lost interest in other peoples drama. But I adore Top Chef. It's amazing. . . mostly because it's just so easy to be inspired by and critique food. Last season the contestants had a challenge in which they were given a color, emotion and an ingredient. They had to create a dish that featured all three cohesively. I was dying to try this myself. And what a better venue to do so then with my fellow cooking groupies? So, after our Christmas dinner we sat down with four bowls. We brainstormed 10 colors, 10 ingredients, and 10 emotions, write them on tiny slips of paper and proceeded to draw them, one by one, from the bowls. We also had a bowl of courses/dishes (we randomly draw our dishes for our next dinner, after each dinner). Not only did I want to try this concept myself, but I really wanted to see how others interpreted it, how they might be inspired by it.

So this is how it broke down, er, what we all drew:

Alcoholic Drink: Pink Smart Turnip
Appetizer: Yellow Domineering Pepper
Amuse Bouche: Purple Amorous Citrus
Starter: Red Happy Pasta
Side: Orange Thoughtful Broccoli
Side: Green Ferocious Squash
Side: White Fiesty Cheese
Entree: Blue Whimsical Fish
Dessert: Gold Sexy Pistachio

And here is what was made (so you can compare to the list above):

Alcoholic Drink: Raspberry Mead (no turnips, we decided it was best they be added to his other dish)
Appetizer (shown above): Crostini with Fresh Mozzarella, Roasted Yellow Peppers and Reduced Balsamic
Amuse Bouche (pictured below): Mini Marinated Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese and Citrus Sauce
Starter: Cajun Pasta with Barbequed Shrimp (I made homemade red pepper pasta, but it molded, odd, so I used a backup)
Side: Broccoli in Orange Sauce
Side: Acorn Squash stuffed with Turnips and assorted veggies
Entree: Balsamic Blueberry Salmon
Dessert: Pistachio Pana Cotta with Raspberry Gelee and a Gold Dusted Rose Petal

For the beet and crostini recipe check out fellow cooking clubbers blog: They were her dishes, and she's got an awesome post over at her blog that you can read. Both recipes were killer (in fact, the other night, Thomas and I had the crostini and a bottle of wine for dinner).

Beet Root., originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Cajun Prawn Pasta, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Blueberry Balsamic Salmon , originally uploaded by miss.mallory.