Monday, April 30, 2007

chef contest

I just returned from a one way trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina, to judge a cooking contest for Lowcountry Literacy. It was a well organized event, with many capable volunteers. It was interesting, as always, to see what the chefs created.

Maybe I'm a funny judge, but I really don't like it when contestants use very special ingredients that the other contestants don't have. (In this case, each one was allowed to bring several ingredients -- including their own stock.) But really, the challenge is to use what is there. That's what I have to do at home, for instance.

Surprisingly, we saw three crepe desserts, two of them "Suzettey" -- i.e., with orange liquor. I wonder if they are coming back. Not one of them tried a pastry (although to be fair there was no refrigeration on the floor -- they would have had to run it back to the space set aside for the volunteers, where there was a freezer and a refrigerator.

Saturday I went to our farmer's market and really binged, buying all sorts of wonderful produce. Frustrated at not having time to use any of it, I just tucked a blueberry/raspberry cobbler in the oven. Its my old lazy girl cobbler, which is a simple thing to assemble and make. I always start to crave it when the fresh fruit starts coming. Granulated or brown sugar can be used. Self-rising flour is a must. A like a larger baking dish rather than a smaller because I like the crispy edge where the butter comes up around. Yum.

Lazy Girl Cobbler

1 stick butter
1 cup each milk, self-rising flour, and sugar.
2 cups berries or peaches

Preheat oven to 350@. Put the butter in a baking dish and let it melt in the oven. Meanwhile, whisk together milk, self-rising flour and 3/4 of the sugar. Add the other 1/4 cup of sugar to the berries and toss gently. When the butter is melted (about 5 minutes) remove the dish, pour in the batter, and top the batter with the fruit and any juices. Bake until brown and cooked through -- half an hour to 45 minutes, depending on the dish.

I did buy fresh eggs at the market, and sauteed them in butter for dinner last night after I returned from Hilton Head at nearly seven. They were just perfect and Jack and I sopped them up. I had mine sunny side up where Jack's I turned over easy. He doesn't love the runny yellow like I do. Fresh eggs taste so much better than store-bought. The yellow holds together more and makes it a beautiful painting in the pan.

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