Contests, redux

Silly me.  I forgot the whole impetus that led me to share about experiences with cooking competitions. Yes, it was the recent mango win – imagine that, a prize for smallest mango.  But truthfully, it was a recent call for entrants to try to win a year’s of free produce from Hungry Harvest, one of our area’s local community supported agriculture organizations (CSA). 

Many years ago, we were members of another CSA, one supported by our local synagogue.  It was in interesting endeavor.  The first year, all members had to volunteer to help with at least one of the bi-weekly pick-ups.  I felt this commitment (which members were not keen on doing) was an attempt to revitalize the spirit of the food coops many of us were members of in the 70s and 80s.

That effort lasted the first year.  Next was some other volunteer scheme which failed to get responses from the entire group.  Finally, for some reason, I was the lone volunteer who every other  week, manned (or wo-maned) the tables of produce to help subscribers assemble their half and whole shares.  Then when the operation closed down at temple each summer for about 3 years, I offered our home as the pick-up point for about 3 years .

Several things going for me with this community activity.  For one, I was working part-time at the University, directing and teaching in the Museum Studies Program.  I could schedule my day off to coincide with this “work.”  It was a social a time when I could visit with people for short amounts of time.  And also share recipes for fruits and vegetables not readily available in the local supermarket.  And, especially in the summer months, a few friends and neighbors benefited from the shares people forgot to pick up or cancel!

But that’s not the competition I forgot.  Hungry Harvest recently invited people to enter recipes featuring the artichokes, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, eggplant, kale, potatoes, radishes, squash, and turnips.  OK, artichokes I simply steam and eat. Of late, I toss brussels sprouts in oil and herb and roast them til they melt in the mouth.  This evening I made a cabbage slaw with a dressing homemade mayonnaise with lemon juice. Eggplant – well we have a renowned family recipe I can share in another post.  Kale, I learned to cook this and swiss chard in our precious CSA days.  I make an delicious kale pie – also for another blog.  Squash and turnips go into my seven vegetable couscous with chicken.  So that leaves potatoes.

I have a nice batch of duck fat in the freezer from last week’s “duck, duck, goose.” It’s the perfect ingredient for a potato galette (maybe this also fits my pie category?).  I’m having deja vu and feel like I’ve already written this.  Oh, that’s right I wrote it up for the contest entry! 

So, you need potatoes, onion, caraway seeds, duck fat, and salt and pepper.  The recipe above calls for butter – I just use my precious duck fat.  You also need a handy mandolin, the outer ring of a spring form pan, a cookie tin or baking pan, and a silicon baking sheet.

Here’s what you need

 First, you toast the caraway seeds in a pan over a low flame (my stove is gas).  Watch that they don’t burn. Next, carefully slice the potatoes and the onion with the mandolin. Note: No matter how skilled you are with this great kitchen tool, please remember to use the slicing guard to prevent adding a finger slice into the mix! Mix the toasted caraway seeds, salt and pepper with the onions and potatoes.  Then add and thoroughly mix the duck fat.  Layer it inside the ring of the springform pan on the silicone sheet. 

Ready to go into the oven

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 45 minutes or until beautifully browned.  The edges will be yummy and crispy, the center creamy and rich.  Serve with chicken or any other meat.

So delicious, enjoy

 Maybe it does not look like much, but this is so delicious – always a crowd pleaser.  And now the waiting game to see if I even make it into the finalists or even win … And that’s it for me and contests.  Well, there was another one, but we can forget about that one.


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