Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Local Iron Chef Waimea Competition!

Saturday the 15th (Ides of March!) I was a judge at our local Farmer's Market, which hosted an "Iron Chef" Local-Style competition between Chef Daniel Thiebaut from Daniel Thiebaut, and Chef Neil Murphy from Merriman's restaurant.
The event raised awareness of local foods and the sustainability of our farms, and was hosted by the Farmer's Market Association, Slow Food Hawaii, The Mala'ai Garden at Wiamea Middle School, and the Kids at Kahilu program at the Kahilu Theatre, including the dancers from Angel Prince Dance.

Rules were as follows: Chefs would get a mystery ingredient, and would have some time to shop around the market for more ingredients. Then they would have 45 minutes to create a dish, with help from one dancer from Angel Prince and one Middle School student from Mala'ai Garden. Dishes were judged by 3 judges (including me!) with the following criteria: Taste, Presentation, and use of local ingredients. (We tied them).
The secret ingredient was fresh ground lamb from my friend Jan's Maluhia Farms and Hawaiian Homegrown Wool Company. The lambs were Bluebell, Junior, and I can't remember the third's name, but she did shear them before slaughter and their Romney wool in very soft.
Thiebaut made the lamb stuffed yellow pepper with watermelon radish rattatouille. Murphy made a vegetable and lamb layered gateau with smoked tomato sauce and egg and mushroom scramble.
They both looked amazing (see Bill Adams' of North Hawaii News photo of Neil's Gateau here. Much prettier than my photo!), they both used a massive amount of local ingredients, including the lamb, vegetables, goat cheese, and eggs. 
I thought Neil's gateau tasted the best, while Bernice thought Thiebaut's pepper was the best, and Chef Piet, the third judge, couldn't decide and suggested we tie them.
Good Fun!

Monday, March 17, 2008

One Reason to Love March

As a former girl scout myself, I have an enduring love for the cookies. Note that I only love the ones that were available during my scouting time. Note also the lack of Tagalongs, the peanut butter ones: I like them, but they were always my sisters, while the coconut encrusted Samoas were mine (she never liked coconut).
She and I both hate February, as well. Is it coincidence that we both hate the month immediately preceding the release of girl scout cookies? I think not:
I have this theory that the little brownie bakers are drugging the cookies with, like, a time release heroin or something. All former girl scouts are hooked at a young age and thus insure a life-long customer base. February comes along and we all go into moody withdrawals until the cookies appear in March. Am I the only one who over-splurges? Hording, case-purchases, bulk-buys... not uncommon. A few years back, my usual dealer, er, innocent-little-girl-scout won a frickin' bicycle because her sales were so high. Yup: That was me. I was told that it would have been cheaper to just buy her the bike, but then I wouldn't have the cookies. Must.Have.Cookies!