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The Meatrix I'm not a vegetarian but I dislike factory farming and I support small, family farms.

 

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Paper Chef slight delay 
Due to lots and lots and lots of work and the fact that this month crept up on me (why do they keep the calendar such a secret?) we are pushing Paper Chef back a week this month. That way that inimitable world ruler (read the comments...) Magic Tofu can have some time to prepare to rule judge the next Paper Chef properly...

So Paper Chef will start on Friday February 10th at about noon and end Monday Feb 13th at about noon.

Ingredient nominations are now open (one suggestion per person in the commetns pleaswe) and I'll have the list of what ingredients are available up shortly.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

It's all happening Thursday (or Friday) 
Paper Chef Update

The dynamic duo at Belly-Timber is hard at work gathering, evaluating, annotating, rounding up, etc. all the Paper Chef entries and promises to have a report up on Thursday. So head on over there to check it out. I have lamely bowed out of doing a roundup this time because of pressure of work. But I understand that we got a LOT of entrants this time around so it should be a big and a good one. Particularly interesting are the interpretations of 'baby' - at least one of which is actually a baby...
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Friday, January 06, 2006

Paper Chef Recap, Newbies, FAQ, etc. 
We are getting a few questions about how, who, what, etc. for the Paper Chef. So here is EVERYTHING you need to know and more!

First - the contest is being hosted by Belly Timber. After you read this, go over there and get the ingredient list and so forth - plus you should check their totally wacky and fun site out.

As a reminder, here are the 'rules and regulations,' which I prefer to think of as something akin to the pirate code of Captain Jack Sparrow and thus 'more like guidelines.'

For absolutely only the fun of it and for no other reason whatsoever, the Paper Chef challenges each and every one of you reading this to let loose your culinary imagination and make up a dish of your own. Loosely based on the ideas of the Iron Chef, fond TV favorite in the US and Japan, and on the British show Ready, Steady, Cook! (fond favorite in the UK), the Paper Chef is all about creativity and constraint, challenge and cooking.

About a week before the event opens, I post an ingredient list from previous events here at Tomatilla! Older ingredients fall off the list, as does anything that actually got used in an event. Those ingredients are 'banned' for a month just to prevent the choices being cream and chocolate and cream and chocolate and cream and chocolate and...you get the idea. Any reader of the blog can nominate a new ingredient (one only please) and it can be anything within the bounds of good taste (both kinds). Three ingredients are chosen at random from the final list and the host (usually me but not always) picks one more ingredient that is topical or seasonal or that suits our whimsy. Then you get a weekend (Friday Noon to Monday Noon) to make up a recipe, cook it and post the recipe to your blog. Then post a comment here or send an email to owenl1998 at yahoo dot com to be included in a roundup. The previous month's winner gets to be judge (and is ineligible that month) and gives out whatever kinds of awards they like.

I've had lots of questions about things like photographs. Photographs are NOT necessary to take part. Nor is having you own blog - I'll be happy to post a recipe for you if you want. However, it is clear that having a nice photograph will help influence the judges - if they see it looking good it is a lot easier to imagine it tasting looking good...

It is also absolutely OK to substitute if you just cannot find an ingredient or if you or someone who will eat the dish has an allergy - just try to substitute with something close to the original to remain in the spirit of the occasion.<

The times are always the first Friday of the month, Noon PST until the following Monday Noon PST. However we aren't sticklers for timekeeping here - a little late and any excuse will do. A LOT late and you'll have to have a really good and creative one to do with cats pushing bowls off counters or the like.

Past event roundups and winners are here:

Paper Chef #1: Cilantro, Ginger, Almonds and Winter Squash

The winner was Curried Chicken and Squash Soup with Meyer Lemon.

Paper Chef #2: Potatoes, Savoy Cabbage, Chicken and Lemon

The winner was Lemon Chicken Egg Rolls with Citrus Dipping Sauce.

Paper Chef #3: Wheat Flour, Cinnamon, Creme Fraiche and Oranges

The winner was Very Posh Cheese and Biscuits.

Paper Chef #4: Eggplant, chocolate, stale bread and pomegranate.

The winner was Cocoa-Pomegranate Roast Chicken with Eggplant Stuffing.

Paper Chef #5: Prosciutto, sherry vinegar, green garlic and goat cheese.

The winner was Garlic chive and Goat's Cheese Ravioli with Sherry Vinegar Reduction and Prosciutto Shards.

Paper Chef #6: Ricotta, strawberries, almond paste and white chocolate.
The winner was Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote with Ricotta-White Chocolate Gelato and Scented Madeleines.

Paper Chef #7: Buttermilk, Dates, Honey and Eggs.

The winner was Feta Souffle with Walnuts, Dates and Feisty Greens.

Paper Chef#8: Cheddar cheese, olives, spinach and either potatoes OR cream, not both.

The winner was Warm Spinach, Cremini, and Kalamata Salad with Creamy White Cheddar Dressing.


Paper Chef #9: Chilli, Peach, Flowers and Something Local.
The winner was a Stuffed Pork Loin.
Paper Chef #10: New Orleans version with beer, tomato, sausage and shrimp.

The winner was Stephen's Beer-Boiled Shrimp Po' Boy.

Paper Chef #11: Autumn edition with duck, pears, ginger and nut butter.

The winner was Belly Timber with Ravioli dell'autunno with Sliced Anna Kiwi, Duck Soup with Chicken, Pistachio Ginger Flavor and Nutty* Duck risotto with Ginger and Caramelized Pear.


Paper Chef #12: Lamb, oranges, basil and fish sauce Edition.
The Winner was The Two-Minute Noodle Cook with
Bush Tucker Lamb Parfait with Orange Basil Seed Champagne Jelly and Whitebait Tapenade Sauce.

Paper Chef #13: Other side of the world edition with Carrot, Rice and Anchovy. In two parts.
The Winner was Belly-Timber with Siu Mai and Fried Shrimp with Rice.


Now hop on over to Belly-Timber to find out how to enter....
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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Paper Chef 14 Update 
We have a storm of ingredient entries to add and a few tweaks - our eagle-eyed judge noticed that basil was a recently used ingredient and so needs to be avoided for another month or two.

Here is the latest list:

Winter root vegetables, butternut squash, scallions, quinoa, olives, yoghurt, barley, fennel, pumpkin (or any squash) seeds, fancy vinegar, cranberries, cream of rice, cornish hens, honey, something derived from a goat (meat, milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter, etc), rocket (arugula), cashews, macadamia nuts, pomegranate molasses, hot bean paste, chestnuts, grits, holiday leftovers, chicken thighs, ham, kale, dried beans, miso, simple syrup and buffalo (that last may require some serious global adjustments for those outside North America - and you all might not know how common buffalo is becoming - kind of like a super beef).

Wow! What a list! There are a LOT of fun random possibilities there!
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Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year! Paper Chef, Cooking and Recipes, Digital Dish 2, Wood-Burning Ovens and Happiness... 
...they are all connected. Well - a little. First, to all my readers (there are a few of you I know) Happy New Year and all the best for the coming year. There are many ways it can be an improvement on the past year, especially in the political arena.

In the food area, I will continue to do Paper Chef as long as there seems to be demand. I resolve to cook more and think more about what I cook and to strive to make worthwhile, repeateable recipes a little more. If I get the financial wherewithal, I resolve to do a follow-up to Digital Dish. If I get the time and opportunity I resolve to build a wood-burning oven. But most of all I resolve to be happier and spread more happiness. May you all have a great New Year too.
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Paper Chef 14 - Another year, another storm of creativity, or just another storm 
It is time - past time - to kick off the New Year with another Paper Chef event. It is a time for a lot of careful consideration and looking back and looking forward. It is time for reflection and analysis. It is a time for casting off old vices, old attitudes, old things that you want to remove from your life and a time for renewal of the things that are important to you. It is spiritually a time to wash away what is bad and evil and to recommit to what is good and worthwhile. It is a time to reconsider all the mistakes of the past year - and there were many many of those all around the world, but perhaps more amd more serious ones in the actions of those ruling my native and chosen home.

Regular readers will know that I have some ties with Lousiana - family, friends and personal. Our biggest mistakes have been made there and now is a chance to make them right. Our country has vast resources and has been wasting them overseas in destruction and misguided meddling. Now would be a good time to rethink how and what we do with our efforts.

Closer to home winter storms are tearing through my real home - our creek, which runs at most two feet deep for most of the year, rose 20 feet two days ago, uprooting trees and threatening to flood us. Fortunately it didn't and maybe we will have the chance to persuade the local water board that dumping the resevoir into the creek when it is at its height isn't a sensible way to go about things - or maybe we won't...

So it is time to think a little bit about the Paper Chef - but not too hard. I like the Paper Chef being what the participants make of it. Last time our Masterchef at the Electric Restaurant stamped an authorative Australian flavor and depth of judging that set new standards - he even gave prizes!

But I don't want the judges to feel that they have to go to that level - at heart this is a participatory event and if our participants and judges want to keep things simple, that is just as honorable and worthwhile.

Since many New Year Resolutions include health and simplicity, I would like to set a tone of simplicity, health and renewal for this month. The current ingredient list is:

Root vegetables, basil, butternut squash, scallions, quinoa, olives, yoghurt, barley, fennel, pumpkin (or any squash) seeds, fancy vinegar, cranberries, cream of rice, cornish hens, honey, something derived from a goat (meat, milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter, etc), rocket, cashews, macadamia nuts, pomegranate molasses, hot bean paste and chestnuts.

I am going to ask the judges - Mrs Deedop and Chopper Dave at Belly Timber - to come up with the secret fourth ingredient and the other three will, as usual, be selected randomly from the final list. In the meantime everyone in the world is welcome to nominate ingredients for the list - just keep them clean!
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