Sunday, June 29, 2008

Battle Parmigiano Reggiano - June 29, 2008

We’re easy to spot now. No need to seek out the lone Crate & Barrel picnic table set up under the Jacaranda tree. Just look for the tricked out Coronado Concert in the Park wagon, capable of transporting multiple tables, chairs, serving dishes, platters of gourmet food, bottles of wine, and 15' flag poles flying the American and Navy Flags! It will be parked next to the other Chefs’ wagons and strollers on the perimeter of the ginormous picnic blanket donated by Sparky. That’s how it was for Battle Parmigiano Reggiano and our largest crowd yet!

New challengers, Todd & Kate Shallan and Joe & Karen Moore, eagerly tested their skills in the heat of Kitchen Stadium. Chef Todd’s winning Banana-Parmesan Tarte Tatin with Maple Creme Anglaise didn’t last long and we were all thrilled when a second one was unveiled. Chef Joe’s Beef Tenderloin Crostini with Chimichurri Sauce, beautifully garnished with Parmigiano Reggiano Crisps, also received action during the voting. However, it was Iron Chef Kai’s Italian Sausage & Beef Lasagne that squeaked into second place behind Joes’ Banana Tarte Tatin.

There were so many entries this week, making it impossible to taste everything. In addition to those mentioned above, we enjoyed Kate’s Macaroni & Cheese, Jim & Melinda’s Parmesan Roasted Potatoes, Kerry & Jack's Chicken Parmesan, Pammy’s Salad, Brad’s Garlic Butter-Parmesan-Salami Crostini, Susan’s Parmigiano Reggiano drizzled with Balsamic Creme Reduction Vinegar, Mary’s Lasagne Il Fornaio, John’s Reggiano Creme Moulee, and my Italian Sausage & Broccoli Rabe Torte.

We also celebrated Âine's 5th birthday. Âine came to Coronado with Dad Kyle to visit Grandpa Bob and Aunt Mary and celebrate her birthday.

It’s going to be a busy week with Jim and Melinda’s Annual Beach Party on the 3rd, the Parade, festivities and fireworks on the 4th and Battle Blue Foot Chicken on Sunday the 6th. Now, a little about our Secret Ingredient...BLUE FOOT CHICKEN!!

Blue Foot chicken is an American variety of the French chicken breed, Poulet de Bresse. Like many other chickens, the Blue Foot has a red comb and white feathers. Where it is different is that it has steel-blue feet — a trait so admired that the feet are usually left on for presentation. It is slaughtered later than the usual chicken and then air-chilled. It is believed that these two factors give it a stronger flavor and texture. In keeping with its elite status, the blue foot currently sells at roughly 10 times the usual price of most other chicken. It is almost always sold with the head and feet on. Peter Thiessen and Bob Shipley are credited with breeding this bird in the late 1980s.

Extra points if you actually use Blue Foot Chicken, but please don't leave the feet on for presentation). Let the Battle Begin!


Denise & John

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Battle Olive - June 22, 2008

The Chefs came through with another fine array of dishes and spectacular plating.

Susan jumped into the festivities and dazzled us with her Shrimp & Olive Pasta, as evidenced by Max’s standing ovation. Kai’s Three Olive & Feta Pizza, garnished with a Gardenia, was an extraordinary crowd-pleaser, as was the Garanamals’ Summer Collection sported by Hill, Max & Olivia. Brad impressed himself, and us, with a platter of Parmesan Crisps, each layered with Mushroom and Olive Spreads and topped with Roasted Garlic ...however, Brad's dish lost points due his whining about the price tag on the crisps... John’s Gorgonzola-Stuffed, Pancetta-Wrapped Olives were creatively nestled in won-top wrapper cups and topped with a squirt of Pesto...but OMG, give me a gallon of water... Denise’s Marinated Squid Salad, baby tentacles and all, braved by some, was served in individual scallop shells and her Vincent van Gogh, Olive Trees, Olive Oil Cake with Citrus Compote was yet another test run for the budding Dooley’s SeaCakes business.

Sparks continued to avoid the heat of Kitchen Stadium, but found time for a quick rendevous with The Baker, aka Il Fornaio, and presented a beautiful loaf of fresh Olive Bread with ?butter? (don't tell her OLIVE oil and balsamic vinegar would have paired nicely). Mary also offered a refreshing Berry Fruit Salad featuring Chocolate Chunks...Although it was missing the Secret Ingredient, we'll let her slide on this one because our palates needed some cleansing...John, can you say "Salty Pancetta?"

Derrick came out of the cave for his first concert of the season and enjoyed the fresh air (and cold beer from Mr. Coronado’s ice chest). Pammy, exhausted after her Miss Fixx job, dropped her drywall drawers, donned a pretty dress, and made it in time for a taste of everything and a little chill time. We missed some of our regulars and newbies and hope to see everyone on Sunday. Feel free to forward this Invite to others who may care to join us.

This week's Secret Ingredient is Parmesan Reggiano, the most famous of all Italian cheeses. Jump Start performs at 6:00 p.m. Let the Battle Begin!

Denise & John

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Battle Corn - June 15, 2008

We had another fabulous showing on Father's Day for Concert in the Park, Iron Chef Battle CORN.
Bob arrived sporting his new Mr. Coronado shirt, a gift from adopted daughter, Pammy. Chef Pam's Tamales really rocked, as evidenced by Karaoke Archie's howling praise.

Kai flew solo (Hill, Max & Olivia were visiting family in Florida), but he proudly wore his Olivia's Daddy hat. Chef Kai prepared homemade, baked Tortilla Chips to complement his yummy Smoked Corn Salsa.

Master Diver Mike and Vicki joined us for their first Concert of the season and Chef Vicki enthusiastically jumped into the Battle with a beautifully plated and tasty Corn, Tomato and Shrimp Salad.

Although she couldn't join us, Chef Carolyn was inspired by the competition and contributed her tasty version of Emeril's Hot and Cheesy Corn Dip with Blue Corn Tortilla Chips. Thanks Mom!

Chef Brad grilled fresh Corn on the Cob with Garlic-Chive Butter and impressed us all with his cleverly tied husks.

Chef Zesty whipped up Corn-Studded Guacamole and chips. Can we now assume the kitchen is completely unpacked after 6 months?

Chef Mary and sous-chef Riley slaved in the "I only have a kitchen because it came with the house" kitchen, for at least 2 full minutes opening that can of corn, but what's a girl to do on the fly after relaxing poolside at the Del for the afternoon? Love ya Sparks ;-)...

Kerry also had a tough day poolside at the Del and was unable to take the heat of Kitchen Stadium. However, she came through with another bag of goodies for the winner, her prized Ropin' the Flavors of Texas Cookbook, a few cans of Hatch Jalapeno Chiles (I think these were supposed to go in the New Mexican Corn Pudding that didn't make it to the Park!), and some Pampered Chef kitchen toys - Corn Cob Nobs and a cute Flour/Sugar Shaker.

Chef John presented the group with another collection of gourmet Balls. This time, he created rich and decadent Praline-Crunch-Nut Popcorn Balls. When asked for a showing of hands of those who wished to indulge, a lady sitting with the group next to ours frantically waved her hand in the air. She wasn't shy in going after what she wanted and was ultimately rewarded with a taste of one of his balls.

M version of Tuscan Meat Ragu over Creamy Polenta (simmered for an extra 5 hours) was voted the winning dish, but all the dishes were truly fantastic.

We seem to kick it up a notch every week and John and I hope to put together a cookbook of photos and recipes at the end of the summer season. If you would like any of your recipes and/or photos included, please remember to e-mail them to me. Thanks again to the Chefs, friends and family for joining us.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Battle Rice - June 8, 2008

Thank you to everyone who joined us and participated in a fun and entertaining evening, listening to the Navy Show Band and dining on Iron Chef RICE dishes.

John was awarded the Grand Prize for his rather large Mario Batali Rice Balls. Kerry presented him with some cooking magazines and a collection of pink, Pampered Chef, kitchen gadgets and gloves.

Sparks was very proud of her Rice Krispies Treats, but commented she would have preferred Ghost-Chef Kerry to "drizzle" the dark chocolate over the top... Pammy presented a beautiful dome of Chicken and Rice Salad, enhanced by mint and parsley.

Kai's Butternut Squash Risotto was delicious and colorful. Kerry's Chicken and Rice Salad featured Edamame and other tasty ingredients. Brent and Lenore's Chicken and Rice dish. and their Rice Pudding, showcased fresh apricots from their tree.

Denise's Chocolate Rice Pudding, garnished with with Cherries Jubilee and Whipped Cream, won for presentation, thanks to PF Changs dessert rack and shot glasses.

We also sampled some Sake (unfiltered Nigori, sparkling and "G" ) and enjoyed Susan's and Bob's bottles of red and white wine.

We missed Mike and Ruth Ann, pooped out from a long day of Open Houses and landscaping/tile work, but thank them for sending over the stuffed mushrooms and fruit skewers. We also missed Jack and Sandra. and Brad, who opted for watching the Celtics squash the Lakers. We are still waiting for appearances from various other friends and feel free to invite new foodies!

Now it's on to Battle CORN for a very special Father's Day Concert in the Park. The Kearny Mesa Concert Band is scheduled to perform.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Battle Langostino - June 1, 2008

Wow, we have become quite the foodies! Thanks again for joining us in Battle Langostino (creatively disguised as lobster, shrimp and crab).

We had another marvelous spread with Jack and Sandra's Jambalaya/garlic bread, Mike & Ruth Ann's Bacon-wrapped BBQ'd Shrimp and grilled vegetable kabobs, Kai and Hillari's Shrimp Calzones, John's Crab Bloody Marys and Red Lobster Biscuits, Brad's Real Men Do Eat Quiche, Denise's Lobster Mac & Fontina Cheese, Brent & Lenore's Maine Lobster Dip and crackers, and a nice selection of wine.

The secret ingredient for this Sunday is RICE...Let the battle begin!