Sunday, July 27, 2008

Battle Zucchini - July 27, 2008

We were thrilled to lure in new challengers, Jim & Carmen Beaubeaux, for Battle Zucchini. Carmen has been waiting for the perfect opportunity to share her Crespéou, pronounced cress-PAY-oo, and sometimes called gateau d'omelettes. “It is a gorgeous, layered omelet cake from Provence. Like ratatouille, crespéou can be made myriad ways. The easiest is just to cook up a stack of open-face omelets, of varying colors and with contrasting ingredients, piling them on a plate as they firm up and brown slightly, then cut the assemblage into wedges to serve right away. But it is much more common to stack the omelets and then weight them overnight so that they compress and cling together even more. The contrast among flavors in every layer is more pronounced.” Google “Crespéou, an edible ticket to Provence” for the Los Angeles Times article and recipe. Carmen’s Crespéou was beautifully presented, draped with ribbons of zucchini and roasted bell peppers, surrounded by fresh sprigs of parsley and rosemary, and drizzled with a creamy sauce. Happy 20th Birthday to Jim & Carmen’s son, Chris!

Brad wadded in a little over his head when he decided to bake Chocolate-Zucchini Cupcakes. He came over at least three times throughout the afternoon. The first time, he questioned the accuracy of his recipe...does three cups of flour and one cup of oil sound right? The second time, he needed to borrow the flour sifter. The third time, he wanted to know if we had a blow torch so he could “caramelize” the little zucchini rounds as garnish for the tops of the cupcakes. We later learned he soaked his shredded zucchini in Kaluha. Brad named his ultimate creation Brad’s Hell-I’ll-Never-Bake-Again-Chocolate-Kaluha-Zucchini-Cupcakes. No worries Brad, the cupcakes were a hit and you can now go back to your manly-man grill.

Pam went over the top this week with three dishes! She baked one of her childhood favorites, Zucchini Pie. She also made a Grilled Vegetable & Feta Salad AND baked Zucchini Bread. Don’t worry Brad, it’s because she’s a woman who is capable of multi-tasking; she can remain calm and collected with dishes in the oven AND veggies on the grill...

We had two delicious versions of Stuffed Zucchini, one prepared by Vicki and the other by Sandra. We’re glad Rick & Vicki joined us again and it’s great to have Jack & Sandra back for the rest of the summer!

Dean appears to be hooked after three weeks and has become quite the gourmet. This week, he presented a platter of Zucchini & Squash Cakes with Marinara dipping sauce. Dean also entertained us with a few smooth dance moves as he rocked out to Rockola.

Kai & Hillari returned from Napa in time to join us. Olivia and Max brought Grandma to the park and Kai was able to whip up some Zucchini Chocolate Chip & Pecan Bread.

I tried something new, Zucchini & Saffron Vichyssoise, topped with a small mound of julienne zucchini and a seared scallop. I’ve never made a Vichyssoise, but it was interesting and colorful.

For the finale, Jack & Sandra’s daughter, Madeleine, created a decadent Lemon Pudding, Cool Whip, Berry & Vanilla Wafer Parfait. Madeleine’s dessert was devoured within minutes! You go girl!

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