Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Coronado Concerts in the Park - Challenge Gourmazing Fast Food

Our theme this past Sunday evening, Gourmazing Fast Food, challenged us to take fast food to a new level and transform it into something gourmet and amazing!

What immediately comes to mind when you think of fast food? Burgers, hot dogs, french fries, pizza, KFC, Mexican food...basically anything from fast food establishments, ball parks, movie theatres, shopping mall food courts, etc. It wasn't the healthiest of our summer culinary challenges, but we had quite a variety of creative transformations.

Hot Dog on a Stick's trademark foods are Hot Dogs on a Stick (corn dogs) and lemonade. The company has expanded its menu items to include American and Pepper Jack Cheese on a Stick and Veggie Dogs on a Stick.

John set the bar with his gourmazing Fois Gras Pate on a Stick. He also offered Brie on a Stick, with jalapeno pepper jelly; Little Smokies Sausages on a Stick, with spicy mustard; Blackberries on a Stick, dusted with powdered sugar, and Snicker Bars on a Stick!

Our wagon was converted into a mini deep fryer station and all Sticks were made to order!

Fois Gras Pate on a Stick!

I think Kai is sampling the Fois Gras one here, but his favorite was Brie on a Stick. John added some chopped nuts in the batter for texture and flavor.

Also at the top of the gourmazing menu: Kai's Lobster Rolls with Garlic Mayonnaise. Kai and Hillary just returned from 3 weeks in Germany, bearing gifts I might add...thank you! I loved Kai's presentation of his Lobster Rolls, all wrapped up and standing up in a basket. He added a little Lobster roe to the one on top.

Alec and Nina prepared splendid creations: Alec's gourmazing Pizzas - Heirloom Tomato & Asparagus, and Caramelized Onion, Mushroom & Pancetta

Nina's Apple Pies were outstanding. She transformed McDonald's version using Barefoot Contessa's Apple Crisp and Bobby Flay's Caramel Sauce recipes. Her pies were also presented very creatively.

Bill and Janice joined us this week, offering Chicken, Spinach, Mushrooms and Gouda Cheese Quesadillas. Janice used fresh tortillas from the hood, and drizzled the quesadillas with warm Queso Blanco

Jim, alone in the kitchen with Carmen away, whipped up Caramelized Onion and Hot Dog Casserole.

Pam, our Salad Angel, went with Buffalo Chicken Tenders as the gourmazing ingredient in her Chef Salad - complemented by McP's infamous buffalo wing sauce.

Bradly served up Gourmazing Garlic Fries

Rich slipped in late with a platter of Spam Sliders, and Mary (yes you heard me right) stunned the crowd with her Taco Salad ;-)

And last, but not least....

My contribution to the cause was Bread Pudding, made with Doughnuts, aka Caramelized Pear & Doughnut Pudding with Kentucky Bourbon Sauce. Would you care for a doughnut with your bourbon? OMG, I suspected a cup of bourbon in the sauce was a bit excessive! However, my dessert did receive some rave reviews. The cake doughnut flavor was not overpowered, surprisingly, by the bourbon soaked raisins and bourbon sauce. If you're interested, and of legal drinking age, I was inspired by Tyler Florence's Brioche and Berry Bread Pudding with Lemon Fondant. I followed the recipe for Bourbon Sauce found here, at Simply Recipes and followed Cooks Illustrated Bread Pudding recipe, substituting doughnuts.

Start with a dozen doughnuts

Break them into pieces, place on a cookie sheet, and toast in the oven

Meanwhile, drown some raisins in bourbon

Saute sliced pears in butter and brown sugar and then place in the bottom of ramekins. I did this because I wanted to invert the puddings for plating (I ended up leaving them in the ramekins for the park, to keep warm and for easier serving). The one I did invert looked like a cute, little upside down pear pudding.

I also made one in a small springform pan for our neighbors, Jim & Melinda, who now refuse to sit with us at the park because they are "intimidated" by our cooking!

Here are all the ramekins, filled with the doughnut-pudding mixture

And here's the final plating, drizzled with decadent bourbon sauce and topped with a few of John's blackberries

It was an entertaining culinary challenge and the Marine Band rocked!

On Sunday, our theme is Greek Cuisine! Only three more Summer Concerts in the Park...

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