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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mesquite – the aftermath…

With the van packed, floor to ceiling, and the overflow packed into Dad’s car. We headed for Mesquite about 5:30 PM (after picking Rod up in SLC). The drive started a little hairy; with rush hour traffic on I-215, the merge to I-15, then the ugliness from Lehi to Spanish Fork, total white knuckled drive. Nephi could not have come sooner, for Rod to take the wheel.
We arrived at the Casa Blanca Hotel & Casino about 11:30, to check in. We were told to park in the back where the cook-off would be (for security reasons). We had to walk through the Casino and down the hall to the elevators and up to the 5th floor, to our rooms. It seemed like we had to walk a mile just to get to our room. The rooms were nice, and the pillows were inviting.  The draw of the lights and the bustle of the casino beckoned to us. While walking around the casino looking for the arcade we were “cased” by a security guard. As we walked to the back of the room, I turned to the guard, to ask were the arcade was. I think I totally caught him off guard ‘cause he looked totally befuddled. He showed us where it was and told us that it closed at 11PM.  So with the arcade closed, the girls had no choice but to call it a night. As we were walking back to the room we stopped for a minute to check out the band (ok, the drunk people dancing to the band) that was playing and yet another guard came up to us and told the girls that they were not allowed on the floor. So Melissa wanted to know if she was supposed to levitate while in the casino. The Casa Blanca, we have decided is not very family friendly. We may have to check out the Virgin River next time.
Day 1 - Friday morning we got up and went down to set up our booth, when I realized that I forgot the garnish for my dishes. I am very grateful that Mesquite has a Wal-Mart and a Smith’s – I sent Rod and Becka to get me stuff to garnish my dishes with. 
In the cooks meeting we were all informed for our starting time, as well as when the dishes were due. With the staggered times I knew it would be a stretch for my dessert to come out, and as you can see by the pictures – it did not set as planned. 1st hurdle, Melissa went to work on her bread, it looked phenomenal, I was pretty excited for it, put it on the coals and when they called for it , it was still doughy on the top, 2nd hurdle – lessons learned… Elevation!! Briquettes spend faster. My main course turned out beautifully – and yes I remembered to take the strings off it this time.
Judging – Well with all the issues we had I was pretty certain that we did not make the 3 pot on Saturday. Sure enough – we only got to do the 2, the side and dessert.
Day 2 -Saturday was a beautiful day, highs reached about 50°, When I talked to Andrew he said it was 19° and snowing here at home and on his was to class. So no matter how this day went – the weather was prize enough!  For our side dish we cooked Rosemary potatoes, they looked beautiful, and smelled heavenly, but I guess some said they were not done enough, sorry they are not mashed potatoes folks, I thought they were done just right.  And out cake – well here is the epic fail – I have lived most of my life at the 4500-5300 elevation, I did not even think anything of it when making these cakes, let’s just say they could have passed for cookies they were so thin and dry. They looked beautiful …. Just not as good as they could have.
Did we have fun?
Will we do it again?
And yes our priority will be getting us better transportation, the Tetris game and the back of my van is getting old.
It was so good to see our Dutch oven family again. I love how, no matter who you are, or where you come from, a little black pot full of tantalizing goodness will bring you together like a big family reunion.
Beef Wellington
3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) mushrooms                               2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped                2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons butter                                                        2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt                                                                        Freshly ground black pepper
Finely chop mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme to. Add butter and olive oil to a large sauté pan and set over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushroom mixture and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

For the Beef
1 (3-pound) center cut beef tenderloin (filet mignon), trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil                                                      Kosher salt
Ground black pepper                                                     6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
Flour, for rolling out puff pastry                                   1 pound puff pastry, thawed
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt                                         12 thin slices prosciutto
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard                                        2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Tie the tenderloin so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, 12” D/O lightly coated with olive oil - about 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile set out your prosciutto on a sheet of plastic wrap (plastic needs to be about a foot and a half in length so you can wrap and tie the roast up in it) on top of your cutting board. Shingle the prosciutto so it forms a rectangle that is big enough to encompass the entire filet of beef. Using a rubber spatula cover evenly with a thin layer of duxelles. Season the surface of the duxelles with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. When the beef is seared, remove from heat, cut off twine and smear lightly all over with Dijon mustard. Allow to cool slightly, then roll up in the duxelles covered prosciutto using the plastic wrap to tie it up nice and tight. Tuck in the ends of the prosciutto as you roll to completely encompass the beef. Roll it up tightly in plastic wrap and twist the ends to seal it completely and hold it in a nice log shape. Set in the cooler for 30 minutes to ensure it maintains its shape. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
On a lightly floured surface set your puff pastry out to thaw. Depending on the size of your sheets you may have to overlap 2 sheets and press them together. Remove beef from cooler and cut off plastic. Set the beef in the center of the pastry and fold over the longer sides, brushing with egg wash to seal. Trim ends if necessary then brush with egg wash and fold over to completely seal the beef - saving ends to use as a decoration on top if desired. Top with coarse sea salt. Place the beef seam side down on a baking sheet.
Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash then make a couple of slits in the top of the pastry using the tip of a paring knife - this creates vents that will allow the steam to escape when cooking. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown and beef registers 125 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from oven and rest before cutting into thick slices.

Mediterranean Bread
Dough                                                                                     Filling
5-6 C Flour                                                                              1/3 C Olive oil,                       
3 Tbsp Active dry yeast                                                        1/2 lb Mozzarella shredded
1/2 C Sugar                                                                             Sun Dried tomatoes (to taste)
1 Tbsp Salt                                                                               1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Mrs. Dash                                                                       Chopped olives (to taste)
1 Can Evaporated Milk                                                           Fresh Basil thinly sliced
1/2 C Milk                                                                                1 tsp garlic pwdr & 2 cloves minced
1 egg beaten                                                                             1 tsp Seasoned Salt,   
1/3 C butter or butter flavored shortening- melted          1/2 C Asiago

Topping                                                                                   Variations
1/4 C Whipping cream                                                           Artichoke hearts
1/4 C Melted butter                                                               Spinach
1/4 C Parmesan cheese grated
In a mixing bowl combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, Mrs. Dash and salt; blend well. Melt butter, add evaporated milk, and milk to bring to 120° F.  Beat egg .Combine.  Mix the milk & egg mixture in with the flour mixture – mix thoroughly. Mix in remaining flour 1 cup at a time until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead it for 5 minutes until dough becomes elastic and sticky.  Roll dough generously in flour, then cover and place in a warm area to raise and double in size.
Assembling the dough for baking: Punch dough down then roll into rectangle about 9” x 13”brush dough lightly with olive oil, score dough in 3 columns in the center column sprinkle dough with garlic powder, garlic, basil, and seasoning salt, sprinkle (in thin layers) on mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes (thinly sliced) and chopped olives.  Cut the 2 outside column in to 1” strips, beginning with the top fold the top center down slightly do the same with the bottom and alternately fold strips over one another from top to bottom tucking the ends under. Place in a lightly greased oval DO. Cover Dutch oven and let rise for 15 minutes.
Brush top with whipping cream and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° till golden brown.
Black Bottom Brownie Cheesecake

2 boxes Brownie mixes                                                                3 Tbs oil
1/3 C water                                                                                    3 eggs

Combine in a large bowl – pour into a 12 inch Dutch oven that has been lined with parchment paper. Place 8 coals on the bottom and 16 on the lid cook for 25 minutes or until the brownies are done.

1 C Raspberry                                                                              1 C Raspberry jam

While the brownies are baking mix the raspberries and the jam together- you can save a few raspberries for the top for garnish.  When the brownies are done, spread the raspberry mixture over the top of the brownies.

3 Pkgs Cream cheese                                                               ½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp lemon juice                                                                    1 C Sugar
3 Tbs flour                                                                                ½ tsp salt
3 eggs                                                                                        1 egg yolk
1/3 C milk
Beat Cream cheese until creamy, add vanilla and lemon. Mix sugar, flour and salt, gradually blend into cream cheese. Add 3 eggs and one egg yolk all at once, beat just until blended, gently stir in milk. Pour over cooked brownies and raspberry mixture. Cook in the Dutch oven with 6 coals on the lid and 8 coals on the bottom. Cook for another 55 minutes. Pull cake out of the oven and let cool for 2 hours in a cooler.
Danish Cake
3/4 cup shortening                                                         1 3/4 cups white sugar
3 cups cake flour                                                             1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder                                           1 cup milk
5 egg whites                                                                     1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Sift and measure flour. Add salt and baking powder, and sift again.
In a large bowl, cream shortening. Add sugar gradually, and cream until fluffy. Add sifted ingredients alternately with milk and flavoring. Beat thoroughly after each addition.
Beat egg whites until stiff, and fold into mixture. Pour batter into 2 lined or greased 12” Dutch Ovens bake with 17 coals on top 8 on bottom. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick pressed into the center comes out clean.
Note: this can be made with a cake mix instead (easier). Also good with Raspberries & Raspberry Junket.
1 16 oz tub of cool whip                                                        1 8oz. pkg. of cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar                                                        1 1lb strawberries
1 package of Junket Danish Dessert (Strawberry flavor)
While the two cakes are cooling, make the Danish Dessert following the pie glaze directions on the back of the box. Flip the cakes out of the Dutch Ovens onto the lids. Mix together 1 cup of powdered sugar with 16oz of cool whip. Mix well. In a separate bowl mix 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese.  Mix well. Mix the cream cheese mixture and the cool whip mixture together in a large bowl. Spread cool whip topping across the top of one of the cakes. Then lay about ½ of the strawberries on top of the cool whip topping. Place the other cake on top of the 1st and repeat cool whip topping, strawberries, then spread the Danish dessert across the top.
Rosemary Potatoes

2 tbsp olive oil                                                                             2 tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp crushed rosemary                                                       1 tsp minced garlic
1tsp salt                                                                                       ½ tsp ground pepper
2 lbs new potatoes quartered

Mix spices into olive oil, add potatoes, toss till well coated. Place in 12” D/O that has been coated with small amount of olive oil to prevent sticking. Roast @ 425 for 30 minutes or till potatoes are tender.

The pictures  of the winning dishes of this cook-off are on my Facebook page.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Have fun cooking.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you had a great time and your dishes look great! I'm going to try and go next year.


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