Tuesday, August 23, 2005


The (First) Really Big Cook-Off ROUND-UP

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in The (First) Really Big Cook-Off! I think these entries are pretty fab! I was excited to see how people made changes, found ingredients that suited them (even if it involved runing to the market half way through cooking.) and (it seems anyway) having a great time trying something new.

To recap - one recipe was dissected and made by different cooks, with different ingredients and their own personal spin. I only wish I could have tasted them all! Here now, with no further ado, are the results.

First up, we have Kathryn at Finn's Space. She made the original recipe (which was changed after she read it, because I realized some people may not have been able to find asparagus) Her version followed that recipe exactly, and her pictures are fantastic. I wish I had been able to try a bite! She says she wasn’t able to find wonton wrappers OR fresh pasta, so she opted for lasagna noodles. How, I don't know, but I love it! Ingenuity at its best.

Next came one of my all time favorite bloggers (and soon to be Food Network SUPER star, since she had a little date with Mr. Tyler Florence recently), Sylvia at Soul Fusion Kitchen. Sylvia got all kinds of wild and used purple potatoes. What a sensational idea! I love how they look. She posted a lot of pictures of the whole process. She opted for a combination of parmesan and an apple smoked gruyere cheese, and very cleverly used the water she had cooked the potatoes in to boil the finsished past too. That is an excellent tip!

The amazing (and I do mean that!) Shauna, of Gluten-Free Girl who suffers from gluten intolerance (yikes!) went and did the astounding. She actually made the pasta herself, and gluten free, natch. I am impressed beyond words. My hat is off to you hon! I wasnt exactly able to paste her beautiful picture here, so please do visit her site to see it!

The dashing Darell, of Darell Eats, used the recipe to spend time with his honey Sarah. Like a few others, they had some trouble finding watercress (who knew it was such a hard to find ingredient!) and opted for arugula. For cheeses, they went classic with ricotta and asiago. For a first time ravioli makers, Darell and Sarah seems hooked! I'm so glad!

The next semi-entrant (who, I fear I may have harrassed into posting about it. Gulp/Grin.) is my dear (virtual) friend Sarah, known far and wide for leading a fantastically Delicious Life. She had a dinner party that included ravioli which I am sure was enjoyed by everyone in her company. How could anyone not love the food made by this woman?

And of course (of course!) I did my own version too, which you can read here.

So, now that you've seen the results, here is the rationale...

I chose this Jamie Oliver recipe for a lot of reasons. It sounded yummy (which it was), different and not-too-hard to make. The other, more nefarious reason is that, while I am a fan, the popularity of his cookbooks sort of confuses me, since I think recipes are hard to follow for a lot of home cooks. I know, he's extra cute, and all kinds of chipper, but if you ever watch his shows or read his books a lot of explinations are left out.

This recipe is a perfect example of that, and the perfect recipe to prove me wrong. Now, as some of you noticed, at first I chose Mr. Oliver's Ravioli with Potatoes, Mint and Asparagus, and then changed it to Ravioli with Potato, Watercress and Cheeses, almost identical recipes, without a lot of description on what exactly to do, and yet everyone managed. I am thrilled at how people took to the challenge, followed the recipe and made it their own. I hope The (Second) Really Big Cook-Off will be as big a sucsess.

See you next month! I'm thinking short ribs...do you have any ideas?


If I forgot to include you, please email me at TheReallyBigCookoff@yahoo.com


Thanks so much for hosting this. And for calling me amazing! It was too much fun, making that ravioli. And several of my readers wrote to me, saying they had made it because of my attempts at your contest. Yay!

Hey, if you send me your email, I can send you a copy of the picture, if you want. (But I'd still love for people to read my site!)

racahel - what a lovely round up! and even including my pseudo post ;) can't wait to see your next one...

and shauna, you ARE amazing - i can't believe you made pasta sans gluten. amazing.
Great round up!
Rachael -- that was so much fun and I ahve had lots of requests from friends to be part of the next round.

clarification: I used fresh lasagna noodles and nugget potatoes (to keep with the spring theme of the recipe) and actually had filling left over so stuffed come canneloi shells I had with it (waste not and all that) and baked it is a light rose sauce --- yummy!
Thank you Rachael for such s cleaver idea for a food event. I enjoyed participating and look forward to the next.
Hi Rachael, sorry I couldn't participate this time round! I intended to, but a bout of tummy virus meant that I could't face food, let alone ravioli with cheese!

Hopefully next time!
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