Monday, June 1, 2009

Creatively Off the Cuff

Many of you may remember that back in November I participated in an ACF sanctioned culinary competition. I was very nervous about it and prepared ridiculously for it and still came in last place. That was OK, there were quite a few chefs in the group who had much more kitchen experience that was much more recently used than mine. Not to mention that it was a "market basket" style competition where they give you a few surprise ingredients and you have one hour to make four servings of magic. My downfall was that I had 2 whole flounders in my basket and I had never worked with whole fish before. I did my best and, had I had more time, the chefs said that they really would have liked my plates. My components just didn't really have time to finish cooking because I took so much time taking apart those dadblatsted fish.

Well, tonight was another "cream of cabinet" night and had I had this conglomoration of ingredients and about 2 hours I would have rocked their socks off. Please forgive me that I don't have pictures to accompany this blog but I got in such a creative frenzy that taking pictures would have seriously cramped my style.

First was a pot of soup. I had rice, a can of chiles, a can of chicken, some fajita strips of beef and many many frozen veggies to work with. Of course they all got dumped in the pot. Now I'm not one to just add ingredients to water and let them go. I needed a base, some broth, some stock, some SOMETHING! But, I seemingly had nothing. Then I got to looking around and there were some chicken boullion cubes donated by Jennie's mommy. In the pot. A can of tomatoes. In the pot. Some tomato paste. In the pot. Some ketchup. In the pot. A can of somewhat tasteless Progresso Light (what was I thinking) Vegetable & Rice soup. All of that together with some water and voila - yummy soup. Of course I also seasoned with a few cloves of garlic and a couple of bay leaves. It's simmering as we speak for supper when Hubby gets home from work.

Then I made a broccoli rice casserole. This was simple enough. I boiled some rice and steamed some broccoli. Then, when those were done I combined them with some cream of mushroom soup, milk, and the last of the wedding pimiento cheese. I needed a topping so I found some whole wheat bread in the freezer, toasted it, and ground it up with the last of a pack of saltine crackers for bread crumbs. I then combined those crumbs with some melted Country Crock and Lawry's and baked at 375 degrees for an hour. Totally tasty.

My most prized creations however are my two ice box pies. The first I'm calling "Zero Dollar Pie". It turned into my loose rendition of "Million Dollar Pie". First I made a graham cracker crust with my last pack of cinnamon graham crackers and melted Country Crock. As that cooled I mixed up some vanilla pudding and added a little snack cup of pineapple tidbits I had. I spread this over the crust for layer number one. Then I mixed some up some Dream Whip and added about a cup and a half of flaked coconut. That became the next layer. Then as a garnishy type topping I smushed a 100 calorie pack of Honey Grahams and chopped up a Palmer Chocolate Orange and sprinkled it all over the Dream Whip Layer. I haven't eaten any yet but I think it should be tasty and plan to bring it to Briana & Jake's pool party this weekend.

The next pie I would like to call "Elvis Pie". I made a crust with crushed 'Nilla wafers and melted Country Crock. As that cooled I took all of the open peanut butter jars in the house and put them into the Kitchen Aid bowl to whip with lots of confectioners sugar and a little bit of milk. Once the crust had hardened I smushed this down over it as the bottom layer. Then I mixed some banana cream pudding and spread it over the peanut butter layer. See, peanut butter and banana was an Elvis favorite! Then I rounded up all of the stray Reese's cups I could find in the house (there weren't too many, they don't last long in these here parts) and chopped them for a topping. Then, as if there wasn't enough peanut butter in this lovely creation, I used the last of the chocolate covered peanut butter Ritz sandwiches from last weekend for garnish by standing them on their sides around the pie.

I was a cooking fiend tonight and I cannot wait to try the fruits of my labor. Not to mention I packed my lunch for tomorrow with various stray foods from around the house and came up with not only lunch but breakfast too!

Addendum: When trying this at home, don't get so excited to blog about it on the front porch that you forget about the soup, let it boil over and smoke up the house, completely burn the rice, and ruin. Just thought you might like to know the hazards. :(

1 comment:

  1. OH NO! well, you still managed to cook amazing stuff with as you clean out your fridge, even if it did burn later...
    & I'm definitely looking forward to that pie!
    Love you!