WFC 2018 Recap – Part 3

The Grand Throwdown WFC 2018

Pictured From Left: Event MC Sherri Williams, Vic Clevenger, Lisa Keys, Mark Banick

Impossible to fit eleven days of Food Sport into just two posts, so here’s WFC 2018 Recap – Part 3.

The “Grand” Throwdown: 

After a long week of competing at the World Food Championships and hosting the 2018 Yacht Club Progressive Dinner Party, my friend and sous chef Lisa Keys were faced with a totally different kind of challenge: competing against each other in the WFC Second Annual “Grand” Throwdown. 

About The Event:

As a part of the largest Food Sport competition in the world’s mission to showcase culinary talents of all backgrounds and ages, WFC has added a grandparents-only cooking challenge called The “Grand” Throwdown.

The new challenge was developed after experiencing the grand success and response from last year’s Granny Grilling challenge. Click here to view Delish.com’s video recap of the event. The 2017 Granny Grilling Champion Sherri Williams will serve as the host for this new cooking competition and prepare to pass down her coveted title to the next grandparent cook.

“The grannies enjoyed themselves in last year’s challenge so much that we decided to give the grandpas a chance to join in our the fun food and show off their chops alongside the ladies,” said Mike McCloud, President and CEO of WFC. “We are always looking for new ways to inspire all competitors from all generations and backgrounds to join Food Sport. We are really excited to see these talented grandparents battle it out in Grill-Arena.”

The grannies and grandpas will be tasked with creating a tasty dish with ingredients found in the WFC pantry with the hope that their culinary creations will please the panel of kid judges’ palate. The “Grand” Throwdown winners will take home the “Grand” trophy, grandparent bragging rights and a Golden Ticket for WFC 2019. Source: World Food Championships

Meet the Grandparents:

Mark Banick 

Age: 62

Home State: Salem, Oregon

Nickname:  The ones that can talk call me Bocca Mark

Number of Children: 2 children of my own and 4 girls from my wife Kim that I call my own, (blended family).

Number of Grandchildren: 4 grandchildren

Vic Clevenger

Age: 50

Home State: Kissimmee, FL

Nickname: The Cookin’ Comedian. But I’m Papaw to my grandson

Number of Children: 2 Daughters + 1 Son-in-law

Number of Grandchildren: 1 grandson

Rebecka EvansBacon World Champion Rebecka Evans

Age: 58    

Home state: Pearland, Texas

Number of Children: Gam Gam or Gamma

How Many children? 5

Number of Grandkids: 6

Lisa Keys

Age:  61

Home state: Kennett Square, PA

Grandma nickname: Kiki

Number of Children: 2 children (Caitlin & William)

Number of Grandchildren: 1 grandchild (Annabelle)

Source: World Food Championships

Crazy Fun Competition: 

This contest was a hoot! The “Grand” Throwdown is a black box challenge where the grand parents are given just 15 seconds each to pick 1 ingredient from a table of produce; taking four turns consecutively, based on oldest to youngest. Minutes after picking our produce the grandparents were all sardined into a car and whisked off to the WFC pantry to pick 10 items including but not limited to a variety of WFC Sponsors meats, butter, and sauces.

I filled my basket of 10 sponsor ingredients in just under 10 minutes time; 2 packages of Wampler Omega 3 Sausage, Springer Chicken (just encase I decided to go a different direction with my recipe), Hawaiian Rolls, Koops Mustard, Challenge Butter, and Challenge Cream Cheese.

Grandparents were given the option to use the grill, a portable burner, or both, to create our recipes. I planned to make a breakfast sandwich in a Gotham Steel pan on the burner and forego starting the grill. 

Best Laid Plans: 

I was thrilled to have a plan of action for my contest recipe, but that enthusiasm was squashed almost immediately when we returned to the WFC Grill arena. Hosts, Sherri Williams and Nancy Manlove, pulled the ole switch-er-roo and made us trade baskets with the grandpas! ACK! 

I got Mark Banick’s basket and I can tell you I wasn’t happy about it! He picked SALAD. Yup, ingredients to make salad to serve to a panel of kid judges. What was he thinking?

His basket had a sparse amount of ingredients, including Romain lettuce, tomatoes, BBQ Sauce, Springer chicken breast, rolls, season salt, and cream cheese. Thankfully, grandmas know how to roll when it comes to making recipes on the fly with whatever is in the fridge. I made a quick decision to grill the chicken and make a vinaigrette with the BBQ sauce and cream cheese, ultimately leading to my use of both the grill and the burner. Since I hadn’t planned to use the grill I didn’t bring fire starters etc. Thankfully, my sweet friend Lisa Keys was kind enough to share one of her’s with me and I was able to make a tiny fire big enough to cook the chicken. 

During our cook time, MC’s Sherri and Nancy gave us several chances to run and grab a few more items from the produce table. I picked grapes, asparagus, and mushrooms. I grilled the asparagus and smoked some croutons made from the rolls, tossed in some of the vinaigrette and season salt. I was amazed how delicious they turned out. 

BBQ Chicken Salad with Grilled Asparagus and Croutons

BBQ Chicken Salad with Grilled Asparagus and Croutons

Not a Chance of Winning:

I didn’t think I had a chance to win the challenge with Mark’s basket of salad ingredients, especially since our judges were kids and the other grandma, Lisa Keys, made a stunning recipe with grandpa Vic’s basket. My dish was not visually appealing in my opinion, but it must have tasted great because the kid judges loved it and chose my recipe as the winner of the grandma challenge. I was shocked to say the least but it was a pleasant surprise! 

If you can believe it, in the crazy twist of baskets, Mark won the grandpa challenge with my basket of goodies making pineapple chicken sliders. Way to go Mark.

Mark and I both won a Golden Ticket to compete at WFC 2019, paid $300.00 entry fee and a stunning hand-made platter by Sparta Ware. Thank you! 

Special Thanks:

Special thanks to Mike McCloud, MMA Creative, World Food Championships and WFC Staff, Walmart and all the other WFC sponsors.

I hope WFC invites Mark and I to share MC duties at the 2019 WFC “Grand” Throwdown, in our new host city and my home state, Dallas Texas. Hope to see you all there!  

Mark Banick and Rebecka Evans

Sherri Williams, Mark Banick, Rebecka Evans, Nancy Manlove

Mark Banick and Rebecka Evans




WFC 2018 Recap – Part 2

WFC 2018 Yach Club Head Shot Rebecka Evans

 

Impossible to fit eleven days of Food Sport into just one post, here’s WFC 2018 Recap – Part 2. 

The Joy of Food Sport: 

I love competitive cooking and sharing my love of Food Sport with others. World Food Championship 2018 was filled with non-stop action and a whirlwind of excitement. As the returning Bacon World Champion I was faced with the competition of a lifetime, and not to mention, a few added adventures. 

I arrived in Orange Beach, Alabama November 5, 2018 after a 10 hour drive from my hometown of Houston, Texas. My first round of competition in the Bacon Category was at 9 AM, November 8, 2018. Thankfully, I finished 4th and went on to compete in the Bacon Top Ten November 10, 2018.

To read more about my contesting experience at WFC 2018 and the results from the competition  Click Here  (WFC 2018 Recap – Part 1)

New Adventures in Food Sport:

I was invited to host a tasting demo at The World Food Championships – Yacht Club Progressive Dinner Party.  I also had the pleasure of competing in the Second Annual Grand Throwdown on Sunday November 11, 2018.

Between shopping and prepping for my regular competition days plus the two other events, I was one busy food sport competitor. Thankfully, I had my awesome team members there to help with shopping, prep, organization, and emotional support. Lisa Keys and Blake Evans, you both rock!

The Yacht Club Progressive Dinner Party:

I had a blast at the second annual WFC Yacht Club Progressive Dinner Party. Thankfully, my friend and WFC 2018 sous chef Lisa Keys was there to help as we served 65 people in groups of 8-10 every 15 minutes. Did I mention we finished competing in the Top Ten Bacon showdown just 1 hour before the our yacht club demo started? We had just enough time to freshen up then go set up for the event. Food sport is crazy fun! 

ABOUT THE EVENT

Back by popular demand, WFC presents a progressive dinner on million-dollar yachts that will satisfy the most demanding taste buds! This culinary voyage includes award-winning recipes and samples from five of WFC’s past champions. Their combined winnings? More than $100,000! But YOU can taste all five dishes at a fraction of the cost! So jump aboard! Tickets are extremely limited but worth every penny! Sat, November 10, 2018 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM CST The Wharf Marina Orange Beach, AL 36561 (The event was SOLD OUT several weeks before WFC 2018) Source: World Food Championships

2017 Bacon World Champion 10K Bacon Dutch Crunch Pancakes and Peachy Pecan Syrup

2017 Bacon World Champion Rebecka Evans Bacon Dutch Crunch Pancakes and Peachy Pecan SyrupDucth Baby Pancake Recipe Photo by OC Food Diva

Chef Chad Combs, Ambassador Coordinator for the event, mixed up some delicious libations to pair with each of the five featured World Food Champions award-winning recipes. He made a Spicy Peach Bellini to pair with my 2017 award-winning recipe Bacon Dutch Baby Pancakes with Peachy Pecan Fiery Syrup. It was delicious, and served as the perfect paired drink for my dish. Thanks Chad!

Posing For Photos On a Million Dollar Yacht:

Lisa and I had so much fun posing for pictures on the beautiful yacht and chatting with all the guests that attended the evenings festivities. I was able to share stories and answer questions about my food sport journey as Lisa and I served my 10K winning recipe. I even sang some opera for the last group of guests. 

 

Special Thanks:

Thank you Mike McCloud, World Food Championship, MMA Creative and WFC Staff, Chef Chad Combs, Walmart and all the other amazing WFC Sponsors. The Yacht Club Progressive Dinner Party was the highlight of my 2018 WFC week. 

The “Grand” Throwdown (WFC 2018 Recap – Part 3)

After a long week of competing and hosting the Yacht Club demo, my friend and sous chef Lisa Keys were faced with a totally different kind of challenge, competing against each other in the WFC Second Annual “Grand” Throwdown. Stay Tuned next week to see who takes home the “Grand” Prize in WFC Recap – Part 3; you don’t want to miss this one! 

WFC 2018 Grand Throwdown 

 

 




My Friend Chef Ava Marie

Chef Ava Marie Romero

Chef Ava Marie Romero: My friend and fellow food competitor wowed the world when she won a Golden Ticket in the Taste of America Challenge , and a chance to compete at the 2018 World Food Championships in the Dessert Category. What’s so special about Ava is the fact that she was the very first autistic chef to ever compete at the World Food Championships and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

I met Ava while I was living in California at the 2015 San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. She was a member of the audience during my cooking demo “Making Heirloom Jams with Garden Petals.”  After the demo, Ava stayed behind to sample some of my jelly, leading to a conversation that would begin our wonderful friendship.  She told me that we had a lot in common, stating that she was also a food blogger and food competitor. Ava told me she was a cooking instructor and worked for the South San Francisco School District nutrition services, and also taught cooking classes at the South San Francisco Library and Burlingame Recreation Center. She told me about her countless State Fair prizes and ribbons for baked and canned goods, and about her food blog Recipes From an Autistic Chef.

Drawn to Ava’s sweet smile and happy disposition, I was so impressed by her resume and insatiable desire to learn everything she could about food sport. Not to mention, I was impressed by her wish to become a TV food personality. Ava and I exchanged contact information and started a new foodie friendship that afternoon.

Despite the adversity from being on the autism spectrum, Ava has managed to overcome the daily obstacles associated with the disorder, utilizing her cooking skills to serve her family with delicious home cooked meals, and become an award-winning home cook. Most recently, Ava has landed her dream job as a certified cooking instructor for Williams and Sonoma.

A Photo Journey of Friendship: 

To read more about our time cooking for East Bay Kids Special Needs Class click HERE. Scroll over the photos for descriptions. 

An Interview with Ava:

Rebecka: Why did you decide to become a food blogger?

Ava: In 2011 I’ve just graduated from Canada college adult vocational transitional program. All my friends and classmates were finding new directions to pursue their careers as employees at non profit special needs day programs such as Community Gatepath. So I didn’t want to join in any of these programs. I kinda learned so much from life experiences as a college student and was that girl to bring food to classmates and family and it was my dream to write a food blog of where I come from and my journey to share food as a person with autism myself. I launched Recipes From an Autistic Chef at age 23 to prove I can succeed in lifelong situations and not to be the underdog like I was as a special education student. 

Rebecka: What made you want to go into competitive cooking?

Ava: At age 21 a year before I graduated from Canada college was a early stages of my competitive cooking at the san mateo county fair culinary arts 2010. Won best in show and later on red, white and blue ribbons and a honorable mentions. I learn from judges critiques and use them in my culinary entries. I make sure it is well executed. In 2017 I earned a golden ticket entry for world food championship dessert category for challenge butter it was pushed to 2018 a year later. In 2018 I also competed in 7 mile house abobo cook off among the best home cooks of the bay area and placed 4th in abobo.

Rebecka: What do you like best about competitive cooking? What do you like least?

Ava: What I like most about competitive cooking is that I feel like an iron-home chef. It makes me stronger as a home cook and baker and I learn from competitive cooking. Timing is key. My least favorite this is well, the pressure, it’s ok to have pressure but I am not a feminine Gordon Ramsay, I’m my sweet self who gets the job done and plates in on time. 

Rebecka: Are you self taught cook or professionally trained?

Ava: I am a self-taught cook. I didn’t go to culinary school. I learned to cook from my mom, my grandma Lou  my moms mom and auntie Laura. Also learned from neighbors and still learn from neighbors now fellow contest home chefs these days who are passionate like myself and by taking recreational cooking classes.

Rebecka: Is there a chef you admire the most? Who and why?

Ava: Ohh, of course it’s got to be Rachael Ray. She is a dog lover and she’s one of the best home cooks in America who didn’t go to culinary school and has a 12 grade education like myself. I look up to her. She said to most of her fans “Don’t give up” and I find out that was true. I use social media through food and people. It brings us together. I own all of her cookbook Collection.

Rebecka: What is your favorite cuisine to cook?

Ava: International cuisine, I learn a wide range of Cuisines from Asia to comfort food. Plus I love to bake delicious desserts. I’m making molasses applesauce donuts tomorrow from my food blogger pal Katie Morford who is the author of Rise and Shine Cookbook on Amazon and I taken some of her classes in Daily City California.

Rebecka: What are a few of your most memorable cooking experiences?

Ava: I got to meet Guy Fieri on the set of guys grocery games and he was such a sweet guy in real time. I got to try some of his spicy fried rice that he made for his mom and she wasn’t even hungry; he ended up gifting to a lucky fan. I also took my brother Billy (aka GMO) to meet Bo Jackson a former NFL and  MLB player who makes Bos Burgers. My brother and I are sports fans for the NFL and NBA so we checked it out and he got a signed shirt and it was a great experience.

Below is letter from Ava following World Food Championships 2018:

Thank you Rebecka for your encouragement to join your World Food Championship family of home cooks and professional chefs alike; they were so welcoming and I feel like its such a huge milestone in my life. If you can do that I can too. I plan to get new competitors involved like you did with me. Thank you!! Also thanks to Mike McCloud and Julie Haun for working super hard making it happen for all of us. Love Ava.

Meet Ava’s World Food Championship Team:

Che Ava Marie Romero

Chef Ava Marie Romero, Billy Romero, Frank Romero

Chef Ava had her family’s total support for her 2018 World Food Championships debut. Ava’s mom and dad made sure Ava had the help she needed to succeed as she stepped into WFC Kitchen Arena for the fist time with her brother’s Billy and Frank Romero by her side.  Billy works in the food industry and served as Ava’s head sous chef. Frank worked on two fronts for Ava as a sous chef and her social media specialist. Their smiles in every photo tell the story of their joy helping Ava live her dream. 

When I spoke to Billy and Frank for the first time in person they were amazed by the enormity of the World Food Championships. Billy and Frank were also impressed by Ava’s celebrity. When they arrived in Orange Beach, AL all of Ava’s foodie fans and facebook family were waving them down and stopping them on the streets to meet Ava and wish her well. Frank told me, “Ava’s a celebrity here, everyone knows her!” One of the greatest parts of Food Sport is the support from the family of foodie friends we share. 

Ava’s WFC Recipes:

Ava won her Golden Ticket to the WFC Dessert Category in the Taste of America Challenge  for her home state of California. Like all of the competitors, Ava had to create an original Signature Dish and a required Structured Dish for the first round of the competition.

(To learn more about the requirements and official WFC rules click HERE

  • Ava’s Signature Dish: Pimento Cheese Pate en Choux Flats with Red Pepper Jelly 
  • Ava’s Structure Build: Strawberry Blood Orange Lavender Tart with required sponsor ingredient, Jelly Queens Blood Orange Lavender Marmalade.

Both of Ava’s recipes looked amazing but unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to taste them. Ava really held her own under the pressure to make two desserts in two hours.  She was the consummate head chef during the cook-off. She guided her brother’s through her recipes like a champ, and turned in both dishes on time. I was jumping up and down, screaming and crying happy tears as I watched Ava walk to the turn in table with her brothers. Way to go Ava! 

Ava was one of 34 professional chefs and seasoned home-cooks that competed in the 2018 WFC Dessert Category. She placed 28th overall.  She also scored a whopping 93.5 on her required Structured Build recipe which is seriously, AMAZING for her first time competing under so much pressure. This girl can bake and cook like a pro. 

Chef Ava Marie Romero

Rebecka Evans and Ava Romero

It’s been such a joy to watch Ava blossom as a food blogger and competitive home cook. For me to have witnessed what she states is “a dream come true” to compete at the World Food Championships was simply priceless. 

I’m so thankful that our love of food blogging and food sport brought us together, and that we are forever foodie pals.

PLEASE stop by and follow the Autistic Chef Ava Marie on Facebook. You can find more of her delicious recipes on Autism Cooks

A Few More Pics with Food Pals: 




Holiday Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Peanut Butter Jelly Thumbprint Cookie

Imagine a Christmas Cookie that is Good for You and Still Tastes Delicious

Look no further because my Holiday Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies will not only make your mouth say “thank you,” but will also supplement your body’s nutrition with 100% natural The Nutty Peanut’s  Premium Nut Butter, Butterscotch Crunch Blend, and the nutritious and super delicious  Norm’s Farm Organic Elderberry Jelly.

The Nutty Peanut’s website states: “[t]he Nutty Peanut is 100% Natural – Small Batch – Craft Peanut Butter made only with Natural ingredients for all  Gluten, Soy, and Dairy free. The peanut butter is also Vegan friendly and GMO free.” 

I had the pleasure of meeting Norm, the owner of Norm’s Farms, at World Food Championships 2018. Norm graciously offered to send me a package of his company’s products for recipe testing. This recipe is made better with the distinct flavor of elderberries. Thank you for the amazing products Norm! To learn more about how to boost your immune system with elderberries and shop other products from Norm’s Farms click HERE.

Norm’s Farm’s proudly states: “All natural Elderberry Jelly is made with pure elderberry juice, lightly sweetened with pure cane sugar, and then finished with a touch of lemon juice. This is a brighter, lighter version of our best-selling Elderberry Jam.”

Peanut Butter Jelly Thumbprint Cookie

I’m using Food Network TV personality Sunny Anderson’s recipe today with the addition of these lovely products sent to me for recipe testing by Norm’s Farms and The Nutty Peanut via my friend Ava Maria Romero. Thank you Ava for thinking of me with this sweet gift at Christmas.

Holiday Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), room temperature

1/2 cup The Nutty Peanut Butterscotch Crunch Blend peanut butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup turbinado or raw cane sugar (recommended: Sugar in the Raw)

Directions

  1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar, and blend on medium-high speed until creamy. Turn off the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl, pushing everything back towards the center. Then add the salt, vanilla and egg, and blend until combined. Lower the speed of the mixer and add the flour in 1/2-cup intervals. Between each addition be sure to completely blend in all the flour and scrape the sides as before. Once completely combined, scrape the dough out of the mixer, add to a container with a lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator and, using a tablespoon, scoop out the dough and roll into a ball between your hands. Then roll the formed ball in the turbinado sugar and place on the prepared baking sheets. Repeat for the rest of the balls, making sure to separate them on the sheet by about 1 inch. Try chopping roasted peanuts and adding them to the sugar before rolling out all the balls or add a drop of food coloring to the sugar to make the cookies even more festive!
  4. Recipe adapted: Sunny Anderson Food Network

 

Peanut Butter Jelly Thumbprint Cookie




Cheesy Butternut Squash and Apple Galettes

Mahon-Menorca Cheese, Butternut Squash and Apple Galette

Your Holiday menu will be complete with my Cheesy Butternut Squash and Apple Galettes – Side Dish

Galettes may look difficult to make but nothing could be further from the truth. These savory-sweet pastries are made with store-bought pie dough and cooked to perfection in individual cast iron skillets. There is no need for perfectly shaped pie crust either as this recipe is made freeform style to create delicious crusty cakes stuffed with holiday flavor. These Galettes are an irresistible side dish made with very little effort. 

Cheesy Butternut Squash And Apple Galettes

 

My Inspiration:  

Mahón-Menorca Hard – Curd cheese is my inspiration for this recipe and my 2018 holiday menu

Sliced butternut squash is lightly dressed with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, chopped fresh sage, minced garlic, sea salt, and pepper. The squash is then roasted slightly before building the galettes. The ingredients are then layered with shredded HARD-CURD Mahón-Menorca Cheese (which has been aged more than 5 months), honey-crisp apples, a mixture of brown sugar, and allspice. The intense flavor of the mature aged cheese pairs perfectly with butternut squash and tart apples creating a sublime holiday side dish.

There are 3 varieties of Mahon-Menorca Cheese:

Tender: Soft Yellowish-white in color, with very little developed crust.  Soft and creamy, the flavor is milky with a slight reminiscence of butter.

Semi Cured: Characteristic and unmistakable, the rind is an orange color or brownish-grey if it is a farmhouse cheese. It has a firm texture and is easily sliced and it is a yellowish/ivory colour. It has a variable number of small holes, distributed irregularly.  The milky taste and flavors are more developed, with slight buttery reminiscences of toasted nuts and dried fruit, with a moderately persistent aftertaste.

Hard – Cured: A delicacy for cheese lovers the texture is firm and hard, less creamy and in an advanced curing state . The taste and aroma are very developed, complex and intense with a long persistent aftertaste; with hints of old wood, tanned leather or a wine cellar.  

This recipe is my third entry in the inaugural Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge   – Side Dish Category.

Cheesy Butternut Squash and Apple Galettes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Preheat Oven 375 F.

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and sliced ¼ slices

4 medium tart apples

2 cups shredded Mahón-Menorca Cheese 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 packages (2) pie crusts

3 tablespoon green onions, chopped, divided

3 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage

1 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon allspice

5 tablespoons butter, cut into small chucks

1 teaspoon salt, divided

½ teaspoon pepper

1 egg, beaten (1 teaspoon water)

DIRECTIONS:

Peel butternut squash and slice into ¼ inch slices. Cut slices in half. Remove seeds from the lower half of the squash and slice into rounds. Cut these rounds into four pieces.

Blend olive oil, garlic, fresh sage, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl to combine. Pour mixture over cut squash and toss to coat

Roast squash for 10 minutes in a 375F. oven until fork tender. Remove from oven and cool

In a small bowl combine brown sugar, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon allspice

Slice and core apple (leave skin on). Cut apple slices in half

Remove pie crust from package. Roll out dough on a floured surface and cut rounds of dough to fit cast iron pans. Use the pan as a guide for cutting. Using a rolling-pin, roll rounds to make them slightly larger.  The dough should go up the sides of the pan and slightly over the edge.

Poke holes in the bottom of the pie dough with a fork to release air as they bake

Begin to assemble the galettes starting with a sprinkle of cheese (about ½ teaspoon. Arrange apple slices to fit the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with a teaspoon of the brown sugar mixture and a few small squares of butter and green onions. Arrange a few slices of squash over the apples and onions. Add more sugar, butter and sprinkle of cheese and continue the process until all the pans are done. Dot the top of the galettes with butter, cheese and remaining brown sugar mixture.

Gently fold the pie dough around the filling, pinching slightly to create a bundle leaving the center open.

Brush the edges of the pie dough with egg wash (1 teaspoon water and 1 egg beaten)

Place the cast iron pans on a large cookie sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes or until the pie is bubbling and pie crust is browned.

Garnish with more grated cheese and green onion. Serve hot or at room temperature. ENJOY!

Building the Galettes:

Galette Perfection:

Cheesy Butternut Squash And Apple Galettes

ABOUT THE CHALLENGE:

SOURCE Mahon-Menorca Cheese

Grand Prize – A Five Day Trip To The Beautiful Island Of Menorca, Spain

MENORCA, Spain, Oct. 3, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The Board of Control of Mahón-Menorca Cheese is looking for spectacular bloggers to compete in their inaugural “Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge.” The challenge date has been set, the pans will be banging and the creative juices will be flowing to see who becomes the Grand Prize Winner of the “Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge.”

CATAGORIES:

There are three categories for the challenge; appetizers, side dishes, and entrées. Bloggers are encouraged to participate in all three categories. One winner will be selected from each category and each winner is then awarded $500.00. The winning recipes from each category will then compete to see who will become the grand prize winner of the “Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge.” The Grand Prize Winner will win a five day trip to the beautiful Island of Menorca, Spain. The Grand Prize includes airfare for one, lodging (for two people) and rental car (for two people). The contest starts on October 1, 2018, and ends December 31, 2018. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

Mahón-Menorca Cheese is looking for inspirational ideas to create “Simply Better Recipes” that occurs when creativity is fused with unexpected flavors and wholesome ingredients that deliver a full range of flavors that makes every seem extravagant.

Cheesy Butternut Squash And Apple Galettes

MORE ABOUT MAHÓN-MENORCA CHEESE:

Mahón-Menorca Cheese is produced on the island of Menorca, one of Spain’s Balearic Islands. A paradisiacal Biosphere Reserve Island (certified by the UNESCO) located in the Mediterranean Sea. Mahón-Menorca Cheese is a Protected Denomination of Origin (P.D.O.) based upon the geographic and distinct climate factors including its temperature, humidity, light, wind and salty pastures, and its ancient farming methods mastered by generations of the Menorca family farms. Made from menorcan cow’s milk (pasteurized or raw), exclusively matured on the island of Menorca. The Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge is being implemented by Thought For Food & Son. READ MORE>>>>

Mahón-Menorca Cheese can be purchased nationwide at Whole Foods or at other fine retailers such as Fairway Markets, Harris Teeter, Safeway, Kroger, Murray’s, Central Markets, Costco, Gourmet Garage, West Side Markets, Zabar’s, Central and Town & Country Markets in Seattle. 




World Food Championships 2018 Recap


Lisa Keys & Rebecka Evans

Team At Home with Rebecka – Rebecka Evans & Lisa Keys

It’s taken me five weeks to process my experiences at the 2018 World Food Championships, and figure out how to wrap the entire adventure into just one blog post. I’m going to try to accomplish that goal – so hold on tight, it was a wild and crazy ride. 

Returning To Defend My Title:

Returning to WFC 2018 as the reigning Bacon World Champion came with a new kind of pressure that I’ve never felt in Food Sport before. I was ready to take on the challenge of defending my 2017 Bacon World Title with an eager, exhilarating attitude , but I was also filled with apprehension and a weird sense of dread.  Winning the same category two years in a row has only been achieved twice in WFC history; twice by Suzanne Clark in the Pasta Category (which has since been retired), and twice by Liz Kratz in the Chili Category. The pressure to repeat a win is real, and going for a three-peat escalates the entire event to a whole new level. 

Contest induced insomnia began the moment I opened my WFC test kitchen. Instead of counting sheep to sleep, I spent most nights visualizing possible recipe creations that I could test the following day. I made dozens of recipes over the course of three months, and finally landed on a few concepts that needed a lot of work to become Top Ten worthy dishes. The sleepless nights and the never-ending task of developing recipes displays a brutally honest truth: the process of determining what a ten thousand dollar bacon recipe is an arduous process and not for the faint of heart. 

My Team:

To stand any chance at another victory, I knew I had to have a seasoned food sport enthusiast on the At Home with Rebecka team. When I learned that my friend Lisa Keys had decided to take a year off from competing at World Food Championships, I jumped at the chance to ask her to be my sous chef, and thank God she agreed.  I soon learned that Lisa and I had mind reading capabilities during the months that preceded WFC 2018. Together, we are a force to be reckoned with. 

Who is Lisa Keys?

Sea World Orlando 2015

I met Lisa for the first time in 2015 at the First Annual – World Food Blogger Summit, held in Orlando, Florida. I was drawn to her sweet disposition and kind smile. We shared a seat on the bus to Sea World and talked like we’d known one another our entire lives. I learned that Lisa is an award winning food competitor, recipe creator, photographer, mother of two children (William and Caitlin), and wife to Bill Keys. She is also the owner and writer of Good Grief Cook. If you have not read her blog then I encourage you to take the time to get to know Lisa, and learn about her journey of loss, love, and her passion for cooking.

(You can access her works here: goodgriefcook.com Click HERE )

Lisa is also a Food Network CHOPPED CHAMPION (5/6/2014), a certified Food Champ, and a credentialed Steak Competition Association judge. Last but not least, Lisa is a grandmother, “Kiki,” to her beautiful granddaughter Annabelle. 

Lisa’s resume is pretty darned impressive and her heart is made of gold. I love her like a sister, and feel a kindred connection like that of Anne Shirley’s bosom friend and kindred spirit Diana Barry (Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery). Lisa is my forever faithful friend. Thank you so much Lisa Keys for your brilliant mind, attention to detail, and award winning skills in the kitchen. I am honored by your willingness to take on the task of sous chef, and even more honored to call you my friend. 

Blake Evans

Blake my sous chef for  Fight To Feed –  Culinary Fight Club 2016

Rounding out Team At Home with Rebecka, my third team member and my sweet husband, Blake Evans. I call him my “Super Schlepper” and “Financier” since he is the man with the muscles and the money.

Blake schlepped all of our suitcases up and down the stairs several times, drove us to do all the contest grocery shopping, hung out with all my foodie pals, and listened to all the crazy WFC talk. My husband had no issue socializing, as he chatted up the VIP’s and connected with everyone we encountered.

Blake literally saved our bacon by running back to our condo twice during the Top Ten Round to get items we couldn’t find while competing. I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have my sweet man by my side with his big booming laugh, love, and support. Thanks babe for being my faithful, loving husband, and supporting me in my food sport addiction.

The sous chef apron looks good on you by the way! xoxo

My goal for WFC 2018:

This year my goal was to win of course, but in the event that a repeat Bacon Category victory was not meant to be, my real hope was just to make Top Ten. Praise the Lord, after the preliminary round we made Top Ten finishing 4th in the category.  

Recipe Creation:

All WFC contestants are required to make a Structured Build recipe to “level the playing field” between professional chefs and home cooks.  This year, Bacon Category contestants were required to make bacon pizza, utilizing a required sponsor ingredient: Red Gold Tomatoes.  Competitors also presented a Signature Dish that showcases bacon as the star of the dish.

(To read the WFC Official Rules CLICK HERE)

After months of recipe creation and hundreds of changes, sleepless nights, a few tears, and the desire to throw my recipes across the room, I was extremely pleased with the final dishes. Lisa talked me off the ledge several times, and I returned the favor once or twice. I must reiterate, competitive Food Sport is an arduous process and not for the faint of heart. To fully grasp the enormity of recipe creation and contest preparation, a person must live the experience. 

Lobster Bacon Tomato Pizza

Structure Dish: BLT (Bacon, Lobster and Tomato Pizza) Food by Rebecka Evans Photo by Angela Castelli

My Bacon Lobster Pizza is the most delicious pizza I’ve ever made or eaten! The smokey flavor of  Kountry Boy’s thick cut bacon is the perfect compliment to my Bacon Blush Alfredo Sauce. The sauce is made with a combination of bacon, Red Gold Tomatoes with Green Chili’s, Red Gold Petite diced tomatoes, fresh garlic, and Fiesta Italian Seasoning. These ingredients are then blended with my signature Alfredo sauce to create a luscious Bacon Blush Alfredo that pairs perfectly with fresh lobster meat. The crust is from my sponsors, Center Court Pizza and Brew, located in my hometown of Pearland, Texas. The pizza was grilled on Bull Outdoor Products (​Steer Premium Cart Grill​), with fresh grated asiago and fontina cheese, garnished with a ring of fresh herbed bacon. Dressed to impress, the head and tail of the lobster greeted the judges, as well as eight beautifully cooked bacon legs. The pizza scored a 95.75. 

Lobster Bacon Tomato Pizza

BLT (Bacon Lobster Tomato Pizza)Lobster Bacon Tomato Pizza


BLT CUPCAKE

Signature Dish – BLT (Bacon, Lemon, and Tomato) Cupcakes – Round One

I was determined to bake a cupcake for World Food Championships 2018, testing at least eleven versions before landing on the final recipe. You see, I’ve been on a baking journey the past few months not only to push myself outside my comfort zone, but to prove to myself and the world that I could create an award winning bacon cupcake.

In all honestly, this cupcake was a true labor of love and a little hate too. The recipe underwent numerous changes, and was scrapped from my WFC roster not once, but twice before its final version. Although my husband and sous chef were not fans at first, I think I won them both over in the end. The judges must have liked it too because it finished 7th in the world with a score of 91.2853. 

I love everything about this cupcake. The cake is super moist with a hint of lemon zest and mashed Red Gold Tomatoes with green chili’s; with the final touches of sugared bacon dust being folded in right before baking. Red Gold Tomatoes with Green Chili’s also find their way into the bacon tomato jam that is spread over the cupcake after cooling. The sweet and spicy jam tastes like heaven, and is so good that I can hardly resist the temptation of eating it right from the spoon. I added Jelly Queens Red Pepper Sea Salt (Donna makes it just for me) for a slightly spicy finish, and topped it all off with delicious tomato infused butter cream frosting. It may sounds like a crazy concoction, but it is slap yo momma good!

BLT Cupcake-Official Description: 

BLT Cupcake aka Bacon, lemon and tomato cupcake starts with a vanilla crumb cake laced with a hint of lemon zest and sugared bacon dust. The cake is topped with a savory-sweet tomato, bacon jam and then frosted with a swirl of vanilla and tomato butter cream, dressed with a bacon swizzle stick dipped in white chocolate and sparkling sugar.

The Progression of an Award Winning Cupcake:

As you can see, I take recipe creation very seriously! Scroll over the photos to see descriptions. 

Choosing a Recipe for Top Ten: 

So how do you choose a recipe to take to the Top Ten Challenge? Any decision I make could be the difference between a 10K win and last place. These are the two big questions that made my brain hurt the night I found out I would compete in Bacon Top Ten.

  1. Do I make my third recipe and hope for the best?
  2. Should I make my Structure Build or Signature Dish?

At first, my plan was to go into Top Ten with my pizza, but I wanted to see my scores for both dishes before deciding. I also had a third recipe waiting in the wings just in case I wanted to call an audible and be creative. Making a decision was hard, especially when considering the scores of my recipes. As you can see in the scores below, I went into Top Ten in 4th Place.

Both of my recipes scored well, with the pizza scoring slightly higher than the cupcake. This is where you can lose your mind second guessing the decision. For better or worse, I decided to make the cupcake and the rest is history. I didn’t win first place with the cupcake, however I managed to place 7th in the world as one of only two home cooks that made Top Ten this year. Thank the Lord for my sweet friend and sous chef Lisa Keys, as she stood by my side while I went crazy over making the decision to compete with the cupcake.  I couldn’t have done it without her expert baking skills and world-class professionalism.

The stress of defending my Bacon World Title, and the decision to make my cupcake and not my pizza or third recipe really got to my psyche. Not to mention, everything that could go wrong in the Top Ten Round did. I burned every piece of bacon I cooked so had to re-make new batches, and with just 6 minutes to spare before the turn in window closed, we couldn’t find the red dye for the tomato butter cream frosting. This is when my husband Blake saved our bacon by running back to the condo to find the red dye. Thankfully, I purchased two bottles and one was in the condo. The other had fallen under a mixing bowl by our station where it stayed until clean up. 

Official Scores:

WFC SCORES 2018

 A side note: Top Ten Bacon competitors were required to use Natural Tableware USA plates for presentation and Bacon Sponsors Indiana Kitchen Bacon. I think we did a pretty good job of showcasing the cupcakes on the required plate ware. 

Bacon Lemon and Tomato Cupcake

BLT (Bacon, Lemon, and Tomato) Cupcake Top Ten Round

Sponsors:

Special thanks to my personal sponsors Kountry Boys Sausage for providing me with delicious Kountry Boy’s Bacon and Center Court Pizza and Brew for their delicious pizza dough. I’d also like to thank the World Food Championships Staff, MMA Creative, Mike McCloud, The Jelly Queens, Walmart, Red Gold Tomatoes, and Ankarsrum USA

Familiar Faces:

World Food Championships wouldn’t be the same without my foodie family, some familiar faces and new foodie friends alike. Sadly, I was so busy this year that I missed getting hugs and photos ops with everyone. Hugs, laughter and more Food Sport fun will have to be had at WFC 2019. I love you all and can’t wait until next year to see you. 

 

I couldn’t do it: 

I tried my best to pack all the 2018 World Food Championships events into one post but it’s just not possible since this post is already way too long! Stay tuned for more WFC Recap in the weeks to come. TBA

  • WFC 2018 Yacht Club Progressive Dinner
  • The Second Annual Grand Throwdown
  • Ava Marie Romero, my friend

See you all soon! RE




Mahón-Menorca Cheese Fondue Dip with Roasted Vegetables | Blogger Recipe Challenge


Menorca Cheese Fondue Recipe

Mahón-Menorca Cheese Fondue Dip with Roasted Veggies is all you need for a hearty dinner this Holiday Season. Share it with your special someone or enjoy it alone, either way, you’re sure to be filled with the delicious taste of Mahón-Menorca Spain.

I really like the idea of having a heavy appetizer for dinner to keep me satisfied yet not overly stuffed during the holidays, especially when it’s rich and sumptuous fondue made with Mahón-Menorca cheese.

Paired with a crisp bottle of white wine, you won’t miss the meat with this entrée offering as it’s served with a selection of deliciously roasted mixed vegetables and bread cubes.  Did I mention it only takes 35 minutes to prepare? 

My recipe uses Greek yogurt which gives the dish a recognizable tang, combined with the unmistakable milky taste and slightly buttery characteristic of Mahón-Menorca Semi-Curd cheese.There’s nothing more extravagant and unexpected as the flavor of cheese fondue, accentuated by the addition of sun-dried tomatoes. Every bite is a new sensation with roasted vegetables, seasoned in sea salt and red pepper flakes.

This recipe is my Second entry in the inaugural Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge   Entrée Category.

 

Menorca Cheese Fondue Recipe

Easy Cheese Fondue Dip with Roasted Vegetables

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Cheese Fondue Dip | Blogger Recipe Challenge

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/3 cup cream cheese

1 ¼ cups Semi-Curd Menorca-Menorca cheese, grated

1/3 cup shape cheddar cheese, grated

¼ cup half and half cream

pinch salt

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon dry oregano

¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil

1 teaspoon diced chives

1 large crusty loaf of bread, cut into cubes

ROASTED VEGETABLES:

½ pound baby potatoes, washed and cut in half

1-pound of your favorite baby root vegetables, carrots, parsnips, purple carrots, etc.

1 pinch chili flakes

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

For The Vegetables:

Wash potatoes and cut in half

  • Toss all the baby vegetables in a large bowl with cut potatoes, olive oil, pepper flakes and sea salt
  • Pour dressed vegetables into a large roasting pan and roast for 15-25 minutes or until vegetables or caramelized and folk tender. Stir vegetables several times during roasting to prevent burning.
  • While vegetables are roasting make fondue dip
  • For The Fondue Dip:

    • In a medium, heavy bottom sauce pan, combine 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup cream cheese, 1 ¼ cups Semi-Curd Menorca-Menorca cheese, grated, 1/3 cup shape cheddar cheese, grated, ¼ cup half and half cream, pinch salt, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon dry oregano, ¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
    • Stirring constantly, cook until cheeses are well combined and melted
    • Cut crusty bread into cubes, se aside until ready to plate
    • Serve fondue dip in heated cast iron skillet and garnish with diced chives

    Serve and enjoy

    ABOUT THE CHALLENGE:

    SOURCE Mahon-Menorca Cheese

    Grand Prize – A Five Day Trip To The Beautiful Island Of Menorca, Spain

    MENORCA, Spain, Oct. 3, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The Board of Control of Mahón-Menorca Cheese is looking for spectacular bloggers to compete in their inaugural “Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge.” The challenge date has been set, the pans will be banging and the creative juices will be flowing to see who becomes the Grand Prize Winner of the “Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge.”

    Take the challenge and share your creativity using Mahón-Menorca Cheeses that are produced in three delicious degrees of maturity; Semi-Hard pasteurized 3 months old, Hard pasteurized 5 months old and Semi-Hard raw cow milk 3 months old. Mahón-Menorca Cheese is a very versatile cheese that can be used as a topping, infused with an array of vegetables, rices or as a stuffing or filling that delivers a full range of flavors that can transform any dish.

    CATAGORIES:

    There are three categories for the challenge; appetizers, side dishes and entrées. Bloggers are encouraged to participate in all three categories. One winner will be selected from each category and be awarded $500.00. The winning recipes from each category will then compete to see who will becomes the grand prize winner of the “Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge.” The Grand Prize Winner will win a five day trip to the beautiful Island of Menorca, Spain. The Grand Prize includes airfare for one, lodging (for two people) and rental car (for two people). The contest starts on October 1, 2018 and ends December 31, 2018. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

    Mahón-Menorca Cheese is looking for inspirational ideas to create “Simply Better Recipes” that occurs when creativity is fused with unexpected flavors and wholesome ingredients that deliver a full range of flavors that makes every seem extravagant.

    Cheese Fondue Recipe

    MORE ABOUT Mahón-Menorca CHEESE:

    Mahón-Menorca Cheese is produced on the island of Menorca, one of Spain’sBalearic Islands. A paradisiacal Biosphere Reserve Island (certified by the UNESCO) located in the Mediterranean Sea. Mahón-Menorca Cheese is a Protected Denomination of Origin (P.D.O.) based upon the geographic and distinct climate factors including its temperature, humidity, light, wind and salty pastures, and its ancient farming methods mastered by generations of the Menorca family farms. Made from menorcan cow’s milk (pasteurized or raw), exclusively matured on the island of Menorca. The Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge is being implemented by Thought For Food & Son. READ MORE>>>>

    Mahón-Menorca Cheese can be purchased nationwide at Whole Foods, and at other fine retailers such as Fairway Markets, Harris Teeter, Saveway, Kroger, Murray’s, Central Markets, Costco, Gourmet Garage, West Side Markets, Zabar’s, Central and Town & Country Markets in Seattle and at the best specialty stores all over the country.




    Potato Cheese Latkes with Cranberry Sour Cream | Recipe Challenge

    Cheese Latke Recipe
    Potato Cheese Latkes with Cranberry Sour Cream are the perfect Hanukkah appetizer for your holiday table this season.

    I love the traditional crisp texture of latkes, so when developing this recipe I knew they would pair beautifully with the unmistakable milky taste, and slight buttery characteristic of Mahón-Menorca Semi-Cured cheese. When paired with the creamy, sweet flavor of cranberry sour cream, my latke recipe is the perfect bite of sweet and savory. 

    This recipe is my first entry in the inaugural Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge  Appetizer Category. 

    Cheese Latke Recipe

    ABOUT THE CHALLENGE:

    SOURCE Mahon-Menorca Cheese

    Grand Prize – A Five Day Trip To The Beautiful Island Of Menorca, Spain

    MENORCA, Spain, Oct. 3, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The Board of Control of Mahón-Menorca Cheese is looking for spectacular bloggers to compete in their inaugural “Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge.” The challenge date has been set, the pans will be banging and the creative juices will be flowing to see who becomes the Grand Prize Winner of the “Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge.”

    Take the challenge and share your creativity using Mahón-Menorca Cheeses that are produced in three delicious degrees of maturity; Semi-Hard pasteurized 3 months old, Hard pasteurized 5 months old and Semi-Hard raw cow milk 3 months old. Mahón-Menorca Cheese is a very versatile cheese that can be used as a topping, infused with an array of vegetables, rices or as a stuffing or filling that delivers a full range of flavors that can transform any dish.

    CATAGORIES:

    There are three categories for the challenge; appetizers, side dishes and entrées. Bloggers are encouraged to participate in all three categories. One winner will be selected from each category and be awarded $500.00. The winning recipes from each category will then compete to see who will becomes the grand prize winner of the “Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge.” The Grand Prize Winner will win a five day trip to the beautiful Island of Menorca, Spain. The Grand Prize includes airfare for one, lodging (for two people) and rental car (for two people). The contest starts on October 1, 2018 and ends December 31, 2018. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

    Mahón-Menorca Cheese is looking for inspirational ideas to create “Simply Better Recipes” that occurs when creativity is fused with unexpected flavors and wholesome ingredients that deliver a full range of flavors that makes every seem extravagant.

    I sure hope the judges agree that this recipe is not only inspirational but easy to make, packed with wholesome ingredients and flavor that make this essential Hanukkah recipe even more extravagant made with Mahón-Menorca Cheese.

    Most importantly, I would love to win the Grand Prize trip to the beautiful Island of Menorca Spain.

    Happy Hanukkah! ENJOY

     

    Cheese Latke Recipe

    Potato Cheese Latkes with Cranberry Sour Cream

    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print

    Potato Cheese Latkes with Cranberry Sour Cream

    INGREDIENTS:

    ½ pound russet potatoes, shredded

    ½ cup Mehon-Menorca Semi-Hard Cheese, shredded and divided

    2 scallion’s white and green parts, fine chopped

    1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, seeded and fine chopped

    ½ teaspoon salt

    ¼ teaspoon white pepper

    1 large egg, lightly beaten

    2 tablespoon flour

    12 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying

    1 cup whole milk sour cream

    ½ cup fresh frozen cranberries

    1 teaspoon lime juice

    ½ cup sugar

    1 tablespoon fine chopped chives

    DIRECTIONS:

    • Peel potatoes and coarsely grate on large holes of grater. Using paper towels, squeeze out as much liquid as possible
    • In a bowl, combine potatoes, jalapeno, flour, scallion, 1 tablespoon Mehon-Menora Semi-hard cheese, salt and pepper
    • Add beaten egg and mix to combine
    • Heat oil in a large frying pan
    • While oil is heating, form latke haystacks and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Each haystack should be about 2 tablespoons of mixture.
    • Arrange latkes in hot oil pressing each down with a spatula to about 2 ½ inch diameter.
    • Cook 2-3 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Flip over and continue to cook 2-3 minutes longer or until latkes are crisp and browned
    • Remove cooked latkes to a paper towel lined pan to drain
    • Immediately add ½ teaspoon cheese to the top of each cooked latke
    • Once all latkes are cooked place under a broiler for 30 seconds to a minute to slightly melt cheese

    Cranberry Sour Cream:

    • Cook cranberries over medium heat with sugar and lime juice until soft. Mash with a fork and cool in refrigerator for 15 minutes. If you are using fresh cranberries, add a tablespoons of water
    • Mix cooled cranberry mixture with sour cream and keep cold until ready to plate

    Serve Latkes with cranberry sour cream and garnish with chopped chives

    ENJOY!

    Cheese Latke Recipe

    Cheese Latke Recipe

     

    More About Mehon-Menorca Cheese:

    Mahón-Menorca Cheese is produced on the island of Menorca, one of Spain’s Balearic Islands. A paradisiacal Biosphere Reserve Island (certified by the UNESCO) located in the Mediterranean Sea. Mahón-Menorca Cheese is a Protected Denomination of Origin (P.D.O.) based upon the geographic and distinct climate factors including its temperature, humidity, light, wind and salty pastures, and its ancient farming methods mastered by generations of the Menorca family farms. Made from menorcan cow’s milk (pasteurized or raw), exclusively matured on the island of Menorca. The Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge is being implemented by Thought For Food & Son. READ MORE>>>>

    Mahón-Menorca Cheese can be purchased nationwide at Whole Foods, and at other fine retailers such as Fairway Markets, Harris Teeter, Saveway, Kroger, Murray’s, Central Markets, Costco, Gourmet Garage, West Side Markets, Zabar’s, Central and Town & Country Markets in Seattle and at the best specialty stores all over the country.




    Venison Egg Rolls with Citrus Hoisin Dipping Sauce – Twin Dragon Asian Wrapper Challenge

    Venison Egg Roll Challenge

    Venison Egg Rolls with Citrus Hoisin Dipping Sauce – Twin Dragon Asian Wrapper Blogger Recipe Challenge

    ABOUT THE CHALLENGE:

    Take the challenge and be amazed by the versatility and ease of use when cooking with JSL Foods Asian Twin Dragon Wrappers. Twin Dragon Asian Wrappers include Won Ton Wrappers, Gyoza Wrappers (Potstickers), and Egg Roll Wrappers. JSL Foods Twin Dragon Wrappers are non GMO (soon to be verified), vegan and manufactured with natural ingredients. Twin Dragon brand wrappers are the only Asian Wrappers that are Vegan. JSL Foods wrappers hold up when boiled steamed or fried. Attributes include low oil absorption, even browning and when fried, small bubbles. You will be surprised how easy they are to work with. Consumers have made them the fastest growing wrapper brand in the United States.

    Bloggers will compete in three categories that include Wonton, Gyoza and Egg Roll. Winners will be selected from each category. Bloggers are encouraged to participate in all three categories.

    What do I win?

    Wonton Category:
    First Place: $1,000.00
    Second Place: $500.00
    Third Place: $250.00

    Gyoza (Potstickers) Category:
    First Place: $1,000.00
    Second Place: $500.00
    Third Place: $250.00

    Egg Roll Category:
    First Place: $1,000.00
    Second Place: $500.00
    Third Place: $250.00

    I chose the “Egg Roll Category” for my first recipe entry for the Blogger Challenge using what I had in my freezer and cupboard to illustrate how easy it is to create a delicious recipe in under 40 minutes with the Twin Dragon Asian Wrappers. I used venison sausage from my husbands most recent hunting foray, two large red/yellow bell peppers, a jar of orange marmalade, hoisin and pepper jelly, and herbs I keep in my cupboard to make this yummy appetizer. If you don’t have venison substitute your favorite pork sausage. 

    The result: Delicious Venison Egg Rolls with Citrus Hoisin Dipping Sauce

    • Difficulty: medium
    • Print

    INGREDIENTS:

    1 pound venison sausage (any variety pork sausage will do)

    1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

    1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

    1 teaspoon sesame oil

    1/2 teaspoon onion powder

    1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice

    1 tablespoon light soy sauce

    2 large red or yellow bell peppers, Julienne 

    12 Twin Dragon Asian Egg Roll Wrappers

    2 tablespoons flour

    3 tablespoon water

    4 cups vegetable oil for frying

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Heat sesame oil in medium saucepan. Cook garlic and ginger for 3 minutes 
    2. Add venison sausage, onion powder, Chinese 5 spice, and soy sauce. Cook until meat is crumbly and no pink remains
    3. Allow mixture to cool
    4. Mix flour and water together to use to seal egg rolls
    5. Julienne red and yellow peppers (thin match sticks)
    6. Open egg roll wrappers and place on a clean surface with one corner of wrapper facing you. Place 4 tablespoons cooled meat mixture in the center of the wrapper.
    7. Place about 4-6 slices of Julienne red and yellow pepper on top of meat
    8. Wet all the edges with flour mixture with your finger. Fold corner edge (side facing you) into the middle and tuck under the meat mixture. Fold up the two sides and secure. Wrap into a cigar share. 
    9. Fry egg rolls until lightly browned
    10. Serve with Citrus Hoisin Dipping Sauce (recipe below)

    FOR THE CITRUS HOISIN DIPPING SAUCE:

    1/4 cup hoisin sauce

    1/4 cup red pepper jelly

    1 cup orange marmalade

    3-4 tablespoons water

    Heat all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until melted. Keep warm until ready to serve

    Venison Egg Rolls

    You can purchase JSL Foods Twin Dragon products at: Albertsons, Shaw’s, Von’s, Stater Bros, Lucky’s, Food Maxx, Fred Meyer, QFC, Cub Foods, Rainbow Foods, Safeway, Associated Stores, Price Rite, Shop Rite, Winco, Price Chopper and Gelson’s!

    Website: http://www.jslfoods.com/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JSLFoods/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/JSL_Foods

     




    Grandparents Face Off at the World’s Largest Food Fight

    Grandparents Face Off at the World’s Largest Food Fight

    After all the Bacon World contesting dust has settled, I’m competing in one final battle on Sunday, November 11, 2018, the Grand Throw Down! If you’re in the area please stop by to watch all the live action and wish me luck! Listed below are the event details from World Food Championships:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

    Posted Oct 29, 2018

    ORANGE BEACH, Ala., The World Food Championships (WFC) just added a unique challenge into the mix for its main event in Orange Beach, Alabama. As a part of the largest Food Sport competition in the world’s mission to showcase culinary talents of all backgrounds and ages, WFC has added a grandparents-only cooking challenge called The “Grand” Throwdown.

    The new challenge was developed after experiencing the grand success and response from last year’s Granny Grilling challenge. Click here to view Delish.com’s video recap of the event. The 2017 Granny Grilling Champion Sherri Williams will serve as the host for this new cooking competition and prepare to pass down her coveted title to the next grandparent cook.

    “The grannies enjoyed themselves in last year’s challenge so much that we decided to give the grandpas a chance to join in our the fun food and show off their chops alongside the ladies,” said Mike McCloud, President and CEO of WFC. “We are always looking for new ways to inspire all competitors from all generations and backgrounds to join Food Sport. We are really excited to see these talented grandparents battle it out in Grill-Arena.”

    The grannies and grandpas will be tasked with creating a tasty dish with ingredients found in the WFC pantry with the hope that their culinary creations will please the panel of kid judges’ palate. The “Grand” Throwdown winners will take home the “Grand” trophy, grandparent bragging rights and a Golden Ticket for WFC 2019.

    Meet the Grandparents:

    Mark Banick

    Age: 62

    Home State: Salem, Oregon

    Nickname:  The ones that can talk call me Bocca Mark

    Number of Children: 2 children of my own and 4 girls from my wife Kim that I call my own, (blended family).

    Number of Grandchildren: 4 grandchildren

    Culinary Background: My grandfather is from Dalmatia (bottom part of old Yugoslavia. He was a merchant seaman and a baker on a 3-mast sail ship. So, I wanted to copy him and started learning to make bread at a young age.

    I was a single dad for about 15 years, so I did all the cooking in my home. When I married my wife Kim she took over some of the cooking but I still some along with the grilling.

    I have for the last 13 years along with two other guys and one gal cook home-style meals, 140-200, each Wednesday evening, along with about 15-20 other specialty events out our church ranging upwards to 400 people on holidays.

    I always get teased for buying my wife a Traeger for Christmas one year, but that is one of her most prized gifts.

    Fun Facts: Most little-known fact about me is that I was a radio operator on Air Force One for two presidents. (Ford, Carter).

    Vic Clevenger

    Age: 50

    Home State: Kissimmee, FL

    Nickname: The Cookin’ Comedian. But I’m Papaw to my grandson

    Number of Children: 2 Daughters + 1 Son-in-law

    Number of Grandchildren: 1 grandson

    Culinary Background: Just like being taught to how to feed myself, when it came to cooking I sought out those who do it the best and learn from them. So, I don’t consider myself a “self-taught cook”, I consider myself just a “student of cooking,” especially BBQ. I’ve won culinary awards from Florida to Washington as well as performing at many national culinary events. I also write regularly for National BBQ News, Tailgater Magazine, BBQ Times, Northern NY Entertainment, B&B Charcoal and have been published in Entrepreneurial Chef. I’m a huge supporter and promoter of Operation BBQ Relief.

    Fun Facts: I travel the country as a Professional speaker, Stand-up Comedian and competitive cook. I was cooking in a BBQ Competition when my grandson was being born back in September.

    Rebecka Evans

    Bacon World Champion Rebecka Evans

    Age: 58

    Home state: Pearland, Texas

    Number of Children: Gam Gam or Gamma

    How Many children? 5

    Number of Grandkids: 6

    Culinary Background: Rebecka Evans is an award-winning home cook and food blogger, and an avid food and nature photographer. Rebecka lives in Texas and is happily married to her sweet husband Blake. Blessed with five children, this proud “Papa and Gamma” also have five beautiful grand-girls, and one grandbaby boy.

    Rebecka began entering food competition at the age of twenty-five and began her food blogging journey over six years ago and is the proud Owner of At Home with Rebecka.com.

    Years of commitment to recipe creation and food competition has recently paid off with a few very big wins. Rebecka took home top honors at the World Food Championships held November 9-12, 2017 in Orange Beach, AL. She is the 2017 “Bacon World Champion” winning $10 thousand dollars in cash and prizes. Rebecka received 7th Place at the Final Table in April, 2018.

    Rebecka recently won two back to back competitions in September 2018; the Build a Better Burger Regional Contest sponsored by Sutter Home Wines and held in Washington, DC. She will go on to compete against the other Regional Finalists in May 2019 for a chance to win 25,000.00. The very next day, Rebecka won the Annual Mushroom Festival Cook-off held in Kennett Square, PA. Just a week later, Rebecka also won the South Regional Riunite Chili Cook-off with her Riunite Bold and Beefy Texas No Bean Chili taking home $1000.00 cash prize.

    Rebecka won her first TV competition appearance on the Food Network’s Clash of the Grandmas “Home Sweet Grandma” taking home cash prize of $10 thousand dollars!

    Rebecka is also the proud winner of the Gilroy Garlic Recipe Cook-Off, winning 1st Place at Gilroy Garlic Festival 2016 with her Garlic Goat Cheese and Bacon Soufflés. Total cash prize $5000.00 and the coveted Gilroy Garlic Crown!

    Fun Facts: Rebecka is a trained classical vocalist and loves singing opera. She has performed in many professional productions in her lifetime.

    Lisa Keys

    Age:  61

    Home state: Kennett Square, PA

    Grandma nickname: Kiki

    Number of Children: 2 children (Caitlin & William)

    Number of Grandchildren: 1 grandchild (Annabelle)

    Culinary Background: Growing up Italian I simply have the cooking gene. I am a self-taught home cook who has enjoyed entering cooking competitions for more than 30 years. I have won multiple awards over the years including WFC Top 10 in Sandwich and Recipe categories but am most proud of winning the Mother’s Day episode of the Food Network Show CHOPPED. Annabelle cooks with me now and this is the most fun ever.

    Fun Facts:  I am learning to play the ukulele. So far my granddaughter and I can sing together the song, “You Are My Sunshine.”

    This grand event will take place on Sunday, November 11 in Grill-Arena from 11:00am – 1:00pm.

    The 7th Annual WFC, presented by Walmart, will be held Nov. 7-11 at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama. To learn more about the event, visit www.worldfoodchampionships.com/tickets. In the meantime, stay up to date on all WFC news and developments by following us on Twitter (@WorldFoodChamp), and Facebook and Instagram (@WorldFoodChampionships). SOURCE: www.worldfoodchampionships.com




    World Food Championships 2018-Yacht Club Demo and more…

    Photo by MMA CREATIVE

    I’m counting down the days until I return to Orange Beach, Alabama to defend my Bacon World Championship title. I’ll be busy cooking to win it all again and also sharing my 2017 winning recipe for this years Yacht Club Progressive Dinner Party. Stay tuned for more exciting WFC contest news, you won’t want to miss a second.   

    THE YACHT CLUB Progressive Dinner

    2017 Bacon World Champion Rebecka Evans will serve her Bacon Dutch Crunch Pancakes and Peachy Pecan Syrup at this years World Food Championships Yacht Club Progressive Dinner Party. The event is organized by Chef Chad Combs-Ambassador Coordinator. Chef Chad will be mixing up some delicious libations to pair  with each of the five featured World Food Champions award-winning recipes. The event is so highly regarded it is already “SOLD OUT!” 

    2017 Bacon World Champion 10K Bacon Dutch Crunch Pancakes and Peachy Pecan Syrup

    2017 Bacon World Champion Rebecka Evans Bacon Dutch Crunch Pancakes and Peachy Pecan Syrup

    ABOUT THE EVENT

    Back by popular demand, WFC presents a progressive dinner on million-dollar yachts that will satisfy the most demanding taste buds! This culinary voyage includes award-winning recipes and samples from five of WFC’s past champions. Their combined winnings? More than $100,000! But YOU can taste all five dishes at a fraction of the cost! So jump aboard! Tickets are extremely limited but worth every penny! Sat, November 10, 2018 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM CST The Wharf Marina Orange Beach, AL 36561 SOLD OUT

    Nothing better than hanging out on a yacht in beautiful Orange Beach, Alabama and serving guests tender Dutch baby pancakes with lot’s of BACON!! 

    Ducth Baby Pancake Recipe

    Rebecka Evans Dutch Baby 2017- Photo by OC Food Diva




    Riunite Bold and Beefy Texas No Bean Chili WINS South Regional Finals

     

    Riunite South Regional Winner Rebecka Evans

    Photo by Riunite Wines

    Riunite Bold and Beefy Chili

    Food and Photo By At Home with Rebecka

    My Riunite Bold and Beefy Texas No Bean Chili WINS – South Regional Finals – Houston, Texas 2018

    Riunite Bold and Beefy Chili

    Rebecka Evans South Regional Finals – Riunite Chili Cook-off Winner with Houston Texans Kevin Walter

    About The Wine:

    Riunite, America’s #1 and best loved Italian wine for over 4 decades, is the leading source of classic wines from Central Italy’s Emilia Romagna Region, home of prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano and balsamic vinegar. Riunite is most closely identified with the Lambrusco grape, a variety native to central Italy. Lambrusco is said to be one of the oldest grapes in history, one that was first vinified by the Etruscans, dating back to before the first century BC.  When you are drinking Riunite, you are drinking history.

    About The Contest:

    Create an original chili recipe best paired with Riunite Lambrusco, writing up the recipe in 500 words or less. All ingredients must be readily available and be precisely measured. A photo of your recipe is optional. Five finalists will be selected to participate in a cook-off in Cincinnati, OH, prior to the pro football game on November 11, 2018.
    This contest is one of 5 regional contests with the same theme. Each contest is judged separately and there is no national cook-off this year.

    5 Regional Finalist Prizes: 2 upper-level end zone tickets to the pro football game in Houston, TX on October 7, 2018 and a $100 pre-paid debit card for required chili ingredients. Finalist will be required to provide their own ground transportation to and from the event and will receive a $200 pre-paid debit card for fuel, toll and parking expenses. Finalist’s guest must be at least 21 years of age. (ARV $500).
    Regional Winner Prize: $1,000 check.

    Riunite Winner South Regional Finals

    Contestants From Left: John Anders, Dan Hill, Mary Janssen, Official Judge: Texans Kevin Walter, Claudia McCarty, and Rebecka Evans – Photo by Riunite

    Game On

    The folks at Riunite Wines really know how to throw a tailgate chili cook-off.

    The South Regional Finals were held in Houston, Texas  at NRG Stadium on  October 7, 2018.

    The five South Regional Finalists enjoyed a relaxed chili cook-off; complete with a delicious catered tailgate meal including lot’s of Riunite wine. Former Houston Texans Wide Receiver  Kevin Walter,  was one of the official judges for the event. He was such a charmer as he was eager to pose for photo ops and sign autographs right before the chili cook-off. After I won, he made a point to find me to say he loved my “expensive” chili. 

    The event was well thought out and beautifully executed by the entire Riunite staff. Their generosity of gifting each contestant $300.00 for food, gas, and expenses. Each contestant was also given the Coleman stoves you see on the table, along with a cool blue apron with a water chiller pocket and retractable bottle opener. Food sport folks can never have enough cool aprons! 

    The contestants brought their “A-Game” with deliciously diverse chili recipes. Listed below are the names of the contestants followed by their creative recipe titles:

    John Anders Deep in The Heat Chili

    Dan Hill Texas Snakebite Chili 

    Mary Janssen Hit Me Chili 

    Claudia McCarty Hot Tropical Trail Chili

    There was not a bean in sight as these Texans really get the long standing tradition of NO BEAN Texas Chili. Focused and determined to win, they gave me a run for my money. The judges said it was one of the tightest scoring chili cook-offs in Riunite history! I’m honored to be the Riunite South Regional 2018 winner. 

    One of the highlights of this contest was meeting my longtime facebook friend and fellow food competitor Claudia McCarty for the very first time. The love of food sport has enriched our friendship through this competition. I’m so proud to know her and call her my friend!

    This was also the very first time my youngest son Christopher was able to attend one of my cooking competitions. Chris was a such a great help as he hauled all of my cooking gear and worked as my social media specialist. He also helped me drag my butt off the floor after tripping in a giant hole right before the event. My scraped knee is still healing, but he was there to collect his momma, helping her overcome the adversity and win. Christopher is also the editor of my food blog. Thank goodness for that because I write like I talk! 

    There is no better way to end a day than to win the cook-off and to see the Houston Texans beat the Dallas Cowboys in overtime! Enjoy my chili! 

    Riunite Bold and Beefy Texas No Bean Chili

    • Servings: 10-12
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print

    2 medium onions, fine chopped

    1 1/2 pounds New York Strip Steak

    1 1/2 pounds Ribeye Steak

    1 1/2 pounds Flat Iron Steak

    1/4 cup oil, divided

    1/4 cup minced garlic, about 10 cloves

    1 8 ounces can tomatoes with chilies

    1 28 ounces can crushed tomatoes

    1 3 ounces can chopped green chilies

    2 teaspoon cumin powder

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon garlic powder

    1/2 teaspoon dry Mexican oregano

    2 teaspoons dry mustard

    1 tablespoon brown sugar

    1/2 cup Riunite Lambrusco Wine

    1 12-ounce bottle of beer (I use Modelo Negro)

    5 tablespoon chili powder

    1 beef bouillon cube

    DIRECTIONS: 

    Fine chop onions, brown in 1 tablespoon oil. Remove onions from pan and keep in a large bowl.

    Chop 1 1/2 pounds New York Strip Steak, 1 1/2 pounds Ribeye Steak, 1 1/2 pounds Flat Iron Steak into 1 inch pieces. Cook meat in batches using about 1 teaspoon of oil for each new batch. Brown meat on all sides and remove to the large bowl with the onions. Continue cooking meat until all the meat is browned.

    Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan and sauté minced garlic for 1-2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with Riunite Lambrusco wine. Return meat and sautéed onions back to the pot.

    Add chilies, cumin, oregano, dry mustard, salt, garlic powder, tomatoes, beer chili powder and bouillon cube. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours.

    Garnish with corn chips, sour cream, diced onion, shredded white or cheddar cheeses, and sliced jalapeños.

    Riunite Winner South Regional Finals

    These cute ladies loved my chili so much they asked to take a photo with me! So sweet – I have fans!

     




    Grilled Asian BBQ Bone-In Ham with Ham Fried Rice

    Frick's BBQ Ham

    Ready for an easy holiday meal?

    My first submission for the FRICK’S Blogger Recipe Challenge is your answer! 

    ABOUT THE CHALLENGE

    The “Frick’s Blogger Recipe Challenge” will only be open to the first 30 eligible bloggers who sign-up. There are three categories for the challenge; Appetizers, Center of the Plate and On the Grill. Bloggers are encouraged to participate in all three categories. One winner will be selected from each category and be awarded $500.00. The winning recipes from each category will then compete to see who becomes the $1,000.00 grand prize winner of the “Frick’s Blogger Recipe Challenge.”

    My first entry for the Blogger Recipe Challenge is Grilled Asian BBQ Bone-In Ham with Ham Fried Rice, qualifying for the On The Grill Category. Made with an Asian BBQ sauce and served with easy ten minute Ham Fried Rice, the recipe can be on your table in less than 45 minutes.

    In return for submitting a few contest recipes in the FRICK’S Blogger Recipe Challenge, Frick’s® Quality Meats sent me three of their smoked ham products: Bone-in Half Ham, Gourmet Sliced Ham, and Shingled (sliced) Ham. Frick’s Quality Meat products also include Sliced Applewood Quarter Ham and Turkey Drums.

    Grilled Asian BBQ Bone-In Ham with Ham Fried Rice

    • Servings: 8
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print

    1 Frick’s Butt Portion Bone-In Half Ham

    1 9.45 ounce jar hoisin sauce

    1/2 cup ketchup

    1/4 cup brown sugar

    1 tablespoon yellow mustard

    1 teaspoon soy sauce

    pinch chili flakes

    2 teaspoon ground pepper

    For the Ham Fried Rice:

    2 cups chopped ham (1 thick slice cut from ham before cooking)

    4 cups “day old” cooked rice (I use the precooked version found in the rice isle at the grocery for easy prep)

    2 tablespoons scallions, chopped

    2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

    1 teaspoon sesame oil

    2 large eggs

    1/2 cup chopped scallions white and green parts

    1/2 cup sliced carrots

    1/2 cup frozen baby peas

    1 tablespoon brown sugar

    1/3 cup soy sauce

    pinch red pepper flakes

    1/8 teaspoon ginger

    salt and pepper to taste

    DIRECTIONS:

    Pre heat grill to medium (350-400 degrees)

    Combine hoisin, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, soy sauce and chili flakes in a medium sauce pan and heat till mixture begins to boil. Add the pepper and stir to combine, reduce heat, and keep warm.

    Place the unwrapped ham in an aluminum foil lined disposable foil roasting pan

    Ladle or brush  3/4 cups Asian BBQ sauce all over the ham and place ham cut side down. Tent the foil over the ham and cook for 40 minutes on the grill. Keep an eye of the grill temperature to maintain 350-400.

    For the Ham Fried Rice

    • Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil to the hot pan.
    • Sauté 1/4 cup chopped onions and carrots for 3 minutes or until onions are translucent. Remove vegetables from pan to a small bowl
    • Add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil to pan and cook chopped ham until hot (about 3 minutes) stirring to heat through
    • Remove cooked ham to the same bowl as onions and carrots
    • Add 1 teaspoon oil to the wok. Cook 2 large eggs until yolks are just hard. Remove from pan and chop
    • Add brown sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce and 1/8 teaspoon ginger to the hot wok. Stir to combine, add pinch chili flakes and cook till bubbling
    • Return meat and vegetables to the pan. Add rice, and too to combine
    • Add peas and fried egg, stir to combine. Heat for 3 minutes and serve with chopped scallions, sliced grilled ham and more Asian BBQ Sauce 

     

    You can order FRICK”S Quality Meats online

    Website: https://frickmeats.com

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FricksQualityMeats/ 

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fricksqualitymeats/

     

    Frick's BBQ Ham

     

    Frick's BBQ Ham




    Are You a Master Baker or Disaster Baker-Contest and Giveaway-WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT

    Passion for Baking cookbook

    Photo by Passion for Baking Lise Sternersen (Manuela Kjeilen – TV personality and owner of www.passionforbaking.com is the writer, baker, and photographer behind passionforbaking.com   

    Sixteen weeks ago I invited you to bake along in the contest series  “Are You a Master Baker or Disaster Baker?”  Thirteen diehard contestants indulged in the challenge and baked along with me to the very end.

    Before I announce the winner, I just wanted to give thanks to all of you who participated in the event.  I am filled with joy as I look back through all of the Woobox Gallery submissions, every recipe looked so beautiful. Thank goodness Woobox has a random drawing feature and I didn’t have to pick a winner.

    Today is momentous: with great pride in the culmination of all your hard work and dedication to the challenge; I’m ready to announce the grand prize winner of the Ankarsrum USA stand mixer and the winner of the Passion for Baking Cookbook, Love Manuela – The Baking Book. You took the challenge; now are you ready to meet the winners?

    WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT

    Woobox has spoken! Listed below are the winners of the Ankarsrum Mixer and the Passion for Baking Cookbook. Congratulations to both of you on your success in this challenge!

     The Winner of the Ankarsurm Mixer: 

    Nancy Angelici 

    Congratulations Nancy! Thank you for baking alongside me and all of the other competitors. I know you’ll love your new Ankarsrum mixer.  I will forward your email to Ankarsrum and they will contact you for shipping information and your choice of mixer color.

     The Winner of Passion for Baking Cookbook, Love Manuela – The Baking Book:

    Donna Bardocz

    Congratulations Donna! Thank you for baking alongside myself and all of the other competitors throughout this challenge.  Please email me your address and contact information to rebeckasevans@gmail.com and I will send your cookbook. 

    Congratulations again ladies; I’m so happy for you both! 

    CHEERS to all the Master and Disaster bakers that joined me on this journey. Your willingness to bake all six recipes in the series brings me such great pride. I’m so honored and proud of your willingness to commit to the challenge for the past sixteen weeks. Your renditions of Manuela’s handpicked recipes are amazing. I’d like to thank the following people for taking the challenge with me: 

    • Acie Vincent 
    • Helen Fields 
    • Lynn Beamer 
    • Lisa Keys 
    • Nancy Angelici 
    • Kim Banick 
    • Isabel Minunni 
    • Chelsea Madrin 
    • Laurie Lufkin 
    • Vanessa Lane 
    • Donna Bardocz 
    • Ava Marie 
    • Lori McClain

    A Newfound ‘Passion For Baking’

    This baking journey has taken me from a nervous “disaster baker” to where I have a real “passion for baking.” I still consider myself a novice baker, yet I have gained confidence as the thought of making macarons or jelly rolls no longer petrify me. Not only has my fear subsided, I’ve also learned so many new baking terms and techniques. For example; I can now wield a piping bag like a professional, make the most delicious fluff frosting, create a beautiful layered cake, and I know now what it means for a macaron to have “feet.” Not to mention, I’ve enjoyed eating some of the most delicious baked treats all thanks to Manuela Kjeilen’s impeccable step by step instruction. 

    According to Manuela’s Passion for Baking cookbook, Manuela strives to “inspire you to bake and just have fun in the kitchen.

    Manuela, let me be the first to say that your goal has been achieved in my kitchen. I’ve been inspired to bake your beautiful creations and I’ve had so much fun throughout this process. My family and neighbors are very thankful to have enjoyed your delicious desserts as well. 

    It’s been such a blessing to have learned from Manuela. Her recipes are so beautiful and delicious; not to mention her step-by-step instructions are so easy to follow. Anyone with the inclination to become a better baker can achieve great success by simply practicing what Manuela preaches. 

    Thank you Manuela for your friendship, support, and passion for baking. My life is better with you in it!  

    Are You Master Baker or Disaster Baker?

    After expanding your horizons and opening yourself up to new experiences in the kitchen, it’s time for you to decide whether you’re a master or disaster baker. Are you feeling like a Master Baker now that you’ve taken my baking challenge? Do you have a new passion for baking? Did Manuela inspire you to bake and just have fun in the kitchen? Only you can answer these questions, I just hope you enjoyed the challenge as much as I did. 

    Please feel free to tell me about your experiences with the challenge and your qualification as a master or disaster bake in the comment section below. I would love to hear which recipe(s) you liked most and why and how this challenge has either positively or negatively impacted your baking skills. 

    Ankarsrum Mixer

    Photo by Ankansrum Original USA

    Further inspiration for the challenge: came from my desire to work with the most amazing mixer in the World, Ankarsrum USA Original. Thank you Ashley McCord, Product Manager at Ankarsrum USA, for sponsoring the giveaway. Thanks to you, this incredible mixer has been awarded to one very happy Woobox winner and for gifting me the “Black Pearl” model to use for the contest. The mixer looks amazing in my new Texas kitchen! 

    Ankarsrum Original Kitchen Machine (formerly known as Verona, Magic Mill, Electrolux Assistent, DLX), a favorite mixer of Swedish cooks since 1940, is now available for North American homeowners. Fashioned from sturdy chrome and steel, this 600 watt professional quality kitchen tool is a durable all-purpose mixer that produces superior baking results. A variety of optional attachments transforms the Ankarsrum Original into a complete kitchen center, eliminating the need for a separate food processor, meat grinder, or slicer. The Ankarsrum Original offers professional functionality and versatility in one convenient countertop tool.

    The craftsmanship of the Ankarsrum mixer is unparalleled due to it’s user friendly nature.  Also, the multi-functionality makes this mixer a “must have” kitchen utility for both novice and master bakers. I love everything about this mixer!

    (Check out the amazing selection online HERE)

    WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO:

    If you’re here for the first time and would like check out what we’ve been up to, click the links to view Recipe #1 Mocca Meringues Ice Cream Cake, Recipe #2 Norwegian Cream Cake, Recipe #3 Manuela’s Best Vanilla Cupcakes, Recipe #4 Manuela’s White Macarons with Milk Chocolate Fudge, and Recipe #5 Manuela’s Norwegian Vanilla Buns.

    (YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT MANUELA AND THE CONTESTS OFFICIAL RULES HERE )

    http://

     

     




    Aussie Grassfed Beef and Lamb Patty Melt with Mushroom and Bacon Gravy

    American Fusion Patty Melt

    My Aussie Grassfed Beef and Lamb Patty Melt with Mushroom and Bacon Gravy was inspired by one of my favorite recipes EVER, Low Country Bacon Gravy. My parents taught this girl how to love her gravy and I’ve been cooking the recipe ever since. Brown, giblet, milk, mushroom, and onion gravies have all found a home in both my heart and hearth.

    The quintessential American food has graced many plates in my lifetime, so I had a hunch that the savory milk gravy would pair beautifully with my True Aussie Beef and Lamb and blended mushroom patty melt. My hunch paid off with a First Place Win at the 2018 Annual Mushroom Festival Amateur Cook-Off held in Kennet Square, Pennsylvania on September 8, 2018.

    Lamb and Beef Patty Melt

    The Mushroom Festival 2018 WINNING RECIPE: Grassfed True Aussie Beef and Lamb Burger, blended with portabella and white button mushroom, topped off with Low Country Mushroom Bacon Gravy

    About The Cook-Off:

    The 2018 theme is: Mushrooms Blended with Grassfed Beef or Lamb

    Blended mushroom recipes require ground mushrooms to be mixed with a protein. As a trendy meat extender, the mushrooms create a unique, flavorful combination for burgers, meatballs, tacos, stuffing, or even a Bolognese sauce. The 2018 Mushroom Festival Amateur Cook-Off will focus on blending mushrooms with grassfed beef or lamb. At the Cook-off all recipes will be made with the Australian grassfed beef or lamb of our partner True Aussie Beef and Lamb.

    About The Competitors & Awards:

    This year’s Mushroom Festival Amateur Cook-off theme was Mushrooms Blended with Grassfed Beef and Lamb. The entries that came in were amazing and ranged the gamut from hummus and burgers to potstickers and chili. Cuisines ranged from Chinese, Mexican, Mediterranean, and American. Each recipe was tested and rated by a panel of local food enthusiasts and the following six finalists were chosen:

    1. Rebecka Evans (Me) of Pearland, TX– American Fusion Patty Melt with Low Country Mushroom-Bacon Gravy
    2. Jill Gilber of Philadelphia, PA– Exotic Spiced Beef & Silky Buttered Mushrooms over Hummus
    3. Devon Delaney of Westport, CT – Ginger Snapped Lamb and Mushroom Lettuce Cups with Lemon Mint Yogurt Sauce & Buttered Pistachios
    4. Janine Washle, of Eastview, KY – Hunter’s Style Beef and Wild Mushrooms over Creamy Parmesan Grits
    5. Lynne Laino, of Downingtown, PA – Kennett Square Gyros with Tzatziki and Crispy Shiitakes
    6. Daniel Richeal of Kennett Square, PA – Mushroom Risotto with Savory Mushroom and Lamb Meatballs

    Each of the finalists will take home from the Cook-off at least a $100 Cash Prize, a $250 Gift Card and Party Pack from True Aussie Beef and Lamb and a Kitchen Aid 3.5-Cup One-Touch 2-Speed Chopper with Extra Bowl.

    The first place winner will receive $1500 cash prize and a Golden Ticket to the World Food Championships to compete in the Burger Category ($1500 value). Second place receives a $300 cash prize and third place receives a $200 cash prize.  There will be a special $250 cash prize for Best Use of Butter with Mushrooms. 

    The Official Rules:

    • Charged with the task of blending mushrooms and the choice to use either True Aussie Beef or Lamb, I decided to blend my mushrooms with both proteins. The 80/20 mixture of ground beef and lamb was the perfect bite of deliciousness set against the caramelized onions, domestic Swiss cheese, and mushroom-bacon gravy. I added my favorite bread, marbled rye to make a marriage of flavors that create this blended American Fusion patty melt.
    • Contestants were also asked to use Challenge Butter in their recipes to be judged in a special ancillary contest for a chance to win $250 cash prize for Best Use of Butter with Mushrooms. Jill Gilber (one of my dearest friends and fellow food competitors) won the contest with her Exotic Spiced Beef & Silky Buttered Mushrooms over Hummus. 
    • Finally, the contestants were asked to submit a photo of their recipe for a chance to win and additional $250.00. The photos pictured on my blog were chosen by a panel of judges as the winner. Doubly blessed, I won the First Place Prize of $1500.00 and then another $250.00 for my recipe photos. The cash prize is such a treat but the experience is priceless! 

    Fun Facts About Cream Gravy:

    • People throughout this great nation have long made gravy with whatever is stuck to the bottom of the skillet, but Texas deserves a special citation for their love of cream gravy. It’s a simple, perfect meld of leftover fat, flour, milk or cream and—crucially—plenty of black pepper, stirred together over heat until it’s sufficiently thick. Spooned lavishly over a chicken-fried steak, it’s something akin to heaven in liquid form.
    • Texans can’t take all the credit for milk gravy, Low Country Bacon Gravy, and other milk based gravy are the cuisine of the Southern United States developed in the traditionally defined American South; influenced by African, English, Scottish, Irish, French, Spanish, and Native American cuisines. Tidewater, Appalachian, Creole, Lowcountry, and Floribbean are examples of types of Southern cuisine. In recent history, elements of Southern cuisine have spread north, having an effect on the development of other types of American cuisine. wikipedia.com 

    Beef and Lamb Patty Melt Recipe

    Aussie Grassfed Beef and Lamb Patty Melt with Mushroom and Bacon Gravy

    Aussie Grass Feed Beef and Lamb Patty Melt with Mushroom and Bacon Gravy

    • Servings: make 4 burgers
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print

    INGREDIENTS:

    15 ounces’ True Aussie Ground beef

    3 ounces True Aussie Ground Lamb

    2 pounds Mixed Mushrooms (baby portabella, white button) divided

    1 1/2 cups Heavy cream

    22 slices Bacon, (about 24 ounces) 16 slices cooked whole, 6 cooked and chopped, all bacon fat reserved

    2 1/2 teaspoons flour

    2 sticks Challenge butter, 1 cup

    Marbled Jewish Rye Bread

    16 slices Swiss cheese

    1 large Sweet Onions

    1 bunch green onions, chopped

    1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary

    water to thin gravy if necessary

    Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

    Long rosemary sprigs for garnish

    Mixed mushroom for garnish

    Instructions:

    • Chop and cook remaining 6 slices of bacon. Leave 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in pan, reserve the rest. Drain on a paper towel and set aside. Reserve remaining bacon fat.
    • Slice large sweet onions thinly, sauté in 1 tablespoon bacon drippings and 1 tablespoon Challenge Butter until caramelized. About 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside
    • Chop 1 bunch large green onions (both green and white parts) makes about 2 cups. Set aside

    Sliced Mushroom Blend:

    • Slice 2 ½-pounds mushrooms thinly. Heat a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoon bacon drippings and 2 tablespoon Challenge Butter, 1 cup of green onions, 2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary, and sliced mushrooms. Cook until crisp and caramelized, (About 5 minutes)
    • Season with a pinch salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
    • Once mushroom are slightly cooled chop mushrooms in the Kitchen Aid 3.5 Cup One-Touch 2 speed chopper. Set aside half the mixture for blended burgers and half for the for mushroom gravy.

    Blended Burger:

    • In a large bowl combine 15 ounces True Aussie Ground Beef, 3 ounces True Aussie Ground Lamb, 1 cup chopped green onion, 2 cups cooled, chopped mushroom blend.
    • Divide blended burger mixture equally into 4 balls. Place the balls on a parchment line baking sheet and shape into 4, 1/4-inch rectangle patties.
    • In a large sauté or grill pan, melt 1 tablespoon Challenge Butter and cook burgers for 3-4 minutes per side or until just cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Reserve drippings

    Mushroom Gravy:

    • Add 1 tablespoon bacon drippings, 2 tablespoon Challenge Butter to a large sauce pan. Heat over medium high. Once bacon drippings and butter are melted add 2 ½ teaspoons flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly.
    • Whisk in 1 cups heavy cream. Continue whisking until all the flour mix is incorporated and there are no lumps. Add remaining ½ cup cream and blend well.
    • Reduce heat to low. Add 1 tablespoon Challenge Butter, remaining Mushroom Blend, reserved burger drippings, and chopped bacon. Stir to combine. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and fresh cracked pepper. Keep warm

    Making the Patty Melt:

    • Butter 8 slices Marbled Jewish Rye bread with Challenge butter. Using a large sauté or grill pan turn heat to medium and place 4 slices bread, butter side down in the pan
    • Add 2 slices Swiss cheese to each piece of bread, lay two slices bacon on top of 2 of 2 cheese breads and a cooked burger patty on top of 2 of the pieces of bread.
    • Top both burgers with caramelized onions, 2 more slices bacon for each burger, and top with 1-2 tablespoon mushroom gravy.
    • Cover the burger with second slice of bread and cook for 2-3 minutes. Carefully, flip patty melt over and continue cooking until cheese is melted, about 3 more minutes or until heated through.
    • Skewer burgers with rosemary sprigs and serve with additional mushroom-bacon gravy. ENJOY

    Special Thanks:

    Jennifer Daskevich, Owner @tikihutbrands.com Event MC, Culinary Brand Ambassador, True Aussie Beef and Lamb

    Jennifer Basciani, Mushroom Festival Amateur Cook-Off and Culinary Event Coordinator 

    John D’Amico J.D. Mushrooms, Inc Senior VP

    Challenge Butter

    Kitchen Aid Brands

    Sources: 

    The Mushroom Festival – The Mushroom Festival

    Fun Fact About Gravy- My Recipes .com

    Lowcountry – Wikipedia 

     

     




    Are You a Master Baker or Disaster Baker? Contest and Giveaway RECIPE #6

    Recipe #6 Manuela’s Classic Budapest Roll

    Classic Budapest Roll Manuela

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen. (All photos courtesy of passionforbaking.com’s Lise Sternersen, and the dishes featured in the photos were created by Manuela Kjelien unless otherwise noted). 

    Final Recipe #6:

    Today I’m announcing the final recipe in the Are You a Master Baker or Disaster Baker? Contest and Giveaway bake-along series. When I started this baking journey twelve weeks ago I was a self-professed disaster baker, I never imagined I would end up at the finale with a true “passion” for baking!  I’ve found a new confidence as a baker after baking all six of Manuela’s delicious recipes. The fear and trepidation that once accompanied the thought of baking anything other than cookies or a pie seems to have gone for good. Passion for Baking, Manuela Kjeilen’s step-by-step directions has been the perfect instructor for this novice baker and as Manuela would say, “practice, practice, practice.”

    I hope that you’re all feeling the same sense of accomplishment after baking along in the challenge? Please take a moment to share a a quick note in the comment section below of how this baking journey has effected your skills, life and …

    What We’ve Been Up Too:

    If you’re here for the first time and would like check out what we’ve been up to, click the links to view Recipe #1 Mocca Meringues Ice Cream Cake, Recipe #2 Norwegian Cream Cake, Recipe #3 Manuela’s Best Vanilla Cupcakes, Recipe #4 Manuela’s White Macarons with Milk Chocolate Fudge, and Recipe #5 Manuela’s Norwegian Vanilla Buns.

    The requirements for this weeks challenge are the same as the previous five weeks and are written below: 

    Bake the next recipe in the challenge series then take a photo of your “Master or Disaster” piece. The Woobox Submission Form is listed at the end of this post, and it’s also where you will share a photo of your creation. The link will be available on all my social media sites for easy access to post your photos for the entire duration of the contest. 

    *NOTE* Contest and Giveaway 

    In order to be eligible to win the $700.00 Ankarsrum Original Mixer you must enter a photo for ALL 6 recipes in the challenge. To win the Baking Book: Love Manuela,  you are required to enter 3 recipe photos.

    FOR THE OFFICIAL RULES CLICK HERE

    Classic Budapest Roll Manuela

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen. (All photos courtesy of passionforbaking.com’s Lise Sternersen, and the dishes featured in the photos were created by Manuela Kjelien unless otherwise noted).

    This stunning creation is the work of Norwegian born award-winning blogger and “Master Home Baker” –  Manuela Kjeilen.

    ( You can read more about Manuela and the Contests Official Rules HERE )

    Attached to each of the six recipes sent to me by Manuela were notes written by her as they related to one of the recipes. Below is what Manuela said about Recipe #6

    Finally, I would love for your followers to make a typical Norwegian cake, you see them in all the bakeries in Sweden; a classic Budapest roll.

    Manuela, Thank you for choosing this recipe last in the series,  I’ve always wanted to conquer making a rolled cake. Now I can add Classic Budapest Roll to my list of accomplishments as a baker. I hope you find this an acceptable rendition of your recipe.

    Now that you’ve seen the STUNNING photo of Recipe #6 Manuela’s Classic Budapest Roll  above, say hello to my rendition.

    Classic Budapest Roll

    Food and Photo by Rebecka Evans – Recipe by Passion for Baking.com

    Some Thoughts on My Final Bake

    I went into this bake with far less trepidation as previous bakes. I was calm for the first time baking an unfamiliar recipe. It doesn’t hurt that Manuela gives such easy to follow instructions for her recipes. You can find her step by step instructions for this recipe HERE.

    Thinking about making a rolled cake was a little overwhelming but once I started rolling out the cake it was much easier that I imagined. The cake is so deliciously chewy and flavorful and is my favorite in the entire series. The recipe calls for ground hazelnuts or almond flour, I opted to use almond flour since I’m not a fan of hazelnuts. If you have nut allergies, you can substitute your favorite crushed cookies; Lorna Dunes (shortbread cookies) work very well. 

    What I Did Wrong:

    • The meringue crust is chewy and delicious but I over baked it per usual so my meringue is not the beautiful pale color like Manuela’s cake pictured above. I was really hoping to get that light and airy look that Manuela so expertly achieves however, I will have the opportunity to fix that as I will be making this cake again and again, it’s that good!
    • I got carried away with the dark chocolate drizzle so the top of my cake looks like a wild mess. I also added a lot more mandarine orange segments than the recipe calls for because I love them but they are trying to burst out from the sides of my roll. Despite the addition of the emerging orange segments the cake rolled up perfectly.
    • My biggest technical error was piping the meringue too close together and too close to the edges of the baking sheet. Unfortunately, the cake became one giant sheet instead of the beautifully pipped lines of Manuela’s cake.  I had to use a small knife to free the sticky edges from the baking sheet. To keep that from happening, I would suggest leaving about 2 inches free from meringue around the entire sheet to make a clean line. Take a look at Manuela’s YouTube video HERE to see what I’m suggesting. Not a disaster per se, I was able to accomplish the rolled effect without breaking the cake in half! I would call this a baking success. 

    Classic Budapest Roll

    Food and Photo by Rebecka Evans – Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen

    Classic Budapest Roll

    Food and Photo by Rebecka Evans – Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen

    Manuela’s Classic Budapest Roll Notes

    You will need the following items in order to successfully bake this recipe: 

    1. Stand Mixer with whisk attachment (If you don’t own a stand mixer you can use an electric hand mixer )
    2. One baking sheet lined with parchment and 1 extra sheet of parchment to roll the cake
    3.  1 large round nozzle baking tip
    4. 1 large pastry bag 
    5. The recipe conversions from European Measurements are Manuela’s US converted recipes or were calculated with the iPhone APP “Kitchen Pro”

      Classic Budapest Roll

      • Servings: 10-12
      • Difficulty: medium
      • Print

      BUDAPEST ROLL:

      • 1 1/8 cup (250 g) egg whites (about 7 large eggs)
      • 2 cups (450 g) sugar
      • 2 1/8 cups (200g) ground hazelnuts or almonds
      • 3/4 cup or 1-4 ounce box (75g) Jell-O Pudding-Instant Vanilla, optional

      FILLING:

      • 1 1/3 cup heavy cream, whipped
      • One can mandarin oranges (I used a total of 1 1 /2-15 ounce cans)
      • 2 tablespoon powdered sugar (I like mine sweet)

      TOPPING:

      •  2-3 oz. Dark chocolate, melted
      • 1 tablespoon Powdered sugar for dusting
      • 1-tablespoon Dark cocoa powder for dusting

       DIRECTIONS:

      • Preheat oven to 320F / 160 C°
      • In a large bowl, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Slowly add the sugar while beating the egg whites on low-speed.
      • In a medium bowl, blend the ground hazelnuts with the Jell-O Pudding-Instant Vanilla
      • With the use of a spatula, carefully fold in the hazelnuts / Jell-O Pudding-Instant Vanilla mixture with the egg whites.
      • Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle and pipe stripes onto a parchment lined baking sheet, from one side of the baking tray to the other side, pipe each stripe close to each other.
      • Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 min, or until set.
      • Let the meringue cool completely.
      • While meringue is cooling, drain the mandarin slices. Make sure they are dry before being putting it on the cake.
      • In a bowl, whip up the heavy cream until it thickens, if you love it sweetened add powdered sugar!
      • Flip the cake upside down onto a new sheet of parchment paper.
      • Carefully peel off the parchment paper spread the whipped cream over the bottom of the cake. Place the mandarin slices e on top of the cream.
      • Place the long side of the cake in front of you and start rolling it.
      • I find using the parchment paper and a silicon mat underneath helps the rolling ones you get started, hold on to the paper rather than the cake.
      • Once rolled up, make sure the edge of the roll is facing down.
      • Melt the chocolate and drizzle on top, when the chocolate is firm, dust the top with icing sugar and some dark cocoa powder

      Enjoy, Love Manuela

    Classic Budapest Roll

    Food and Photo by At Home with Rebecka

    This is your last chance to bake your “Master or Disaster” piece in this challenge! Remember you must post a photo of your completed dish to the WooBox link (listed below) by, September 15, 2018 Midnight CST 

    Be sure to add a photo of your rendition to the WOOBOX entry form below. Thank you for baking along…Happy Baking!

    http://

    CONTEST TIMELINE

    June 18, 2018 Initial Rules and Information Post

    June 24, 2018 First Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #1)

    July 1, 2018 First Recipe Due Midnight CST

    July 8, 2018 Second Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #2)

    July 15, 2018 Second Recipe Due Midnight CST

    July 22, 2018 Third Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #3)

    August 1, 2018 Third Recipe Due Midnight CST

    August 5, 2018 Fourth Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #4)

    August 15, 2018 Fourth Recipe Due Midnight CST

    August 19, 2018 Fifth Recipe in series Announced (Recipe #5)

    September 1, 2018 Fifth Recipe Due Midnight CST

    September 9, 2018 Sixth Recipe in series Announced (Recipe #6)

    September 15, 2018 Sixth Recipe Due Midnight CST 

    WINNER(s) ANNOUNCED: October 1-5 stay tuned…

    Be sure to Follow Ankarsrum Original USA and Manuela Kjeilen for her newest recipes at passionforbaking.com.

    THANK YOU for baking along! 




    Zapiekanka – BLENDABELLA Recipe Challenge

    BLENDABELLAZapiekanka – BLENDABELLA Recipe Challenge 

    One of my favorite foods is Zapiekanka, a delicious and comforting Polish street food.

    A zapiekanka (Polish pronunciation: [zapʲɛˈkaŋka]; plural: zapiekanki, pronounced [zapʲɛˈkaŋkʲi]) is an open-face sandwich made of half of a baguette or other long roll of bread, topped with sautéed white mushrooms, cheese and sometimes other ingredients, and toasted until the cheese melts. Served hot with ketchup, it is a popular street food in Poland. With its origin dating back to the 1970s, the zapiekanka is associated with the austere times of Poland’s Communist regime, but it has enjoyed renewed demand in the 21st century, which has also brought a wider range of varieties. SOURCE: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I knew this recipe would be the perfect fit for the BLENDABELLA Blogger Recipe Challenge because I could use the BLENDABELLA mushroom mixes. The original recipe calls for a blended mushroom mixture which takes about 25 minutes to cook; plus the amount of time it takes to bake the dish.

    However by utilizing the BLENDABELLA products, this recipe is on the table in less than 15 minutes! 

    A word from this challenge’s sponsor Giorgio Foods:

    “We want food bloggers to mix some mushrooms up in the kitchen this season with its Blendabella Summer Blogger Recipe Challenge.

    The Temple, Pa.-based company’s Blendabella product is a mushroom blend with portabellas, vegetables and herbs and comes in Zesty Mexican, Coconut Thai and Rustic Tuscan flavors, according to a news release. 

    The contest runs July 1 through Sept. 30, and the first 50 eligible bloggers to sign up can compete for $500 prizes for appetizers, side dishes and entrees.
     
    The winning recipes from those categories will then compete for a $1,000 grand prize, according to the release.

    Making Zapiekanka is a blast when using the BLENDABELLA mushroom blends. I couldn’t decide which flavor to use, so I ended up using all three blends. My recommendation for this specific dish would be the Rustic Tuscan Blend, as it tastes the most like traditional Zapiekanka. While all of the blends are delicious,  the other flavors bring more of a perspective in regards to different tastes from around the world.

    The recipe is so easy (see below):

    1. Choose you favorite Giorgio BLENDABELLA mushroom flavor mix
    2. Spread Blendabella generously over a sliced baguette
    3. Add your favorite cheese or my suggested cheeses below
    4. Bake on a pizza stone or sheet pan in a 350F. degree oven for 6-8 minutes or until cheeses are melted and bread is crisp
    5. Serve with traditional ketchup or one of my easy to make sauces (recipes below)

     
    Tuscan Blend BLENDABELLA

    First up is the Rustic Tuscan Blend Recipe:

    1 large baguette cut in half

    2-3 heaping tablespoons Rustic Tuscan Blend per slice of bread

    1/2 Fontina Cheese

    1/2 Asiago Cheeses

    Tuscan Sauce Recipe:

    Blend together,

    1/2 cup mayonnaise

    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

    Garnish with halved Kalamata olives

    Mexican Blend BLENDABELLA

    Next up, The Zesty Mexican Blend:

    1 large baguette cut in half

    2-3 heaping tablespoons Zesty Mexican Blend per slice of bread

    1/2 Queso Quesadilla Cheese

    1/2 Cotija Cheese

    Mexican Spicy Ketchup Sauce Recipe:

    Blend together,

    2 tablespoons ketchup

    1/2 cup mayonnaise

    1 teaspoon chipotle pepper sauce

    1 tablespoon sriracha sauce  

    Garnish with sliced jalapeños and cotija cheese

    Thai Blend BLENDABELLA

     

    Finally, The Coconut Thai Blend:

    1 large baguette cut in half

    2-3 heaping tablespoons Coconut Thai Blend per slice of bread

    1 cup mozzarella cheese

    Asian inspired sweet and spicy hoisin sauce:

    Blend together,

    1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce

    1 teaspoon hoisin sauce

    1/2 cup mayonnaise

    1 tablespoon ketchup

    Garnish with green onions and Thai basil

     

    It’s just as simple and delicious as that! 

     

    Be sure to visit BLENDABELLA on their social media links:

    Website: http://blendabella.com/

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BLENDABELLA/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/BLENDABELLA?lang=en

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blendabella/

    Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/blendabella/

    You can also visit BLENDABELLA to shop online: http://giorgio-foods.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage

    BLENDABELLA

    For the full recipe for Polish Zapiekanka click HERE:




    Are You a Master Baker or Disaster Baker? Contest and Giveaway RECIPE #5

    Recipe #5 Manuela’s Norwegian Vanilla Buns

    Norwegian Vanilla Buns

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen. (All photos courtesy of passionforbaking.com’s Lise Sternersen, and the dishes featured in the photos were created by Manuela Kjelien unless otherwise noted). 

    I hope that everyone that’s baking along is feeling more like a “Master” Baker than a “Disaster” Baker; especially since we’re about to bake Recipe #5. Seeing all of your beautiful photo entries in the WOOBOX Gallery gives me a sense of pride as we bake together in the challenge – keep up the good work! Hard work always pays off, and just like one of the contestants said to me last week: “This is a marathon not a sprint but the effort is so worth the chance of winning that Ankarsrum Mixer!”

    Here’s a photo of the mixer just to give you a little motivation. Isn’t she a beauty?

    Ankarsrum Mixer

    Photo by Ankarsrum USA Original

    If you’re here for the first time and would like to join the challenge or check out what we’ve been up to, click the links to view Recipe #1 Mocca Meringues Ice Cream Cake, Recipe #2 Norwegian Cream Cake, Recipe #3 Manuela’s Best Vanilla Cupcakes and Recipe #4 Manuela’s White Macarons with Milk Chocolate Fudge

    The requirements for this weeks challenge are the same as the previous three weeks and are written below: 

    Bake the next recipe in the challenge series then take a photo of your “Master or Disaster” piece. The Woobox Submission Form is listed at the end of this post, and it’s also where you will share a photo of your creation. The link will be available on all my social media sites for easy access to post your photos for the entire duration of the contest. 

    *NOTE* 

    In order to be eligible to win the $700.00 Ankarsrum Original Mixer you must enter a photo for ALL 6 recipes in the challenge. To win the Baking Book: Love Manuela,  you are required to enter 3 recipe photos.FOR THE

    OFFICIAL RULES CLICK HERE

    RECIPE #5, Manuela’s Norwegian Vanilla Buns 

    Norwegian Vanilla Buns Recipe

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen. (All photos courtesy of passionforbaking.com’s Lise Sternersen, and the dishes featured in the photos were created by Manuela Kjelien unless otherwise noted). 

    This stunning creation is the work of Norwegian born award-winning blogger and “Master Home Baker” –  Manuela Kjeilen.

    ( You can read more about Manuela and the Contests Official Rules HERE )

    Attached to each of the six recipes sent to me by Manuela were notes written by her as they related to one of the recipes. Below is what Manuela said about Recipe #5:

    I also would love for [the contestants] to make my sweet buns, a typical Norwegian sweet bun, topped with a custard, and coconut, these are sold in all the bakeries in Norway and are my favorite!

    I now understand Manuela’s love for Norwegian Vanilla Buns; as they have become my new favorite dessert. The bread is savory, sweet, delicious, and filled with her pastry cream recipe.

    Despite my new love affair with Vanilla Buns, this recipe is a labor of love. You will need a full day to make this recipe in order to allow the dough time to rise not just once, but 3 times. To give you a bit of insight into what I mean, I started baking this recipe at 8 AM and didn’t finish the recipe until 3:45 PM.

    My biggest fear going into this week’s bake resides within the fact that I’ve always struggled when baking with yeast. I can’t ever figure out the perfect temperature to allow the yeast to grow; nor have I ever really taken the time to investigate the proper method. This week was no exception, and I was so frustrated that I had to contact my friend Lynn Beamer to get help. This is how our text conversation went (the information within the conversation is very useful for the recipe):

    ME: Hi Lynn, sorry to bother you, I’m in desperate need of baking advice! What if my yeast doesn’t “Bubble” like the recipe says?”

    ME: I’m afraid! 😱

    LYNN: Was the temp too hot?

    ME: I have no idea! The instructions say use “lukewarm” milk

    LYNN: Put an instant read thermometer in the liquid. More than 115 degrees probably dead!

    ME: Ok, I’ll have to make it again! UGH! 

    LYNN: Always have the liquid at 110-115 when using yeast for bread

    ME: Thank you Lynn🧡

    The disaster was averted with the help of Lynn and her calm direction as my second batch worked perfectly. I’m not sure why it has taken me fifty plus years to learn the correct temperature for lukewarm…stubbornness I suppose. 

    Now that you’ve seen the STUNNING photo of Manuela’s Norwegian Vanilla Buns above, say hello to my rendition.

    Vanilla Sweet Bun Recipe

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen, Food and Photo by At Home with Rebecka

    Some Thoughts on My Fifth Bake

    My sweet buns turned out beautifully; and I was so tempted to eat them after waiting all day that I ate 2 before they could even cool! I didn’t care though because they were delicious!  I had enough dough to make 10 more buns, so I decided to experiment with flavors and added a tablespoon of Nutella to a few buns and some raspberry jam to the rest (see photos below).

    Although the recipe takes several hours to make, I’m happy to add Manuela’s Vanilla Sweet Buns to my archive of baking recipes. The recipe is super versatile, and I plan to make them again and fill them with Swiss cheese, ham, and bacon (of course). YUM!

    Vanilla Sweet Buns Recipe

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen, Food and Photo by At Home with Rebecka

    Manuela’s Norwegian Vanilla Buns Notes

    You will need the following items in order to successfully bake this recipe: 

    1. Stand Mixer with dough attachment (If you don’t own a stand mixer you can use the old fashioned way, mix and kneed the dough by hand)
    2. Two baking sheets lined with parchment 
    3. The recipe conversions from European Measurements are Manuela’s US converted recipes or were calculated with the iPhone APP “Kitchen Pro”

    Manuela's Norwegian Vanilla Buns

    • Difficulty: medium
    • Print

    SWEET DOUGH INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 CUPS (480 ML) LUKEWARM MILK
    • 2 . TEASPOONS DRY ACTIVE YEAST
    • 1 CUP (225 G) SUGAR
    • 8  CUPS (900 G) ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
    • 4 EGGS, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
    • 1/2. TEASPOONS SALT
    • ⅔ CUP (150 G) UNSALTED BUTTER, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE, CUT INTO 10 TO PIECES

    FILLING:

    • VANILLA CREAM RECIPE
       
      • 2 CUPS (500 ML) WHOLE MILK
      • 1- 2 TEASPOONS VANILLA BEAN PASTE, OR SEEDS OF ONE VANILLA POT
      • 1/2  CUP (85 G)  SUGAR
      • 4 TABLESPOONS CORNSTARCH
      • ¼ TEASPOON SALT
      • 6 LARGE EGG YOLKS
      • 3 TABLESPOONS (45 G) CHILLED UNSALTED BUTTER, CUT INTO PIECES

      DIRECTIONS FOR THE FILLING:

      • In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk and vanilla bean paste, stirring occasionally, until the milk is hot but not boiling
      • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
      • Whisk in yolks all at once until light and fluffy and batter reaches the ribbon stage.
      • As you continue whisking, slowly add one-third of the hot milk to the yolk mixture to temper the egg yolks.
      • Whisk in remaining milk into yolks and return entire mixture to saucepan.
      • Place over medium heat and whisk frequently until the mixture begins to boil.
      • Whisk the mixture vigorously for 2 minutes, while boiling, until the cornstarch dissolves completely.
      • Remove the pan from the heat.
      • Strain the vanilla cream mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl.
      • Whisk in the butter.
      • With a silicon, spatula spread the vanilla cream to a thin layer on a small baking sheet.
      • Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly over the vanilla cream.
      • Allow it to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for a few hours.
      • When ready to use, loosen the cream with a spatula or whisk.
      • Pastry cream should be refrigerated and used within 3 days of making.

    GLAZE:

    • 1 CUP (110 G) CONFECTIONERS’ SUGAR
    • 1-3 TABLESPOONS MILK
    • 1 TEASPOON LIGHT CORN SYRUP

    TOPPING:

    • 1  CUP (150 G) COCONUT (I used unsweet flakes)

    DIRECTIONS FOR THE SWEET DOUGH:

    •  Preheat oven to 350F (180 C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
    • In the bowl, of a standing mixer, fitted with a dough hook attachment, pour in the warm milk(110-115 on a instant read thermometer), add the sugar and yeast and whisk until dissolved.
    • Rest for 5 minutes, the mixture should bubble up a little bit.
    • Add the eggs, salt, and flour, mix on low speed until all of the ingredients have come together.
    • Continue to mix on medium speed for about 10 minutes.
    • After 10 minutes, add the butter to the dough mix, piece by piece, and continue mixing on low speed.
    • The butter needs to mix completely into the dough, so stop the mixer occasionally and scrape the sides of the bowl to break up the dough.
    • Once the butter is completely incorporated into the dough, mix on medium speed for another 15 minutes, until the dough becomes sticky and soft and somewhat shiny.
    • Increase to medium-high speed for about 1 minute and you should hear a slap-slap-slap sound as the dough hits the sides of the bowl.
    • You should then be able to gather it all together and pick it up all at once in one piece when it’s ready.
    • Take the dough out of the bowl, cover your beautiful hands with flour and push each corner of the dough to the middle, all the way around.
    • Turn the round dough with the seam side down, into a greased bowl, covered with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
    • Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces (I got 34)
    • Shape each piece into a ball.
    • Lay the buns on prepared baking sheets, spaced about 2″ apart, as they will rise quite a bit.
    • With floured hands, press each of the balls down/flat.
    • Place a clean tea towel over each of the baking sheets, and let rise for about 30/ 45 minutes.
    • Remove the tea towel, and with floured hands, lightly press the dough down again with the palms of your hand,  and with your knuckles in the center of each bun make an indentation (see the video).
    • Place the tea towel over the buns again and let rise another 30 minutes,
    • Just before filling each bun with vanilla cream, you can with your knuckles once again make the indentation a bit larger.
    • Fill the centers with a generous amount of vanilla cream /pastry cream.
    • glaze with egg wash, optional
    • Bake until golden brown around edges, which typically takes about 15-20 minutes.

    DIRECTIONS FOR THE GLAZE:

    • As the buns are baking, combine the glaze ingredients.
    • Warm the glaze for 30 seconds in the microwave.
    • Drizzle glaze over baked buns and sprinkle with coconut.
    • In my opinion, the more coconut, the better it tastes!
    • Allow buns to cool several minutes before enjoying these Norwegian school buns!
    • Norwegian Vanilla Buns taste best eaten the same day.

    Now it’s your turn to bake your “Master or Disaster” piece! Remember you must post a photo of your completed dish to the WooBox link (listed below) by September 1, 2018 Midnight CST 

    If you need step-by-step instructions after reading Manuela’s recipe, then please check out her helpful how to videos. (Manuela’s beautiful photos of her creations are located HERE), and be sure to add a photo of your rendition to the WOOBOX entry form below. Happy Baking!

    http://

    Vanilla Sweet Buns Recipe

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen, Food and Photo by At Home with Rebecka

    Vanilla Sweet Buns Recipe

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen, Food and Photo by At Home with Rebecka

    Vanilla Sweet Buns Recipe

    CONTEST TIMELINE

    June 18, 2018 Initial Rules and Information Post

    June 24, 2018 First Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #1)

    July 1, 2018 First Recipe Due Midnight CST

    July 8, 2018 Second Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #2)

    July 15, 2018 Second Recipe Due Midnight CST

    July 22, 2018 Third Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #3)

    August 1, 2018 Third Recipe Due Midnight CST

    August 5, 2018 Fourth Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #4)

    August 15, 2018 Fourth Recipe Due Midnight CST

    August 19, 2018 Fifth Recipe in series Announced (Recipe #5)

    September 1, 2018 Fifth Recipe Due Midnight CST

    September 9, 2018 Sixth Recipe in series Announced (Recipe #6)

    September 15, 2018 Sixth Recipe Due Midnight CST




    Are You a Master Baker or Disaster Baker? Contest and Giveaway RECIPE #4

    Are You a Master Baker or Disaster Baker? Contest and Giveaway

    Recipe #4 Manuela’s White Macarons with Milk Chocolate Fudge

    White Macarons Recipe

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen. (All photos courtesy of passionforbaking.com’s Lise Sternersen, and the dishes featured in the photos were created by Manuela Kjelien unless otherwise noted).

    I’ve never made a macaron in my life and the thought of having to bake one for this challenge made my heart pound. I’ve been dreading this week ever since I learned macarons were on Manuela’s hand-picked list of recipes for the challenge.  Making something so delicate and beautiful is very intimidating for my skill level, but despite my mixed emotions towards the macaron; I knew I had to overcome my anxiety and push myself for the sake of the challenge. I just kept telling myself, “relax, take it easy, you got this. Now just do it and bake like a master!” I feel a headache coming on! 

    If you’re here for the first time and would like to join the challenge or check out what we’ve been up to, click the links to view Recipe #1 Mocca Meringues Ice Cream CakeRecipe #2 Norwegian Cream Cake  and Recipe #3 Manuela’s Best Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

    The requirements for this weeks challenge are the same as the previous three weeks and are written below: 

    Bake the next recipe in the challenge series then take a photo of your “Master or Disaster” piece. The Woobox Submission Form is listed at the end of this post, and it’s also where you will share a photo of your creation. The link will be available on all my social media sites for easy access to post your photos for the entire duration of the contest. 

    *NOTE

    In order to be eligible to win the $700.00 Ankarsrum Original Mixer you must enter a photo for ALL 6 recipes in the challenge. To win the Baking Book: Love Manuela,  you are required to enter 3 recipe photos.

    FOR THE OFFICIAL RULES CLICK HERE

    RECIPE #4

    Manuela’s White Macarons with Milk Chocolate Fudge

    White Macaron RecipeWhite Macarons with Chocolate Fudge: Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen. (All photos courtesy of passionforbaking.com‘s Lise Sternersen, and the dishes featured in the photos were created by Manuela Kjelien unless otherwise noted) 

    This stunning creation is the work of Norwegian born award-winning blogger and “Master Home Baker” –  Manuela Kjeilen.

    ( You can read more about Manuela and the Contests Official Rules HERE )

    Attached to each of the six recipes sent to me by Manuela were notes written by her as they related to each one of the recipes. Below is what Manuela said about Recipe #4:

    I would love it if they (that’s you) try my recipe for macarons, I know a lot of people have problems with macarons, but this recipe I never have gotten a complaint about! These macarons go straight in the oven, no need to rest before baking as many recipes ask for.

    Manuela’s  inspiration for her macaron recipe is also accredited to the recent Royal Wedding of Megan Markle and Prince Harry. 

    Manuela said, I wanted to make elegant macarons with a romantic touch, that would be perfect for a wedding! I have always loved the simple look when it comes to cakes, cupcakes, and cookies and always focus on taste first and by just adding a little chocolate hearth on top of the macarons, gave it a beautiful look.

    Manuela’s macarons are beautifully “royal,” and the perfect bite for any wedding. 

    In all honesty, I’m terrified to make Manuela’s beautiful recipe but I have high hopes it will go well based on my success with her other recipes in the baking challenge.  This recipe is straight forward and sounds easy enough to make. I especially like that it does not require any resting time for the batter.

    So now that you’ve seen the STUNNING photo of Manuela’s White Macarons with Chocolate Fudge, here’s a photo of my rendition. 

    Easy Macarons Recipe

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen, Food and Photo by At Home with Rebecka

    This recipe had me sweating bullets and actually gave me a pounding headache. I was so focused on creating the perfect macaron that I didn’t drink or eat anything except macaroons all day as my anticipation had gotten the better of me.

    My batter tasted delicious but the almonds were not fine enough to achieve Manuela’s perfectly smooth-white cookie. I over baked them AGAIN, leaving the bottoms browned and too crunchy for a perfect macaron. The filling is simple to make but I had issues during the frosting step as I managed to get chocolate finger prints all over my cookies. Thankfully, I had enough nice ones to take photos. 

    Despite the errors, my family loved these sweet morsels. The cookie was chewy and flavorful, and the chocolate frosting more like caramel than chocolate. They definitely  went down easy!

    I will make macarons again and go into the next bake with less panic and more knowledge. Like Manuela always says, “Practice, practice, practice!”  


    Easy Macarons Recipe

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen, Food and Photo by At Home with Rebecka

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen, Food and Photo by At Home with Rebecka

    What I Love About This Challenge

    This week’s challenge was crazy-hard for me and my kitchen looked like bomb went off in there. I’m proud to have lived through my first attempt at making macarons and happy to add two more of Manuela’s recipes to my baking repertoire (Manuela’s White Macarons and Chocolate Fudge Frosting). The list keeps getting longer and my skills are growing with every delicious recipe.

    Manuela’s White Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Fudge

    You will need the following items in order to “successfully” bake this recipe: 

    1. Macaron templates (find free downloadable templates HERE and HERE)
    2. 2 large baking sheets lined with parchment paper
    3. 1 -10 mm piping tip
    4. 1 Medium disposable piping bag
    5. The recipe conversions from European Measurements are Manuela’s US converted recipes or were calculated with the iPhone APP “Kitchen Pro”
    6. Chocolate candy hearts (optional)

    I’ve added a few more notes in the recipe; however if you need step-by-step instructions after reading Manuela’s recipe, then please check out her helpful how to videos. (Manuela’s beautiful photos of her creations are located HERE)

    White Macarons with Milk Chocolate Fudge

    • Servings: 24 to 30 pieces
    • Difficulty: medium
    • Print

    INGREDIENTS:

    2/3 Cups (160 G) Egg Whites* (divided in two)

    1 Cup (200 G) granulated sugar

    ⅓ CUP (80 ML) WATER

    2 ⅓ CUPS (225 G) Powdered Sugar or confectioners’ sugar

     2 ⅓ CUPS (225 G) almond flour

    1 Teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped 

    FILLING:
    Milk chocolate fudge frosting. Recipe below

    DECORATION:
    Chocolate heart, optional

    PREPARATION:

    Preheat oven to 275F° (135 ºC). Use the convection setting for this recipe.
    Prepare a piping bag with a (10mm) plain round decorating tip.
    NOTE: Place macaron templates under 
    Place 1/3 cup (80 g) egg whites in a standing mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment.
    Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring slowly until all the sugar is dissolved. Try to not get any sugar on the sides of the pan. (you can always brush it away with some water and a baking brush.)
    When the mixture starts to boil, remove the spoon and attach a candy thermometer to the saucepan.
    Once the sugar syrup temperature reaches 235F° (113ºC) begin whipping the egg whites on high-speed.
    When the sugar syrup reaches 240F° (115ºC) and the egg whites are foamy, remove the syrup from the heat and slowly pour into the whipped egg whites.
    Avoid pouring syrup onto the whisk.
    Continue to beat the meringue for 5-8 minutes until cool to the touch.
    Meanwhile, combine powdered sugar or confectioners’ sugar, almond flour and vanilla bean paste or seeds of a vanilla bean in a large bowl.
    Add the remaining egg whites. Mix with a silicone spatula to evenly moisten all the ingredients.
    Mix in a small amount of the cooled meringue into the almond mixture to loosen the batter
    Then;fold in the rest of the meringue into the almond mixture until a smooth batter develops and flows like “lava”. Check mixture often to avoid over-folding.
    Transfer mixture to the prepared piping bag and pipe out rounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheets.
    Bake straight away for 12 minutes; (there is no need for you to wait until the piped cookies are dry to the touch, as many macarons recipes instruct, you may bake them as soon as they are piped.)
    To check if the macarons are ready, touch the top of the macaron and try to wiggle it.
    The cookies are done when the top is firm and does not wiggle.
    Let cool completely on wire racks, before removing them from the baking matt/trays.
    Make the milk chocolate fudge frosting, preferably while the macarons are in the oven.
    Fill the cookies with milk chocolate fudge frosting (about a tsp for each sandwiched cookie.) and sandwich the cookies together.
    The chocolate hearts I made with a silicon mold, see picture further down.
    Make sure you use chocolate that is tempered, most chocolate bars at the supermarket are.
    Add a little dot if melted chocolate on top of the macaron, place the chocolate hearth on the chocolate dot, press slightly and let dry so you are sure the chocolate hearth stays attached.  

    MILK CHOCOLATE FUDGE FROSTING:
    1/4 cup (25 gram) powdered sugar, optional
    9 tbsp. (125 gram) butter cut into 1- inch pieces
    1 1/8 cup (200 gram) milk chocolate, chopped
    1 tbsp. espresso coffee, strong in flavor, optional
    1/8 tsp. salt
    ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (150 ml) heavy cream

    DIRECTIONS:
    In a medium-size saucepan, add powdered sugar, heavy cream, butter, chocolate, salt, and coffee.
    Warm it over medium heat, stir at all times, until the chocolate/butter is melted and there are no lumps, around 10 minutes.
    Let it cool in the saucepan, once cool place the saucepan in the fridge from 30 minutes up to a 1 hour, all depending on how cold your fridge is.
    Transfer the mixture to a small bowl, before you place it in the fridge.
    Make sure at times to check the frosting if it is firm, I stir the mixture with a spatula (every 20 minutes) to prevent lumps.
    Once the frosting is firm, spread it on top of your cake, or use it as a filling in your macarons.

    Enjoy, it is so delicious. 

    Now it’s your turn to bake your “Master or Disaster” piece! Remember you must post a photo of your completed dish to the WooBox link (listed below) by August 15, 2018 Midnight CST

    http://

    CONTEST TIMELINE

    June 18, 2018 Initial Rules and Information Post

    June 24, 2018 First Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #1)

    July 1, 2018 First Recipe Due Midnight CST

    July 8, 2018 Second Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #2)

    July 15, 2018 Second Recipe Due Midnight CST

    July 22, 2018 Third Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #3)

    August 1, 2018 Third Recipe Due Midnight CST

    August 5, 2018 Fourth Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #4)

    August 15, 2018 Fourth Recipe Due Midnight CST

    August 19, 2018 Fifth Recipe in series Announced (Recipe #5)

    September 1, 2018 Fifth Recipe Due Midnight CST

    September 9, 2018 Sixth Recipe in series Announced (Recipe #6) 

    September 15, 2018 Sixth Recipe Due Midnight CST




    Are You a Master Baker or Disaster Baker? Contest and Giveaway RECIPE #3

    Are You a Master Baker or Disaster Baker? Contest and Giveaway 

    This week we are baking RECIPE #3  Manuel’s Best Cupcakes with Vanilla Fluff Frosting.

    My Best Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen. (All photos courtesy of passionforbaking.com’s Lise Sternersen, and the dishes featured in the photos were created by Manuela Kjelien unless otherwise noted).

    If you’re here for the first time and would like to join the challenge or check out what we’ve been up to, click the links to view Recipe #1 Mocca Meringues Ice Cream Cake and Recipe #2 Norwegian Cream Cake. 

    The requirements for this weeks challenge are the same as Recipe #1 and Recipe #2, and are written below: 

    Bake the next recipe in the challenge series then take a photo of your “Masterpiece or Disaster” piece. The Woobox Submission Form is listed at the end of this post, and is also where you will share a photo of your creation. The link will be available on all my social media sites for easy access to post your photos for the duration of the contest. 

    *NOTE

    In order to be eligible to win the $700.00 Ankarsrum Original Mixer you must enter a photo for  ALL 6 recipes in the challenge. To win the Baking Book: Love Manuela,  you are required to enter 3 recipe photos.

    FOR THE OFFICIAL RULES CLICK HERE 

    RECIPE #3

    MANUELA’S BEST VANILLA CUPCAKES WITH FLUFF FROSTING

    Manuel's Recipe Vanilla Cupcakes

    My Best Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen. (All photos courtesy of passionforbaking.com‘s Lise Sternersen, and the dishes featured in the photos were created by Manuela Kjelien unless otherwise noted).

    This stunning creation is the work of Norwegian born award-winning blogger and “Master Home Baker” –  Manuela Kjeilen.

    ( You can read more about Manuela and the Contests Official Rules HERE )

    Attached to each of the six recipes sent to me by Manuela were notes written by her as they related to one of the recipes. Below is what Manuela said about Recipe #3:

    The third recipe is my Vanilla cupcake, my recipe became a cake mix in all the Norwegian stores and is my all-time favorite cupcake.”

    Manuela’s accolades continue with the growth of her brand and business. To have your recipe made into a boxed cake mix and distributed to all Norwegian grocery stores is quite an accomplishment. Manuela has also baked for Royalty in Saudi Arabia and was a Guest Judge for MasterChef Slovenia. Congratulations my friend; you are truly an inspiration. 

    (You can read more about Manuela on her blogs Media Page HERE)

    Thankfully, this weeks recipe is in my wheelhouse of baking knowledge. I’ve made a lot of cupcake recipes over the years, so I was very eager to make Manuela’s. I’ve also made delicious Fluff Frosting for my Old Fashioned White Cake with White Mountain Frosting; so I feel more at ease with this week’s challenge. Next weeks challenge is going to be a different story, I’m already dreading it!! 

    So now that you’ve seen the STUNNING photo of Manuela’s Best Vanilla Cupcakes with Fluff Frosting above, say hello to my rendition.

    Manuela's Cupcake by Rebecka

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen, Food and Photo by At Home with Rebecka

    Everything about this cupcake makes me happy! Its pink, has sprinkles, and the Fluff Frosting is silky smooth and looks as light as a feather. Did I mention they were super easy for this disaster baker to make?

    The key to making this cupcake taste so delightful is creaming the butter and sugar for a full six  minutes. The Fluff Frosting is also a cinch to make with the use of a candy thermometer, and the slow setting on a stand mixer. If you don’t own a stand mixer, just use a hand held mixer and a very large bowl to make your Fluff Frosting. Pour the hot syrup into your egg whites on the slow speed aiming for the side of the bowl and not the beaters.

    My “disaster” style of baking has gotten me into trouble in the past, but most recently with Recipe #1 and Recipe #2 of this challenge. I overcooked both cakes, so I need to keep my eye on the timer when making Manuela’s cupcakes. 

    Manuela's Cupcake by Rebecka

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen, Food and Photo by At Home with Rebecka

    These beauties are perfect for a ladies luncheon or “Pretty in Pink” girls Birthday Party and look amazing presented on my antique Fostoria Pink Depression Glass. I had so much fun photographing and eating them. 

    Some Thoughts on My Third Bake

    Despite my setbacks with the two previous recipes in the challenge, and my anxiety over making macaroons next week, I’m having a lot of fun! I’m feeling a sense of accomplishment with my positive progression as I continue to bake on a weekly basis.  My family and neighbors are also enjoying the challenge with all the homemade sweets to eat.

    I hope you’re all  having as much fun as I am baking for the challenge! Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments about your experiences in the comment section below. I’d love to know how things are going in your kitchen. Here are a few more photos of my cupcakes, just because they make me smile!

    Manuela's Cupcake by Rebecka

    Three Vanilla Cupcakes in a row – Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen, Food and Photo by At Home with Rebecka

    Manuela's Cupcake by Rebecka

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen, Food and Photo by At Home with Rebecka

    Manuela's Cupcake by Rebecka

    Recipe by Manuela Kjeilen, Food and Photo by At Home with Rebecka

    What I Love About This Challenge

    This week’s challenge was a breeze. It felt good to bake a familiar recipe and to add two more of Manuela’s recipes to my baking repertoire (Manuela’s Best Vanilla Cupcake Recipe and her Vanilla Fluff Frosting). The list keeps getting longer and my skills are growing with every delicious recipe.

    Manuela’s Best Vanilla Cupcake Notes

    You will need the following items in order to “successfully” bake this recipe: 

    1. 36 paper cupcake liners
    2. 2 – 12 count cupcake tins
    3. 1 Medium disposable piping bag
    4. The recipe conversions from European Measurements are Manuela’s US converted recipes or were calculated with the iPhone APP “Kitchen Pro”

    1M Wilton Piping Tip

    I’ve added a few more notes in the recipe; however if you need step-by-step instructions after reading Manuela’s recipe, then please check out her helpful how to videos. (Manuela’s beautiful photos of her creations are located HERE)

     

    NOTE: My Recipe Card Plugin is acting up and I can’t edit or save right now.

    I left off PLUS 3 TABLESPOONS SUGAR in the FLUFF section of the recipe. I will fix ASAP. I’m sorry, for the inconvenience. 

    Manuela's Best Vanilla Cupcake Recipe with Fluff Frosting
    Yields 24
    Photo is my version of Manuela's recipe for the Contest and Giveaway
    Write a review
    Print
    Prep Time
    15 min
    Prep Time
    15 min
    CAKE
    1. 14 TABLESPOONS (200 G) UNSALTED BUTTER, ROOM TEMPERATURE
    2. 1 ⅓ CUPS (300 G) SUGAR
    3. 4 LARGE EGGS, ROOM TEMPERATURE
    4. 3 1/2 CUPS (400 G) ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR, SIFTED
    5. 3 TEASPOONS BAKING POWDER
    6. 1/2 TEASPOON SALT
    7. 2 CUPS (500 ML) HEAVY CREAM, ROOM TEMPERATURE
    8. 2 TEASPOONS VANILLA BEAN PASTE OR VANILLA EXTRACT OR SEEDS FROM 1/2 VANILLA BEAN.
    FLUFF
    1. 1 1/8 cup (225 G) SUPERFINE OR GRANULATED SUGAR
    2. 1/3 cup (120 G) LIGHT CORN SYRUP OR GLUCOSE SYRUP
    3. 1/3 cup (90 ML) WATER
    4. 2/3 cup (150 G) EGG WHITES, ABOUT 4 LARGE EGGS
    5. 1 TEASPOONS VANILLA BEAN PASTE, OPTIONAL
    6. PINK FOOD COLORING (OPTIONAL)
    FOR THE CAKE
    1. Preheat the oven to 400. F (200. C). Line cupcake pans with 20-24 paper cup liners.
    2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, twice, and set aside.
    3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment.
    4. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes.
    5. Add the eggs one at a time, to the creamed butter mixture, beat for 30 seconds each time.
    6. Add the flour mixture, heavy cream, and vanilla and then beat slowly until well incorporated, but not more than 1. minutes, or use a spatula to combine.
    7. Scoop the batter into prepared pans, using a standard size ice cream scoop.
    8. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the middle of the oven or until a cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
    9. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool for one minute.
    10. Then, immediately remove the baking cups from the baking pan and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
    11. The baked cupcakes can be stored, loosely covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days.
    FOR THE FLUFF
    1. Combine the sugar, light corn syrup and water in a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer.
    2. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
    3. Once it has dissolved do not stir any longer and let it heat over a medium-low heat until the temperature reaches 240ºF (117ºC).
    4. Wipe the inside of a stainless steel standing mixer bowl and the whisk attachment with a paper towel moistened with a little lemon juice to eliminate any trace of grease.
    5. Add egg whites to standing mixer bowl and mix on low speed; as soon as it begins to foam add the 3 tablespoons of sugar, a tablespoon at a time.
    6. Beat egg white to soft peaks
    7. When syrup reaches 240ºF (117ºC), slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites, aiming for the side of the bowl, rather than the whisk.
    8. When all syrup has been added, turn the mixer to medium-high speed and whisk until the frosting becomes thick and glossy and holds a firm peak; bowl will feel slightly warm.
    9. Once frosting is ready, add the vanilla bean paste and a drop of food coloring (optional) and mix until just combined.
    Notes
    1. The cupcake batter will be very thick. If using a stand mixer use a spatula to reach the bottom of the bowl to lift any unincorporated butter left at the bottom of the bowl.
    At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/
    Now it’s your turn to bake your “Master or Disaster” piece! Remember you must post a photo of your completed dish to the WooBox link (listed below) byAugust 12018 Midnight CST.

    http://
    CONTEST TIMELINE
     
    June 18, 2018 Initial Rules and Information Post
    June 24, 2018 First Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #1)
    July  1, 2018 First Recipe Due Midnight CST

    July 8, 2018 Second Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #2)
    July 15, 2018 Second Recipe Due Midnight CST
    July 22, 2018 Third Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #3)
    August 1, 2018 Third Recipe Due Midnight CST
    August 5, 2018 Fourth Recipe in the series Announced (Recipe #4)
    August 15, 2018 Fourth Recipe Due Midnight CST
    August 19, 2018 Fifth Recipe in series Announced (Recipe #5)
    September 1, 2018 Fifth Recipe Due Midnight CST
    September 9, 2018 Sixth Recipe in series Announced (Recipe #6) 
    September 15, 2018 Sixth Recipe Due Midnight CST