02/28/13 – #RECIPERUMBLE
Yikes!  3 years since my last competition. I hope I’m not too rusty, but I couldn’t refuse when my old friend, Kate Daggett, chased my through the halls of Digitas insisting that I participate in a “Recipe Rumble” for

The Mission:

Can you batter the Swedish Fist, roast the Ritz and pound the Teddy Grahams better than your boss?

Make your snacks work together and win $1,000. Remember, we are looking for greatness. The best recipe with the most interesting combination wins. All recipes must combine at least to eligible snacks to qualify.

This list was pretty unforgiving.  Especially to a meat and vegetable girl like myself.  But I couldn’t let Kate down…so here goes.

Entry #1

Title of Recipe: Toblerone Butterscotch Tea Biscuits with Fleur de Sel

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Baking/Cook Time: None.  Rest 1 hour before serving
Serving Size: 32 Biscuits

2 sleeves Ritz Crackers (half a box)
4 oz Nestle Butterscotch Chips
2 bars Milk Chocolate Toblerone (about 6 oz)
Fleur de Sel for garnish



  1. Place butterscotch chips in a medium, microwave-safe bowl
  2. Heat chips on high for 30 seconds, then stir.  Repeat, heating an additional 10-15 seconds at a time, until chips are just melted
  3. With a butter knife, spread a dime-sized dollop of melted butterscotch onto a Ritz cracker, and apply a second cracker on top to create a sandwich
  4. Place sandwiches on parchment paper to cool
  5. Chop 2 Toblerone bars into small pieces and place in a second medium, microwave-safe bowl
  6. Heat chopped Toblerone on high for 30 seconds, then stir.  Repeat, heating an additional 10-15 seconds at a time, until Toblerone is just melted
  7. After checking to make sure the Ritz sandwiches are cooled and tops stay in place when gently nudged, dip the top of each sandwich in the melted Toblerone and sprinkle with a few flakes of Fleur de Sel.
  8. Let stand 1 hour to harden before serving


This recipe is easy and requires no cooking. It would make a great afternoon project with kids.  You can always skip the Fleur de Sel when cooking for younger pallets.


Entry #2

Title of Recipe: Easy Cheesy Artichoke Bites


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Baking/Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Serving Size: Serves 4-6 people

1 8oz Block of Cream Cheese, at room temperature
½ cup Mayonnaise
1 14oz Can of Artichoke Hearts, drained
1 small clove garlic, peeled and roughly choppe
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 can Easy Cheese (American or Cheddar to your preference)
1 Box Ritz Crackers



  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a food processer, combine first 7 ingredients and pulse until smooth
  3. Spread dip into a small, oven proof-baking dish.  A brownie pan or a bread load pan work great
  4. Bake dip for 25 minutes, then let stand to cool about 5 minutes
  5. When ready to serve, top a Ritz cracker with a ring of easy cheese to serve as a wall around the outside
  6. Place a dollop of warm artichoke dip in the center, and enjoy

I made this recipe for a football game when unexpected guests showed up.  It couldn’t be easier.  If you’re strapped for time, simply top the dip with a swirl of easy cheese and let your guests dip their own crackers.

The Results

Missed on account of simplicity (a fair assessment).  Did get 1 of 3 honorable mentions, which makes my Tea Biscuits at least #9 out of 108 submissions.  Not too shabby.

IMG_0457 IMG_0457




Okay so I was not acutally the chef for this event, I simply provided the recipe to clinch the win for my little brother and team.  I’m sure his charisma had something to do with it, but a good recipe always helps!

The Challenge

(1pm EST)
Kate ,

I am in a cook off.  I need to turn in a shopping list by five oclock today.  I need to make the worlds best pork taco meat.  I am thinking something along lines of carnitas at Chipotle.  Ideas?

The Response:

(2pm EST)
Taco meat:
Pork shoulder (more fat than the loin)
serano chilis
white onions
bay leaves
chicken stock
Juice from 1 lime
2 fresh tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
mexican beer
salt and pepper

Remove skin on shoulder but keep the fat layer in tact.  throw everything in the crock pot on high over night, like 12 hours till it melts into pulled pork.

One thought it you try and think it needs a little more kick – you might roast some pablano peppers and add them in charred and sliced for texture and heat after meat is done cooking.

Sauce – I say go tomatillo, cos it’s f*ing delicious

  • 5 or 6 fresh tomatillos
  • serrano chili
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • fresh cilantro
  • 1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt

Remove husks and place in boiling water 5 minutes to soften.  Add with all other ingredients to a blender and pulse till smooth.  Adjust seasoning to taste.

To serve – use corn tortilla (never flour, gross) heat in the cast iron to get a little char.
go meat, sauce, little sprinkle of feta or goat cheese (fakes queso blanco nicely and the sour is a nice contrast to the pork).  Garnish with lime and/or fresh cilantro. You’ve been to mexico and had real tacos at this point – the goal is meat like pot roast, simply flavored so I tastes like meat, not taco seasoning, and fresh/tangy condiments.


Will made these into quesadillas since there was a grilled requirement he forgot to mention, but the pics look pretty tasty to me.

The Results

For the Win!


As my first venture into the wider NYC food scene, I signed up for the 4th Annual Casserole Party held at Brooklyn Label last Monday night. My dish sadly did not place, but after questioning the judges and reading the blogs of other participants, I and my casserole partner have deduced that the decision came down to one of three judges, who just doesn’t like Cincinnati-style chili.

Coverage of the Event

“Each casserole was a personal expression of heritage, be it Cincinnati chili or a fried-rice-and-panko Asian twist.”


Watch footage of the event from gardenfork featuring yours-truly in the background:

Competition details included (paraphrased slightly):

1. Entries must be original or “family” recipes.
2. A casserole is considered an entree consisting of two or more solid ingredients (one generally a starch) BAKED in a casserole dish
3. Judges consisted of 2 males and one female.

And so I asked myself:

1. What is my favorite childhood dish – Chiletti (a concoction of chili over spaghetti, courtesy Dad’s grad and post-grad work in Ohio.
2. What is a classic casserole that EVERYONE loves – mac n cheese
3. What is the best comfort food to bring to a guys house – 7 layer dip

The outcome:


Cincinnati 7-way

1/2 lb, dry spaghetti noodles (half a package), cooked to just al dente
4 oz shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onion
4 oz light sour cream
1 egg

Filling (chili):
4 tbsp cumin
4 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp granulated garlic
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cocoa powder
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste 1 lb lean ground beef, browned
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 sweet pepper, finely diced (seeds removed)
1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced (remove seeds and ribs as desired, I leave mine in)
1 cubanello pepper, finely diced (seeds removed)
1 16 oz can crushed tomatoes
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 can red kidney beans with canning liquids
1 can pinto beans with canning liquids
1 can black beans with canning liquids
1 tbsp molasses

1 package Jiffy corn muffin mix
(You’ll need an egg and milk per the directions)
1 cup crushed Fritos corn chips

Garnish: (the important step we missed)
Sour cream and fresh chopped green onion or diced tomato

Equipment: 1 medium casserole dish (13×9) with at least a 2″ side.


Make chili:
Combine dry spices into a single mix

Brown ground beef with onion and garlic and add 2 tsp of spice mix to meat. Cook 10 minutes over medium heat.

Add peppers and cook until softened.

Add crushed tomatoes and beans with liquid. Add molasses and the rest of the seasoning mix to taste and simmer 30 minutes. Make sure chili has a good kick as it will be dulled by other ingredients. Chili consistency should be that of a thick stew, if watery cook with the top off until reduced.

Make base:
Toss cooked noodles with cheese, egg, and green onion. Coat a 9×12 casserole with cooking spray and spread an even layer of the base along the bottom. Cook at 350 about 12 to set.

Mix corn bread according to package and let stand 15 minute to set up.

Spread a 1.5″ layer of chili on top of pre-baked base. Spread as even layer of corn bread mix over the top of chili (will be thin). Crunch up a few handfuls of Fritos and sprinkle evenly over corn bread.

Bake 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees, until corn bread has begun to brown and chili is bubbling around the edges.

Cool slightly before serving with a side of sour cream and diced tomato and green onion.


2 out of 3 judges confirmed considering the casserole as a finalist. Judge number 3 admitted that she doesn’t like Cincinnati-style chili and so went I hope for victory.

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