I found out yesterday that I did not win the Aetna Healthy Food Fight regional cookoff event inDallas. I think that maybe it’s due to Karma. You see, even though as promised in an earlier discussion on this blog, I did NOT partake in any of the multitude of fried foods at this, the Fried Food Capitol of The World, I did eat a big weenie. The two sweaty little teenage boys and I left the hotel with barely enough time to get to my cooking station for my 11 o’clock showdown…We didn’t have time for breakfast on the way, so by the time we got there, we were famished. Max opted for a ginormous ice cream cone, and Tuff just wanted go ride the giant sling shot ride. I don’t have any pictures of Max eating ice cream at the Fair, but I do have one of him eating ice cream at the zoo, when he was 5 years old, just so you get the idea.
You see the pattern here, right? Giant. Huge. Everything IS bigger inTexas, especially at the State Fair. I could have pulled a Michelle Bachman, and grabbed a monster corn dog, but that is soooo 3 months ago. The ubiquitous funnel cake was right there, too. Almost a doughnut, if you think about it. Fried dough, crispy on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside…Dusted with sugar. Pretty breakfast-y, if you ask me…But I vowed I wouldn’t partake of the fried food frenzy that IS the Texas State Fair, so I settled on a hot dog. They came with chili and cheese, but I ordered mine plain and dry. Although it was a 6 inch long weenie, it was huge. Easily an inch and a quarter around. Weenies are sausages. Right? Plus a little bread. Down South we call that Breakfast. I horked it down with great speed, and rushed off to my cooking station to prepare my presentation dish. I don’t think that eating a processed meat product made out of “what hot dogs are made out of” produces good Karma for winning a healthy cooking contest.
The Gold Tequila sitting at my station got lots of attention. Why wouldn’t Tequila at11 a.m.get attention? Audience members loved the idea of the Tequila, the orange juice, and the lime juice hot tubbing it together in the saucepan, simmering away until they were nicely thick with super potent flavor. The smell was redolent of a margarita. On a beach. In the Carribbean. Sublime and yummy. The peach strawberry salsa came to the party, all decked out in fabulous summer colors. When the pecan crusted Tilapia hit the olive oil in the skillet, the warm, nutty scent was lovely. The presentation was beautiful, and there were so many great flavors and textures working together. I really wish I hadn’t eaten that hotdog.
If I said I didn’t want to win, I would be lying. Why drive almost 6 hours and spend the money on a hotel room otherwise? But it is also true for me to say that it isn’t a big deal to me that I didn’t win. In the end, I do this because I LOVE cooking. I LOVE creating new recipes. Bottom line is, even if I don’t win, I still get to have fun at something I am passionate about. What’s to complain about in that?
And what of the winner? At the end of the weekend, the top honors went to Lindsey Cook, of Dallas, with her Quinoa Stuffed Bell Pepper. I have never eaten Quinoa (keen-wah), but I do have a package of it in my pantry that I have been meaning to try, so I guess now is a good time to do so. And I do love a good stuffed bell pepper….