Thursday, June 24, 2010


OK, kids, let's slow things down a tad.

Summer is officially here. Sometimes the hot and humid weather (where I live, at least) slows my appetite and inclination to cook.
On the other hand, the plethora of produce available this time of year gets the cogs turning in the old culinary cortex and makes me want to taste every fresh vegetable I can lay my hands on.

As the winner of the June Culinary Smackdown ("Picnic Baskets"), it's my duty and pleasure to select next month's theme and serve as host/judge. So, without further ado, the theme of the July Culinary Smackdown is:

Summertime (Veggies) - and the Livin' Is Easy

I encourage you to take your inspiration from whatever's in season in your corner of the world and spotlight a veggie or two. Maybe from a local farmers market, or your own garden?
No need to knock yourself out and make umpteen dishes like I did last month (you can see Team Eggplant's winning picnic spread here). But I do favor the philosophy of La Diva (two-time winner and last month's host/judge) that these Culinary Smackdowns are a great opportunity for us to challenge ourselves. Perhaps you'd like to experiment with a veg or variety new to you? Or try out a new preparation for an old summertime fave? Whatever you choose, I'm confident we'll all pick up some tasty suggestions from each other.

Here are the rules:

1. Prepare at least one dish, featuring at least one summer vegetable, yourself (and include photo of same). You aren't required to cook/heat your veggie, but for the purposes of this contest, you need to do more than, say, slice a lovely tomato, put it on a plate, and snap a photo.

2.  Any dishes you enter may include more than one vegetable, along with any proteins, grains, legumes, condiments, etc. of your choosing. Just remember that the point here is for at least one summer vegetable to play a starring role.

3.  The deadline for entries to be posted is midnight E.D.T., Saturday, July 24.

4.  I'll post my own submission on that date (not a contender in this competition). Please add a comment to let everyone know "you're up."

5.  I'm trying to give everyone plenty of time, to accommodate whatever weather, vacation, summertime laziness, or other issues may impact your schedule. If you post your entry before July 24, please come back here on the deadline date and post a comment with a link to your entry so we can all find you and no one is overlooked. I'll check out all the entries and announce the winner on my blog.

6. To paraphrase Gershwin, even if your daddy ain't rich or your ma all that good-lookin', ANYONE can enter, and NEWCOMERS are welcome! (I'm pretty much of a newcomer here myself.) If you don't have your own blog and want to join in the fun, I'd be happy to feature your dish on my blog - just send me a photo and description, and please email me in advance to give me a heads-up.

7. Opportunities for "bonus points" have sometimes been mentioned in these Smackdowns. Without quite going there, I'll say that what I'm hoping to find - and usually do - is inspiration from everyone's contributions. I will also mention that Eggy loves some fresh herbage.

Have at it, and I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with!



Christo Gonzales said...

I am in it now but the deadline is 30 days away so I hope I make it....sliced tomatoes coming right up!

buffalodick said...

I should be able to will be a good test of our side dishes for the State BB-Q Cook-off!

Heff said...

I'll run this past Donna !

Jenny said...

oh, I think I've found a reason to pull out my Mr.Potato Head bag of tricks. Great idea and I love having lots of time. I'll be in.

Sandcastle Momma said...

This is a great idea! I love summer veggies. Not sure what I'll do yet but I do know that I'm staying away from Mango Gazpacho :)

Chef Dennis Littley said...

you can count me in! I think you gave me too much time though!

Sharon Rudd said...

Hope this isn't too much nor too little time for any of you.

Doggy, I'm sure I can't imagine what *you* would do with those sliced tomatoes.

BD, looking forward to hearing more about that state BBQ comp!

Heff, hope you, Donna and possibly her topsy turvy tomatoes make an appearance!

Boxer, I'm intrigued by your Mr. Potato Head bag o' tricks. Oh, wait, I was thinking of the potato gun from Archie McPhee. In any case, looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

SC Momma, lol re: the mango gazpacho. I know you said the kids refused to consider letting you give it another try, but you should check out this recipe, if only to make yourself feel better about going out on a limb:

Dennis, delighted to have you join in! That rustic ratatouille you posted about still has me itching to try it, and I'm sure you have plenty more summertime dishes up the sleeve of your chef coat!

Buzz Kill said...

So many rules - you're tough. I like the concept and will try not to dissappoint. "fresh herbage" - Heff, I think she's looking in your direction.

Jenny said...

"fresh herbage" I may have a brownie recipe.

Making Space said...

OK first off, I'm gonna need Boxer's brownie recipe, stat.

Second, that is one weird-ass video. Haha GREAT rendition of that song by one of the great ladies of song, thanks for pointing me over here to hear it.

Third, I'd love to be in it. July 24. OK. I'm going to my first ever live comedy concert that night (Suzanne Westenhoefer or howeveryouspellherlastname) so I'll try to be up before then. I'm not imaginative but I promise if/when I enter I will not include ranch dressing. That will be tough... Ha.

Great energy around these throwdown things lately. Lovin' it!

LaDivaCucina said...

I am going to be non-committal! Haha! I will be out of town for a while in July and then have a baby shower to do on that day...ugh! But, I am getting boxes of veggies every two weeks that are just divine, so lots of stuff to work with. Thanks Eggy!

Anonymous said...

I'm in.

moi said...

What a lovely idea. Count Moi IN!

Lazaro Cooks said...

Have a wonderful contest. Look forward to seeing the creations.

Be Well.

Jenny said...

to Making Space - first you start with a box of brownie mix....

WaterDog said...

What a wonderful idea - especially for those of us in the Midwest whose bountiful produce is just now coming in. As to Boxer's brownie recipe, been there, done that!

The Monty Python video was the tops!

R.Powers said...

I'm in ... if I can get all this painting done by then! Thanks Eggy!

Jen said...

I already have a recipe but I'm adapting it from a recipe I pulled from a mag. Does it have to be a completely original "dish"? If I can get my act together this week, I will compete.

FOODalogue said...

Does summer fruit count here? It is produce.

Sharon Rudd said...

FC, good luck with that painting. Glad you had some non-painting time today, and thanks for posting those great photos!

Jen, I posted over on your blog, but no, there is no requirement that your entry be from a completely original recipe.

FOODalogue, although summer fruit would be a great theme for another Smackdown, summer veggies are the focus for this one. I wanted a theme that was broad enough to allow everyone to spotlight what's locally available this time of year for them, but not quite as broad as "summer produce." That said, if you want to incorporate fruit into a veggie dish, that's fine. And remember, if you're the winner, you get to choose the next Smackdown theme :) Thanks for stopping by, and I'd love to see what you'd come up with!

Jen said...

Okay my recipe is done and posted! I just need to remember to come back here on July 24 and link it!

Heff said...

Hey Buzzkill ! What in the HELL did THAT mean, lol !!!

Aunty Belle said...

oh no!!!


it's been too long to claim jet lag--I jhes doan know why I dropped the ball here. But...I'se comin' to see what all y'all has done fer Summer Veggies.