Friday, July 29, 2011

Welcome to This Weekend's Culinary Smackdown!

As we revive the “original” Culinary Smackdown, there is plenty of room for all to join in the festivities. I’m looking forward to some great dishes featuring eggplant (this month's theme ingredient) from the cooking competitors. But as you can see, our virtual table could also use a bit of color and décor. Perhaps some entertainment? Side dishes, cold beverages, and flights of fancy are most welcome. And don’t forget that any good dinner par-tay thrives on a great mix of guests and lively conversation!

Here’s how it works: Post your contribution – culinary or otherwise – on your own blog, then come back here and add a comment letting everyone know you’re “up” and where to find you. Deadline is Sunday, July 31. As this month’s host/judge, I’ll check out all the entries, then post a recap next week announcing the winner, who will become the host, judge, and “theme picker” for the August Culinary Challenge. The “prize” is bragging rights - and the opportunity to claim the Smackdown badge, which I’m hoping one of my “fairy blog mothers” will update for 2011 :)

I’m looking forward to lots of inspiration from my bloggy friends, even though my own food prep plans have gone awry at several junctures. First I got confused about what weekend it was. Then Cindie had to cancel our cooking plans last weekend, leaving me with 2½ pounds of shrimp I’d planned to use to round out our dinner. She informed me the eggplant pickles we started the previous weekend are an epic fail, then sent an email with this daunting subject line: “You’re going to kill me.” I won’t, of course, but am sorry she forgot about the sausages and tasso she was thawing for me until they were downright rotten.

Trying to make the best of a disappointing situation, I found an intriguing assortment of eggplants at Hyde Park Farmers Market last weekend. So far I've got photos to show for my efforts, and time will tell how well the produce holds up until it finally gets cooked.

We already have some fine entries! Grumpy Granny, who encouraged me to revive the Smackdown, has two, here and here.

My blogger friend Alessandra from New Zealand was kind enough to post this dish before she went on holiday. (For some truly spectacular arm-chair traveling, check out her amazing vacation photos from the isle of Niue here and here.) Another Aucklander, Sue from Couscous and Consciousness, offers up this dish.

I'm also "tickled purple" that at least two bloggers from my city are joining in! Stephie from Small Girl Adventures took time out from her busy schedule (and the monumental task of preparing his sister's wedding cake) to contribute this entry. And determined cook/gardener Jen from Our Good Food Life has her dish and photos ready to roll this weekend.

As I sign off tonight, I see that Aunty Belle has posted recipes for moussaka and mint vinaigrette here as she darts off the Front Porch unexpectedly to visit cajun cousins. Too bad she didn't have a chance to cook, but, as always, she has a mighty fine tale to tell.

Fingers crossed, I’ll be off to the river to cook this weekend with Cindie and her husband Odie and back Sunday night to post what Team Eggplant came up with (we are contributing, but not competing, this month). Odie is such a good sport when Cindie and I mess around in the kitchen for things like this. He donned my lobster apron last year for Battle Lobsta.
For this one, he offered to dress up as an eggplant. Too bad I didn’t find this costume until it was too late to order.

What-evs, this is a come-as-you-are – or come-as-you-wish-you-were event :) Have fun, check out everyone’s contributions, and thanks for joining in!

xoxo, eggy


LaDivaCucina said...

I'm IN. It's an old post from way back when I first started me blog, didn't even know any of youse then! (so it will be like a new blog post!) I'll put up the link on Sunday. Still staying off my leg and just beginning to cook again, though it starts to throb towards the end of the day. Have been writing on the computer with my leg on the filing cabinet...nice. Have a great weekend, Eggy, your foiled plans sound like how mine usually go! xo

Jenny said...

I'm in an up! My recipe is Baked Stuffed Eggplant. I hope all goes well with you and Cindie and I'll admit it now,

I didn't cook a thing! weeeeeee.

Let the Smackdown begin!

(Hai LaDiva!)

moi said...

Life in general and a non-eggplant-eating husband who was supposed to be traveling this weekend and isn't conspired against me participating in the newly resurrected Culinary Smackdown this time 'round. But I'll be around to check out everyone's entries, fork in hand! Good luck, everyone . . .

chickory said...

eggy: the new culinary smackdown labels are here:

go get em its up to you which one you want to use. They are already sidebar sized. Later gator!

LaDivaCucina said...

I'm UP!

Roses said...

Haven't got it together to do anything.


But am really looking forward to see who puts up what!

fishy said...

Hi Eggy,
wouldn't it be grand if we were all gathered round the table at the entrance to your post.

I am offering a photo and a recipe of a Mexican Eggplant Fritter ( Frituras de Berenjena )
I did not get the cooking done. I had real eggplant intentions but life changed my weekend plans :-(

Come on by the pond and have a read.

Buzz Kill said...

I'm way late today but do have a post at the Buzzkill. I'll be around tomorrow to visit.

Karl said...

Good afternoon Eggy,

You sure do throw out an extravagant spread. A pleasure to read and see.

I didn't play for this one, Although your contest seems to have had an effect on the karma surrounding my weekend. I ended up eating eggplant twice this weekend. Breaded and baked with a broiled crab cake and sautéed spinach, tuna sushi on Friday. And on Sunday, an Asian eggplant (it looks kind of like a purple cucumber) on shish kebab that was very tasty for my MIL's 70th birthday on Sunday.

Good for you, for bringing the challenge back. Best of luck to all the challengers.