Monday, March 15, 2010

Online Black Box...Win a Prize!!

 Everyone loves watching a "Black Box" competition....myself included. If you are unsure what a Black Box is a box of mystery ingredients. It is where Iron Chef stole their concept from. Usually it contains more than one ingredient...and all must be used in the dish that is put forward for judging. Most cooks have been forced to do many Black it in Culinary School ... Work..or even some Interviews for Jobs.

 Today I want to have one just for "Fun". I am going to give everyone 5 ingredients. What I would like from you is a recipe using all five of them in your well as a photo of the finished product. I am going to try to choose five ingredients which are common enough globally that anyone can play. I am pretty sure most will have played with most of the them...but not all.

 The Prize??? A brand new copy of the book "Culinary Artistry" by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. I consider this book to actually be one of the most valuable reference resources I have and use. It has wine stains...and food splatters..pages that wanna come out ... but I refuse to give it up. Yours will be shiny and clean...with the smell of fresh bleached dead wood haha. It contains a listing of flavour matches. Say your making Salmon for dinner...but dont have a recipe. Look up Salmon in the book and it lists all the flavours that go well with Salmon...choose a few of these flavours and have just created your own Salmon dish minus a recipe. It is now your Salmon dish! The book helps you to build flavours that work.

So onto the Contest!!! I would like everyone to create and email a recipe using :

1. Bone Marrow - Which is available in most supermarkets. Veal bones are best ... but good ole Cow bones work too. You may find them as Soup bones. Try to buy the Femur Bones with the ends taken want the straight sections. One to three inch sections work. Ask your butcher to cut them for you if necessary...they usually dont mind. I know it is a freaky ingredient...but I want to get everyone using something they wouldn't normally use. Please dont send me a recipe that has Human Femur Marrow used Remember that the Marrow can be served in any form as long as it is there ie: Demi Glace is Marrow, Beef Broth is Marrow, Ossobuco is's all up to your imagination how you use it.

2. Quinoa - An Andean grain like product that does not get the press it should. It is closely related to the beet family actually. Highly nutritious and very versatile. If your local supermarket does not carry it (you may find it in the bulk or grain sections)...try your local health food store. Everyone at work and online is asking me what this grain is...Google it!

3. Grapefruit - No explanation necessary here. You can use the Zest, the Juice or the Fruit itself.

4. Frozen Green Pea's - Oh ya...the Jolly Green Giant is going to love this!!

5. Cardamom - You can use the Green or Black variety. An Indian spice with a very unique flavour that I love. Most stores carry it now.

 So you MUST use all 5 of those ingredients in your dish. I have made them fairly easy for the first Black Box. You can use any other ingredient available out long as the five I listed are in it. Once you have made the dish, scribble out the recipe and snap a pic of it. Email it to . The competition starts today..and ends March 30th..right before I head out on Vacation. That gives you two whole weeks to figure something out...most cooks get around two minutes. The entries will be judged by my Wife (she is a cook too) and I....and maybe a few other cooks. I will mail out your Prize as soon as we have made a decision.

 Have fun with it ... that is what Black Boxes are all about... Creating new combination's of flavours!

 I want to thank Wiley Publishing for providing the copy of Culinary Artistry to give away. They have been at the forefront of Culinary and technical publishing for over 200yrs. Some of my "most prized" of books have been from them...Culinary Artistry being one of the most beloved. You can check them out at :

Good Luck to All!!


  1. Good luck to all the participants! I am not a chef, wish I could do this kind of thing so I will enjoy watching whatever you come up with. Great idea!

  2. Dont have to be a cook Suz (and you are so by the way!!)...just tinker and enter!!

  3. What a great idea for a contest. Working on my recipe now!

  4. This is a great idea! I am not sure I am up for it but, I am going to enjoy seeing the partipants results.

  5. A freaky ingredient? I spent my childhood watching my dad suck that osso bucco dry, I still get the shivers thinking about it. LOL. Very creative idea, I look forward to seeing what y'all come up with and what a great prize, very generous.

  6. Oh yeah I forgot, for those Costco shoppers out there, they sell a lovely Organic Quinoa, near their pasta and rice section. It's a 3lb bag, Tru Roots is the brand. Simply delicious, tried it once now I'm hooked.

  7. This block box idea is genius, I'm in.

  8. ok, i am definitely bookmarking this blog, for all the colour and taste!

  9. Ok I have had alot of requests to extend the March 30th deadline of the "Black Box". A lot of people are having trouble finding Veal Bones ... as I said a Butcher will be your best friend. You may find them at your local Supermarket as Soup Bones. Yes, you must use the exceptions. You now have till April 10th when I return from TX. Good Luck!!!

  10. Aren't blogs suppose to be updated semi regularly ??

  11. Yes!! When the owner makes the time to do so...good god it's been a whole week!! lol

    Feel free to send me the "Rule Book" though..hehe