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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..it 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 Boxes...be 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 dish...as 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 voila...you 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 off...you 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 please...lol. 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 Marrow..it'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 there...as 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 acookslife@hotmail.com . 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 : http://ca.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Good Luck to All!!