Monday, April 4, 2011

And the winner goes to ......

Today was the first annual Firm Mac and Cheese Cook-Off.  We had three very unique entries and six hungry judges.

How do you choose between flavorful, decadent, and zesty?
Our fabulous entries

 Drum roll please ....

 Best Presentation goes to Grace's fabulous ham filled ramekin surprise! 
Clockwise from bottom: Grace's ramekin delight, Kelly's gourmet goodness, and Kimi's cheesy masterpiece

This mac was especially unique because Grace used wide egg noodles, which I have never had in m&c before.  She mixed fontina, mozzarella, and parm in with heavy cream, milk, cayenne and nutmeg until it thickened.  Then she mixed in smoked turkey ham and parsley.  She filled the ramekins, topped with panko bread crumbs and extra cheese for good luck, she baked it and voila - a creamy, cheesy, flavorful mac dish is made! This mac would be perfect for a family meal including kids and would make a nice entree as it is pretty filling with the ham.

Next, Kimi made us a wonderful six cheese delight that won the coveted "Cheesiest" prize!  And, to be clear, by prize I mean the praise and affection of the judges. No money in this competition!

I love a hidden jolt in my mac and Kimi really made that happen nicely.  The first bite has a nice all-American flavor but moments later this goodness is met with a powerful kick of chili.  Kimi's international cheesy concoction was made up of Spanish onion, cream cheese, heavy cream, sharp cheddar, parm, swiss, jack, mozzarella, and get ready for this - Chinese chili paste! Brilliant.

 The 1st Place Winner of the 1st Annual Firm Mac and Cheese Cook-Off goes to ... Kelly!

It is no surprise that this mac consists of:
·         Onion
·         Shallot
·         Garlic
·         Butter
·         Dry white wine, Pinot Gris will work
·         Whole milk
·         Flour
·         Fresh herbs such as oregano
·         Short pasta like Cavatappi
·         Gruyere
·         Ementhal (God bless the Swiss)
·         Sharp chedder
·         French baguette
·         White truffle oil

Kelly's mac tasted like it was the showcase item in this month's Food and Wine Magazine. The texture was excellent as it had a nice creaminess to it. It was wonderfully flavorful; the garlic, herbs, wine, cheese combo and white truffle oil combined to create a decadent flavor.  I noticed several judges go back for second helpings of this mac. It is a good thing I loaded my plate up early.

Thank you to our lovely contestants for brightening my Monday and making my pants fit just a tad more snug today.

From left: Grace proudly displaying her ramekin delight (please notice that there are none left to display since we ate them all), Kelly is grinning from ear to ear after winning 1st place, and Kimi gladly embracing her much deserved cheesiest title!
If you want the full recipe for any of these macs, please comment below and I'd be happy to send it to you.


  1. Good job to all three ladies!! Sorry I missed out on all the cheesy decadence.