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Contests, Old and New

Well, the contest is over, and jaydee of life in the lost world has won by a mile. She is a gem of an interworld friend, and has gone above and beyond what I could possibly have expected by way of promoting this blog. She’s also brought me several new readers, who I love already. If Ms. jayedee will send me her street address via personal e-mail, I will speed Alice Waters off to Florida ASAP.

Now for another contest of an entirely different variety: last night, I was awarded a large crystal bowl by the city I live in, in recognition of various volunteer activities. (In case you didn’t realize what an absolute saint and selfless uplifter of the downtrodden I am when I am neither cooking nor eating, which isn’t often).

The person who makes the best suggestion for an edible substance to fill the bowl on or before Friday, April 25th will win a surprise. The bowl is about 6 inches in diameter, and about 6 inches at its highest points. You’ll have to trust me to pick a good one. Recent winners are eligible to win again (that’s you, jayedee). The food may be raw or cooked, prepared or purchased, probable or improbable. The judging is entirely subjective; I’m going to pick the suggestion that pleases and/or amuses me most. Again, you’ll have to trust me. To enter, please make your suggestion in the form of a comment on this post.

45 responses »

  1. those really good jelly beans…

    not original – but oh so colorful and they really are damn good…

  2. I am not entering the contest because, since I nominated you for the award and threw you the celebration party (and have the hangover to prove it), and you’re such a classy chick, you’d have to let me win even if I proposed filling it with Chloraseptic (which is only technically edible). But I just want to say that if the bowl gets filled with something dairy-free, I get to have some. And when you’re done with the contest, I still plan on filling it up with those fried dumplings we talked about. So you should work on winning a smaller, companion award/bowl for the dipping sauce.

    For those of you who could not join us last night for the award ceremony, let me just report that Ann was gorgeous, classy, funny, and got the loudest “WOO HOO!!!”‘s from the audience (of the 3 winners).

    Let me also say the bowl looks a lot nicer in person, especially when it has fewer fingerprints on it than in the photo provided by Ann. We passed it around a lot last night….

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  4. My first thought was candy, too, Claudia. I like Red Vines so they can droop over the sides and look a bit like, well, droopy red vines. Anyway, congrats, Ann. Anybody take any pics of the awarding so we can see how gorgeous and classy you looked?

  5. Let’s see… Crescent-shaped and transparent..Small…

    Lil’ Marzipan fruits will look awesome, like a modern horn of plenty

    Miniature NYC Black/White cookies

    Layers of different-colored pixie sticks (the dust part)

    Unpeeled Lychee nuts

  6. Well, my favorite candy is Raisinets, but they’re not terribly attractive for display. And I suppose you’d want something you wouldn’t want to eat too many of…maybe Jordan almonds or Lemonheads. I so love Lemonheads.

  7. Wow. Whadda bowl!
    I’d suggest you pick a night to relive your award. Have over some good friends and fill it with CornNuts. BBQ flavored.
    Not as pretty as jelly beans or red vines. But better with wine.
    You could drink the wine from your bowl of honor. But the design of the bowl is such that drinking from it would probably put both your eyes out.
    So, the better bet is the CornNuts. Ya know, Safety First!

  8. Red Hots..those hot cinnamony little candies. Something hot for the major WOOHOO getter at the party!

  9. Well, my first absurdist thought was that you should fill it with something transparent, like large tapioca caviar. But then I realized you couldn’t see the delicate fluting on the side of the bowl or the inscription, so that’s right out.

    Instead you need something bold and geometric that will provide a dramatic backdrop for your awards from the city of East Lansomethingorother.

    I propose taking a specially chosen, perfectly sized cantaloupe and cutting it into thirds along the hemisphere. (trisphere?) Like this:

    Why does this link to Hellifino. But it was the first place I encountered a good looking set of melons. heh.

    Slip one third into the bottom of the bowl and then place the other two sections in place to rebuild the perfect background to show off your hardware. Then you can have the benefit of watching the fruit flies circle over the top of the bowl for weeks like sparrows returning to Capistrano.

  10. Ann,

    Not fair. Can no longer sneak over for a look at your world and quietly skulk away…… MUST COMMENT…..Ok, Im out.

    Cant you hear it? The bowl speaks. It begs to be cold and moisture covered. It begs to be bottom lit. Quick, go stick it in the sink and spray it down, see it now?

    Find a clear glass bowl about 12′ around and 4″ deep, and fill it about 3″ deep with crushed Ice. Mash the pre-chilled “globe” down into the ice and fill it with ready to eat seafood. Cocktail Shimp, Calamari rings, cold steamed Mussels Oysters and Clams, Stone crab claws, whatever. Arrange a couple of tiny clear bowls of Cocktail sauce and long handled Oyster forks around the exposed ice. The cold will make the cool wings sweat and trickle moisture down both the inside and the outside as everything kinda hovers in the base.

    My camera sqirms in its case.

  11. i suggest m&ms, but not just any m&ms, the personalized kind in some vibrant colors. the key to the m&ms thing is you have to get them personalized with “I AM” on one and “SO COOL” on the other.

  12. How about a limoncello sorbet, flecked with zest? Garnish with loads of blueberries and perfect, pithless lemon curls. Two spoons.

  13. While you were sleeping………I will just say that Cap’N Crunch with milk both looks devine and eats perfectly out of your award. I could have submitted it for production on the cover of their box, but thought I would just wait and see what little prize might be sent my way……..
    Congrats on last night. We are all very proud of you.

    Rob and Sam

  14. Pomegranates (whole) or starfruit (cut or whole). Various colors of heirloom tomatoes might be nice too… Is too shallow to have a nice fruity sangria in it?…

  15. red hots
    i change my jelly bean vote to red hots

    red hots rock

    oh, did mary say that already?

  16. Way to Go Gals!!!!!

    Anyway… my favorite way to fill a bowl is TRIFLE! Here is my favorite recipe!

    For the Custard
    4 tablespoons sugar

    2 tablespoons cornstarch

    2 large egg yolks

    2 cups milk

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    For the Trifle
    1, 8 x 4-inch pound cake)

    2 to 4 tablespoons marsala wine, rum or brandy (optional)

    1 cup seedless strawberry jam (or raspberry) or any type

    2 cups fresh strawberries (or raspberries) (optional) – rinse fruit whole, dry and then slice

    For the Whipped Cream
    1-1/2 cups heavy cream

    1 tablespoon sugar

    1. For the custard:
    Mix together sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Add egg yolks and whisk to combine; then gradually whisk in milk. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until custard thickens to the consistency of thick cream, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, and add vanilla. Cover surface of custard with plastic wrap to prevent a skim from forming, and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 2 hours.
    2. Assemble the trifle
    Cut cake into 2 x 1-inch pieces. Arrange a layer of cake pieces in the bottom of a trifle or large glass bowl. I have layered this dessert in individual parfait glasses. Sprinkle cake with some of the marsala; then spread a layer of raspberry jam over the cake; then scatter some of the raspberries over the jam. Pour some of the custard over the berries. Repeat layering, ending with custard. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Remove trifle from refrigerator about 1 hour before serving.
    3. Just before serving
    Make the Whipped Cream – put heavy cream and sugar into a large, well-chilled mixing bowl. Beat cream with a whisk or electric mixer fitted with whisks until cream holds soft peaks. Do not overbeat. Decorate with large dollops of whipped cream, sealing to the edge of the bowl to keep the moisture in the cake.


  17. Ann:

    Well, that tears it. Chris suggests a trifle, just as I was getting read to suggest ‘Zuppa Inglese”. Okay, fine!

    I suggest filling the bowl with handmade chocolate truffles, filled with a raspberry cream and rolled, while still slighlty gooey, in candied orange peel.

    I really need this win. The last time I got a winning number was AFTER I enlisted in the Air Force while Mr. Cheney was pursuing his “other priorities”.

  18. excuse me BUT if i were empress chris would lose points for failure to take the size of the bowl into consideration.

    sorry chris. but all’s fair in love and war…

    PS – i am not empress….. yet

  19. All these people want to do is mess up your bowl.’
    red hots…don’t leave a mess, taste great and apparently last for years…
    how cool is that!

  20. Since looking at the Crystal bowl reminds me of the famous Opera House in Sydney, Austrailia’s harbor, I suggest you take the half-glass-full approach and fill it half-full of Smart cookies.

  21. That’s it! or Eureka! When I read Trifle, I thought that would be the winner. I used to work at King George Hotel and they had an English Afternoon Tea every day in the tearoom and Trifle was hands down the favorite item on the menu and it was prepared in a big glass bowl so you could see the layers and portions were served to you right out of the bowl (kinda like a fancy dessert cart) Ann, maybe you should do the top three, take pictures and let us, your devotees, comment on the finalist entries? I notice this post has already garnered more comments than a lot of other posts. I think you’re on to something.

  22. OK, well if it could be really messy: freeze three separate colorful sorbets in it so it looks like vertical Neapolitan and give everybody a spoon.
    If it could be really communal, how about a great big clear jello shot with exceptional gin – ‘could even put some floating “olives” in it too.

  23. well all the preceding suggestions are wonderful, indeed, but i can’t help thinking, that that beautiful crystal bowl would be enhanced to the nth degree if filled with rivers and gobs of beautiful golden lemon curd. what more do you need in life?
    *sighs* be still my heart!

    ps…….i can’t find your email addy……could you zip a mail off to me please?

  24. I’m actually going to say that an variety of edible flowers would be lovely. I don’t think there’s anything so wonderful as a decorative container with pansies/violets, cinnamon basil, and lemon verbena. If you decide to do this, then you can make one of my favorite dishes::

    Blueberry Buckle with Lemon Verbena and Cinnamon Basil

    Buckle Batter:

    1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    Scant 1/2 tsp salt
    2 cups blueberries, washed & drained
    2/3 cup sugar
    1/8 cup packed lemon verbena leaves or 1/4 cup packed lemon basil leaves
    1/4 cup packed cinnamon lemon basil leaves
    8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
    2 extra-large eggs
    1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    3 tbsp buttermilk

    Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- or 10- inch deep-dish pie plate; set aside. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl and set aside. In another bowl, toss 1 tablespoon of dry ingredients with blueberries.
    Combine sugar, lemon herb and cinnamon basil in processor and pulse until smooth; the sugar will turn green with tiny flecks of herb.
    Add butter to processor and process until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and process until smooth. Add dry ingredients and pulse to blend, then add buttermilk and blend until just mixed. Stir in berries and transfer batter to prepared dish, smoothing so it is level in pan.

    1/4 cup unbleached flour
    4 tbsp cold butter, cut into bits
    1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/4 tsp mace
    Pinch salt

    Put flour in small bowl and cut butter into it. Add sugar, mace and salt, blend well. Sprinkle topping over berry mixture in prepared dish and bake for about 50 minutes or until top is golden brown and tester comes out clean. Cool in pan and cut into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8 to 10.

    Blessings and congratulations!

  25. Okay, correcting the typo:

    “an variety” should be “a variety”

    Sorry about that.


  26. Hmm… not to upset any empress candidates — I didn’t mean for the buckle to be in the bowl — just the plants. I included the recipe because it is a favorite and you can use the cinnamon basil and lemon verbena. Found yet another typo… it’s not supposed to be lemon basil.


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  28. empress claudia (as Queen, I get to do that kind of stuff) the jelly beans are a clutch idea, but you lose points from stealing ideas from your friend Mary. On the other hand, you get some back for correctly observing that the bowl would only hold a pretty trifling trifle. You’re on the fence.

    Alice, you are entirely correct that I’d give it to you if you seriously entered. On the other hand, you are the only person leaving a comment who will possibly get to eat the winning entry with me, so I don’t feel too bad. Could you work on getting me nominated for some Small Bowl Award so we can have sauce for the dumplings?

    eric, I like the red vines thing; I’m thinking it would look sort of like kudzu?

    elzorro, I’m on board with the marzipan fruit or the cookies (which would be quite beautiful) but I cannot imagine taking the time either to pour layers of pixie stick powder or to peel lychee nuts. That is, however, why I have a small child in the house.

    Lesley, I love lemonheadsl they may be my favorite candy. They would be lovely in the bowl and would not mess it up.

    Angela, I am so honored that you visited my blog. I am a huge fan of yours (well, I’m not personally huge), and I am working up the nerve to write to you and tell you so. I love the corn nuts idea, and am thinking about trying to explain to the ER doc how I happened to pierce both corneas drinking wine out of a crystal bowl….

    Mary, red hots would be stunning and appropriate. I do think, however, that you should speak to your alleged “friend” Claudia about the gravity of copycatting.

    ceelce, those are some mighty fine melons, :), and I happen to live in the heart of melon country. I also like the fruitfly image which gives the whole thing a sort of Hunter S. Thompson flavor.

    Robert, you took my breath away. You must know that, because I stalked you to find out who you are. You’re that good.

    Lauren (are you Claudia’s Lauren?), I love m&ms. I could pick colors I like and be validated every time I ate them.

    Diana, do you actually have a recipe for limoncello sorbet? The idea of that makes my toes curl. With the blueberries and the lemon zest. Only one spoon, though; I’m the Queen.

    Mr. Annie, I KNOW you didn’t do that because we don’t HAVE any Captain Crunch in the house. So there. As for your nice words; you know I couldn’t be Queen if I didn’t have my boys behind me.

    Vera, I like the pomegranates and starfruit, but I can’t get “real” tomatoes yest in this part of the world. They would be beautiful, though, a mix of Green Zebras, Yellow Taxis and some vinbrant reds and oranges. As for the Sangria, I think Angela correctly observed that I could “put my eye out with that thing.” (Or were you envisioning something more tasteful, like a ladle?)

    Chris, Claudia is right about the trifle not fitting in the bowl, however, I could do it using smaller quantities for each layer, and its a genius idea AND I got a recipe out of it. Thank you!!

    democommie, I will certainly take your story into consideration, although I am a woman of iron resolve and not easily swayed by sentiment. I would like the truffles you suggest, in fact i would like them right now, but I fear that they might mess up my bowl.

    Tony, if I can find them here, I’ll really do that some time. Your grandson would be ecstatic (as he would be about the jelly beans, red hots, red vines, lemon heads and m&ms).

    Eric, I totally agree that the trifle is a great idea. I would LOVE to do as you suggest, and create and photograph the top three, but it happens that among my favorites is at least one that vastly exceeds my monthly income at this point. If you’d like to take up a collection, I’m all over it….

    Brad, I think I like the giant shot more than the sorbet Neapolitan; it just sounds stunning (and entertaining). No Beefeater.

    Jayedee, I, personally, can think of nothing better than a large bowl of lemon curd. For me. Just me. It would be totally worth the coronary and the giant tush.

    Lacy ,I’ve made (and eaten) many a Buckle in my day, but never one like yours. I can see the bowl full of the whole flowers and herbs, and the buckle served elegantly on the side…what a great recipe, and now I can’t wait until things start growing here so I can actually make it!!

  29. Since I am dying to get a trifle bowl, and they are kind of hard to come by on this side of the pond, I would make a traditional English trifle and show it off in this gorgeous glass bowl. I saw Nigella do it with such ease–just buy sponge cakes (lady fingers like the ones used in tiramisu would be the closest thing to the original trifle sponges), then make a fruit compote with strawberries or raspberries and simple syrup, cooked til thickened, drop it over the cookies that you *soaked with rum or bourbon*, then top that with a layer of custard or pastry cream, and top that with whipped cream until it’s nearly oozing out of the sides of the bowl with creamy, boozey, fruity goodness. Who would not want a piece of that action? And you thought the English were the stuffy ones.

  30. oh no, major foul. Sorry I didn’t see the trifle before I commented. I have learned to read all of the comments before getting ahead of myself. But I still think a trifle is the best idea, even if it doesn’t fit exactly right. 😉

  31. joycooks, no harm, no foul; there are a lot of comments. Just pretend you were reading a James novel and got lost in am endless sentence. I agree that a (smallish) trifle would be perfect, and now I challenge you to come up with another equally good idea for me to consider. Based on your profile, you are more than capable of thinking outside the, er, bowl.

  32. i hereby announce that i knowingly stole from mary. no wait – i blatantly stole from mary. but stealing is relative here. because i was actually SUPPORTING her vote. red hots are also angela’s fave road trip candy.

    and lauren? that girl is all MINE.

  33. I say a luscious fresh fruit salad with lots of ruby red raspberries (cause they are my fav :))

    It’s weird – that bowl reminds me so much of a hamster ball LOL

  34. OHHHHH, red hot controversy!! Love it!!

  35. claudia, now you’re blaming Angela?! I think your friends seriously need to watch their respective backs. I’m glad that’s your Lauren; I had hoped that it was.

    Kim, yesm it does look like a hamster ball with part cut out. It would be beautiful filled with fruit, and that’s much healthier than ALL THAT CANDY suggested by people who are not paying our dental bills.

    Mary, you are still the boss of the red hots. Claudia is just a poseur.

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  37. Well…. not to Trifle around here…. you all have been busy with ideas whilst I was the enjoying the return of my soldier this weekend. My baby son just finished his Basic and AIT and returned home to mama after 4 long months! But trifling away… I still think you can’t beat a good trifle in a lovely crystal bowl no matter the size. I am sure there would be someone around to eat the excess from a cereal bowl!

  38. Chris, my son is only 11, but I can’t imagine having him be gone for 4 months doing anything. Enjoy him!!!!!!! As for the trifle, I agree, and I get the cereal bowl.

  39. Ann,

    Can we get the guy at the paper to Photoshop the top 3 entries in? Fitting to the virtual world, virtual food.

    Did I say that?…….Its come to this……..

  40. Ann,

    Id like my shrimp to actual scale though, please.

  41. Robert, I knew you were my soulmate. The first thing I said to my husband after I saw that altered image was “wow, do you think I could get that guy to photoshop in my top three so I wouldn’t actually have to buy all the stuff?” Yes, of course your shrimp will be appropriately sized. You did want cocktail shrimp, right?

  42. It looks like Viking Ullr hat — what do Valkyries eat? Dried fish. Fill it with lots of little dried fish, then hang some blond braids on it. Thank you! You’ve been a tremendous audience! Goodnight!

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  44. fluffernutter, I don’t know that I would besmirch my bowl with lutefisk and a bowl, but I’d sure like tp party with you….

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