This week was filled with many ups & downs but the high light was Food Lion’s Frugal Cook-Off.
(I’m the one in glasses, Katie’s on the far left)
Imagine Top Chef where the contestants have $15 and 45 minutes to prepare a meal consisting of a protein and two sides. But….you have no idea what your meat is and the mock store is very limited. I had been a bit apprehensive about what our meat would be and we lucked up with pork chops. As you may recall, cooking pork chops is not my specialty! My teammate & I did not win…but we had such a FUN time! And I learned quite a lot.
1. I cannot imagine how many cameras, video recorders, and other equipment there must be for TV cook-offs because just for this cook-off there were SO many! I walked in and felt like I was on a TV set. Here’s a fun teaser video of us all: https://vimeo.com/87181067
2. Knowing that pork should be pulled out of the oven at 138 degrees is only helpful if you actually check the meat’s temperature. Our pork chops were an astonishing 199 degrees!!!! when I checked. Wow. And even after finding out they were that overcooked I still tried to convince my wonderful teammate Katie that we should broil them to achieve a nice crispy exterior. Thankfully, a cooking pro from the store came over and hinted that perhaps we should just plate at that point.
3. Plating your food is WAY harder when you are on a time crunch. When I plate food for blog pics, I can take all the time in the world. No one is yelling out 2 minutes 1 second remaining. And, I had no idea that you should think about how things are going to look plated when you are determining what to buy in the mock-up store. I mean, yes…I had thought the roasted carrots on our plate would add some nice color contrast to the sauteed spinach…but, our plate wasn’t quite as exquisite as what I had pictured in the beginning.
4. 45 minutes goes by WAY faster when you are under a time limit than when you are leisurely cooking at home. And, does anyone know how to get roasted vegetables to brown if you are using a sil-pat pan?
With all that said, I had the most wonderful time and the real reason behind that was meeting this fantastic group of bloggers. It was so nice to meet people face to face and learn about blogs that I had no idea existed. And my teammate Katie from The Perks was an absolute gem. I found someone in Charleston that composts!!! And she gardens (obviously…there is probably a good chance if you compost, you probably garden as well). The video team actually thought we were friends prior to the cook-off because of how much fun we were having together. I think I could write a post simply on how much fun it was hanging out with her.
You should check her and all the other lovely ladies out at the following blogs:
I will be back next week with a give away, recipes, and shout-outs to Food Lion and Charleston Cooks!. This post has already gotten so long. Food Lion so generously put together the cook-off and I want to share information with you that I learned about their store. They are making great strides in improving their quality of produce and store brand groceries. I was very impressed. And Charleston Cooks! hosted the event and CLEANED UP ALL OUR DIRTY DISHES!!! We had lots.
Thanks for reading this very long post and if you have a tip for roasting veggies with a sil-pat, I’d love to know your tricks.