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Monday, November 9, 2009

A Food-filled Weekend

Four back-to-back food events filled up my entire weekend. I started off Friday night in charge of the "local concessions booth" at our Think Local Umpqua screening of FOOD, INC. With the help of some teenage boys to run the popcorn machine (popping locally-grown popcorn) and a couple girl scouts to bag the popped corn, serve cookies and biscotti and pour eggnog and apple cider, all I had to do was handle the money. We had a great turn-out and managed to squeeze 117 people into the room we had set up for 80.

Saturday morning I headed out early for our OSU Extension "Gifts from your Kitchen" class in Sutherlin. Twenty-five people turned out to learn some new ideas for homemade holiday gift-giving. My part of the two-hour class was to demonstrate making flavored vinegars. I brought lots of vinegars to sample: Chive Blossom, Blackberry, Raspberry, Rosemary, Blueberry-Lemon and Mulberry. Geri Johnson then did a demo on microwave peanut brittle and creamy caramels and Clara Langton finished up with some hands-on cookie and soup mixes.

I had to dash out a bit early to make it to my next event--being one of the five judges at the Umpqua Dairy recipe contest cook-off. Two of us were local home cooks and three were professional chefs from the Valley River Inn, Seven Feathers and Market of Choice. Umpqua Dairy had narrowed the entries down to nine finalists: three desserts, three appetizers/side dishes, and three main dishes. We got to review the recipes and sample each one, then score them on ease of preparation, originality, appearance/appeal, and taste.
It was fascinating to listen to the chefs discuss and critique the recipes from a professional viewpoint. They thought of things that didn't cross my mind. We chose a winner in each category and grand prize winner overall. I am sure the News Review will do an article with all the details and the local tv station covered it, though I didn't get to see the news. We sampled a Fall Citrus Carrot Salad, Cheese Tarts, Crab, Spinach, and Artichoke Macaroni and Cheese, Creamy Chicken Chowder, Spiced Chicken Fettuccini, Holiday Bread Pudding, Sour Cream Panna Cotta, and Crab and Spinach Stuffed Tomatoes, but the grand prize went to Nancy Woodside of Roseburg for her Razzapple Sour Cream Streusel Pie, which was divine. Something I will definitely make soon for Sunday dessert. I got to keep my copy of all the recipes, but I can't post them because Umpqua Dairy is going to publish them in a cookbook next spring. Trust me, if you like dairy products, you're going to want the cookbook.

We finished the judging by 4:00 pm and as luck (or gluttony) would have it, my husband and son and I had tickets for the 7:00 pm seating of the annual Scandinavian Smorgasbord at Faith Lutheran church! It's a fundraiser for their church missions and one of our family traditions. So, after putting away all the supplies from my morning demo and taking a quick nap, we headed over to the church to listen to the German Band before filling our plates with Swedish meatballs (my favorite), potato sausage, cold poached salmon, Swedish Beans, red cabbage, lefse, homemade breads, red potatoes, pickled herring, pickled beets, cucumbers in sour cream, apple salad, cheese, liver pate and Swedish apple dessert. The ladies (and a few men) must spend the entire week cooking and prepping for this event. One of these years I'm going to see if they'll let me help out so I can get a behind-the-scenes look (and maybe a few recipes?) at all their hard work.

You'd think I wouldn't be able to eat for a week after all this, but it was my mom's turn to cook Sunday dinner and she made her fabulous pork roast with mashed potatoes and gravy, so there was no holding back.

Time to hit the gym this week!


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