Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's Not About Who Wins or Loses, It's All About Who Has the Best Darth Vader Mug

Hethyr:  As Jon put it in a prior post, I’ve got mad skills.  MAD skills.  Like the kind of mad skills it takes to lose a cooking competition to a competitor who didn’t actually cook anything.  These are the same kind of mad skills it takes to hit the mat out from under the ball while playing putt-putt.  There are just so few people who can actually pull off something like that!

Anyway, at the competition this past weekend, the judges' taste buds were a little too "sensitive" for my flavorful dish.  Their spokesman told me it was too sweet.  Honey can be a little overwhelming!  (Sarcasm thoroughly intended.)  If it’s too sweet for you, you’ll probably want to go and put on you big girl panties!  The other chef’s raw watermelon gazpacho was good, but a touch too bland for my wild taste buds.  Hey, what can I say?  I represent the Dark Side.  I need a little excitement in my life!

"Perhaps I can find new
ways to motivate them."

Knowing Heather's angelic ways, I figured she would make something ultra-healthy with vegetables and/or fruit.  I did want to include some produce, but I wanted to show that there are other great foods available at the farmers’ market as well.  We were allowed a few additional items other that what we purchased at the market and I chose raw cream, homemade butter and a couple of spices.  I skimmed the cream off of our raw milk and I made the butter from some of the cream.  We pick our milk up from the Wednesday farmers’ market, so I figured it was the next best thing to actually purchasing it at the market where the "cook-off" was held.

The competition started, yada, yada, yada...  

Chopping peaches

The He*th*rs in action

There was quite the crowd
at the market that day!

Plating my creation

Handing over my masterpiece for judgement

...she won.

After the judges tasted my creation and moved onto Heather’s, the crowd became a flock of vultures, devouring what was left, so at least I know their taste buds were working!  

The vultures moving in

Teresa Farney from the Gazette asks
questions as we clean up our messes

Without further ado, here is the recipe for my not-so-award-winning…

Cardamom French Toast with Lavender-Peach Honey
Serves 4
Photo by Kathya Ethington
  • 2 large ripe peaches, pitted
  • 1 cup raw unfiltered honey, local if possible
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender
  • 4 large farm-fresh eggs
  • 1/4 cup cream, raw if possible *
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 8 to 12 slices of sturdy bread (I used ciabatta), cut 3/4-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons butter plus additional for buttering toast (homemade is best but not required)
  • Whipped cream, homemade from raw cream if possible *

* Note:  Raw milk is not legal in all states... don't even get me started.

1.  Cut one peach into large chunks and thinly slice the other; set aside the slices.

2.  Purée the peach chunks in a food processor and combine with the honey and lavender in a medium saucepan.  Place over medium-low to medium heat and simmer while preparing the toast.

3.  Combine the eggs, cream and cardamom in a flat shallow dish and whisk until well mixed.

4.  Working in batches if necessary, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Dip bread slices into egg mixture and coat well on both sides.  Place into the skillet and cook until first side is golden-brown.

5.  While toast is cooking, strain the honey mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl.  Discard the remaining solids, add reserved peach slices to the honey and stir to coat.

6.  Flip bread and cook until second side is golden brown.  Remove from skillet and plate.

7.  Butter French toast slices, then top with honey and peaches.  Finish with a dollop of whipped cream.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Jon:  Ahhhhh, big fat pieces of French toast with a peachy topping and fresh whipped cream on a cool September morning at the farmer’s market.  What could be more satisfying?  For the audience of the chef challenge, apparently nothing.  You should have seen the crowd swarm like vultures on those breakfast plates.  The toast never stood a chance.

The best thing about this whole deal for me was the practice round.  A few days before the contest, Hethyr tried out the recipe on me.  As I stuffed my gullet with a mountain of French toast with that luscious peach sauce, I knew that it was a recipe that would beat the crap out of anything the opponent was making.  And it sure did.  This stuff was amazing, and even more incredible that it was made with fresh, local ingredients.

So don’t worry, it always appears at first as if the Dark Side has been defeated… but I think we’ve all seen enough Star Wars movies and Futurama episodes to know better.  The mug knows best…


  1. I dunno... that looks pretty good to me. Put me in the vulture category. ;)

  2. To me, you won. Hands down. Gazpacho is boring.

  3. Thanks, ladies! I definitely preferred my dish, but to each, his or her own. =)

    When I did the test-run, I used coconut bread, coconut milk in place of the cream, cooked it in coconut oil and left off the whipped cream. I couldn't believe I could actually make it so I could have it on the elimination diet! Woo hoo!

  4. yum! this looks fantastic. maybe there should have been more rules, like actually having to COOK something! anyone can mash up a melon! (okay maybe not me, but the french toast looks amaaaazing!)

  5. Watermelon gazpacho on a cool fall morning? And that's the dish won? Hhhmmm ... seems a bit odd. In my opinion, your amazing-looking french toast is a much better breakfast option! Maybe we'll just have to 'taste test' it next week and judge for ourselves. :-)

  6. Oh, and I'm totally impressed with your mad golf skills! LOL!

  7. Lively_linds, LOL! I'd love to know what you think of the French toast when you try it. =)

    Mom, you know I totally take after you! You're the only other person I know who may have the mad skills it takes to hit the mat out from under the ball!!! =D Maybe we should play putt-putt while I'm home. I bet we'd have everyone else in tears on the ground laughing.

  8. Great idea! Putt-putt for sure, and probably a bike ride since we are both such skilled riders -- no matter which way the handlebars are facing. :-)