Talk about one fun weekend! Yesterday was our Foodbuzz 24x24 dinner; our theme? a vegan vs. carnivore (husband vs. wife) summer BBQ throwdown. I don't think anyone, including me, realized the immensity of the job I had set before us. I know for a fact Honey had not a clue what he had gotten himself into. I could tell the realization of what we were up against finally dawned on him (and all of us) the night before as we were feverishly prepping. Here comes Honey walking through the door, phone to ear (with Sous Jeff) and wide eyed panic clear on his face. My personal panic did not set in until about an hour before the guests were set to arrive. I look at our list and I say to Sous Kelly, 'ok, now I think I might panic'. In the end, it wouldn't have mattered if we didn't finish; I mean, these are our closest friends and family, but out of sheer competition, we all wanted to finish!
Who reigned supreme?? Keep reading to find out!
Just a note... Although this blog is a vegan/vegetarian/sometimes pescetarian mish mash of recipes, there will be (sigh) some meat recipes posted from the throwdown. Honey worked so hard, I can't deprive him of his five minutes of 'fame' on my not-famous blog :)
AND HERE WE GO!!
Vegan: Me, carnivore, Honey... each of us had to come up with a starter, main (including a salad), dessert and beverage showcasing ingredients that are fresh and in season for the summer. The goal was to have items you would 'typically' have at a BBQ but put our own spin on them.
From there, our five judges got to taste and rate our offerings based on flavor, creativity and plating.
Meet team veg: Ellen, aka La Pure Mama. Home chef who studied under the incredibly talented Chef Charlotte of the Lake. Paralegal for her patient Poppey, mama to the amazing Noodle Nose, frequent user of the word fantastical and wife of the carnivore. In her spare time she enjoys cooking and baking and as a result, began her blog in early 2009. Since then, her cooking and baking has become more adventurous and her blog, a little popular. Who would have though people would like sarcasm wrapped in a tortilla.
Other than cooking, she enjoys running and other forms of exercise,
Sous Chef Charlotte, aka Chef Charlotte of the Lake. Overall fantastic party queen, amazing mama and an inspiration to all. And Sous Chef Kelly, aka Uncle Kelly, my veg inspiration and one of the reasons why I like red hair so much.
Meet team carnivore: Allan, aka Dr. Magic Hands. Dad to Noodle Nose, husband of the veggie. Chiropractor of amazing talents and rarely in the kitchen, save a rare Sunday morning egg and sausage 'fest. Despite that, he is quite the grill whisperer; able to obtain just the right kiss of flame by bending the grill to his will, tongs and spatula in hand.
In his spare time he enjoys playing golf and baseball, watching Sports Center to the point of driving his wife insane, spending time with his friends which usually involves an unspoken contest of who can drink the most Sierra Nevada and back seat cooking while his fantastic wife is in meal creation mode. Special talents include the ability to completely butcher a joke into the most un-funny thing you have ever heard, eating vegetarian/vegan food every single day even though he is a carnivore, offering up some pretty serious singing competition to his wife and flashing his amazing smile and thoughtful heart to everyone he crosses.
Sous Chef Dennis, aka Poppey, father-in-law and fellow grill whisperer. And Sous Chef Jeff, Honey's brotha from anotha motha, mr. extreme, fellow meat eater and major sh*t talker.
Here's Jeff, trying to hide that darn bleu cheese again... cheater.
Paying homage to Kat... Let's meet the Joodges: Jamisson, BFF and the bride-to-be. Erin, auntie and one hot mama. Sara, jewelry queen and wife of the major sh*t talker. Mr. John, house hawker, bringer of copious amounts of red wine and general bad influence. Mark, carnivore, yet quite the objective foodie; can do math in his head.
LET THE MADNESS BEGIN...
ROUND ONE: BEVERAGES. This was titled the 'Bonus Beverage Round' but we started with it so the joodges would have something to sip on while we finished up our appetizers.
Vegan Beverage: Cool off with the fresh flavor and tang of this freshly squeezed limeaid spiked with vodka, finished with a refreshing prosecco float and garnished with a fresh Boxx Berry Farm strawberry and mint leaf from the Farmer's Market. Who wouldn't want to drink nine of these? Not me... I did!
Carnivore Beverage: Blast to the past where your boyfriend was a jerk... a soda jerk! The flavors of vanilla and root beer in this adult-altered root beer float will have you screaming for more. Special effects include eerie yet intriguing dry ice smoke.
The judges were a little aprehensive on this one... as said by Jamie 'it's frightening yet delicious!' And of course, a great picture of Jamie, Erin and Sara poking cautiously at their smoky beverages.
ROUND TWO: APPETIZERS
Vegan Appetizer: Fresh in-season corn, roasted and paired with succulent walla walla sweet onion, fresh red bell pepper and black beans. Finished with a spicy chili and adobo vinaigrette and nestled in an endive boat. Hearty, filling and fun to eat but light enough to have twelve.
Schmoozing the judges :)
Carnivore Appetizer: Dive into these Hooters inspired hot wings complete with famous spicy hot wing sauce guaranteed to get your hands dirty. Cool off with the crisp taste of fresh celery and bleu cheese dressing. Hooters girls not included; however, you may be able to talk Honey into putting the outfit on!
Honey got demerit points for using Kraft bleu cheese... here he is trying to hide it :)
ROUND THREE: MAIN (INCLUDING SALAD)
Vegan Main: Travel east with this flavorful middle eastern spiced butter bean burger complimented with chopped almonds for a crunch roasted red peppers, cilantro and fresh in-season garlic scapes. Served on a slider bun with a mouth watering spicy sweet potato salad that will have you dancing for more.
My little bean burgers, all lined up and waiting for the grill!
Heirloom tomatoes and lettuce from the Farmer's Market... ahhh.
Carnivore Main: A juicy beef burger infused with bacon, cilantro, caramelized red onion and moriber (mor-be-yay) cheese. Guaranteed to send you to the emergency room, this tasty treat is served on a slider bun with a classic creamy red potato salad. Note: in case of emergency, ambulance will be on hand.
Not sure if this was coincidence but there were WAY more pictures of the carnivore foods!
ROUND FOUR: DESSERT
Vegan Dessert: An alarmingly rich chocolate brownie complimented with fresh, in-season Washington cherries with a succulent cherry port reduction in a chocolate cup finished with a candied orange and a taste of port and freshly brewed espresso. An overly indulgent dessert uaranteed to have you licking your plate.
You can't see the orange in this shot...
These are the fantastic oranges!
Espresso too! The catch? They all had to share this one :) well...
Carnivore Dessert: This peanut butter cup cookie is small but mighty and will have you reaching for more. A simple peanut butter dough complimented with a miniature peanut butter cup, all melty and gooey; finished with warm peanut butter cup and cream sauce.
AND THE WINNER IS...
TEAM VEG TAKES IT 19 TO 17!! Ok, I didn't win by that much... Honey put up a good fight! But I'll take it... Honey, as Sara would say: 'it's time to pack up your knives... and leave'.
And this one was captured at JUST the right moment!
And this caption is... 'but... I'm team carnivore!!'
Another special thank you to our cinematographer turned photographer, Michael aka Uncle Michael. My younger brother and general fantastic uncle. He will also want me to make sure and include that he does indeed have the sickest dance moves in the living room. When he read that in the program he said, 'I didn't use that word... you know, 'sick', that night... did I?' No Uncle Michael, I made that up myself because there's only one word for what you were busting out that night. And yes, I do have it on video.
Side note... Michael was supposed to video the throwdown which would have been fantabulous except 'someone' apparently forgot to charge the battery; lame (and that someone was definitely NOT me. And that is definitely NOT a lie... she said with sarcasm dripping off every word). So we turned him into our photographer and co-team throwdown intern, asking him to go to the store, go to the house, make the antipasto tray, feed the dogs, wash my car (ok that was a little overboard) AND take pictures, all at the same time. Thank you :)
Oh yes! And the t-shirts... ah the t-shirts. That was one of my 'I have a great idea!' ideas. It would have been even better had I not thought of it THE MORNING of the throwdown which, of course, had me running here and running there to get the supplies I needed (like I needed another project). I sure am glad I did though, they were really the capper, making our event truly 'official'. Everyone at the Farmer's Market wanted to know about them and YES! I did do a little shameless advertising... hey, what can I say, I want lapuremama to be immortalized on Foodbuzz's Top 9 and Blogger's Blog of Note too! Lofty goals, I know. Foodbuzz? Blogger? are you reading??
Also, the t-shirts were such a hit (everyone wanted one to show their support to their team of choice) that I'm going to alter the design a little bit and make more. Stay tuned for a giveaway of fantastical proportions featuring a team shirt of your choice, for your wearing pleasure. You know you want one.
All in all, if you have made it through this monstrous post, I will say this once again... it was an amazing day. We were all exhausted by the end but not exhausted enough to finish off team veg's lemonade, about a dozen bottles of Mr. John's copious amounts of red wine, a few bottles of champagne and even a little fizzy water.
The throwdown was met with such enthusiasm that we have officially deemed it an annual event. Next year we're going to either do couples, girls against boys or bring the whole family in. Stay tuned for more info. Also, stay tuned for another post with recipes and more pictures pictures... there were so many good ones, I hate to leave you out of the picture loop. Really, you'll feel like you were there!
And here are a few more of my favorites... just to tide you over until the next post.