Recent Foodie Events: Update

I’ve been busy with foodie events lately, but surprisingly less cooking than usual. I guess that’s bound to happen when other things are filling up your time. I am working on an autumn-inspired pasta dish, and my first try was pretty close to what I was hoping for. I promise to share it once I get the last few kinks worked out.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was asked to be on the panel of judges for the FOX Rochester Kitchen Floor Cookoff at the New York Wine & Culinary Center last Thursday. It was pretty amazing to be involved in this contest again. I kept thinking how it was much more relaxing to be judging the food, rather than cooking it. But I missed the adrenalin rush and intense focus that I felt when I was a contestant. The overall experience was definitely positive–I loved being around fellow foodies and seeing what inspires them in the kitchen. The winner of the contest was Brandon Wiggins with his Shrimp Meatball Agrodolce with Carrot Pasta. If you are interested in his recipe, it is posted on the FOX Rochester contest website (click here).

The other event that has been occupying my time was the $5 Challenge by Slow Food USA. I hosted a private event with my family this past Saturday. The challenge was to come up with a meal that would feed everyone for $5 or less per person. I came up with the menu, invited guests, and delegated responsibilities. It ended up that the only thing I had to cook was some rice, so I was able to spend more time visiting with my family and talking to them about the challenges of cooking good, real food on a budget.

We discussed how strange it is that local, in-season fruit is usually much more expensive than fruit that is trucked in from far away (i.e. bananas). We wondered if local produce was priced higher because it is currently trendy to be a locavore. We came to the conclusion that some ingredients (like beef and chocolate) were too expensive for us to stay within the $5 challenge. That doesn’t mean that we don’t cook with them, but that they must be balanced out within the weekly budget with cheaper meals (like chicken or vegetarian dinners). Our meal consisted of yakitori, vegetable tempura, rice, and applesauce cake. Here is the breakdown of our meal, in case you were wondering how much it cost:

Ingredient Cost
chicken  $10.00
pineapple  $0.99
soy sauce  $3.03
mirin  $2.70
brown sugar  $0.02
rice  $1.82
club soda  $0.79
rice flour  $2.99
onion  $0.80
broccoli  $1.88
yams  $1.90
mushrooms  $1.50
vegetable oil  $2.24
sriracha  $0.03
butter  $1.40
sugar  $0.60
applesauce  $0.70
cloves  $0.26
cinnamon  $0.38
baking soda  $0.02
flour  $0.20
TOTAL =  $34.25
Cost per person*:  $3.81

*we had 7 adults and 4 children attend; I counted the children as 1/2 of an adult each, for a total of 9 “adults”

Did you take part in the $5 Challenge? Do you have any tips about how to stay on a budget while cooking? Please feel free to share your comments below.

Further update: Slow Food USA added the story I submitted about this event to their website. If you’d like the recipe for yakitori that we used (and the story behind that recipe), please click here.


2 thoughts on “Recent Foodie Events: Update

  1. Looks like family members did all of the cooking! Who is that skinny, grey haired guy at the grill? You should have counted Steve and Pat as 2 adults each (4 total)! I bet there wasn’t any cake left over. Yum!
    congratulations on being selected as a judge this year!

    • It was definitely a full family effort: Mom & Dad did the yakitori, Pat did the tempura, Heather did the cake, and I did the rice. The cake definitely went fast–everyone wanted seconds. Thanks–it was fun being a judge this year!


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