Here is where we should probably start addressing a few more rules of the Memphis Summer Cook-Off Club. Because, see, several of us are in relationships with each other--most importantly, several of us live with each other, or see each other every day, or are passed out drunk on each other's couches, or whatever. And everyone admits that they do trial runs--I mean, this isn't Chopped (yet). So there could always be conflicts of interests, of people aiding and abetting a cook-off winner.
Are we really conflicted in interest, whatever that really means? Probably not. I think we're just hungry. Still and all, the fact remains that biases could exist and it may be hard sometimes to keep a level head when deciding between delicious food and a clear slate for impartial judging.
I was ridiculously excited when Sam stepped up to do the Asian-Off because I knew what that meant for me--living with the man, I would get to live through several days of his Asian trial and error.
It really probably wasn't all that helpful for him, as I was mostly, "Yeah, this is okay, give me some more, I don't know, do what you want." I kept hoping he'd think he was really screwing up and needed to try it just one more time because he was cooking tofu like a mad man and I was getting fat and happy. And I couldn't just go a few blocks over to Emily's to pop in on her own trialing.
Then the day came for the final run-through. NO MORE SAMPLING ASHLEY GET YOUR FINGERS OUT OF MY TOFU. Fine, damn.
Emily hosted. We got there and she was flipping some eggs.
Sam quickly got down to plating. Everyone had nice plates thanks to a dish donation from Emily's mom!
We had a large crowd with us; 12 folks RSVP'd and a few others came out, as well. All-in-all, we had 15-16--our largest yet.
Also, can I take a moment to say that the night before many of us (including the two competitors) were out very late doing trivia, taking home the win for not only best team name (The Kagan Exercises) but also THE WHOLE DAMN THING. Thanks for listening.
Emily served honey marinated steak over a citrus fried rice over the earlier pictured egg-and-leek. She also had blanched cabbage wraps tied with a leek, and pork wontons.
Sam offered both Korean-BBQ style Asian-honey-glaze marinated tofu and pork lettuce wraps. He also had honey tofu fried rice with leeks.
Sam explains his Asian vision. Tara's into it.
By a margin of HALF A POINT, Emily went for the win. She was also the first host to win a cook-off. She won golden chopsticks--that are still in the works. (We're trying to stop being lazy about a lot of things, such as posting about our cook-offs and actually making the prizes.)
We congratulated ourselves yet again for coming up with the best club idea, ever. We are never lazy about this.
We stayed around for another several hours, making another run or two or three to the gas station for beer. I became enthralled with the fact that the Coors cans really do turn blue, and then stop being blue when you touch them, and then go back to blue once you lift your finger--and then went on to try to remember what the hell those thermal-heat shirts that we all wore back in the 90s or whenever were called. I think we figured it out, but I don't remember what it was we figured out.
And then Jon spent some time with Emily's weird cat.
John and Michael took up the call for the next challenge: BURGERS! Secret Ingredients: Green Chillies and Avocado. It was this week we determined officially that vegetarian options had to exist at each challenge.