Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Why We Fight

In late February, I came across the following page on the JSU website:
I decided that I wanted to compete, so I wrote the following message and sent it in: 

Hi Lynne,
My name is Paul Lindsay. I'm interested in competing in JSU's Battle of the Chefs! 
I can win the competition! And I will win by preparing some of my most palatable recipes. I can cook for a single judge, a group of judges, or for many judges. I can compete with a signature dish, or I can prepare a few of my favorite recipes. I juice fresh fruits and vegetables. I make breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I make desserts. I have had experience in cooking for people that are able only to drink their meals through a straw. I'm able to either cook and present a dish, or cook all the dishes at the same time and present them together. 
If you would like to read about the first cooking competition that I competed in, please check out my blog: Paul Lindsay's Cooking Blog.
Please feel free to contact me with any additional information about the competition at: plindsay@jsu.edu
Thank you!
Best Regards,
Paul Lindsay

I received a message on March 5th saying that I would be one of the contestants in the Battle of the Chefs.

 

Preparation

The Battle of the Chef's was to be like the Iron Chef television show, and since I had never watched an Iron Chef episode, I felt it was prudent to do some research. I watched some YouTube videos of the show, and I read about who had won in the past and what worked for them. I found a great video of Michael Symon speaking to the students at The CIA about his Iron Chef experience. In the video, Symon says, "I kept saying - big flavors; great seasoning; and be smart." After I watched the video, that's exactly what I planned on doing at the Battle of the Chef's competition.

I asked my friend, Donna, to assist me in the competition, but she had to work on the day of the event. So, I asked her husband, Jeremy, to be my assistant in the competition. He accepted. 

To Battle

On the day of the Battle of the Chefs, Jeremy and I arrived early and started planning our menu. I decided that we should cook something simple, and also something that I was familiar with. Grilled shrimp and fried pineapple shish kebabs with a side of guacamole sauce would be my appetizer. My entrée included grilled lemon pepper chicken with sides of cauliflower, peppers, and toasted Italian bread. 

Click here for the results. 

In Retrospect

I learned a lot from competing. The biggest thing was not to serve something until I have tasted it. This is something that I had prepared for, but just failed to do during the event. I'm a fan of Gordon Ramsay and his television show Hell's Kitchen. He is constantly telling (and sometimes yelling at) the contestants to "taste everything before you serve it!"  I don't like eating in front of people, especially when they are all watching me cook. Knowing this, I devised a plan that would ease me into sampling the food before I would present the dishes to the judges - I filled a ceramic mug (one that I made this semester) with plastic sampling spoons. I put it at the front of my table, but I didn't use it at all. I cooked all the food, plated it, and served it - no taste testing. 
If I would have tasted the shrimp, I would have realized immediately that I had forgotten to put the Cajun seasoning on. After the awards were given out, executive chef Brian Cosby approached me and said, "everything was cooked perfectly, but I heard some of the judges hit you for unseasoned shrimp." I knew to put Cajun seasoning on the shrimp, I had the plastic cup filled with the necessary amount. I forgot to put it on, and then I forgot to taste it before I presented it to the judges. 

To Victory

I had a great time competing! When I return to Jacksonville in 4 years to make more ceramics, I look forward to trying out for the next Battle of the Chef's!
 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich

I like bananas. I eat bananas by themselves, in my cereal, in my ice cream, and in my pancakes. And when it comes to eating fruit salad, I always go for the bananas first. I love chocolate covered bananas, too.

But ever since I was a kid, I've always thought of Peanut Butter Banana Sandwiches as the best way to enjoy my favorite fruit. They are quick and easy to make, they taste great, and Peanut Butter Banana Sandwiches make for a great snack when you are working and don't have time to eat a full meal. 
I am taking a ceramics class at JSU, and I have a lot of work to do tonight! So, I thought a Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich would give me a nice boost of energy when I get about half-way through putting the finishing touches on my ceramic objects. 
I drove to the store to get some supplies; I needed some peanut butter and 2 bananas. I picked up the bananas first and then headed to the peanut butter section. Then I saw it - a new jar of peanut butter sitting on the shelf. When I saw the Jif Natural Creamy Peanut Butter Spread and Honey I decided to buy a jar and try it out.
I'm glad I did; I give this peanut butter 2 thumbs up! The first half of my Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich was delicious, and I'm looking forward to having the other half when I go back to school this evening!
Enjoy!