Wow, I’m so impressed. There were seven entries for Paper Chef this month, and they all looked really, really good. As you may recall, the ingredients were leeks, English peas, buckwheat, and (local) lamb. You can see the roundup of links and photos here.
Judging was not easy. First of all, I would have eaten every single one of these dishes and gone back for seconds (luckily, this was just a virtual tasting). Also, I didn’t know what half the things were that people made. Here’s a little vocabulary lesson:
Frikadellen: Northern European meatballs
Kefta: Moroccan meatballs
Sugo: Italian long-simmered, meaty sauce
Soubise: Béchamel (white sauce) flavored with puréed onions
Kasha Varnishka: Best I can tell, a Yiddish dish of toasted buckwheat groats with egg noodles and vegetables.
How the hell do you judge something like this when you have to keep whipping out the dictionary every five minutes? Clearly, I’m not the best one for the job, but you’re stuck with me so let’s see how I shook the dice.
I was looking for a recipe that integrated all of the ingredients into a cohesive dish, but which was also respectful of the individual ingredients, allowing each one the opportunity to shine. The use of local lamb helped since the theme was local. And, finally, there was the issue of how well I, in all my finite wisdom, thought it would taste.
Eventually, I arrived at a winner. But first, the runners-up in no particular order:
For adversity: Feeding Maybelle for powering through her power outage. Never in a million years would I have followed through with orange curried lamb with toasted buckwheat in tangerine vinaigrette. I would have given up and ordered pizza.
For spirit: Alosha’s Kitchen for her infectious enthusiasm during her stellar first-ever blogging event submission of lamb and buckwheat meatballs with pea and leek purée. Have you ever seen a more gracious competitor? Give that girl a trophy for awesomeness.
AND THE WINNER IS:
And the People’s Choice winner by popular vote:
Eat Me! for his buckwheat galettes filled with ground lamb and peas with leek soubise, which, incidentally, was my second choice!
Good job, everyone. Hope you all had fun and thanks for participating!!