Thursday, April 17, 2008

Platinum Chef Roundup

I was really excited to see how many new participants this round of Platinum Chef turned out. It's always good to have fresh life and new interest, and the participants may have been new, but you'd never guess it from the skillful way they took the challenge and ran with it.

Jaime of Burnt Toast's first entry turned the classic steak and potatoes into a Platinum Chef masterpiece. She topped her steaks with a caper vinaigrette and served it alongside rosemary leek mashed potatoes. Now I admit to adding leeks to a lot of dishes, but I'd never added it to mashed potatoes. But after reading Jaime and her husband's rave reviews of these potatoes I can see that the addition makes perfect sense and am kicking myself for not trying it before.

I fear Meghan of Joy Through Cooking cursed my name throughout the challenge as she discovered a newfound hatred for capers. However she used the little buggers in two different recipes, an asparagus and caper soup and a caper tapenade. Well Meghan, we're even because I don't like asparagus! However, I'd be more than happy to take any leftover tapenade you have hanging about - looks fantastic!

Lynn from Lunch with Lynn used the ingredients to make a chicken with balsamic mushrooms and risotto. The risotto contained leeks, cream, and rosemary and she placed a lemon grilled chicken breast atop. Then came the mushrooms marinated with capers and balsamic vinaigrette. Not only does her dish sound delicious, but it also plates quite nicely!

Nicole from Art and Aioli almost killed herself in participating. Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but she did sacrifice her hand to the "hot pan" gods in preparation of her brunch - both of us thought we were being oh so original by making breakfast foods. Don't you hate when someone else comes up with your brilliant idea? Nicole made lemon rosemary scones and a leek omelette. Her omelette was filled with smoked salmon, dill cream, and capers. Salmon and capers? It's like she knows my family or something.

Nina of Nina's Kitchen used the ingredients that made even this non-fish lover drool. Her Grilled yellowfin tuna with Roasted leek risotto used a lemon-infused olive oil and a caper dressing. The lemon-infused olive oil peaked my interest, because I've been infusing olive oil with herbs and garlic, but never fruit! I can imagine it added brilliantly to the fish, and the colors just sing "spring."

Tpox of Proceed with Caution had every intention of submitting Tilapia in a parchment pouch which looked gorgeous, but didn't taste the way it looked. Instead of submitting in anyway and crossing her fingers that no one would make it, she went back to the drawing board and submitted a Creamy Chicken and Pasta. I adore creamy pasta with chicken and artichoke hearts, and the leeks seem like the perfect complement!

Our fearless leader, Cara from Cara's Cravings submitted a dish that made me wish I'd never opened her entry near my husband. Her Rosemary-Parmesan scallops in a tomato caper sauce over lemon leek "linguine" had him almost licking the screen. But really, can you blame him? It's colorful, its bright, it has Parmesan - and I never cease to be amazed by Cara's use of vegetables to replace pasta.

Dela had written down a recipe with every intention of entering this challenge, but time and perfectionism got the better of her. However, since I read her blog even when she's not promising to participate in Platinum Chef (I literally rewrote my original sentence to keep the alliteration), I noticed she posted a recipe with rosemary and leek and wanted to give her honorary mention. See what good sports we are here at Platinum Chef Challenge? Besides, I'm always looking for good potato recipes around Passover!

The day Dani posted her Platinum Challenge Entry, Jon and I had just finished watching an On-Demand episode of Every Day Italian where Giada helped her neighbor with a bake sale. In the episode, she made snowcones to sell at the bake sale after asking "who says you have to have baked goods at a bake sale?" Although it's pointless to argue with the television about how the name "bake sale" connotes baked goods, Jon and I both gave it our best shot. And then went out to buy popsicles. Although, after seeing Dani's entry, I should have just waited and made her lemon-rosemary granitas! Paired with her caper leek risotto, Dani's entry won me over hook line and sinker. Therefore I pass the torch of the next round to her, and request that she pass me one of her granitas! So everyone check out Make No Little Meals for the next installment of Platinum Chef!


  1. these are fabulous! i always get so damn hungry when i read your blog. i should know by now - like grocery shopping, NEVER read kate's blog when hungry.

  2. What a beautiful roundup!! Well done. I must have been under a rock or something - I don't even remember seeing the roundup. Duh!!! I'll watch for it next time out.

  3. Everything looks great! I loved reading about all the entries. Congrats to Dani on her win and I'll be looking forward to the next round. :)

  4. ah! i am so honored!

    and congrats to dani - i cant wait to see what the new ingredients are and promise to participate this time!

  5. Fantastic round-up! I wanted to join in, but time got the best of me this round. I hope I can carve out some time to join in next time.

  6. great round up! I cant wait to see what the next round will hold :)

  7. Holy Crapanoli! I'm shocked by this because I've seen so many amazing entries! Thanks so much! I'm super excited about this--I'll think on the next ingredients this weekend and post on Monday! Can't wait to see what everyone sends along to me! :D Thanks again Kate!! :)

  8. Well I can see how your job in choosing was a difficult one, Kate. It all looks so good. I have to say it was a blast participating. Great job summing everything up.

    My hats off to you, Dani, on your win. It does look good and I may just have to take your granitas and make them this weekend!

  9. What a fab variety of entries!!!! How on earth are you going

  10. i'm so impressed with everyone's creativity!

  11. I love how creative everyone was with the ingredients. Great job Kate and participants! I am envious of your skillz. ;)