I cooked in the Eagle Mountain Pony Express Days Cookoff. I did it last year, too, and that was pretty fun, but this year was a total disaster. Part of it was that it was at a weekend that happened to be a very stressful one, personally, and so I had a number of distractions and setbacks. I ended up taking sixth place out of seven. Not good.
I do have to say, though, that it was VERY well run. Those that were in charge and those that did the judging did a GREAT job.
The biggest thing I learned is that I will never do another competition/cookoff again as a solo act. If I can’t get some help as a team, it’s not worth it. As a solo, you are working right on the edge the whole time. If something goes wrong (as did right off the bat this morning), you have some flexibility to adapt and work it. As a solo, you just have to roll with it, and you have very little room to work.
I also learned that when you coat salmon with blackening spices, you want to shake off the extra. I didn’t this time, and it was waaaay too spicy. Also, use a thicker cut of salmon. It’ll be more moist in the end.
The bread turned out great. The glaze even worked as I wanted it to. But I did it a little bit differently. I covered the top in whipped egg, and added honey to the glaze to make it thicker.
I also realized that with only a few exceptions, the most recent cooking I’ve been doing has all been big project meals and preparations for cookoffs. I’m weary, and I need to get back to cooking for fun for a while. Back to trying new things, back to learning new strategies.
Anyway. See you all next week!