My side of the family gets together often for wonderful, food and fun-filled family celebrations. Since we live in AZ and they all live in CA, I miss out on most of the great times. However, at Christmas, we all try to find a day/night when we can give gifts, cook together, indulge in holiday treats, and just hang out. This past Christmas, my mom had a great idea, inspired by Top Chef on Bravo. We had a "Quick-fire Challenge." My mom (as always) had a freezer and refrigerator full of food just waiting to be turned into culinary masterpieces.
We divided into three teams of two. My mom and I chose the bag of frozen large shrimp as our main item. Donni & Crissy went with the frozen, pre-marinated chicken. Sandi & Alyssa went with the frozen tri-tip. We spent the afternoon conspiring and reading recipes and gathering ingredients. We did not go to the grocery store. We just got creative with items we had on hand
At 5pm we began cooking, giving ourselves exactly 1 hour to get it all on the table.
Donni & Crissy turned their chicken into an intensely flavorful chicken tortilla soup, complete with delectable condiments on top - tortilla strips, avocado chunks, jack cheese. Really, really good.
Sandi & Alyssa made a quick marinade for their trip-tip then grilled it outside to a perfectly pink medium. Meanwhile they prepared a great salad and toasted some baguette slices. They made a balsamic reduction just by boiling some balsamic vinegar til it was thick and sweet and syrupy. The final presentation was a baguette slice, topped with the salad, crowned by a perfect slice of tri-tip, finished with the balsamic glaze. I think this one was my favorite.
My mom and I sauteed the shrimp in butter and olive oil, added in some minced garlic til it was lightly browned, added a combination of fresh-squeezed citrus juices, old bay seasoning, little cayenne, few tablespoons of honey. The sauce thickened to a glaze which was nice. Served with toothpicks. The kids loved them.
We had a fantastic time, teasing, tasting, and feasting. This would be a super-fun theme for a gathering with friends. Who knows what kind of crazy concoctions we all might come up with!
I wanted to include a picture of us all cooking or at least our finished creations, however, I was too busy cooking to get a really good shot of anything worth posting! The best pic I've got is of "The Cousins" patiently waiting for dinner to be served...L-R Steven, Levi, Alyssa, Luke, Michael.