Thursday, September 24, 2009

Park City's Iron Villa Cook Off!

What does a half hour, one chicken breast, a LARGE zucchini, a bottle of salad dressing, and a secret ingredient have in common? Well, the short answer is the Iron Villa Cook Off. The long answer... read on....

The Marriott where we are staying in Park City has activities that they put on. Earlier in the day yesterday, Laura pointed out one of the activities as the Iron Villa Cook Off. The activity involved picking up a secret ingredient at 5PM and then returning with a cooked dish at the clubhouse to be judged. The winner got a bottle of wine. She said that I should enter it, being that I like to cook. I was like that's nice but I'm on vacation and that sounds like work.

We did a little sightseeing over in Heber in the day. Then came back to our hotel room. Laura laid down for her afternoon nap and I managed to get a little oil painting in. Well, shortly after 5PM, Laura wakes up. "So did you enter the cook off?" She asks as I'm sitting reading a book. To which I had to respond as the smart alack that I am,"Do I look like I'm cooking?"

She calls down to the activity desk and asks if there was anyone who entered the cook off. There's one other couple that has entered the contest. Laura hangs up and says that I should do the cook off just to give the couple a chance to compete. She said consider it a service project. I laugh," A service project?" Sometimes, she's a little TOO much, if you know what I mean.

Well, she has decided to run down to the Clubhouse; which I have to give her directions to. (She has the highest IQ of anyone I know but she could get lost in a paper bag.) Well, shortly afterwards, I get a call. The secret ingredient is rice. Do I want to give it a whirl? And could I give her directions back to our room? As I'm laughing I say,"Sure."

It is now 5:30PM when she gets up to the room. The other couple have a whole half hour ahead of us, and all that's in the refrig.---a uncooked chicken breast, a zucchini, and a bottle of Cheddar Chiptole salad dressing. Well, there's no time to run to the grocery store that's six blocks away and cook up something. So I guess I'll have to wing it with what I have.

I start some water on the stove for the rice, but I have found that at this higher altitude it takes FOREVER to get water to boil. I say to Laura, I wish I had some salt maybe this water would come to a boil faster. Before I knew it she was out the door. I assumed to the front desk to see if there was salt packets some where. In a few minutes while I'm sauteing the cut up chicken breast she returns with a palm full of salt. I look at her questioning.

She went out to a steak restaurant near by. She walked in, and said," Quick! Odd question. Can I get a teaspoon of salt?" And held her palm open. The host who was on the phone, opened a lid to a salt shaker and poured salt into her open palm. I can only imagine that he stood there perplexed as she immediately turned around and headed back to the hotel. Then, she gets back to the front desk and asks for directions back to our room.

Under stress, and desperate to have a good presentation for our recipe. I allow Laura to cut up the HUGE zucchini, core it out, and microwave it. Even though she had all ready made one zucchini explode the night before in the microwave. What can I say... I was desperate! While she is doing that I'm cutting up smaller pieces of the zucchini to add to the dish. The water is finally boiling and I add the rice. I take the chicken out of the pan, clean it and put the chopped up zucchini in the pan with a bit of salt.

As that going on, we have decided to make a boat for the dish with the HUGE zucchini. Laura has cut it in half and cores it out. Then puts it in the microwave for a minute at a time for it to cook. Amazingly, no explosion has occurred! I add the chiptole dressing and the chicken back to the pan, and allow it to simmer. Check the rice that's almost done.

With less than 10 min. left, I add the rice, and a little more dressing to the dish. Transfer it to a covered dish to transport down to the clubhouse. Laura finds a serving platter in the cupboard that will hold the HUGE zucchini boat. Quickly, I grab my camera, room key card, and the covered baking dish.

We race down to the clubhouse. It is now 5 min. till the 6PM deadline. The other couple is there, calm and with a glass baking dish covered with aluminum foil. The judge, Jennifer--activity director, is laughing. "So, you talked her into it?" Laura quickly explains that we only had a half hour in which to create our dish. Meanwhile I'm carefully putting the chicken chiptole rice in the zucchini boat for the presentation.

Jennifer, gets paper plates, and forks. Everyone tries a bit of each others dishes. Jennifer is put in a tough spot. Both dishes are pretty good. She says both are winners--- our for creativity, and there's for taste. She hands them a bottle of wine, and we get a bottle of sparkling apple-cranberry juice. We end up talking for a while afterwards, with the nice couple from Illinois. Jan and Ron are taking an extra week out her after visiting their daughter that lives in SLC. Photos are taken and Laura gets their email before we head back up to our room. I'm still laughing about the whole experience!

1 comment:

  1. Good Times, Good Food, Good Friends. Sounds like a recipe for a Good Vacation :)

    Welcome Back!