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Photo by Isaac Harrell
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Photo provided by Beth Royals
Finalists competed at a cook-off in front of an audience and judges on Friday, Oct. 12, at E.A. Holsten's Wolf and Sub-Zero Showroom. Dessert contestants included Evelyn Goodwin, an 82-year-old Mechanicsville grandmother who has welcomed 100 guests to her home at Christmas. "When you're 82, you have a lot of friends." Beth Royals, a Short Pump marketing representative and mom, made her Sweet Potato Casserole Beggar's Purses. On the entrée side, Lesley Brocato, a Midlothian mom with an interest in nutrition, whipped up her Pork with Gingered Peaches. West Ender Lori Welander, who could go on TV's The Next Food Network Star tomorrow, made Jamaican Jerk Salmon in Parchment. Wolf and Sub-Zero Corporate Chef Lisa Johenning, Pasture's Sous Chef Thomas Arrington and Lemaire's Executive Chef Walter Bundy tasted and declared the salmon and sweet potato recipes the winners.
Jamaican Jerk Salmon in Parchment
• 4 salmon filets (approximately 6 ounces each), skin on or skinless
• 2 1/2 teaspoons of Sauer's Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
• 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
• Sauer's Black Peppercorn Grinder
• Sauer's Sea Salt Grinder
• 3/4 cup of red and orange bell pepper, diced
• 2 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
• 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fold a sheet of parchment paper, or nonstick foil, in half. Cut out a heart-shaped piece of parchment paper or foil about 3 inches larger than the salmon filet. Repeat for each filet to create individual baking pockets. Cut a horizontal pocket in each salmon filet, approaching, but not cutting through, the edges. Spread the Sauer's Jamaican Jerk Seasoning evenly in each filet pocket. Place a salmon filet near the fold of each parchment or foil piece. Drizzle each with olive oil. Season with about four grinder turns of the black pepper and the sea salt. Divide the bell pepper and green onion evenly over each filet. Cut the lemon in half. Lightly grate about 1/8 teaspoon of lemon zest over each salmon filet and sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Cut the remaining lemon half into thin slices and place two slices on top of each salmon filet.
Ensure each pocket has an airtight seal by starting at the top of the heart and folding the edges of parchment paper or foil with a narrow fold. Twist the end tip to secure it tightly. Place on a baking sheet for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until puffy and browned. Place on plates and cut open.
Welander,who lives in the West End, grew up in St. Louis with a mother who was an adventurous home-economics major and watched Julia Child on PBS. "I love family dinners and the importance of meal time around the table." Welander often uses spice blends with fish, so she developed this recipe for kids who love that jerk seasoning flavor but may be a bit wary of trying salmon.
Sweet Potato Casserole Beggar's Purses
• 2 medium sweet potatoes (3/4 pound to 1 pound each)
• 6 tablespoons of butter, softened, divided
• 1 1/2 teaspoons of Sauer's Imitation Maple Flavor, divided
• 1/4 teaspoon of Sauer's Ground Allspice
• 1/2 cup of good quality caramel ice cream topping, divided
• 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
• 6 (13-by-9-inch) sheets of frozen phyllo pastry, thawed in refrigerator
• 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, divided
• 1/2 cup of miniature marshmallows
• 1 cup of premium vanilla ice cream, melted to room temperature
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse sweet potatoes and poke all over with fork. Seal each in plastic wrap, then microwave until soft (about 8 to 9 minutes). Cool until easy to handle, yet still hot. Cut in half and scoop out pulp, measuring 1 1/3 cup into a medium bowl. Mash with a fork, along with 2 tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces. Stir in 1 teaspoon of maple flavoring, allspice, 4 teaspoons caramel of topping and dark brown sugar. Melt remaining butter in small bowl. Place one phyllo sheet on counter. Brush with melted butter, repeating until you have three layers. Cut horizontally into two squares. Repeat the procedure with remaining three sheets so you have four squares total. Turn squares over so buttered side is facing down. Spoon sweet-potato mixture into center of squares, dividing evenly, and spread to make a 3-inch circle. Top each with 1 tablespoon of pecans and 2 tablespoons of marshmallows. Gather the pastry up into a cinched purse shape. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Stir remaining 1/2 teaspoon of maple flavoring into ice cream. Pour a pool onto plates. Then top with hot beggar's purses. Sprinkle remaining pecans around bundles. Drizzle with remaining caramel.
Ten years ago, Beth Royals, a mother of two, spotted a cooking-with-kids contest, entered and got hooked. By 2004, she competed in the Pillsbury Bake-Off and participated in the Local Flavors of America Cook-off at The Inn at Little Washington. Her thrill there: meeting judge and chef Sara Moulton. "I love baking and cooking and sharing it with people," Royals says.