We might have a crazed toddler in the house, but that will not stop us from having a marginally robust social life. So, this weekend we hosted the EIGHTH Austin food / cooking challenge party. We stuck with a winter classic this time with a good old fashioned chili cook-off.
This edition of the contest featured a family friendly vibe. Mad Dog was in the house. He spent the evening wandering around, pretending to play Wii with the older kids, and begging scraps of food from sympathetic bystanders. Based on the copious baby gaseous emanations later in the evening, he must have eaten all kind of interesting stuff.
The contest was fun and dramatic as always. There were 7 different interesting red chilis entered in the contest. We had unconventional experimental chilis like Chris's sweet "The Situation" chili squaring off against tried and true, mom-tested, kid-approved batches like Maura's and Dani's (nice job, Mom!). We even had a take on the ever-popular bread bowl gambit with Stephanie's chili in puff pastry entry.
After a long Rodney Dangerfield-esque run of close calls and utterly failed dishes, I'm happy to report that I've finally won the Golden Apron. My chili took the top prize based, I think, on the falling-apart tender beef short rib I used. Short rib is very popular among chefs and foodies, so I was excited to cook with it for the first time.
Congratulations to Maura and my mom for making the finals in their very first cooking challenge. Hopefully they'll be back for more. Congratulations also to my mom for taking home the Commissioner's Cup. This very special award honors someone who demonstrates great citizenship, generosity, poise, and many other extremely variable criteria. To those who couldn't make it this time, we're sorry we missed you. Another one will be coming around in the spring, and we're always open for thematic suggestions.