Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Steak & Bacon Rolls - Reminiscing my first cooking competition...

Steak & Bacon Rolls
 I started my new work hours this week, YAY!!  My new hours and position allows me to once again create new recipes, tweak old family favorites, and... enter cooking/baking competitions!!  That being said, I went on a reminiscing journey this afternoon.  I remembered my very first cooking competition experience which ultimately led me on this amazing culinary adventure of mine!! 
For most of you that are regular readers, you are aware that I LOVE to entertain. I adore cooking and baking, it is literally a creative outlet for me… a true passion that is “never” labor intensive!!
So, having been inspired by another blog, I entered a recipe for the Sugardale BAC-ON competition being held at the Ohio State fair in Columbus OH.
I figured, “what the heck, what is the worst that can happen, they’ll send me a coupon”!

Fast forward a few weeks later I get THE phone call from the Sugardale rep that I was one of the 30 semi-finalists followed with an email. 
Our recipes were judged on creativity, orginality, ease of preparation etc. They wanted me to fill out papers once I received them (they FedEx them), have them notarized and send them back within 7 days. Once they received my papers “their chefs” would re-create my dish and present it to a panel of professional judges. 
The judges would then critique it based on appearance,taste etc. 
If it passed that part, then "I" moved on to become one of nine semi-finalists. There were 3 categories;   Ready Bacon, Appetizers/Entertaining and Main Dish. I was Main Dish, my recipe was “Steak & Bacon Rolls”.
About 2 weeks later, I was notified that I was one of the 9 SEMI-FINALISTS!!! Yooohoooo, jump up and down, cheer, fist pump!!!!!  WAIT, hold on… OMG!!!! ANXIETY!!! 
"I can’t do this” I tell myself, what was I thinking????
My family (bless them all, because I am so not the easiest person to live with), was in ernest attempting to calm me in-between my fits of hysteria!!

Fast forward to rehearsal day.  Can I just preface this and tell you guys how much I LOVE MY BUTCHER!! He's the best!! He cut my pre-ordered flank steak to the thinness that I needed for a “quicker cooking time”. The butcher shop was also rooting for me!!
When I found out I was one of the 9 semi-finalists, I promptly went to my butcher to get flank steak in order for a trial run. They were out of flank steak. Huh?? You’re a butcher, how can you be out of flank steak?? Seriously??? I quickly explained to the butcher's niece why I needed flank steak, what it was for… and very quickly I became the butcher shops celebrity! ;-)
Nevertheless, for the trial run I substituted skirt steak (not the same, but flatness is what I was looking for), and promptly came home to a calamity of errors!  Everything that could of go wrong for this trial run, DID!! By the end of the night, hubby had quit trying to approach me (bless the patience of this man), the dogs were in hiding and the girls were LOCKED in their rooms with IPODS and pretending they were on a Greek Island somewhere!! 
I was a mess!!  Tears streaming from my eyes, basically knowing I can’t do this, and what was I thinking! Didn’t sleep all night, kept going over the time requirements and what I could of done differently.
Tried it once more on Saturday, SUCCESS!!! YES!! All time limits were met and the dish was amazing!! 


Fast forward to the competition;
We arrived at the Ohio State Fair, and were in the wrong gate, can’t find the Main Stage, you know where I'm going with this….
I’m freaking out, family is BACKING AWAY AND HATING ME!! *insert evil grin*
We finally find the stage, and then... is where I meet the most AMAZING, SWEET AND TALENTED people ever!! They were so friendly, and just sweet and kind!!  They were from various parts of the country and we were all there to do what we love... cook!!  I was next to such talent, it blew me away!!



This is where my *Diana and I first arrived*
We were third on the venue. We waited and cheered and had our fingers crossed!! We were literally melting, it was hotter than blazes that day!! UGH
Prep area, notice the hot plate...
Finally, my turn to prep. I go to the prep area and… there is a hot plate staring at me!!!  I have 30 minutes to prep and it took the blessed hotplate 13 minutes to HEAT… PANIC TIME!!! It was a domino (what the heck effect) at this point.  Diana took the parsley to the stage thinking it was garnish, it was for my stuffing, the bacon wasn’t cooking fast enough…. on and on and on.
On stage, the camera guy was filming what I was doing, I was constantly being asked questions by the MC, and I was SWEATING because it was so hot and I NEVER SWEAT!!

All in all, even though I didn’t place, I wouldn’t take back that experience for all the money in the world! It was an amazing experience!!  Just meeting such wonderful, talented people was payback in itself!!
Did the fact that I didn’t place deter me? No, it actually encouraged/motivated me to try harder, plan for mishaps and READ, READ, READ the fine print re: cooking times etc.
This was a dream come true for me, and I was honored and amazed to even be competing!!
Thank you Sugardale, love their bacon!! ;-)

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go!!

Ingredients:

2 to 2-1/4lbs Flank steak
4 Tsp yellow mustard
1 lb Sugardale Bacon (8 slices whole, 8 slices diced)
1 green pepper diced
1/4 c fresh parsley diced
2 medium onions diced
2 eggs
2 Tbls butter
Salt & Pepper for seasoning
1/2 c Water


Directions:
• On a clean flat service cut the flank steak into four (4) 3″ strips. Salt & pepper both sides. Spread 1 tsp. mustard over each steak. Lay on two whole raw slices of bacon on each steak. Set aside.

• In a saute pan, add the diced bacon and start to saute. Once the bacon is starting to crisp add 1 cup of diced onions (reserving the rest), saute for 1-2 minutes or till onions are starting to soften. Add the diced green peppesr. Saute mixture till bacon is nicely brown and veggies have softened but not carmelized. Remove from heat and let mixture cool. Place cooled bacon & veggie mixture into a bowl and add the eggs. Mix well.
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• Spoon bacon & veggie mixture evenly over the bacon covered steaks. Spread mixture making sure it doesn’t overlap the edges of the steaks.
• Carefully roll steaks “jelly roll” style and secure ends with wooden skewers or large toothpicks (this will be a little messy).
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• Salt & pepper steak rolls and set aside.

• On the stovetop, using a dutch oven (or other heavy duty pan with lid), over medium high heat add the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the steak rolls seam side down and sear them.  Rotate steaks till all sides are nicely seared.

• Remove the steaks from the dutch oven and place on a plate. Using the same dutch oven, add the reserved onions and place the steak rolls back on top of the diced onions.

• Add the water, lower the heat to medium low and simmer covered for 20 minutes.

• Remove cover, rotate steaks and continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

• This makes an awesome gravy to serve over mashed potatoes
Till next time!


Dishin with Didi

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