The Stinking Rose
A peek at winning recipes from last weekend’s Great Garlic Cook-Off.
Thursday, August 4, 2005
‘Dude, I can’t believe this. I can’t believe this.”
Alice Hagopian of Montclair, Calif., is backstage at the Gilroy Garlic Festival Great Garlic Cook-off, amazed at the second place finish of her Garlic Appetizer De-Lites amongst the scores of submissions nationwide. Hagopian is celebrating her win by happily snacking on the other top 10 dishes that qualified for last Saturday’s final.
“I can’t believe I held up through this pressure,” she grins, sampling some Curry Seafood Gumbo with Saffron Sake Rice. “All 200 pounds of me. I gotta go on a diet when I get back.”
Her candor is endearing. It’s not altogether unlike her straightforward, practical approach in the kitchen, which for the busy gourmet gives her recipes increased appeal.
“I have three boys—14, 18, and 27,” Hagopian says, as she tries out some Garlic Flan with Lime Grilled Shrimp on Wilted Arugula. “They all play football. They don’t want to wait for food. So it’s get it in the oven, get out of the way, give all my attention to [the boys].”
By contrast, the full-bodied flavor of first place winner Mary Beth Harris-Murphree’s Basil and Garlic-Stuffed Sea Scallops Wrapped in Prosciutto requires a little more investment. The Tyler, Texas, resident admits that people at the Gilroy-area restaurant chain Mama Mia, who have committed to prepare the recipe starting Thursday, a Garlic Festival first, might not have rooted for her had they known the prep involved.
“They’re going to hate me there,” she says. “It’ll be very hard to do a lot of. They’ll have to prep it overnight to even make it work.”
For pleasing the five food experts on the committee, Hagopian wins $750, despite waiting until 15 minutes before the online deadline to e-mail her recipes in. (Harris-Murphree wins $1,000.) Says Hagopian, after a bite of Harris-Murphree’s scallops, “Dude, I didn’t think I could see it through—I feel like I’m gonna go back and cry.”
So it’s to the people’s champion we turn for the tastiest three of her six recipes.
Sweet Bell Pepper Explosion (serves 6)
<>6 red miniature sweet bell peppers>
<>6 yellow miniature sweet bell peppers>
<>>1 cup finely minced sweet onion
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cut off top of sweet bell peppers and hollow out inside.
Combine sweet onions, parsley, garlic, extra virgin oil, lemon
juice and salt to taste. Stuff miniature peppers with a small
spoon and refrigerate until time to serve.
Baby Pita Pillows (serves 6)
<>12 baby pita pocket breads>
<>1/2 pound extra lean ground beef>
<>>3 whole green onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gently slice side of pita
bread open halfway. In a small bowl mix ground beef, onions,
garlic, ginger and cinnamon; stuff mixture into pita breads.
Wrap each pita bread in small foil pockets; bake at 350
degrees for 15-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Garlic Lemon Tiger Shrimp on Pita Crunchies (serves 6)
<>6 large tiger shrimp>
<>>4 tablespoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup thinly sliced sweet onions
1 cup lemon juice
Wash shrimp and soak in lemon juice. Combine butter, garlic
and onions in a small skillet. Once the onions carmelize,
place shrimp in pan until they turn red. Remove from heat and
peel. Return shrimp to pan and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to
mixture and briefly heat up.
<>6 baby pita pocket breads>
<>3 tablespoons butter>
<>>3 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried parsley
4 oz. whipped cream cheese
1 tablespoon garlic peppercorn medley (McCormick)
Slice pita breads open on the side seams. Sauté butter and
garlic in a saucepan until garlic is golden brown. Add in
parsley. Using a pastry brush, brush garlic butter on each
pita bread. Place in oven at 425 degrees for 5 minutes or
until golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool. Using a pastry
bag (or a spoon), place a dollop of whipped cream cheese on
pita crunchie and place shrimp on top, grinding garlic
peppercorn medley over it.