I just want to say thankyouthankyouthankyou to all of you who participated! What a fun way to pay tribute to fall and to share ideas on food.
And since everyone is so enthusiastic, I decided to make the victory a little sweeter. Before I even looked at the entries, I decided to toss in an extra prize.
The winner of Culinary Smackdown: Battle Winter Squash will receive a $25 Gift Card to Bed, Bath & Beyond. It's one of my favorite stores to waste a little money, and I thought I'd give the winner some incentive to treat themselves.
Now to check out the entries.
La Diva from La Diva Cucina got serious about winter squash with not ONE but TWO entries. First she offered up Pumpkin Pancakes with Fried Chipotle Chicken. This screams sweet and savory comfort food, and it kind of makes me want this for breakfast and dinner...Brinner?
Then just to really show how versatile winter squash can be she created an entirely original and incredible second dish, Seared Lemongrass Scallops on a Thai Coconut Butternut Squash Coulis with Thai Basil Oil and Crispy Fried Eschallots. If you are wondering what any of those fancy words mean, La Diva kindly describes it on her blog. All I can say is that this woman can dream up a dish and make it happen. Impressive.
One of my favorite Cincinnati bloggers, Jeff from A Dork and His Pork, joined the Smackdown this month and got scientific on us! Using molecular gastronomy, he took his stand-by Rosemary Squash Soup and turned some of it into little gelled spheres to garnish his soup. It's kind of amazing, and even though he wasn't fully satisfied with the result, I'm thoroughly impressed with his effort and the soup recipe. (I think the world IS ready, Jeff!)
Local food blogger Stephanie from Small Girl Adventures introduced me to Pumpkin Butter. And not only did she give a great recipe, but she also gave suggestions on ways to use it up. I don't think Pumpkin Butter would last very long at my house--and I'm kind of dying to make it now that I've got this easy recipe to follow.
I absolutely love the recipe for Butternut Squash Soup from Grumpy Granny. It calls for coconut milk, rather than cream, to thicken the soup, and since I have so many vegan's and dairy-free people in my life, this recipe could be a dinner-party lifesaver! She didn't even know it and she was offering up a recipe with one of my very favorite new ingredients! (And I love the idea of serving it out of a teacup!)
My dear blogging friend Eggy at Eggplant To Go offered up the most unique use of winter squash with her Fresh Butternut Squash Salad. How incredibly creative to use raw squash the way you would use a thick pasta! I'm always so astonished with the passion in which she approaches food and how stylish she is in the kitchen, but she raised the bar on herself with this one!
I can hardly believe that this is the first time Boxer from Anonymous Boxer cooked with squash. These Butternut Squash Cupcakes are divine and beautiful! Boxer is the only person to offer up a dessert and I think the risk paid off! Well done!
I wish I had been at the block party where Buzzkill's Butternut and Acorn Squash Soup was served. That looked like a good party! And the secret ingredient to this soup? Cream cheese! And I can get acorn squash for less than a dollar a piece at the farmer's market these days so this would be a great way to use them up!
Alright, now that I've checked out all of the entries and considered my guidelines for the Smackdown, I've decided on a winner.
The winner is BOXER! I loved your use of a normally savory squash in a the sweet cupcakes. Please go to my about page and send me an email with your mailing address and I will send you the gift card!
And thanks to everyone who participated. I'm not sure when the next Smackdown will be held but I'm already looking forward to it!