July 16th, 2011

cook with fire

Guten Appetit!

Well, our inaugural Community Grill-off is done, and well done. Three of the four contestants canceled at the last minute, which was stressing me out severely. Luckily, the fourth contestant was Steve Cottingham, who was happy to compete for "First and Worst." We followed the rules as established. The judges gave a serious evaluation. The food was really good. The crowd was small, but included a couple of people who just wandered in (it was, after all, a public event), and that's a good thing.

Steve had 90 minutes to prepare three dishes; in the end, he was done with all three in 60 minutes. (This is one of the things we'll have to look at for next year as we learn from this first-ever event.) The Finger Food category featured canapés of marinated venison backstrap on Townhouse crackers, topped with a variety of cheeses (Cheddar, Pepperjack, Muenster). The venison came from the Cottingham's freezer, of course. The Meat category was blue catfish and snapper grilled over some smoky mesquite. The fish were caught and cleaned by Steve and his dad. The third category was an open category with Mystery Ingredients, which were bacon, cantaloupe, and Greek yogurt. Steve's offering was a vegetable medley of things picked yesterday from his garden.

I made a mess of potato salad and a summer trifle to round out the food, so nobody went hungry. We had three Venturers on hand (Kaila, Cheyanne, and T.C.) to help with arrangements. We took up an offering for the Crew's High Adventure Fund and got $54. Our UMW President, Chris Fisher, was a judge, as was our Boy Scout District Executive, Kevin Trojan.

Kevin thinks he'd like to compete next year. Steve was disappointed that I wasn't competing (I'll have to have somebody else choose the mystery ingredients if I'm to compete). I don't think we'll lack for contestants or diners after word gets around from this year.


Reading Amtrak schedules is a new skill, but I think I've figured out the schedule for our Crew to take the train to Philmont next July. I haven't figured out what it would cost, yet, but one thing at a time.

If we leave here by car no later than 3 AM on Tuesday, July 10, 2012, we can catch the Cardinal/Hoosier State in Indy. It leaves at 6 AM and arrives in Chicago at 10:05 AM. There we change trains and get on the Southwest Chief, which leaves Chicago at 3 PM and arrives in Raton, NM, at 10:56 AM Wednesday, July 11. We pick up the Philmont shuttlebus and stay overnight at Philmont. Our check-in day at PSR is Thursday, July 12.

We depart Philmont the morning of Tuesday, July 24 on the shuttlebus. The train passes through Raton at 4:50 PM and arrives in Chicago Wednesday, July 25 at 3:15 PM. We change trains back, leaving Chicago at 5:45 PM and arrive Indianapolis 11:50 PM. Pick up our cars, and we should be back at EFUMC around 2 AM, Thursday, July 26, 2012.