Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Life is Full of Surprises!

Well, I'm pretty sure I never could have predicted this one!
My good buddy, Aggie, turned me on to this recipe contest.
Normally I wouldn't have even given it a second thought but for some reason I checked out what the prize was and I was hooked!
It's a combo package that if I had a "bucket list" they would both be at the top!
A trip to Napa and a cooking boot camp.
Now, put them together, cooking boot camp IN Napa and I may just die and go to heaven right there and then!
The requirements for your recipe is that it contain the *secret* ingredient and any variety of the sponsors broths. 
The secret ingredient turned out to be mushrooms so I started by Googeling "mushroom recipes."
I came across one for mushroom stroganoff and it got me thinking. We are trying to cut back on the amount of meat we eat, why couldn't I take one of my favorite stew recipes and use portabellos instead of the beef? 
I chose a recipe for beef and butternut squash
 stew and ran from there.
What I finally came up with, after a brainstorming lunch with Nancy, is the Indian Portabello Stew I submitted, which bares little resemblance to the recipe I started out with. I actually made two versions, one is more Morracan. 
It was good too but the Indian one just had a little something extra.
 (like the bottle of wine we had to finish up)

It's funny, Nancy had moved to Florida a couple of years ago and just moved back to Illinois. She asked me yesterday where this enthusiasm for cooking came from, it wasn't there when she left. For some reason I had always thought that cooking was supposed to be looked at as a "chore". It wasn't until I realized that, hey, I like this, and it's OK for me to like it, that I really embraced the whole process. Cooking is now my hobby, my release, my creativity. I may cook to show you I love you but it also ministers to me. 

It makes me wonder, are there other things out there that we may truly enjoy and that can minister not only to others but also to ourselves if we would just recognize them and allow them to?

Hmm, as you ponder that, head over to the contest site. I have a link at the bottom of this post (if I've done it correctly) and vote for me. 
I've got that bucket to attend to!

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