Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon by Monday 10 a.m. EST -- with photos and your story behind the dish -- and we'll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.
You know what? This country is big. And so when I'm shivering, thinking about wintry foods here in the Northeast, it's sometimes a bit of an effort to remember that plenty of people can still be grilling outside. But hey, it's 40 degrees in Southern California and below freezing in Louisiana, so we can finally all commiserate about the cold.
This week, let's warm ourselves up with our favorite stews. Do you have a family classic? A traditional favorite? An original masterpiece? Bring it, and bring an extra pair of socks for me, will you?
Be sure to tag your post: SKC winter stew
Scoring and winning
Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, execution and touchdown-to-interception ratio.
AND NOW, LAST WEEK'S WINNER!
Last week's challenge, to create a breakfast worth lingering over, brought out several stories of children leaving the home, and not one but two odes to Crab Eggs Benedict. We'll get to those in a moment, but now, the winner is ...
Lucy Mercer! For a charming story of cooking with her 4-year-old, who may or may not have been much actual help, but who certainly gave breakfast the flavor of hope and panic.
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AND HOW ABOUT A HAND FOR OUR CATEGORY WINNERS?
In the Empty Nest category:
Bellwether Vance, for a short but sweet snapshot of a too-rare morning with her children. "Watching them go I vow to make and freeze more red chili sauce and to stamp down fatigue and exasperation when there is an opportunity to use food to draw them near, to seduce them home. Home which is here."
In the Crab Eggs Benedict category:
Cindy Capitani, for sharing the object of her obsession. "Yes, the kind you sit down and linger over, savoring each bite, wishing the egg yolk filled English muffin crannies would never empty." (Recipe included)
In the Empty Nest With Crab Eggs Benedict category:
Rebecca Farwell, for reveling in the freedom to finally enjoy her mornings again with breakfast and double entendres. "Is he licking the sauce from his plate? I think he is. We're adults; we can do that."
In the Cultured Dairy category:
Fusun Atalay, for an informative celebration of yogurt, the pride of her native Turkey. (Many recipes included, but notably the method for making labneh, a sort of yogurt cream cheese.)
In the category of Improvisation:
Scullywestrex, for preparing a full breakfast in a pan, microwave and plastic box. "Even in the dog days of summer, I make hot cereal. My budget and my conscience will not allow me to drop the price-per-pound of sirloin steak on cold cereal, especially when so much of it these days tastes like sugared cardboard to me anyway." (Recipes, of sorts, included.)
In the Beignets and Café au Lait category:
Linda Shiue, for a remembrance of New Orleans. "We topped off the meal with a dramatic dessert -- Bananas Foster. Flambé before noon!"
And in the category of Most Colorful Breakfast:
Dragonlady, for eggs with jalapeños, tomatoes, ginger, feta, English muffins and carbonized sausage.