Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon under your real name 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.
Like millions of people, I find lots of room in my heart every two years for people I have never heard of competing their hearts out in sports I've never seen before in the Olympics. And I always feel a little extra love for the athletes in the Winter games, since people really just don't seem to take them very seriously. "Oh, you're the world's best figure skater. How nice for you," sports fans seem to say. "My mom really likes figure skating. Now show me the world's fastest runner, and I'll pay attention."
Well, this week, let's celebrate the women and men on ice and snow. Give us your best popsicles, sorbets, ice creams, granitas, slushies, sno-balls, and ices -- the things you love that require a freezer. Be sure to tag your post: SKC ice and snow
Scoring and winning
Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, execution and witty references to Jamaican bobsled teams, if such a thing is possible.
AND NOW, LAST WEEK'S WINNER!
Linda Shiue! For her vivid, painful recollection of a "cooking class that started off like a Mexican telenovela spinoff of Gordon Ramsay's 'Hell's Kitchen'" and a recipe that gives red velvet cake a sexy makeover.
AND HOW ABOUT A HAND FOR OUR CATEGORY WINNERS?
In the Most Number of Underwear References category:
Rebecca Farwell's all-out sweet and spicy feast -- including chocolate and chili powder cocktails, cayenne tossed scallops, cocoa-rubbed pork tenderloin and chocolate and chili cupcakes -- that celebrates friends, family and the impulse to take off your panties and put them on your head.
In the Real-life Firecrackers category:
Lisa Kuebler's tribute to the nuttiest 4 foot 11 tall woman in all of Claxton, George -- a woman who loved gossip, Oprah and, on one memorable occasion, accidentally turned her poundcake into something much more firey. (Recipe for firecracker chocolate cake included)
In the Most Texan category:
Verbal Remedy uses chocolate, sweet potato and spices to create an entrancing hot chocolate with a few surprising ingredients and surprising kick. Be sure to check out Susan Yee's breathtaking photographs. (Recipe for Mayan hot chocolate included)
In the Dating Your Way to the Top category:
Annie Yang uses her sous-chef boyfriend's insider knowledge and culinary school textbooks (pink peppercorns! Obscure sea-salts!) to create a whoopee pie with that's a spicy tribute to their love. (Recipe for whoopie pies with Aleppo pepper buttercream included)
In the Self-Transformation category:
Lucy Mercer's gets out of her 40-something white Presbyterian comfort zone, with her vixenish recipe for spicy ice cream sandwiches (perfect for that sexy meal with your Spanish lover, Jose). (Recipe for fire and ice desert sandwiches included)
In the International Exchange category:
Caroline Loevner heads to Bangkok and adapts her homemade brownies for her new Thai co-workers by throwing in some thai chili. (Recipe for one night in Bangkok brownies included)
Also in this category, lockyer's Indian-inspired recipes that reflect her love affair with India, and the passion of a 22 year relationship. (Recipe for cocoa-ancho pepper-rubbed beef with maple sweet potato puree and organic mushrooms included)