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.
THIS WEEK'S WINNER!
Fans of the Salon Kitchen Challenge know that it's a friendly contest of stories, recipes and the occasional semi-erotic love letter. But there is one place where it turns ugly: the vicious, blood-lusty, hilarious Kitchen Challenge battles between 1_Irritated_Mother and I Am Surly. And this week, the peace, love and happiness week of granola, they brought their battle to the public. Congratulations, ladies. You both win this week, for I Am Surly's belligerently funny and slyly touching homage to her sister (recipe for Granola Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches included) and 1_Irritated_Mother's grumpy refusal to conform. Screw it, she's making granola pancakes! OK, ladies: now put the knives down!
AND HOW ABOUT A HAND FOR OUR CATEGORY WINNERS?
In the Granola for the Reluctant Hippie category:
Jeanette De Main, for a lovely story of her own countercultural identity struggle as a punk rocker in a hippie world at Kent State, 20 years after the tragic antiwar demonstrations ended with lives and innocence lost. (Recipe for Reluctant Hippie Granola included.)
In the Extra Rich category:
Mamie Chen checks in with a comical story of leading a Cub Scout troop in Hong Kong ("Those are two beautiful examples of the square knot and slip knot. But do you think it was a good decision to use those knots to tie the rope around your friend's neck and pretend to walk him like a dog?"), and the rich (the extra oil and pine nuts make it delicious!) granola she'd make for her boys, if only it weren't for the allergies. (Recipe for Extra Rich Granola included.)
In the Chunky vs. Crumbly category:
Lucy Mercer, for a sweet memory of friends made in early motherhood and a classic granola recipe. Her brilliant tip: For a crumbly texture, mix up the granola as it cools; for chunky, let it cool completely without touching it. (And if you like it with dried fruit, add it after it comes out of the oven, so it won't burn!) (Recipe for Granola for Dragging the Babies Around included.)
In the Chocolate category:
Zul throws down the gauntlet, challenging us to stop pretending granola is health food with a candy-sweet version that calls for stirring in chunks of chocolate to melt through the granola while hot. (Recipe for Chocolate Granola included.)
In the Raisin and Date category:
Jonathan Jeffries plays the yang to Zul's honey, syrup and chocolate-laden yin, and offers a true hippie granola that, intriguingly, skips the sugar and uses instead a syrup made from puréeing and cooking dates and raisins for a sweetener. (Recipe for Tulsa "Grainola" included.)
In the Accidental Hippie category:
Linda Shuie, for a lovely homage to her mother, a Chinese immigrant who landed in America too late for the Age of Aquarius, but who's proven herself to be about as crunchy as they come. (Recipe for Mama Granola included.)
In the Muesli category:
Fusun Atalay, for growing up oppressed by the denial of American sugar cereal breakfasts, and rebelling in her adult years by ... eating muesli. Her version, a mixture of dried fruit, grains and seeds, is soaked overnight in milk and yogurt. It's got to keep you living 'til 105. (Recipe for Heart-Healthy Muesli included.)
In the Extra Nutty category:
Jenna Charlton, for getting over her kitchen fears and scoring a version full of hazelnuts and Brazil nuts. (Recipe for Extra Nutty Granola included.)
In the Parfait category:
Aunt Mabel, who gently reminds us that making your own granola is really just the financially responsible thing to do. But, since I am rarely one to take good financial advice, I'll just say this: Take a look at this glass of goodness, and tell me you don't want to eat it. (Recipe for Cheap and Easy Granola included, featuring orange juice as the secret ingredient!)
And finally, in the BRILLIANT category:
Claire Murray, for her Flapjacks (Britain's answer to the granola bar) recipe illustration:
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AND NOW, FOR THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE
A few days ago, we revealed ourselves here on Salon Food to be strongly in the pro-mayonnaise camp:
Mayonnaise is the King of Sauces. On its own, it's the all-purpose sauce of the South. You add some buttermilk and some garlic powder or whatever, and it's ranch dressing, aka Midwestern Sauce. Mix in some garlic and extra virgin olive oil, and it's aioli -- Mediterranean Sauce. Add some chipotle peppers to it and, well, there are whole swaths of the restaurant industry that serve the indigenous cuisine of Chipotlemayolandia.
We caught some flak for this, but we remain unbowed. Mayonnaise is the limitless condiment, the maker of good things.
So this week, we're asking you to get our back. What is your favorite mayonnaise-based recipe? Do you mix seasonings into it for your own sauce or dressing? Do you make an amazing macaroni salad? Do you slather it on fish and bake it?
Be sure to tag your posts: SKC Mayo
Scoring and winning
Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, execution and lots of goop.