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.) Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.
This week, we asked for your best game-day chili.
THIS WEEK'S WINNER:
Killer competition chili by Dave Copeland: The highways are littered with competition chiliheads who insist they have the "secret" to great chili, one bizarre ingredient "guaranteed" to knock your socks off. But Dave resists the goofy, and concocts instead a rich, complex, intensely meaty chili based on good old-fashioned technique and smart seasoning.
THIS WEEK'S ALTERNATE WINNERS:
Chinese New Year Chili by Grace Hwang Lynch: Sometimes, the lunar new year ends up competing with the Super Bowl for attention. But with Grace's Chinese-ish chili, flavored with ginger and five-spice, you can cheer on the Packers or the Steelers without making your Tiger Mother upset.
Chipotle chili and polenta by Linda Shiue: After a fascinating history lesson on the origins of Texas chili (Canary Islands! The Columbian Exchange! Suet!), Linda throws the different cultural strains in the story into a blender and comes up with this spicy stew to be served on creamy polenta.
Five-chili vegetarian chili by Cathy Elton: The fact that there is such a thing as meatless chili means really only one thing -- that everyone really loves chili. And Cathy's version makes sure that even meat-avoiders can have a complex, satisfying bowl, hit hard with smoky chipotles and a pile of other chilies and spices.
PLUS, ALSO, TOO: THE HONORABLE MENTIONS
Vegetarian Texas Big Heart chili by Lisa Barlow: Regardless of how you feel about meatless bean-based chili, you can't deny this line: "It’s just cut-up steak, some tomato sauce and a pocketful of secrets we keep next to our guns."
Texas-Cincinnati chili by Paul Hinrichs: Got your head in cowboy country but your heart in the Midwest? No problem! Paul combines the big, chunky meatiness of Texas-style chili with the warm, sweet spices and cheese of Cincinnati. No beans either way, of course.
Second-place chili by Kolika Elle Kirk: It's hard to tell when the boastful are just being blowhards, but when you meet a cook (from Arizona, and currently in culinary school) who shares her second-best chili recipe because her family's version is too good to share with strangers, well, that's probably worth something, right?
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AND NOW FOR THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE:
After a few weeks of less-than-optimally healthful challenges, let's come back into the doctor-approved fold. No, no, don't worry. It won't be all lettuce cups and whole grains. But remember that whole make-your-own-yogurt thing from a few weeks ago? It's time to put that lesson to good use.
Once thought just to be diet food, made from skim milk, thickened with gums and given undignified flavors like "low-fat key lime pie," it seems that we've finally come around to the rich, full-fat Mediterranean tradition of yogurt -- and finding more and more fantastic ways to use it. Whether topped with fruit (our recipes featured orange-mint-honey and pear-rosemary-honey), blended with mangoes, or thickened through straining and seasoned with garlic, its tangy, rich, smooth creaminess is incredibly versatile for sweet or savory dishes. So what do you do? Do you make sauces with it? Lovely parfaits for the morning? Or flavor it and throw it in an ice cream maker for cold treats?
This week, inspire us with your favorite recipes and uses for yogurt.
Be sure to tag your posts: SKC Yogurt (Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. Adaptations of existing recipes are fine, but please let us know where the original comes from. And if you'd like to participate but not have your post considered for republication on Salon, please note it in the post itself. Thanks!)
Scoring and winning
Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, and execution.