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 uses for yogurt. (As it happens, the entries that got us most excited were all for desserts.)
THIS WEEK'S WINNER:
Yogurt panna cotta by Vivian Henoch: Panna cotta is one of the professional cook's favorite desserts; it's easy to make (hard to perfect, but still), simple, delicious, and it can be show-stoppingly magical. Its name translates to "cooked cream," and it's basically a cream custard made with gelatin instead of eggs. Particularly elegant are ones made with buttermilk or sour cream or, in this case, yogurt, which also give a bit of brightening tang to the richness.
THIS WEEK'S ALTERNATE WINNERS:
Mango frozen yogurt-filled pancakes by Linda Shiue: Inspired by two Indian favorites -- the Indian mango-yogurt smoothie called lassi and a savory crepe called a dosa -- Linda creates a fun dessert by whirling the mango lassi in an ice cream maker, and then wrapping rice flour pancakes around it.
Fresh pear crepes with maple yogurt by Fusun Atalay: This treat uses yogurt in two forms (you can never expect anything less than total devotion to yogurt from a woman raised in Turkey): both in the crepe batter, and as the base for the filling.
PLUS, ALSO, TOO: THE HONORABLE MENTIONS
French yogurt cake by Lise Charlebois-Ludot: Do what the French do so well: simple sophistication. A cousin to the pound cake but made fluffy and light with yogurt, this cake is so easy it doesn't even need measuring cups.
Baked pears with crystallized ginger granola and yogurt by Trish O'Rourke: "Fruit on the bottom" is really not the highest marriage of fruit and yogurt. Taking just the slightest bit of care and creativity, though, can transform your simple breakfast into a memorable meal.
AND THESE AREN'T DESSERT, BUT ...
Lamb in yogurt sauce so good you might kiss some feet by JoLynne Martinez: Whether spelled "mansaf" or "mansef," this recipe of tender braised lamb fragrant with sweet spices in rich yogurt caused this newlywed's husband to literally kiss her feet. Sadly, allergies took the dish away from them later, but may it serve you as well!
Crisp fritters in yogurt gravy, South Asian style, by Aamna: Taking two different presentations of the same basic ingredients -- spiced yogurt and chickpea flour -- this dish combines crisped, tender fritters with a rich gravy.
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AND NOW FOR THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE:
It's been a rough, frigid few months for many of us, but the earth does give us a natural respite from the gray, dreary winter: citrus. It's hard to remember, sometimes, since we can have oranges and lemons and limes year round, but winter is actually when they are at the peak of their season in California and Florida, where most American citrus grows. The oranges are sweeter, the lemons and limes juicier, and their bright, shiny flavors can act almost as a stand-in for real sun.
So this week, as we're mired in our seasonal-affective disorder and other assorted cold-weather doldrums, help us get happy with the taste of fresh citrus dishes. Might you use them in sauces? In desserts? Salads? We can't wait to see what you come up with!
Be sure to tag your posts: SKC Citrus (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.