Friday, March 30, 2012

Photos from the Soup Challenge Contest

Just getting back to routine after a fun weekend. Here are some pictures and some short write-ups as well that will recap the entire contest and my experience.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I won the Soup Contest!

A long drive followed by a long day at the Illinois Culinary Institute in Peoria, IL turned out to be quite a memorable trip. As a finalist, I was one among five others to participate in the Midwest Soup Challege.

The finalists from different parts of midwest met at the Illinois Culinary Institute, in Peoria, IL. The facility had a state-of-the-art chef's dream kitchen.

The cook-off started at 10:30 a.m. and finished up around 11:45 a.m. Five totally different soups competed against the New England Country Soups mainly on taste and nutrition. My hearty vegetarian lentil soup came out the winner. Three highly acclaimed judges did the taste tests of our soups.

The experience was similar to 'The Iron Chef' show we see on TV, with cameras going around showing the chefs at their finest, viewers watching from outside the enclosed kitchen space, the entire hour projected on TV, and the media writing and commenting on it.

The award I received as a winner was a standing ovation accmpanied by a bouquet of flowers, a heavy-duty brushed stainless steel ladle, two dinner tickets to the culinary restaurant, a weekend getaway to Martha's vineyard, all expenses paid. The Friday before the contest, my guest and I stayed at a quaint bed and breakfast in Peoria also compliments of the New England Country Soup team.

Here's the New England Country Soup Web site - Over the course of the coming week, pictures will be posted on this site.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Calories - how do you count?

Calories are on all food items. How do you count them? Many people forget that the calorie count is usually per serving. So, if one serving (probably a few ounzes) has 300 calories and you have 2 servings, you are already into 600 calories.

A woman needs about 2,100 calories, ie. on an average. Say you have one bagel for breakfast, then a lunch (sandwich and salad) then a hearty dinner. Don't you think that could amount to at least 3,000 calories? Oh, don't forget the cream cheese and salad dressing!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Appetizing, savory vegetarian chilli

Check out my delicious vegetarian chilli recipe of this week. Here's a list of all my recipes.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Broccoli Raab - Does it exist in the midwest?

Ever since I came here, I've been looking for my most favorite veggie - Broccoli Raab. Can someone help me with this? Where would I find them? There is a huge market place in downtown St. Louis that doesn't carry it. There is no Italian market either to go hunting for broccoli raab.

Food tastes very different compared to the east coast. Italian places are not anything Italian, the cheeses used are different, the way dishes are made are different as well. Mexican food-- forget that. None of the other ethnic foods come close to those in the east coast, actually many don't exist. It is quite frustrating when people can't cook in restaurants when do find one.

'The Hill' supposedly has good Italian restaurants. We went to one some months ago and found the food to be decent. By accident, thinking it was another Italian place we went there again. What a disappointment!

It's been a while since I moved here and still looking for decent places to eat.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hot and spicy pakodas south indian style

Oh, what a drab Sunday.

The only exciting event of today were my hot and spicy pakodas. Here is a picture. Look for the recipe tomorrow at

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Soup Challenge Contest - A piece of good news

The soup challenge was a fun cotest which I entered way back in October or November of last year. Mid February I heard back from the organizers saying that I am a finalist.

If things go as planned, then I would be doing the final show in Peoria, IL at the Illinois Central College. The finals will take place at Illinois Central College (ICC) in Peoria, IL. The event will be held at ICC’s fabulous Culinary Arts Institute.

Thanks to all my fans who voted for me and continued until the last day of the challenge. I would love to hear back from you and will keep you posted as to what happens on March 24th at the finals.

Saturday, March 3, 2012