Archive for August, 2010

Caught between two bloggers, wondering if my recipe would be cool: 

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of competing at the Kenmore Life Studio in Chicago. Foodie bloggers were pitted against Mommy bloggers to see who’s kid-friendly cuisine would reign supreme.

I was on the foodie blogger team though it is arguable that I could have been on the other side seeing that I’m a “mommy” blogger at heart (being a father of three girls and all).

There were three contestants on each team. The team with the most winning dishes would win a small Kenmore appliance and be given the title of “Food Fight Winner”.We each had to create a recipe for a healthy main dish with an assigned vegetable – mine was carrots. My mommy blogger counterpart was Kris Cain (@littletechgirl). At the competition, we had to demonstrate how we prepared our dishes.

Before the competition, all of us traveled to Le Cordon Bleu that same day to have our dishes prepared by student and mentor Chefs. These guys arrived several hours before we showed up and stayed long after the evening competition ended – thanks guys for all your help and hard work!! I just got back from a vacation in Palm Springs California and thought the heat of 115 was hot – no comparison to the heat of the Le Cordon Bleu kitchen!

After we prepared the dishes, they were transferred  a few blocks away to the Kenmore Live Studio kitchen to be readied for the evening event. Here’s a great slide show of the event – enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There was a panel of three judges (much like chopped) and they voted which of the two dishes reigned supreme. My other teammates had gone before me serving up some amazing vegetable based dishes. Then it was my turn. The score was Foodie Bloggers – 1, Mommy Bloggers –  1. I was sweating bullets knowing that I could be the tie-breaker.  Kris pulled out an amazing “old school” carrot and asparagus casserole which one of the judges said brought back warm memories of his childhood. I started to worry as a few judges had more questions about my soup wondering if I had used coconut milk and had asked me to list all the vegetables in the soup.  I was a little rattled…

After what seemed like an eternity, the judges finally made their announcement that my dish had won that round of competition which catapulted the Foodie bloggers into the winners circle. Yeah!

Each of us had the choice of wonderful prizes such as a standing mixer, a huge food processor, a newly designed vacuum cleaner or a portable, 1-burner induction cook top. When asked what my choice would be, I told the host of the event that, if it was okay, I would ask my wife Sharon what she wanted (she couldn’t attend the event). I think that went over well with the audience and Sharon. We chose the induction cook top – it’s so cool!!

Thank you Hope Bertram for inviting me and all the folks at Kenmore for a wonderful event and thanks to my assistants from Le Cordon Bleu who really did an excellent job putting my dish together.

Here’s the recipe for the Curried Carrot Banana Chicken Soup. It’s AWESOME! You can cut down the heat for the kiddies by backing off a little on the jalapeno, cayenne pepper and ginger. You can also substitute a rotesserie chicken for cooking a chicken from scratch. Let me know what you think!!! Hope you enjoy it as much as the judges and the audience did!

Curried Carrot, Banana Chicken Soup

By David Grotto, RD, adapted from a recipe by Mary Corlet in his book, 101 Optimal Life Foods

Servings: 10 – 1 cup servings


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1.5 pounds of Amish or organic chicken pieces (legs, thighs, breasts – skin on) or substitute 1 cooked rotisserie chicken

1 small leek, sliced thin

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

½ jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 (14.5 ounce) diced canned tomatoes (not drained)

½ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

6 cups of low sodium chicken stock

2 ½ cups carrots, peeled and diced small

4 ounces fresh cilantro, chopped

2 medium bananas, diced into large bits

1 tablespoon honey

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Uncle Ben’s whole grain white rice, 2 – 4.4 ounce boxes


1. In a thick bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sear the chicken pieces in the hot oil until browned on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside (If substituting precooked rotisserie chicken, skip to step two.)

2. Turn the heat to medium and add the leek and onion. Sweat for a minute then add the garlic, jalapeño and ginger for another minute.

3. Add the curry powder and red pepper. Stir and toast spices for a minute.

4. Add the tomatoes, coconut, chicken stock, and chicken pieces (or pull apart rotisserie chicken into pieces and add in). Stir to combine and bring this mixture to a rapid boil.

5. Stir in the carrots and cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and falling off the bone and carrots are tender.

6. Remove soup from heat and pull out the chicken pieces. Let it cool a bit, and then shred the meat off the bone. Discard the skin and bones.

7. Add chicken meat, banana, cilantro, and honey into the pot and stir. Put back on the heat. Cover and simmer 8-10 more minutes. Season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Prepare Uncle Ben’s whole grain white rice as directed. Add ½ cup cooked rice to bowl. Ladle 1 cup of soup over rice. Garnish with cilantro sprig and serve.

 Nutrition Profile

Servings – 10

Serving size – 1 cup

Calories – 320; Total Fat – 9g; Sat Fat – 4g; Cholesterol – 50mg; Sodium – 210; Carbs – 38; Fiber – 5g; Sugars – 7g; Protein – 21g

Percent Daily Value:

Vitamin A-120%, Vitamin C – 20%, Calcium – 6%, Iron – 15%