We had a smaller than normal group for this competition: just five of us were able to make it. At first, we were a little disappointed since potato is such a fantastic ingredient. But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because by the end of the night we were all incredibly full and starched out. I think the turkey has been getting a bad rap as the cause of post-Thanksgiving lethargy, because after this competition, I'm pretty sure potatoes play a devious role in that. The good news is that basically everything was delicious. We had a really hard time judging and I'm sure the scores were all really close.
I had the first dish of the night and the only appetizer. I made a "potaffle" which is essentially a potato pancake but made on a waffle iron. And I topped it with a Dill Jalapeno Sour Cream. My relationship with the waffle iron was sorely tested while making this dish, but it must have turned out all right because everyone wanted seconds and it earned me the runner's up prize!
Next we went right into the mains, starting with Emily's Baked Potato Soup. Potato soup is probably my favorite soup of all time, and Emily's recipe was very, very good. Nice and creamy, seasoned perfectly, with crumbled bacon and cheese. You can't go wrong there. It would be perfect for filling and warming your belly on a cool fall night.
Chelyen had the other main and her entry was extremely creative as well as yummy: Loaded Baked Potato Empanadas with an Sour Cream & Onion dip. It had a great crispy crust on the outside, then inside you could see plenty of delicious bacon, cheese and potato. I loved the dip as well, which she made with carmelized onions. She definitely got major points for inventiveness and also for having the guts to tackle something as complicated as empanadas.
So, then we had Kim's side. Poor Kim. She made Scalloped Potatoes with Spinach that looked beautiful as it came out of the oven. It also had a ton of great flavor-- I particularly enjoyed the spinach with the creamy sauce. The problem was that her potatoes didn't get cooked all the way. Even after she put them back in the oven for round two, they were just too darn stubborn. But we all agreed the flavor was there, so it's a shame that it didn't quite turn out.
Finally, the Iron Chef Potato winner! Doan decided to do a dessert when no one else had signed up for one, and it's a good thing she did. Her Sweet Potato S'Mores Cheesecake was to die for. In fact, by this point we were all so full, and the dessert was still so amazing, that we almost died eating it. Ok, not quite. If you don't have a Thanksgiving dessert planned yet, you should make this. It was seriously good and extremely impressive! Congrats on another win, Doan. Someone's got to stop her winning streak. We'll give it a shot at our next competition in 2015!