Welcome Friday!

It’s an honor to host
for this weeks Welcome Friday.

Having Candy join us is akin to having
Posh Spice or some other fine-looking superstar come for a cozy visit. Only, in blogdom rather than Hollywood.

And, I’m fairly sure Candy would slaughter Posh in a cooking contest. She’s come out on top in more than a few cooking competitions.

Don’t miss our next Welcome Fridays,
when the glorious
and awe-inspiring Sophistimom join us.

And now, without furthur adieu…
The Courageous Cook
Five years ago, I stumbled upon a book called Cook-Off Recipe Fever in America by Amy Sutherland. It details cooking contests and the contestants who enter these contests. It struck a chord with me and I decided to pursue this hobby. I love everything about this hobby from the creativity to the friends I’ve met. I’ve traveled all over with this hobby–from the streets of San Francisco to the plains of South Dakota to the bright lights of Broadway. It has also taught me how to step beyond the ordinary in cooking and create extraordinary dishes.

I can barely draw a straight line. I can’t keep the beat to even the simplest melody. My teenage boys can attest to the fact that I certainly cannot carry a tune. I express my creativity in the kitchen. Creating exciting meals for your family doesn’t take fancy training from a prestigious culinary school nor does it need to involve hours slaving over a hot stove. Taking common ingredients and turning them into extraordinary dishes is like solving a puzzle. It takes some trial and error. Be brave! Step out of your culinary comfort zone and become a COURAGEOUS COOK!

This is a dish is adapted from one I created for the National Beef Cook-Off. I won 10 grand in the finals!

Wild West Beef Tips with Smoked Gouda Grits

Smoked Gouda Grits:
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup quick-cooking grits
2-4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese

Wild West Beef Tips:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces Portabello mushroom caps, coarsely chopped
½ cup chopped red onion
1 (17 ounce) package fully cooked Beef Tips with Gravy*
Garnish: chopped fresh parsley

To prepare grits:
In medium saucepan, bring water to a rapid boil. Slowly stir in grits. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low. Stir in butter and cheese. Continue stirring until butter and cheese are melted. Cover and remove from heat.

In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add mushrooms and onions. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add contents of Beef Tips and Gravy package. Stir to combine; cover and continue cooking 5 minutes or until heated through.

To serve:

Place an equal amount of smoked Gouda grits in 4 shallow bowls. Top with beef tips mixture. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Serve warm.