Wow! I am not even sure where to start! On Saturday, I participated in the 2013 Cass-Clay Hometown Throwdown at Square One Kitchens in Fargo. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and had a great day cooking and visiting new friends. My sister was a wonderful host for me and accompanied me to the event. She took most of these photos. Spoiler alert – I didn’t win but had a blast!
Good job on matching the Cass-Clay blue, right?
I originally saw a Tweet about the Throwdown on Twitter. Cass-Clay users were asked to submit an original recipe to them via their website, showcasing one of the Cass-Clay products. I think you just had to be from North Dakota or the Moorhead, MN area (I think). I did do this and promptly forgot I did it. Imagine my surprise when Cass-Clay contacted me that I was one of 12 finalists! I was pretty pumped and immediately cleared my schedule for the event. The 12 finalists were 4 in breakfast/brunch, 4 in appetizers and 4 in desserts. The recipe I submitted was Feisty Sour Cream Enchilada Bites in the appetizer category. I will post that recipe separately b/c this will be a long post already!
I must say Cass-Clay and Square One Kitchens were very gracious hosts. They had a great spread of fruit and breakfast pastries, yogurt, string cheese, milk and juice for all the guests. I thought the above “did you know” was quite interesting! They also provided us Jimmy John’s for lunch and we got to eat bites of others dishes. No one went hungry!
It was no stretch for me to come up with a recipe using a Cass-Clay ingredient. I really do use their products and like them. They are carried and Krause’s and they are very consistent.
Cass-Clay Innovation Chef Logan Julstrom welcomed us to the event and then she introduced each of us. I got through that OK. Shortly after that though, I knocked TWO of those squares off of the wall and they fell apart. I am such a klutz. Luckily, somebody helped me replace them and afterwards some fell without anyone even touching them. Doh! We could all sit in the reception/waiting area until it was our turn to go back to the kitchens. There was probably about 30 of us between cooks, guests and judges.
I mean, really?!?
Here is how our schedule was laid out for us:
9 a.m. Contest Introduction and run-down of the day’s events.
9:15 a.m. Breakfast and Brunch cooking: Breakfast and Brunch finalists will be allotted 60 minutes to make their dish for the judges.
10:15 a.m. Breakfast and Brunch judging: Judges Marilyn Hagerty, Scott Motschenbacher (Chef at Fargo’s Beefsteak Club) and Rachel Kyllo will taste the dishes.
10:40 a.m. Appetizers and Side Dishes cooking: 60 minutes.
11:40 a.m. Appetizers and Side Dishes judging.
12:05 p.m. Dessert cooking: 60 minutes.
1:05 p.m. Dessert judging.
1:30 p.m. Hometown Throwdown winner revealed: Judges will announce the winners and runners up of the 2013 Hometown Throwdown.
2 p.m. Media interviews with category winners: Media will be on-site to talk with the winners of each category and the overall winner.
2:30 p.m. Program end
I was glad I didn’t have to go first. But then, having to wait it made me a little more nervous. I was so glad my sister was there to keep me somewhat calm and cheer me on. I was also thankful for that bottle of water you see. I drank that in like 5 seconds.
Oh, one fun thing – Fox News was there doing a story on the competition and they asked if they could mic me for a few sound bites. That was fun and they kept me talking which kept my mind off of things.
The kitchen spaces were phenomenal! We shared a space but we each had our own oven and shared a 6-burner stove. There was also a griddle if you needed it. The kitchens are professional, fancy, clean, well-lit and I wish I had one!! You can rent this space out, so any Fargo people might want to check them out. One lady said they had a graduation party there even.
Cass-Clay did a great job of getting everything I needed before the competition and having all the ingredients and utensils lined up for us. I know one lady didn’t have exactly what she needed and I felt for her!
As you can tell, my sister had great access and was back there in the kitchen with me the whole time.
Trying to keep my station somewhat clean.
This was my cooking partner and she was a lot of fun! Hi Luann! She made a Philly Cheesesteak Dip and I can’t wait to make that for the husband.
Here I am plating my appetizer for the 3 judges.
I’m ready! I got it done and ready within the time limit. Whew!!
That is what they do on Chopped, right? Ha ha!
Chef Julstrom helping me pass my plates onto the judges. We also had to explain our recipe, how we made it and answer any questions the chefs had. I didn’t get too much feedback – they said it as good?!
We were all called back to the kitchen for the announcement of the winners. Look at how cheesy I am!! Angie, on my left was the 2nd runner up! Congrats. I was anxious but trust me – ANY of those 12 recipes I would not hesitate to serve to any guest. They all looked wonderful and I can’t wait for Cass-Clay to send us all the recipes so I can start making them. I already got the Appealing Apple Bread from Jocelyn and will be making it soon. We all will receive $100 from Cass-Clay for participating so we are all winners! The results are below.
All the participants and their recipes.
– Jocelyn Sloan from Fargo, ND, “Appealing Apple Bread,”
– Noelle Meyers from Grand Forks, ND, “Greek Breakfast Pizza,”
– Becky Smith from Angus, MN, “Egg Frittata for One,”
– Angie Qual from Libson, ND, “Cottage Cheese Pancakes,” (2nd Runner Up – $500)
– Sarah Feist from Hazen, ND, “Feisty Sour Cream Enchilada Bites,”
– Joann Meier from Bismarck, ND, “Baked Rice,”
– Gayla Freeman from Wahpeton, ND, “Spring Asparagus Casserole,” (1st Runner Up – $500)
– Luann Kemp from Cavalier, ND, “Philly Cheese Steak Dip,”
– Andrea Fink from Grand Forks, ND, “Grandma’s Amazing Chocolate Cake,”
– Marcy Bell from Fordville, ND, “Buttermilk Brownies with Grand Ma’s Frosting,” (Grand Prize Winner – $5,000!!)
– Kari Enzminger from Driscoll, ND, “Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce,”
– Brandy Lee from Moorhead, Minn., “Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie.”
Congrats to Marcy and if those brownies taste any bit as good as they looked it is no wonder she won. Congrats to all the participants, thank you SO MUCH Cass-Clay, Square One Kitchens, all the great Cass-Clay staff on site and behind the scenes and the judges. This is certainly a day I will never forget!