Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Top Chef

I know a top chef.  Her name is Emily, and she is my good friend.  She also happens to be the winner of a pretty big competition, the Jazzmen Rice Recipe Contest. 

The votes came in and Emily's Bananas Foster Rice Pudding prevailed!

Here is a link to the five finalists' recipes, including the winner.

What is Jazzmen rice?  ...I had to ask when Emily entered the competition, but now I am very intrigued to try it. 

From their website...

Emily submitted her recipe along with this delightful pic. 
For generations, the most flavorful rice Americans have eaten has been Jasmine rice imported to the U.S. from Asia (most notably Thailand). Jasmine is recognized for having the most desirable "gummy" white texture after cooking and its "aroma" before, during and after cooking is what causes it to be called "aromatic." Regular rice does not emphasize aromatic qualities nor is it noted as having any fullness of taste. Aromatic rice has a very pleasant notable aroma and taste qualities that contribute considerably to a variety of cuisine styles.

Twelve years ago, the LSU AgCenter started a project to increase rice production in Louisiana. We currently average approximately 500,000 acres of rice agriculture annually. There is a vast amount of acreage to build on.

The LSU AgCenter strives to help promote and build the quality and expertise of Louisiana's agricultural community - our farmers and our farms. And, the AgCenter thinks of everything possible to enhance and increase the productivity of Louisiana's vast acreage of farmland.

For twelve years, the "AgCenter" has been evolving, testing and improving a varietal (variety) of rice intended to compete head on with the quality, taste and cost of the thousands of tons of Jasmine rice coming into America each year from Asia. It has reached perfection.

A behind-the-scenes glance at the winning submission.

She explained that she wanted to create a recipe that wasn't too traditional but still paid homage to good New Orleans food. Emily's favorite part of any meal is dessert so she knew she had to work up a dessert recipe.  The recipe calls for the sweet and delicious New Orleans Rum, which is a  perfect complement to the nuttiness of the Jazzmen rice.  Emily added the honey toasted pecans for a "crunch element" which, although not included in traditional bananas foster or rice pudding, adds another "dimension" to the dessert.  Emily attributes her mom's always-looking-for-a-crunch-in-her-desserts to this successful part of the recipe. 

She additionally added a surprise of whipped cream on top, which is also absent from any version of the traditional bananas foster recipe.  Emily's grandmother always adds fresh whipped cream to desserts, which provides a nice contrast to such strong flavors.  She explained that she is always aiming to please her cooking mentors, her mother and her grandmother.  Both have heavily influenced Emily's lauded cooking style. 

Now.  My challenge to you over this long Memorial Day weekend.  Who is going to make Emily's recipe or one of the other four finalists' recipes?  I am tempted to do a full course meal....I will report the results of this great experiment.  If it happens, that is. 

You can order your very own Jazzmen rice (SUCH a clever name, can't stop thinking about that!) via their website.  Let me know if you have tried the delish rice or attempted the recipes. 

Thanks to Emily for sharing her winning insight with us....this is an open call for her to show us her cash and prizes as well!



1 comment:

  1. Congrats to emily! That dessert sounds intriguing... Let me know if you try it out!