The Winning Country Chef Challenge Recipe

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August 18, 2011 – CBS 2 News at 6AM

Earlier this month, CBS 2’s Steve Baskerville served as master of ceremonies for a special cooking contest for the title of Master of the Market at the fifth annual Country Chef Challenge.

The chefs had 20 minutes to shop at the Daley Plaza Farmers Market, then got another 30 minutes to cook their dishes.

Chris Pandel, executive chef at the Bristol, was the winner. So without further ado, here is his Country Chef Challenge recipes:

Apricot brie grilled cheese paired with gazpacho

Grilled Cheese
• 1lb apricot brie, sliced
• 2 peaches, sliced thinly
• 1 bunch basil
• 1lb butter
• 1 loaf pretzel bread
• 1 bunch of squash blossoms

Slice the pretzel bread into two 1/2” thick slices and lightly butter one side of each. On the non-buttered side, place sliced brie, two basil leaves, two slices of peach, and a single squash blossom with the stem and interior removed. Cook the grilled cheese over medium heat in a skillet until golden brown on both sides. The cheese should begin melting out the side of the sandwich as an indicator that it’s done.

Gazpacho
• 2 lg. tomatoes, cored and cubed
• Handful of baby tomatoes
• 1 lb zucchini, minced
• 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
• 1 bunch basil, chopped
• 1 btl extra virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup red wine vinegar
• Kosher salt
• Garnish: 1 bunch of dill flowers, 2 artichokes and remaining squash blossoms

Combine 3/4 of the cucumber and the large tomatoes with a pinch of kosher salt in the blender. Blend until smooth and then slowly drizzle in one cup of extra virgin olive oil. Once the soup is smooth, season it with kosher salt and red wine vinegar to taste.

Meanwhile, split a few baby tomatoes in half, add the zucchini, cucumber, basil and toss in a separate bowl with a pinch of kosher salt, a tsp of olive oil, and a splash of red wine vinegar.

Garnish: When serving, tear apart one squash blossom and a few dill flowers and add them to the vegetable garnish. Place the veggies in the center of a bowl and pour the chilled soup around and serve.