Such a busy week this week with the State Fair. I was there five out of the 10 days it is on, with an extra day before it started to help with the quilt competition entries. It was such fun to be able to see the shows and enter the competitions this year, I have been looking forward to it for two years. Each evening I was competing, we went to the fair in the evening as the turn in time for dishes was between 6 and 7 pm. Dishes are checked in, given a number, and then wait for judging to begin at 7. The judges are behind the curtains, so the only thing to do is to go see some of the fair, have a corn dog or some ice cream, and come back at 8 pm for the announcement of the winners.
So we walked around a different section of the fair each night, seeing the livestock including the newborn calves,baby pigs goats and tiny chicks, looking for my entries in the expo building, enjoying a music show, watching the human cannonball get shot out of a cannon to a net, seeing the bird show of fabulous exotic trained birds, and walking around the heritage crafts area. Inside the event building, marvelous displays sponsored by NC Agriculture divisions were colorful and inviting.
In the back, each sponsor of one of the cooking contests had its own booth and display.
They had lots of freebies too, like cookbooklets, chip clips, key rings and more. The apple booth had a wonderful lip balm that tasted like cinnamon apples. I snagged a few of those over the course of several evenings.
Friday night was the NC Dairy Alliance competition, and the theme was Amazing Dairy Appetizers, and had to have a dairy product as a main ingredient. Remembering that ease of preparation is one of the main judging criteria, I used frozen premade phyllo shells for my Cheesy Spinach Bacon Bites. I mixed goat cheese with spinach and bacon, stuffed the shells and baked about 15 minutes. Quick and easy!
I turned in my dish, and off we went to see more of the fair. Coming back for the announcements of the winners, we were surprised to see a film crew there doing a story for a Raleigh TV station. But soon, the host of the show was done speaking to contestants and the announcements began. I was thrilled to win second place!
We all got neat swag bags with the Dairy Alliance logo. The bags are heavy and insulated, perfect for transporting cold items home from the store or on a picnic. They had stuff inside too, little cow shaped packs that can be frozen to keep food cold, or microwaved as a warmer. There was also a recipe booklet, a couple of keychains and a brochure on the NC Cheese Trail. Yes, I know you want this recipe, so here it is – Cheesy Spinach Bacon Bites.
Back home, I’m still harvesting loads of tomatoes. This was a one day haul earlier in the week. This time I picked some fresh parsley and basil to do my roasted tomatoes.
A full sheet pan, loaded with tomatoes, roasted for several hours, dehydrated down to just a half of a jar’s worth. I added the basil and parsley, then covered the top with garlic infused olive oil. This will be a pizza topping later in the week.
In a bit of free time waiting to start cooking, I piddled around with my Japanese fabrics. I made a single block just to see how they would look.
Every other spare moment was put into sewing for Autumn Jubilee. I tried one more time to get the wings recipe right, and it seems the Parmesan cheese angle isn’t going to work. Yes, these were tasty, but they still don’t have the crispy crunchy crust I am looking for, without using flour. I dipped these in egg wash, then rolled them in the Parmesan cheese. I did bake them at a higher temp as my friend Chryste recommended. Back to the drawing board. That is, if the price of wings isn’t over the moon!
Saturday was the last day I planned to be at the fair. It ends on Sunday but that is football day for me. Again changed my mind on the recipe I planned to do for the Apple Dessert contest Saturday morning knowing now that simplicity is the key, and highlighting the apple in a different way would be better. For this contest, the rules stated sweet desserts with no restrictions on sugar. I whipped up a Spiced Apple Galette instead, drizzling it as the pieces were served with Salted Caramel sauce. The recipe has cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
Competition was fierce, with some really yummy desserts in the running. I was so excited when the judges awarded my dessert first place!!
Well, OK, if you really want it, here’s the recipe – Spiced Apple Galette with Salted Caramel Sauce
Oh, my, it has been a whirlwind of a week! Today is football and putting my feet up. Tomorrow I go pick up all my entries and ribbons. This coming week I have to get several things done for Autumn Jubilee, have a sew-in in my basement with a couple of friends, then a couple of appointments. So, another busy week ahead. What is on your schedule for the coming week?