Janet's Notebook
Blue Ribbon Showcase, First-Class Cooks

In the Kitchen with Leah, Marie & Jane!

I never cease to be amazed at how talented you folks in this Club are. No really, I mean it! The Kitchen Crew and I can taste it in the recipes we prepare from you, and we are privileged to get to see it firsthand when we have the pleasure of meeting members in person. This was certainly the case at the most recent Blue Ribbon Showcase event where Ultimate Salad Toss contest winner Marie Guaragna and her delightful friend Peggy winged their way from their homes in Arlington, VA to Just A Pinch HQ in Nashville where they met, mingled and mixed it up in the kitchen with the Crew and me. Marie is a food dynamo who brings oodles of energy with her everywhere she goes. Her enthusiasm was infectious as she led a packed auditorium of Just A Pinch Recipe Club members in the preparation of her prize-winning Mandarin Orange/Strawberry Spinach Salad.

We continue to be so thoroughly wowed by the winners! In fact, past wower and Springtime Cake Contest winner, Jane Freed of Clarkston, MI joined us once again for this special event. This time, Jane took on emcee duties and had the crowd laughing just seconds into the show. (With Jane, who would expect any less?!)

There was meeting and greeting o’plenty as we also had the honor of hosting the submitters of three of the four Blue Ribbon recipes that were served to the lunchtime crowd. With encouragement from her husband who is stationed in Iraq, busy mom Debbie Wright grabbed her cousin and made a road trip to the Showcase all the way from Sulphur , LA! These gals appeared to be having a ball as they met with folks in the audience and made plans on how to best enjoy the city. Debbie, we were honored that you’d spend your precious time away with us - and hope that you’ll return again soon! (In the meantime, you can bet your Death By Oreo Cupcakes will be a regular guest at our table!)

Frequent Just A Pinch contributor Leah Stacey made the long drive to Nashville as well. She and her friend, Jamie, joined us all the way from Jonesborough, TN where Leah is a busy mom with a big passion for teaching others to cook and get comfortable in the kitchen. Her Cumin Grilled Pork Chops served as the main entrée for our Blue Ribbon luncheon and we couldn’t have made a better choice. The subtle cumin flavor brought out the deliciousness of the pork, and from the buzz I overheard afterwards, I suspect a lot of folks will be preparing Leah's recipe for their next tailgate!

Nashville resident - and soup-whisperer - Susan Ward was also on hand as we served up her Blue Ribbon French Potato Soup. This recipe was among the finalists in our very first Just A Pinch Contest and remains one of my cold weather all-stars. My daughter-in-law Krissi was kind enough to share with the crowd that the first time I made this soup in the Test Kitchen, I actually hid it from my husband so he wouldn’t eat it all up! Yes, that’s right…. This soup is so good that I resorted to sneakiness in order to save some for my own snack. Try it and you’ll see what I mean!

Terese Galgano of Raleigh, NC wasn’t able to make it to the Showcase, but she was well-represented by her melt-in-your-mouth recipe for Gougeres. These tasty little cheese puffs with the fancy name literally melt in your mouth as you eat them. And they smelled so good baking that our tummies were rumbling from the moment they hit the oven. Now that’s what Blue Ribbon is all about.

Thanks to all of you who enter the contests and join us for these special heart-warming events. Don’t forget to submit your own favorite recipes for our two current contests for your own chance at winning awesome prizes. I think it’s safe to say that our Blue Ribbon gals left a mark on Music City for sure. After Marie’s $1,000 shopping spree at the Viking Kitchen store, she and Peggy could be found dancing like divas in the music district downtown and dining at some of Nashville's very best eateries. Congratulations, Marie! Until we eat again….

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Jewel Hall - Nov 22, 2010
Back to you Bonnie !!! Have a good one !!
Bonnie ^O^ - Nov 22, 2010
Outstanding work, everyone! Congratulations on your win, Marie! Justapinch.com is a wonderful website. Kudos to you, Janet, for your genius in creating it! We are all enjoying it tremendously, collecting wonderful recipes, and posting and sharing our own. I think I found a new hobby! Happy Holidays, Everyone!
Jewel Hall - Nov 20, 2010
Thanks for the post Debi, I echo your remarks. It is very delightful to look at the work of fellow cooking buddies. I have always enjoyed scanning recipes and surrounded myself with great cooks. It a passion for us and we love finding great recipes. Have fun everyone !! The difficult part is deciding what recipe to try when they all jump out as GREAT !! Blessing to you all !! This is a great bunch of folks....THANKS TO EVERYONE !!
Debi McMurray - Nov 20, 2010
Looks like everyone had so much fun at the event in Nashville. And, this is one time when there weren't too many cooks in the kitchen, right? I'm so excited to try some new foods I'm hearing about above like that fresh outer banks tuna salad by Geraldine and then I've been wanting to also try the Cherry cookies with the chocolate kiss in them by Debra Russell and the winning Spinach strawberry salad by Marie Guaragna. And, of course, I've already tried several things that Freda Gable has submitted. You are all fantastic cooks. Thanks for taking time out of your days to share your tried and true recipes with all of us so we don't have to take the time to search out to find the best. (You already have!!!) God bless you all on this Thanksgiving. May I say that I am thankful for all of you and for Just a Pinch Recipe Club.
Jewel Hall - Nov 19, 2010
Leah Stacey - Nov 19, 2010
Jewel go back to the recipe you just posted and hit edit. Then go to the steps and hit edit again. You should be able to fix the problem. I hope this helps!
Jewel Hall - Nov 19, 2010
I don't know how to report this, but the last recipe I (just) posted, had left off some steps for DIRECTIONS. The recipe was short and I completed it but don't know if it will post correctly. Thanks to anyone who knows how to report this little problem. Thank You.
Lillian Russo - Nov 18, 2010
Marie, you did a great job! You looked so comfortable and relaxed! And that shopping spree...WOW...I saw some very cool stuff there!

Yes, it looks like you all had fun! =)

Nice job everyone!
Kitchen Crew - Nov 18, 2010
The video from the Blue Ribbon Showcase is now posted! Check it out on Marie's Recent Winners page. (Can you tell we had fun?! :-)

-Just A Pinch Kitchen Crew
Faye Patterson - Nov 18, 2010
Hi Shirley, have you already put the recipe you want to enter into your Recipe Box? I forgot to do that once and then couldn't figure out how to enter either! Just post it to the site and then you'll be able to enter on the contest page. If that doesn't work, I'd e-mail help@justapinch.com... They're good about getting back to me when I have questions. Good luck with the contest. Faye.
Shirley Henderson - Nov 17, 2010
Janet I have a Recipe I would like to enter for the Superbowl contest,...but will not allow me to upload!! Help please!!!
geraldine quesenberry - Nov 17, 2010
thank you for making me a celebrity!!! i am so happy everyone is enjoying my ann harrison cookies and outer banks fresh tuna salad. this is truly a wonderful site for all of us "ordinary" cooks. thank yoy again. geraldine
Lillian Russo - Nov 17, 2010
You're welcome! =)
Wendy Rusch - Nov 17, 2010
Thanks Mucho Lillian!!!
Lillian Russo - Nov 17, 2010
It doesn't look like the video for this recent Showcase has been posted to the site yet! But if you click on the 'Recent Winner' section at the bottom of this page, it will bring you to a page listing of all the past winners. Click on Jane's pick and it will show you the photos and video from her Showcase! I love watching it!