Zest ‘n Zing

Last week was Food Check Out Week. By this week, most Americans have earned enough money to pay for their food for the whole year. The American Farm Bureau thinks this is a pretty big deal – after all, the average American only spends about 10% of their annual income on food – and State Farm Bureaus sponsor celebrations and events all over the country.

This year, the American Farm Bureau came to Indianapolis and helped the Indiana Farm Bureau put on a huge event for the first time called Zest ‘n Zing: A Foodie Event for the At-Home Chef.

We all had a blast at this food party! There were food samples for everyone to taste, and lots of farmers hanging around for people to meet, talk to, and ask questions. We had a big food-oriented party for two hours before launching into the main event, an Iron Chef-style cook-off, featuring pork and cheese products.
The first team was Team Pork, starring Real Farmwife and pork farmer Heather Hill, Indiana’s weatherman Paul Poteet, and Chef Chip from Barto’s Banquets and Catering at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

team pork
The second team was Team Moo, starring Real Farmwife and dairy farmer Liz Kelsay, Dave Smiley from Indianapolis’ Smiley Morning Show, and Chef Jason from Ivy Tech.

team moo

The event started with each of the Farmwives preparing an appetizer for the judges using the other farmwife’s product. So Liz made an appetizer using pork as the featured ingredient…

team moo appetizer
And Heather made an appetizer using cheese as the featured ingredient.

team pork appetizer
I’m sorry to say that there was so much going on I don’t really remember what the final dishes were, or have the foggiest idea about the recipes. We are supposed to be getting these recipes (as soon as the chefs remember what they did on the spur of the moment that night), and I’ll be sure to pass them along. Later.
Team Pork got a little showy, using the flaming alcohol trick not just once…

team pork fire 1
But twice. (Luckily, no smoke alarms were set off.)

team pork fire 2
Dave Smiley gave us all a lesson on how to quickly chop an onion. (I think he cried, just a little, but probably not because he cut himself.)

team moo onionChef Chip was telling us all about what was in his secret sauce… If I remember right, there was bacon, sausage, Red Gold tomatoes, and brandy. How can you go wrong with a concoction like that? Or maybe it was whiskey. Does it really matter?

team pork lesson
Team Pork spent an awful lot of time over on Team Moo’s side of the stage. They borrowed ingredients, they asked questions, and I think Paul is even sabotaging Dave’s bacon cooking right here… I’m not sure what Chef Chip is doing to Liz… Maybe Chef Jason needs to come to her rescue?

team pork spies
This is one dish I do remember. Blue cheese bacon bread pudding. Caramelized. For dessert. (Seriously, what is it with Team Pork and fire?) Sweet and savory all at the same time. And when is bacon a bad thing? This is one I will definitely have to try.

team pork fire 3
At the end of the one hour time limit, the judges declared (with a 2-1 vote) that Team Pork had won. I think it was the blue cheese bacon bread pudding that put them over the top.

team pork wins
Zest ‘n Zing? Fabulous time. Look for this in the Indianapolis area again next year – it was such a smashing success, I’m sure we’ll be bringing it back!

  • Jwallman77

    Great pictures Marybeth!! Thanks for sharing!