Sunday, September 10, 2006


YESSSSSSSS!!!!!! Finally, my hard work has paid off. I don't know if you remember from last year, but I wrote a little rant about how I entered a dessert contest with a fantastic 'Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte' and lost to chocolate chip cookies (see the Sept. 2005 archive). It has really bothered me all year long....I know it's stupid to say, but I hate losing!

Well, this year was my year. Our Aftermarket/VSBU had their annual celebration event and this year's event was "World Class Flair". It had an Ethnic we had Brazilian BBQ, a soccer tournament (which I kicked butt at! I had one assist!) and focused on all the countries of the world. In order to keep with the theme, this year's dessert contest was an "Ethnic" dessert contest. So chocolate chip cookies were totally out!!

Each contestant was to create an ethnic dessert and it had to be something unique. At first, I tried out two desserts: Argentinean Carmel Pastele Crescents and a Mexican Tres Leches Cake. Both sounded soooo good, but turned out soooo bad.

I had forgotten about the contest and someone at work reminded me (thanks Brooke!) that we had the contest on Friday. So Wednesday night I tried out the two desserts and they didn't turn out quite like I had hoped. So I was frantically looking for another recipe. I was unsuccessful in finding something I wanted to make. With the pressure on I decided to pull a cookbook from Spain out of my cabinet. I have never made anything from this just sits on top of my cabinets as a decorative piece in my kitchen.

I flipped through the pages frantically looking for something....anything. Then I saw a Spanish Almond Tart called "Tarta de Santiago". It was my last hope because time was running out!!!!

I bought the ingredients the next day and planned on making two of them. I always do a trial run to make sure it is good....if it wasn't, then I was going to drop out of the race.

The recipe called for finely grounded almonds and they just don't sell that around here. So I bought some almonds and ground them up in my coffee grinder. It worked like a charm. One hour later, I was ready to put it together.

I made the dough from scratch and mixed all the ingredients together and followed the instructions. I made everything double so that I could make the tart in the morning too. At 11pm, my masterpiece was done.....but I ended up over-cooking the crust and it burned....note to self: remember to cover the crust with foil next time.

After trying it, it was good...except the crust! So I went to bed satisfied with the dessert. In the morning I rolled out the crust and cooked it with foil over it. It looked beautiful coming out. I put the filling in and cooked it as directed. I finished getting ready and was ready to take the tart out...everything looked fine! It was beautiful! I was completely happy.

My arch-nemesis brought a "French Apple Dessert" with caramel sauce. First of all, you can't just bring an apple caramel cake and call it "French" just cuz we are in an ethnic dessert contest!!! The other desserts were Figs stuffed with Walnuts (Turkish), Some weird Indian bread balls soaked in some sweet sauce (yuck), a Red Velvet Cake (yet, another betty crocker dessert dressed up like it was ethnic...she said it was from South Africa...c'mon!), and some Irish Oatmeal cake.

So my competition was weak and I was pretty satisfied with my dessert. While I was nervously watching the seemed they like most of the desserts. Mine was the last to be sampled. When they got to mine, they began to cut into it. The crust was so freaking hard that they couldn't cut through the tart! My heart sank and I instantly knew I had lost because they were all laughing and one of the actually had to hold the tart while another had to muscle through the crust. THE CRUST SCREWED ME AGAIN!!! (Later, I found out that the recipe called for a 10" tart pan and I used an 11" I really needed to leave it in there for a shorter amount of time and it would have been perfect).

Despite the fact that the crust was such a problem...when they took a bite of the dessert their eyes got big and one of them even said, "This tastes exactly like the one my Grandmother used to make". I wasn't sure how the rest of them felt.

After the judging, we were allowed to sample the desserts. So of course, I was going to try the competition. My arch-nemesis had a wonderful dessert. I actually preferred hers over mine. I think everyone did too. I thought for sure I was going to lose to her again and hung my head low.

So as the day went on, I forgot about the contest and thought for sure I was going to lose. They were going to announce the winner after the pizza eating contest. I ended up being in the pizza eating contest because we were missing a person. I ate 4 tiny pieces and had everyone else around me help me...I finished first...LOL. The real contestants were good sports about it, knowing that I wasn't serious.

As we sat there listening to them announce the winners of all the competitions, I already had it in my mind that I wasn't going to win this year with my hard-crusted almond tart and so I wasn't really paying attention. I almost fell off my seat when they said, "And the winner of the dessert contest is....Marii Thompson!" I was so surprised that I tastelessly jumped up, threw my arms in the air, and screamed "whoo hoo". Then I gave a lightning punch to the air and I was totally pumped. I know I shouldn't have show-boated like that, but I was completely thrown off! They gave me my envelope and I didn't even care about what was in wasn't the prize I was was the win, the recognition, and the joy of beating chocolate chip cookie lady!!!!!

P.S. So if you are dying to find out what I won, like everyone else at the celebration...It was a $50 gift card to Barnes & Nobles. I personally like last year's prize of a $50 GC to Carrabbas. But like I said, I don't care about the I can get LT a few books!

P.P.S. Someone told me later that day...when they announced me as the winner, chocolate-chip cookie lady made a funny look on her face like she was disgusted that I won...hee hee.


Blogger vivian said...

YYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hahahhaha =) MUAHAHAHHAH!! Im sooooooooo excited you beat her!! I was so bummed last year when you lost to choco chip cookies!! WOOOHOOO!!! Your hard work totally paid off!! Im sooo proud of you!! YAYAYAYYYY!! Looks and sounds like it was delicious!!! Congratulations!! hahahah =) I wish I couldve seen your victory dance and been there to dance around choco chip cookie lady when you won! ha!

11:40 PM


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