Sunday, September 28, 2008
It's blueberry season in Unalaska! The annual Blueberry Bash is a long-standing tradition, featuring a competition for the best cake, pie, tart, muffin, jam, jelly, syrup, the LARGEST blueberry, inedible items such as photos of blueberries or hand crafted blueberry themed entries and more. We love our blueberries! Individuals guard their secret blueberry-picking locations and their secret recipes. Some participants seem to win one category or another (or sometimes more than one!) every year. Rich and I have been judges in the past (what a job!) but this is the first time we've entered the contest. We spent a lot of hours yesterday working on our entries--Rich made two items: a blueberry lemon tart with almond flour crust and honey mascarpone cream, and blueberry s'mores consisting of white chocolate mousse, honey graham cookies, blueberries, and toasted marshmallows. I decided to make blueberry pumpkin muffins with a pecan struesel topping and blueberry flavored icing. Upon tasting my muffins, I realized that they had an overriding pumpkin and spice flavor and blueberry was certainly not in the forefront. Ooops. Guess I should have tried that recipe a week ago! Overnight I either had a dream or a thought while half asleep that I should just embrace the pumpkin flavor and go with it, naming my entry "Thanksgiving Breakfast Muffins." LOL
This morning, we finished everything up and rushed over to the high school to submit our entries around 1:30 PM. Rich took some flak from people saying he should not be allowed to enter (we THINK they were mostly joking!) since he is a professional chef. He had to keep saying, "I am not a pastry chef; it's an even playing field!"
The competition is divided into several categories so items may be measured against like items. Rich was entered in the Pies and Tarts category and in Desserts. I was in Breads and Muffins, preferring not to compete with my husband (hmmm, maybe I believe that thing about him having an edge, too!) At 3 PM, the room was full of people chatting, kids running around, judges patting their full bellies and everyone waiting to hear the results.
Third place in Pies and Tarts goes to Richard Bye! And third place in Breads and Muffins goes to Jane Bye! Woohooo! We were just having fun, but a prize is nice, too. I was completely shocked that Rich's blueberry s'mores did not win anything (in fact, we thought they had a better chance than his tart did) but that's okay. Now no one can say that he has anything over those serious home bakers, can they?!