We’ve just gotten home from Fargo EggFest and I finally have a chance to update you on how it all went. We had such a blast.
Brian and I left Winnipeg on Thursday afternoon at about 3:30 and drove to Fargo. The plan was to arrive Thursday evening so that we could get up first thing Friday and get all of our shopping done and do all of our prep work before the rest of our team and entourage arrived Friday night. Well our good intentions didn’t quite carry through. We took longer to get our shopping done, and underestimated the amount time needed to carry out all of our advanced prep work. We had pizza dough to mix, Atomic Buffalo Turds (ABTs), rumaki, and prosciutto-wrapped dates to prep and assemble, ten pounds of cheese to grate, cream cheese frosting to make, five pounds of onions to chop, bell peppers to slice, chickens to spatchcock, corn to shuck and de-kernel, buffalo and avocado sauces to make, fresh herbs and garlic to chop, and a million other things that needed to be done! We were at it until late Friday night. Thank goodness we have the best pals who all dug in and helped us get it done.
I went to bed around 23:00 on Friday, Brian went to have a drink in Darcy’s room (aka the “party” room) and got back around 00:30 in the morning. We got up at 06:00 which came way too early. We had the car packed up and were ready to go shortly after 07:30.
When we arrived at Rheault Farm, we found out our station had been set up front and centre, which was a fantastic spot for us. As we started unloading, we realized we’d forgotton a few things (doh!) and I headed back to the hotel while Brian, Darcy, and Daena started setting up. When I got back, almost everything was done, and we were ready to light out Eggs. We probably should have lit them a bit sooner, as we were using firestarters instead of our usual charcoal lighter and it took a bit longer for them to heat up and for the smoke to burn off. So that set us a bit behind scheduled, and that was pretty much our theme for the rest of the day!
Daena mixed up the batter for the breakfast Banana Berry bread and we got that on one of the large Eggs as quickly as we could before we started chopping apples and getting the muffin batter ready. We had our breakfast items off the Eggs and ready to serve shortly after the first tasters started arriving.
While breakfast was being prepared, I started caramelizing a huge pile of onions and of course they also took longer than expected (but sooooo worth the wait!) so by 10:30 when I finally started making my first pizza, I was about half an hour behind schedule. Brian and Darcy jumped in to help and started on the beer and cheese soup while they were grilling the prosciutto-wrapped dates, so that I could get my pizzas going. I did my caramelized onion and goat cheese pizza, and the pulled pork and pineapple pizzas and got some great reviews!
I went to see how the beer and cheese soup was doing and we had run into a bit of a glitch. It had been too hot when the cheese was added, and it was buring onto the bottom of the pot, and it was not melting well. I tried playing around with the temperature and to get the cheese to incorporate into the soup, but it was just getting really gooey and stringy. Fortunately, when we added the evaporated milk at the end and took it off the heat, it all miraculously came together, so we were able to pour it into little 3 oz. sample cups and people were loving it. I was a little worried we wouldn’t be able to get rid of it all quickly enough, but that wasn’t a problem, which was great, because I needed that pot emptied so that I could get started on the next dish.
Once the pot was cleaned out, I put all the mac and cheese ingredients in and got it back on the Egg. Brian was working on his spatchcock chicken and some rumaki on the XL Egg, so I pretty much had to wait for that in order to use some of the chicken on my next pizza.
When the chicken was done, I mixed it in with my buffalo sauce and got to work on my buffalo chicken pizza while Darcy took over on the mac and cheese. By this time we had a lot of people standing around our station, and they seemed really interested in watching me toss my pizza dough in the air. Thankfully I didn’t drop it on the ground. Phew! The buffalo chicken pizza was a hit. I wish I had time to make more than one of each pizza, but we were already behind schedule, so it wasn’t really possible.
Brian was working on getting my beef tenderloin steaks done for my next pizza by this time, so I went back to the mac and cheese which was just about ready. We got that off the Egg and Daena and Darcy started serving it. People were grabbing the samples up faster than they could fill them!! I guess they liked it? 🙂
Brian had pulled the steaks and a couple of tri-tips off the grill by the time we got the mac and cheese out, so I started loading up the XL Egg with ABT’s. Then I sliced my steaks up while Brian, Darcy, and Daena served the tri-tips up with some of my guacamole sauce (they were awesome, by the way). My next pizza was the steak fajita pizza with the guacamole sauce. I had some left over steak, so we put that out with the tri-tip while Brian cooked his creamed corn. I don’t even remember seeing the corn, so it must have disappeared pretty quickly when it was served. I didn’t even get a taste. 😦
Brian threw some more ruamkis onto one of the Eggs and I started on my last pizza, which was the Dulce and Banana; word must have got out because people started crowding around waiting for it to come off the Egg and Brian said I’d better get started on a second one. Good thing I did, the first one was gone pretty quickly and the second one didn’t last long either.
We were now near the end of the day and the ABTs and rumaki were being served, so Brian put some Cluck and Squeal drumsticks on the grill when the cooks were all called up to take part in an “Iron Chef” style competition. We were given a secret ingredient and half an hour to make something out of it. Our secret ingredients were: three chicken thighs and an avocado.
We had a quick team meeting and decided to stick with what we already knew… fajita pizza! I already had some dough rolled out and ready to go and Brian threw the chicken on one of our free Eggs and pre-grilled one side of our pizza dough. Daena worked on getting our avocado sliced, and Darcy started working on some peaches, halving them and carving them into little bowls for a side dish/garnish. I took some of Brian’s spiced rum marinated pineapple and diced it up, added some cilantro, green onions, and lime juice and made a salsa that we spooned into Darcy’s peach bowls. The chicken was getting close to done, so we started getting the pizza ready. We spread sour cream on the dough as the “sauce” then Daena put the sliced avocado down, followed by some left over sliced bell peppers and caramelized onion I had saved from my earlier pizzas. Brian said only two of the three chicken thighs were done, but we were almost out of time! Executive decision: forget the third chicken thigh… two was enough to cover half the pizza, and since we only had to serve three slices (one to each of three judges) I figured we didn’t need enough chicken for the whole pizza. We got the chicken and some cheese on half the pizza and tossed it on the grill to finish it. We didn’t have time to let it cool on a wire rack like I would normally do, so we just cut the pizza and took three pieces from the finished half and plated them with the salsa peach-cups and a quick drizzle of some of our leftover avocado sauce before heading over to the judges table. Darcy presented the dishes to the judge (he’s way better at selling a dish than any of the rest of us!) and then we could take a deep breath and relax. Brian served the drumsticks and grilled up the rest of our marinated pineapple while we waited for the results to come in.
At the end of the day, all of the tasters had filled in score cards, and the points from the Iron Chef contest were added up, and from the combined scores, the top three teams were announced. We were so excited when we heard that the WinnipEGGHeads had won both the score cards and the Iron Chef contests to earn first place!! Our prize was a DigiQ BGE BBQ Guru! That’s awesome, and we can’t wait to try it out.
The day was at an end, so we packed up all of our gear and headed back to our hotel. I didn’t realize how tired I was or how much my feet hurt until I sat down and kicked my shoes off. Then I didn’t want to get up again! EggFest was a lot of work, but we had such a great time, it was totally worth it. And we had some great friends who came down to Fargo to support us (and vote for us!!), so we owe them all a huge thanks!
We are already starting to think about what we will do for Fargo EggFest in 2013! 😉
Here are some of our pics, provided by Glenn Wark, our official EggFest photographer!