Winner of First Mystery Basket Challenge Earns Title of Smartest Chef

Conrgatulations to Sandra Horrell for her creative dish!

The results are in for this column's very first mystery basket challenge.

To , I put together a seemingly random list of ingredients, most of it seasonal, and challenged our wonderful readers to make something of it.

The point of the exercise was to come up with a creative, delicious dish using only the available ingredients, and the dish had to be able to be completed in a two hour time frame.

The list of ingredients for the September mystery basket were:

1 pound scallops

1 whole carrot

1 jar smoked paprika

1 head cauliflower

1 head cabbage

1 sprig rosemary

Mustard - your choice on this

1 bottle white balsamic vinegar

Olive oil

Sea salt

Black pepper

I am proud to say one reader definitely stepped up to the task and, as promised, we are featuring her dish in this week's column.

Congratulations to Sandra 'Sandy' Horrell for her Seared Scallop on Wilted Vegetable Salad with Vinaigrette concept. As you will read below, Sandy's dish works well because she used all of the ingredients on the list, provided sound cooking methods that present a range of flavors, colors and textures in the food and made it accessible to cooks with a range of abilities.

Sandy, once again, congratulations on earning the title of Smartest Chef for the month of September!


Courtesy of Sandra Horrell

1 lb. Sea Scallops

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 t. smoked paprika

Sea salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

l head cauliflower, sliced

l/2 head cabbage, shredded

l carrot, shredded

l/2 t. rosemary, minced

Extra Virgin Olive Oil as needed


4 T. white balsamic vinegar

l/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

l/2 t. Dijon mustard

l/2 t. Sea salt

l/4 t. black pepper

Pat the scallops very dry & sprinkle with mixture of sea salt, pepper and smoked paprika; in a saute pan, sear scallops 2 - 3 minutes in oil.  Remove scallops from pan & keep warm.  In same pan, add oil as needed to saute cauliflower, cabbage & carrot, along with rosemary until vegetables are crisp tender.  Place salad on platter, sprinkle with Viniagrette and top with scallops.

*Each month I will be featuring a new mystery basket, comprised of vegetables that can only be found during that particular season with other surprise ingredients thrown in. Check back in October for another chance to steal the title of Smartest Chef!*

Lynn McCoy September 17, 2011 at 12:16 AM
Way to go Mom ! (Sandy) you are indeed the Smartest Chef. Everyone in your family has known this for years & now the world will know it too ! Keep it up-we love you & congrats.
Judi September 17, 2011 at 12:15 PM
Great Job Sandy! We knew you had all the right stuff! Judib.


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