Home Town Cook'n
Recipe Contest



Thanksgiving Aromatic Pumpkin Beef Ribs

Yield: 8 Servings | Recipe submitted by: Loanne Chiu

  • 3 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut up into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 8 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons black bean garlic paste
  • 1 cup red wine or coconut water
  • 3 tablespoons kecap manis (medium-sweet soy sauce)
  • 3 star anise, wrapped in spice bag
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon asian chili garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups peeled, cubed kabocha pumpkins
  • Seeds from 2 ripe pomegranates
  • 1/4 cup scallions, finely chopped
Trim beef of fat, rinse, wipe very dry.

In a large frying pan heat 3 tablespoon of oil until hot. Brown half of ribs on all sides for about for 6-7 minutes. Transfer to a Dutch oven. Repeat process with remaining ribs and 3 tablespoons oil.

Add all other ingredients to frying pan except pumpkin, pomegranate seeds and scallions. Bring to a simmer and scrape bottom of pan, and then pour all into Dutch oven also.

Cook, covered, over low heat for about 1 1/4 hours or until ribs are very tender. Stir occasionally.

After ribs have been cooking for 50 minutes, add 2 remaining tablespoons of oil to previous frying pan. Brown cubed pumpkin on all sides, and then add to beef. Continue to cook until beef is tender.

If there is still a lot of liquid at this point, remove beef and pumpkin to a platter without the sauce. Uncover, turn heat up and cook down sauce until very thick. Add ribs and pumpkin back to Dutch oven; cook until heated through. Remove bag with star anise. Adjust salt to taste.

Place beef on serving platter and sprinkle with scallions and pomegranate seeds.

Soup Winner

Mushroom-Chestnut ‘Tres Leches’ Soup with Espresso and Thyme

Yield: 4 Servings | Recipe submitted by: Ellen Verdugo

  • 3/4 cup milk (I use 2 percent or whole)
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon sweet butter
  • 5 ounces mixed wild mushrooms (or your favorite kind), chopped
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 5 ounces cooked peeled chestnuts (about 1 cup), chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder or granules
  • 2 cups unsalted vegetable broth (or mushroom broth, if you have it)
  • Creme fraiche to garnish
  • Fresh chopped chives to garnish
Warm milk and pour over dried porcini. Refrigerate at least four hours or, preferably, overnight.

To begin cooking, melt butter in Dutch oven/soup pot over medium-high heat and add wild mushrooms. shallot, garlic and thyme. Cook about 10 minutes; do not allow to boil.

Add chestnuts, almond milk, light cream and espresso. Strain milk from rehydrated porcini (discard porcini solids) and add to soup. Carefully pour soup into blender and process until smooth.

Pour soup back into pot, add broth and simmer 10 minutes. Again, do not allow to boil. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve in bowls with a swirl of creme fraiche and sprinkling of fresh chopped chives.


Kabocha Casserole

Yield: 6 Servings | Recipe submitted by: Jaemuk Jeong

  • 1 kabocha squash
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons Cheddar cheese
Cut the kabocha in half horizontally and spoon out the seeds. Microwave the top half of the kabocha for 9 minutes. Spoon out the cooked inside of the kabocha and place in a frying pan.

Mix the kabocha in the pan with butter and mash together until soft. Mix in the egg yolk and cook on low heat for 6 minutes; stir.

Peel the potato and sweet potato; cut into cube shapes.

Chop zucchini and onion into smaller cubes.

Chop the carrot and bell peppers into smaller cubes.

Heat a pan with 4 tablespoons oil. Fry the potato and sweet potato until browned. Fry the rest of the vegetables together. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the cooked vegetables in a bowl; mix in cheeses and sour cream.

Spoon the kabocha mousse into the bottom half of the squash, and then put the vegetables on top. Place the kabocha in the oven and cook at 400 degrees for 5 minutes.


Blackberry Apple Cobbler with Cinnamon Chip Ice Cream Scone Topping

Yield: 8 Servings | Recipe submitted by: Patricia A. Harmon

  • 3 cups gala apples, peeled, cored and rough-chopped into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 12 ounces fresh blackberries
  • 2/3 + 1/4 c. granulated sugar, divided
  • 3/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 t. cornstarch
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 6 t. butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream (7 gms per serving type), melted (note: 30-35 min on high in microwave)
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon chips, preferably the mini type
  • Additional vanilla ice cream, if desired
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together apples, blackberries, 2/3 cup sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch. Place in bottom of prepared baking dish.

In a medium bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. With a fork, stir in egg until mixture is crumbly. Stir in melted butter and melted ice cream; mix in cinnamon chips.

Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls on top of fruit. Bake in heated oven for 45 minutes. After 35 minutes, if scone dough seems to be brown enough, cover loosely with foil.

If desired, serve with scoops of vanilla ice cream.


Twisted Lime & Cranberry Pork Roast

Yield: 8 Servings | Recipe submitted by: Dianna M. Wara

  • 1 teaspoon smoked salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon Mexican chili powder
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups lemon lime soda
  • 1 (3 to 3 1/2 pounds) pork roast loin
  • 1 cup jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated lime zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican chili powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, add the smoked salt, black pepper and chili powder. Mix well and rub into the pork loin; set aside.

In a 14-inch roasting pan or bigger, depending how long your roast is, add the onions, garlic and soda. Place the roast on a greased rack, fat side up, and place in the pan. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, add cranberry sauce, lime zest, lime juice, brown sugar, mustard and chili powder. Cook over medium heat until the cranberry sauce is melted.

Brush 1/4 of the glaze over the pork loin. Put back into the oven to cook another 25 to 35 minutes or until internal temperature is 145 to 150 degrees F. Finish by brushing on another ¼ of the sauce. Tent with aluminum foil and let sit for 15 minutes. Warm the remaining glaze and serve with the roast.


Judging the contest

In September, more than 1,100 amateur cooks entered their Thanksgiving recipes in our first Home Town Cook’n contest, in four categories:
  • Soups
  • Vegetable Dishes
  • Cakes and Cobblers
  • Non-Turkey Entrees
Those entries were whittled down to 12 finalists — three in each category — and on Oct. 27 faculty from Columbus State Community College’s culinary program in Ohio prepared and judged the recipes on taste, visual appeal and creativity. Judges were:
  • Adam Hagar, MBA, CCC, CDM, CPC, CTA, teaching assistant in the Department of Hospitality Management
  • Karen Krimmer, associate professor, Baking & Pastry Arts chef instructor, advisor and program coordinator for the Department of Hospitality Management
  • Joshua Wickham, CEC, CEPC, AAC, full-time culinary instructor, Columbus State Community College, as well as instructor and event chef at The Seasoned Farmhouse in Columbus
  • Barry Young, MBA, CEC, CCE, AAC, assistant professor and Culinary Apprenticeship coordinator in the school’s Department of Hospitality Management
Columbus State’s culinary program has been ranked in the top 20 in the nation, and its graduates include several chefs at top restaurants in Columbus, Chicago and across the country. For more information, go here.


About the contest

For this contest, GateHouse partnered with Cook’n, a digital way to keep and share all your recipes. Cook’n makes it easy to scan in your paper recipes, grab recipes you love from various websites, and access them all from your PC, Mac, Kindle, Android or Apple products. Share with one click, create meal plans, calculate recipe nutrition information, automatically adjust ingredient proportions when increasing serving size and more.

All of the more than 1,100 recipes from the Home Town Cook’n Recipe Contest can also be accessed via Cook’n. To see them, and take advantage of some great recipe organization software for free:

  1. Go to this newspaper’s website and click on the red Subscribe button in the upper right. You’ll get a free three-month premium membership to Cook’n with any subscription purchase through December 2017. The plan includes:
    • free cookbook download each month for three months (a $45 value)
    • 5-Day Meal Plans each week for 12 weeks (a $30 value)
    • Access to Cook’n Forum
    • Ability to sync to unlimited number of devices
    • Cook’n web app access and more
  2. If you’re already a subscriber, consider a subscription to Cook’n. Plans start at $4.95 a month. Find out more here.
  3. The Cook’n team will e-mail you an activation link and code.
  4. Follow the instructions to download and launch the Cook’n app, then click or tap the Cook’n Friends button. You’ll see the GateHouse recipes cookbook in the My Friends section.

photos & videos

Photos & Videos