Ocean Spray Recipe Contest 2011

Ocean Spray Recipe Contest 2011

For those who don’t know, I was a finalist in the 2011 Ocean Spray Cranberry Recipe Contest.  The contest was held for foodservice professionals (chefs, etc) and had over 300 entries from across the nation.  I created a Holiday Caprese Salad recipe and was one of the final 4 contestants from across the nation to be named as a finalist.  As a finalist, Ocean Spray sent us out to Boston to compete and enjoy a weekend on them.  So although I didn’t win the $10,000 grand prize, I’ll take a $3000 trip as a constalation prize. . . especially for a recipe that only took me 1 hour to put together.

Here is the recipe . . .

Ingredients:

Pesto
1 cup olive oil
1 cup Ocean Spray® 100% Juice Cranberry Blend
1/2 cup Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 ounces fresh basil, 2 leaves set aside for garnish
2 ounces sliced almonds 1/2 ounce fresh mint, 3 leaves set aside for garnish
Dash salt and pepper

Cranberry-Nutmeg Reduction
3 cups Ocean Spray® 100% Cranberry Juice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 large beefsteak tomato
1 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries
Reserved basil and mint leaves, garnish

Directions:

To Make Pesto:
Combine all pesto ingredients in food processor. Process on high speed for 2 minutes or until smooth.

To Make Cranberry-Nutmeg Reduction:
Pour cranberry juice into medium saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until reduced to thin syrup consistency. Add nutmeg; stir until blended.

Slice tomato into 4 or 5 even slices; cut each slice in half. Slice cheese the same way. Stack basil and mint leaves together; roll tightly into a cylinder and thinly slice.

Spoon about 1/2 cup pesto onto each serving plate, spreading to cover. Top each with alternating slices tomato and cheese. Garnish with dried cranberries, basil and mint. Drizzle Cranberry-Nutmeg Reduction evenly over each serving.

Makes 4 servings.

2011 Ocean Spray Foodservice Ultimate Cranberry Recipe Contest Finalist Shawn Bucher

About the author, Shawn

Chef Shawn has worked in almost every segment of the foodservice industry. He holds business degrees and certificates in Culinary Arts, Hospitality & Tourism Management, Accounting and Professional Sales. He is Certified Executive Chef (CEC) and a Certified Culinary Educator (CCE) through The American Culinary Federation. A Certified Culinary Professional (CCP) through the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He is the author of The First Timer’s Cookbook and The First Timer’s Bakebook. His work has been recognized nationwide as well as being a regular contributor to numerous food service publications and outlets and is the recipient of numerous awards-most recently the 2015 Culinary Educator of the Year through the local American Culinary Federation’s chapter-Beehive State Chef’s Association.

He the owner of multiple food service businesses and currently the host of the Business Chef Podcast.

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