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Iron Bay Chef Winners!

There was a great turnout for this contest — we had 9 entries! Thank you to everyone who submitted a recipe; it was so much fun to read them all, and of course to prepare them in our test kitchens. The winners are:

1st place (L$1000): Vernden Jervil, for his Armada Scoundrel Fleet Kraken
2nd place (L$750): Jedburgh Dagger, for her Fried Air Kraken
3rd place (L$500): Ceejay Writer, for her Crackin’ Good Pickled Air Kraken

All of these recipes will be added to menus at both the CocoaJava and the Gangplank.

We also decided to each take our next favorites to create “blue plate specials” at our respective establishments.

The Gangplank: Air Kraken Gumbo, by Emmanuelle Huntress
The CocoaJava: Air Kraken Milk Shake, by Tepic Harlequin

We will be posting our comments on each of the recipes soon. The authors are welcome to post their recipes to the BAR as they wish!

Thanks again for making this such great fun, everyone!

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  1. Junie Ginsburg Junie Ginsburg August 26, 2012


    Following are my critiques for the recipes received for the contest, in the order they were sent in. Since the Squire was off galavanting around in the steam carriage, and Emerson was busy in Wheatstone, I roped our hapless painter Bert into serving as my taster.

    Cocoa Peanut Air Kraken Elixer – Dee Wells

    I made this. I think. It’s a bit hard to tell what I made, actually, but it used all of the ingredients, in something approaching an approximate proportion, and I threw in more air kraken oil than called for to give it some oomph. I decided that the author’s advice regarding adding alcohol was a fine one, so I landed on an almond liqueur I made last winter. Now, not only does the whole concoction taste like a fishy no-bake cookie, it also has a delightful arsenic finish. Bert found it undrinkable, but I think maybe he was just fussy about his “allergy” to peanuts.

    Fried Air Kraken – Jed Dagger (2nd place winner)

    Given that a Tesla cannon was the strongest implement of destruction I had access to on short notice, I had to give it a try even though the author recommended against it as a method for bringing down an air kraken. Unfortunately she was correct in that it was too short ranged, but I WAS able to generate a most impressive scatter pattern in the shape of the Emperor’s head on the side of the Steamweaver airship hangar. I digress. Since I knew I’d have a great need for air kraken to test these recipes, I resorted to using some tentacles I had in cold storage (the catacombs stay nice and cool, incidentally). Frying up some rings according to the recipe was a dream, which scores a bonus in my book, and they tasted like a heavenly heart attack. Bert says he wants me to make them at least once a week. I told him to go paint me a high caliber weapon.

    Armada Scoundrel Fleets Kraken Recipe – Vernden Jervil  (1st place winner)

    Great instructions for bringing the air kraken down with a harpoon, but it’s the tenderizing step that scores bonus points on this one. Dragging it behind a ship for a half hour is an excellent idea and should be very easy for the amateur chef. Given I had a great deal of kraken on hand though, I decided to skip this particular suggestion and went with the urchin mallet method. What I like best about this recipe is its folksy, practical hand. Use what you have, steal what you don’t, just find a way to make do. This is an accessible approach to cooking, but doesn’t spoil the cuisine. Bert preferred this recipe for fried kraken because of the limes and herbed dredge. Steamlands soul food.

    Crackin’ Good Pickled Air Kraken – Ceejay Writer (3rd place)

    By now most everyone in New Babbage knows Emerson and I are partial to pickled air kraken, so this one underwent extra scrutiny. The outcome was surprising. This is a great recipe, but perhaps not for the faint at heart; the hot sauce definitely reminds the kraken to bite back. I enjoyed it so much that I’ve already put up enough to last until the next air kraken season! Bert was unsure at first, but was won over by the pungent vinegar, which he said reminded him of his mother. (I didn’t ask.)

    Air Kraken Gumbo – Emmanuelle Huntress (Gangplank Blue Plate Special)

    I have been searching for a good air kraken gumbo recipe for years, and I finally found one. Unfortunately I don’t think this is going to be a good entry point for newcomers to air kraken cooking given how touchy roux can be; it takes a precise hand lest the chef end up with something resembling horse paste. Tasty horse paste, but equine nonetheless. Not that I had that problem. Really. Honest. I loved this dish, but Bert didn’t even get around to trying it. One taste of the bacon grease and he was off to make a sundae.

    Air Kraken Aspic – Bookworm Heinrichs

    I’ve never been a fan of aspic, unfortunately, so I had to rely on Bert’s qualified palate to determine how to judge this one. The ingredients are all first rate, but I have to say that I skipped the baby octopus. What’s a baby octopus done to deserve this kind of treatment? As I watched it wriggling helplessly in my hand I realized it hadn’t even had a chance at octopus love yet –so tragic!– so I put him back in the water. Instead I substituted eel, because I’ve never met one I liked, baby or otherwise. Bert was mostly happy with this combination, but suggested that it would have been better with Martian mushrooms. Who knew?

    Sweet n’ Sour Kraken – Mr. Arnold

    This recipe reqires almost no effort to prepare, and unfortunately, it tastes like it. “Other spices of your choice” leaves a lot of room for interpretation, however, making this a good dish for the beginning air kraken chef to experiment with. Personally, I chose to use some Worstraglanshire sauce, maple syrup, free-trade cocoa (*ahem*…well, it was free) and ketchup. Bert asked me to sprinkle powdered sugar over the top, which I thought was excessive, but I gave it a dusting since I had a shaker on hand anyway for Emerson’s Sunday crepes.

    Air Kraken Milk Shake – Tepic Harlequin (CocoaJava Blue Plate Special)

    The last thing we need at the Gangplank is cavorite-like urchin gas, so I snuck into the kitchen at Brunel Hall to mix this one up. Obtaining the air kraken milk was the most difficult step of this recipe; I don’t really want to talk about that. I’m afraid this drink might have broken poor Bert. *stirs up some soda water and hopes for the best*

    Air Kraken Stew – Tepic Harlequin

    This is a great recipe to prepare if one is feeding the entire population of New Babbage and the Scoundrel Fleet put together. It took me awhile to scale it down for preparing in my kitchen and I had a difficult time procuring R.O.U.S. meat on such short notice.  I was a bit nervous about adding the rabbit given Blackberry is the other judge on this contest, so I added some chicken instead. It all tastes the same anyway. The chutney was a nice touch, and I had a cinderberry variety on hand. Although I don’t think I’ll prepare this one very often, it will be nice to have in cold storage for when the Squire gets hungry. Which is pretty much all the time.

    • Mr. Arnold Mr. Arnold August 26, 2012

      Arnold raises an eyebrow, having no memory of making an entry.  “I invited Babbagers to experiment…what was I thinking?”

      ((*Reads the recipe again*.  Oh…forgot to specify the milk should be sour’d and the cinderberries over-rippened.  Well, at least no one will get sick now…unless they take the Wiggyfish part seriously.  Heheh.))

  2. Ceejay Writer Ceejay Writer August 26, 2012

    Junie’s critique review has me wheezing for breath – tis as good as any recipe!  thank you for this really, REALLY fun contest. I had a great time researching my recipe, and incidentally, it’s actually a viable one in a real-life kitchen setting, if you have a deathwish or really do hate your family.

    A question – will you allow the entries to now be posted in other places?  I never do such without asking, but I’d like to share mine at an about-to-debut Armada food blog, and I wish to cajole (pummel with a belaying pin) Vernden to post his on that site too.  

    thank you again for the fun, and I am thrilled to place! 


  3. Blackberry Harvey Blackberry Harvey August 27, 2012

    Cocoa Peanut Air Kraken Elixir (Dee Wells)

    *sips the… er, spoons the… lets the goo float atop the milk and drinks like a hot toddy* This is not horrible at all!  I might serve this at the cafe for Winter season.  The lumps sort of remind one of how we all curdle together come the holidays.

    Fried Air Kraken (Jedburgh Dagger)

    I did some ingredient substitution.  In place of the urchin, I substituted a haunch from a rather sickly yarble that ran in front of the Bump Express.  In place of the death ray, I substituted an old pressure cooker with a faulty release valve.  I threw the ingredients in there and let it explode.  Still, quite delicious!  Salty.

    Crackin’ Good Pickled Air Kraken (Ceejay Writer)

    Miss Ceejay, I must admit… I used this recipe as a way to clean out that old tub you used for the chocolate baths. *blush*
    It did create a rather nice spicy mole sauce with a hint of semi-bathed urchin.  It’s currently sitting in some old casks in the Annex cellar, waiting for the time when I reveal the secret chocolatier… I mean the secre-um… the not secret nothing that’s not there. Nothing.

    Armada Scouts Kraken (Vernden Jervil)

    With a now freshly-scoured bathtub, I made this in it!  I admit that I got kraken parts via seppuku after one took up the habit of smoking and puffed on the pizza oven smokestack until it died from inhalation.  It did give its flesh a rather piquant flavor!

    Air Kraken Aspic (Bookworm Heinrichs)

    I generally mistrust food with a better wiggle than my own, but I made this anyway. I only had cinderberry oil on hand, so it rather came out like a cherry jello mold.  Still quite… delightful, if stringy in a way I can’t quite describe!  I think I should have not julienned the tentacles lengthwise, especially the twenty foot long ones.

    Air Kraken Gumbo (Emmanuelle Huntress)

    After Junie decided on this for the Blue Plate Special, I just decided to taste hers.  Who can pull off a roux anyway? And I mean pull it off — when those gobbets get into your fur while stirring, it can be months before they shed out!

    Sweet and Sour Kraken (Arnold)

    For “other”, I only had some mint on hand left over from the mojito pit, and it definitely lent the entire experience a flavor I won’t soon forget.  Perhaps next time I’ll leave out the ingredients except for the mint, and add tequila and sugar.

    Air Kraken Stew (Tepic Harlequin)

    *looks at the ingredient list and blanches*

    Air Kraken Milk Shake (Tepic Harlequin)

    Once you get over the awful stench of the product’s “outgassing”, it’s actually quite enjoyable!  The milk shake pairs well with the Three Cogs wiggyfish pizza, so it’ll be the new beverage of choice at the pizzeria!

    – – – – –

    In all seriousness, thank you to everyone for your submissions! They were all very creative, and Junie and I discussed them at some length and had a tough time settling on only three finalists. Great job!


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