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A Mystery Box of Food for Me and a Gift for You

July 22, 2013 by Joan Nova in "Foodie" Activities, Blogging, Fish/Seafood, Food Challenge | 20 Comments

I was invited by Kitchen Play to participate in a #CookChilean challenge along with 4 other bloggers. The challenge? Create a dish from a mystery box of ingredients sourced from Chile. What fun! You know how I love kitchen challenges.

When FedEx delivered the big mystery box, I feverishly ripped it open to see what was inside. I was not disappointed.

Smoked trout, smoked salmon, extra virgin olive oil, a tin of mussels, a jar of merlot onion jam, a bag of fresh fruit (apple, lemon, clementines). And, for the chef (me!), they also included a fun fruit-flavored lip balm, avocado slicer/corer/smasher, and an apron.

Did you know that nearly 1 billion pounds of fresh fruit are shipped to North America from Chile every year?

Many other products, like this fish, are distributed from elsewhere (like Maine) but are sourced and exported from Chile.

About the challenge:
I need to create a receipe using some of the items in the mystery box. I’ve got a couple of ideas, but if you’d like to a chance to win a Foods from Chile gift bag (value $30), please leave a suggestion of what I should make in the comments below. No need for descriptives or details, just a germ of an idea. If I pick your suggestion, you win! It’s that simple.*

So, what would you do with smoked trout, smoked salmon, extra virgin olive oil, a tin of mussels, merlot onion jam, a bag of fresh fruit (apple, lemon, clementines).

On an ancillary note, I’ve been to Chile twice and can personally attest to the quality of the food. These photos were taken at a roadside restaurant outside of Santiago where we stopped for delicious empanadas (fresh from the outdoor oven) and a welcome drink.

Watch for social media updates, including a twitter party at 7pm on August 6th after the big reveal earlier in the day (8am).

*Contest Rules: as noted above; void where prohibited; no purchase necessary; must be at least 18 to enter. Shipping to continental U.S. addresses only, excluding Alaska. No P.O. boxes. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. Entry submission period ends Thursday, July 25 at 11:59 PM ET.


NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. Chile is really doing a big push for their produce, they were a sponsor for some of the Sobe Food and Wine Fest events and I came home with a similar bag of goodies. Too early for me to think of an idea though, good luck, Joan!
    La Diva Cucina recently posted..Stuff it! Another Cooking Challenge from the Creative Cooking Crew!My Profile

  2. bellini says:

    Congratulations on winning Joan!!

    • Joan Nova says:

      I didn’t really win anything except the invitation to participate. Sorry the rules don’t allow shipment to Canada but you could still leave a suggestion for the fun of it. :)

  3. Lori Lynn says:

    Hi Joan – How fun! Good luck! Oh, I can see my dish…
    Angel hair pasta tossed with strips of salmon, mussels and apple batons, dill, clementine juice, olive oil, garlic. Topped with a lemon creme fraiche studded with shredded smoked trout. A dollop of the merlot jam sits a top the creme fraiche (almost like caviar). A sprig of dill, a lemon wheel garnish.
    Lori Lynn recently posted..Watermelon Carpaccio, Blistered Shishito, Mitsuba, LimeMy Profile

  4. Erica says:

    Good luck, Joan!What a wonderful box!What about a variation Seafood tapas?
    Erica recently posted..Happy Independence Day, Colombia!My Profile

  5. Can’t wait to see what you come up with. The onion jam in merlot sounds especially good. I love LL’s dish.
    Victoria of Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Quanto Basta and Italian Chicken with Pine Nut Gremolata on a Bed of PeperonataMy Profile

  6. This sounds like an exciting challenge. I will look forward to your recipes as I always do, Joan! You are the best… but, did you know that Atlantic Salmon is endangered? Maybe take a look at the site, “Off the Hook” and others…
    I LOVE the taste of wild Atlantic Salmon – I did a tasting years ago, and it was definitely my favourite, even though I am closer to the Pacific. The farmed salmon isn’t farmed humanely… just thought you would want to know.
    A Canadian Foodie recently posted..Homemade Camembert: Porcini InfusedMy Profile

  7. Can’t wait to see what you do with this great assortment of goodies. I would have a hard time not nibbbling on that lovely smoked salmon before I began creating recipes :)
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peach Lime SalsaMy Profile

  8. Norma - Platanos, Mangoes and Me! says:

    I am definitely thinking brunch..smoked spreads…tapas and fruit salad with that dreamy jam…oh just send me the goodies and I will feed you…

  9. Trix says:

    That’s a fun challenge!!! Chile is on my (long) list of places I’d like to visit.

  10. christo says:

    make two salad dressings with the citrus using the olive oil and the oil from the mussels – make a salad with the apple and top with smoked trout and the onions – do the same with the salmon and then grate zest over the tops – if you wanted to use the citrus as a salad cup then ream out the pulp and reserve the peel for your salad bowl
    christo recently posted..As American as Apple Pie – a ‘Stuffed Apple – Pie’ for CCC (Creative Cooking Crew)My Profile

  11. Beth says:

    I know I’m too late for the contest (plus I live in Canada) but I just had to comment on your blog. We were in Chile a few years ago and I’m pretty sure we were at the same restaurant. (Is it on the way to Valparaiso?) Either way, we loved the food we ate there – so delicious! Thanks for bringing back the good memories.

    • Joan Nova says:

      I know it was a road stop on the way to somewhere. I think it was called Los Hornitos … but I’m not 100% sure. Thanks for the blog visit.

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