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updated: 9/29/2011 10:16 AM

Online votes push Cooks of the Week to 2nd round

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  • Mary Beth Riley of Elk Grove Village

    Mary Beth Riley of Elk Grove Village

By Deborah Pankey

The early weeks belonged to the newbies but this week two former Cooks of the Week garnered big support from online voters to push them into the second round of the Cook of the Week Challenge.

Mary Beth Riley's chorizo, onion and potato filled won ton "ravioli" with spinach sauce outscored Jay Deihs' chorizo egg rolls and duo of dipping sauces in online polling. Mark Clemens' polenta lasagna, too, was in a deadlock with Glenn Sasveld's mini meatloaves with polenta fries after the judges weighed in, but online voters carried Clemens to the next level.

Here's what this week's judges (more about them on Page 3) said about the recipes.

Barbecued Polenta Lasagna with Brussels Sprouts

Max Good: Maybe it's the Italian in me, but just the sight of this beauty made me drool. Use of polenta to replace lasagna noodles is interesting, but not original. Ditto using tomato-based barbecue sauce instead of an traditional Italian tomato sauce. Be that as it may, hand me a fork and a glass of vino!

Jean-Louis Clerc: This sounds delicious. Two criticisms of the dish: one, the use of fresh cooked polenta would bring your dish forward; two, the use of the sprout as a salad would have lightened up the dish and would have gotten the dish to the next level.

BBQ Meat Loaves with Polenta Fries

MG: I cannot help but be impressed by the effort of this hard working cook to create one of the most complex recipes for meatloaf I've seen. What it lacks visually, it offsets with powerful and unique flavor combinations. The brussels sprout salad looks nice, but could a lighter, fresher taste paired better with the main course? Polenta French Fries are nice compliment to this meal in every way.

JLC: A great classic dish and a smart use of the polenta; great accent with the sprouts and the use of the spices to bring the dish up. Great job.

Pan-fried Chorizo Ravioli

Tatiyana Piper: I love the idea of using won ton wrappers as a ravioli.

JLC: Great dish and it looks stunning! The only criticism I would make on it is to incorporate a hint of spice with the chorizo to bring the recipe to the next level.

Chorizo Egg Rolls

TP: These egg rolls sounded delicious! The fig preserves, I imagine, would add a really nice sweet level that would be balanced out by the spicy chipotle dip. Yum!

Hagop Hagopian: Well thought out presentation, clean and well balanced. The rolls look like the ends could have been rolled better; other than that, great effort.