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updated: 9/5/2012 10:31 AM

Contestants get creative with challenge ingredients

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  • Ron Nunes

    Ron Nunes

  • Michael Pennisi

    Michael Pennisi

  • Gary Midkiff

    Gary Midkiff

  • Rachel Hencz

    Rachel Hencz

By Deborah Pankey
Daily Herald Food Editor

What did you cook for dinner last night?

Did it involve kale and cooking sherry? Or perhaps wheat berries, tomatillos and coconut milk?

Read the recipes that our Cook of the Week Challenge contestants came up with, those ingredients might well be on your next shopping list.

The mission for all of the contestants is to use a basket of "secret ingredients" to come up with a cohesive meal -- either an entree and side dish or a one-pot dish.

My goal is to have the cooks try potentially unfamiliar ingredients in combination with common pantry items. Each week two pairs of contestants will reveal recipes for their respective challenges. Today we get recipes from Rachel Hencz and Ron Nunes, Michael Pennisi and Gary Midkiff.

The judges have today's recipes and photos and will rate each recipe on creativity, use of ingredients, appearance and perceived taste.

The results will be published next week and the cook with the best recipe will advance to Round 2.

You can head to and vote for your favorite recipe. The results of online voting also will appear in each week's Food section.

Each week random voters will be selected to receive prizes from our sponsors and at the end of two rounds the cook with the most votes will receive a special prize.

You can also head to our Facebook page,, and tell us what you might have whipped up when faced with the challenge ingredients.

And then make it, or one of these recipes, for dinner tonight.

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