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posted: 10/30/2013 6:08 AM

Cook of the Week Challenge: Judges pick up the pan

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  • Michael Pennisi

    Michael Pennisi

  • Mario Portanova

    Mario Portanova

  • John Engle

    John Engle

  • Penny Kazmier

    Penny Kazmier

By Deborah Pankey
Daily Herald Food Editor

It's second nature for cooks. We read someone's recipe and the wheels in our minds start turning over ways to tweak this or add that.

And of course it's that way with our Cook of the Week Challenge judges. One would have turned frozen multigrain waffles and gruyere-style cheese into a panini; another thought about Middle Eastern lamb kebabs for the ground lamb and honey challenge.

So I asked each judge to pick any of the mystery baskets and come up with a recipe.

A few of them took me up on the challenge. Like the contestants, they had four to five days to turn something around.

Cook of the Year for 2011 Penny Kazmier picked the dreaded canned salmon basket that also included farro, grapes and red bell peppers.

"I can honestly say my childhood memories of canned salmon are not the best, although after having experimented a bit I think I have a new perspective," Kazmier said.

How do our judges' recipes stack up against the 2013 contestants' recipes? Head to and let us know.

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