WBEZ | White Castle Cook-Off http://www.wbez.org/tags/white-castle-cook Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en White Castle Cook-Off 2013 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-01/white-castle-cook-2013-104944 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8385289656/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sliderscookoffaspic_0.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Sliders in Aspic by LTH Forum members Carolyn Berg and David Hammond at unofficial White Castle Cook-Off 2013(WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p><blockquote><p>&nbsp;[J]ust thinking about those tender little White Castle burgers with those little, itty-bitty grilled onions that just explode in your mouth like flavor crystals every time you bite into one... just makes me want to burn this motherf---er down.</p></blockquote><p>&mdash; <em>Harold &amp; Kumar Go to White Castle</em>, Burger Shack Employee</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8385212581/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/slidercookofftasting.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="White Castle Cook-Off 2013 tasting plate (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Aspic is a gelatin made with stock or&nbsp;consommé, the latter perfectly clarified, classically with a raft of egg whites. It was once used as a preservation method in the Middle Ages, sealing meat from air and slowing spoilage. Aspic became, at its best, a chef&#39;s shimmering edible palette at the most formal occasions. I loved learning to make it at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and appreciate its cool, textural, and taste contrast to the rich dish encased within.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">A recent rendition of Sliders in Aspic, however, was an unholy thing. Cold, hard, flavorless, lifeless jelly imprisoning a quartet of White Castle hamburgers in suspended inanimation. Tibetan Buddhists portray Hell as cold. If so, this is what you&#39;re force-fed for eternal damnation.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The rest of the dishes at the inaugural, unofficial, local White Castle Cook-Off were actually pretty good, including the ice cream.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8385222099/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/slidercookoffconsomme.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Slider Consommé by LTH Forum member eating while walking (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The event last Saturday was organized by <a href="http://lthforum.com/bb/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&amp;u=6">Catherine Lambrecht, one of the founders of <em>LTH Forum</em></a>&nbsp;(and my dear friend), with fellow members submitting a total of eight dishes, each using sliders as a key ingredient. The challenge was born from a heated thread, &quot;<a href="http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=18&amp;t=34863">White Castle: Far Worse Than I&rsquo;d Imagined</a>,&quot; started last May by David Hammond, who writes the <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/food/17230167-423/the-lack-of-liver-on-menu-is-just-wrong.html"><em>Sun-Times </em>Food Detective</a> column and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/david-hammond">contributes occasionally to WBEZ</a>.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The original White Castle buildings were inspired by Chicago&#39;s own historic Water Tower. White Castle #16 not only still stands at 53 E. Cermak Rd., but <a href="http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=189881">won landmark status</a> last year, as first <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/lee-bey/2011-03-02/landmark-status-white-castle-its-what-city-craves-83226">reported by architecture blogger Lee Bey</a>. Built in 1930 and restored in 2010, it&#39;s now home to&nbsp;<a href="http://chefluciano.com/">Chef Luciano &amp; Gourmet Chicken</a>. A working White Castle stands nearly across the street, both just beyond the gates to Chinatown.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">I was introduced to White Castle as a child by my grandparents, the small burgers similar to Chinese meat-stuffed steamed <em>bao,&nbsp;</em>continue to hold a nostalgic place on my plate.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8384202913/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/slidercookoffcobbler.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Castle Cobbler by LTH Forum member Cathy2 (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Their precedent is the official <a href="http://www.whitecastle.com/food/recipes/new">Crave Time Cook Off Recipe Contest</a>, which has given us such contemporary classics as the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.whitecastle.com/food/recipes">White Castle Turkey Stuffing</a>, the winner in 1991.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Last weekend we tasted some contest recipes but also original creations, two of which we who bore witness and tastebuds agreed tied for best:&nbsp;<a href="http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=437120#p437120">White Castle-Breaded Fried Chicken</a> and <a href="http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=437197#p437197">Slider-Stuffed Lumpia</a>. The Slider Consommé looked like an unmentionable sample in the clinical context, but with a flavor mercifully and pleasantly reminscent French onion soup. The Slusterd was an convergence of sliders, mustard, and &nbsp;frozen custard, which somehow represented all three worlds but was actually not bad.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8385643556/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/slidersbottomsonly.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Secret menu slider bun bottoms only (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">The Sliders on a Shingle used a little-known secret menu option: bottom buns only. The&nbsp;Savory Slider Puck Cakes were essentially cheesy mini muffins. Lambrecht herself made&nbsp;1999 Finalist, <a href="http://www.whitecastle.com/food/recipes/view/14-castle-cobbler">Castle Cobbler</a>, using real apples, and the 2012 Cook-Off Winner, <a href="http://www.whitecastle.com/food/recipes/view/318-sloppy-sliders">Sloppy Sliders</a>.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">The Sliders in Aspic however, was, well, some things can never be untasted.</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8385280418/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/slidercookoffbite.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="LTH Forum member eating while walking tastes Sliders in Aspic (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">White Castle opened its annual <a href="http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151182495167665&amp;set=a.392442207664.166478.212780672664&amp;type=1">Valentine&#39;s Day reservations yesterday</a>. Love will be in the air with tablecloths, candlelight, flowers, and the aroma of&nbsp;those those little, itty-bitty grilled onions.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8384542697/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/slidercookoffcooks.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Unofficial White Castle Cook-Off 2013 cooks (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 16 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-01/white-castle-cook-2013-104944