Last week, Jennifer Carnam brought home her third victory in this epic battle of culinary greatness. Let’s see if she can do it again…">

Supper Punch!!! (Week 8)

You can’t go wrong with meat and potatoes, ladies and gentlemen. Last week, Jennifer Carnam brought home her third victory in this epic battle of culinary greatness. Let’s see if she can do it again…

Voting for week 8 of Supper Punch!!! is now closed. Jennifer Carnam has done it again. She is unstoppable! Tune in tomorrow for the final battle.

You can’t go wrong with meat and potatoes, ladies and gentlemen. Last week, Jennifer Carnam brought home her third victory in this epic battle of culinary greatness. Let’s see if she can do it again…

Our competitors:
Sarah Bonkovsky, a gluten-free mother of three who loves to eat food from her own and nearby gardens. She also describes herself as “slightly lazy, distracted, and messy in the kitchen.” Don’t let her self-deprecating tone fool you — she can BRING IT.

Jennifer Carnam, Vice President of Marketing for the Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau (RMCVB) with 30+ years of experience. She’s a California native, a Boston Red Sox fan (by marriage), wife to Allyn, mother to Lex, and step-mother to Lincoln and Todd. She is also the most fun.

Ross Catrow, co-founder of local web design firm PharrOut, lover of beer, butter, and his family. He’s perhaps best-known as the master and commander of the good ship RVANews. Occasionally he takes a picture or two (you can see documentation of his Supper Punch candidates here).

Nick Dawson who recalls early memories of watching PBS cooking shows while home sick from school. By day he works in hospital administration, focusing on improving on the patient experience; by night he is a fan of all things porcine, a curer of meats, a producer of pickles, and a lover of simple foods done very well. He describes himself as “passionate about local, sustainable foods and their producers.”

Our current standings are:
Bonkovsky: 1 (winning week 5)
Carnam: 3 (winning weeks 2 and 3, 7)
Catrow: 1 (winning week 6)
Dawson: 2 (winning weeks 1 and 4)

Let us begin!

Bonkovsky: Veal Saltimbocca

I took a week off from Supper Punch and let my husband do the cooking this time. DQ me if you’d like, but not before you read about how to make this meal so you can recreate the yumminess at home. The dish my husband made was veal saltimbocca, which literally translated means “jumps into one’s mouth”. I can’t think of a more accurate description of how I ate. Here’s how to make it: take some veal, pound it out, dredge in cornmeal (for the GF among us), lay some fontina cheese and sage leaves on top, wrap some prosciutto around it and saute in olive oil and garlic. After the veal is done cooking, take it out and add some wine to de-glaze the pan, then pour it on top. We had ours with a side of asparagus (not really in season, I know, but delicious just the same).

Time spent
The whole process took less than half an hour. I was seriously shocked at how quickly this meal came together. Now that I know how to make it, I’ll be sure to do so sometime in the near future.

Carnam: Pineapple Chicken Skewers with Baked Stuffed Graffiti Eggplant and Blood Orange, Kiwi & Pomegranate Fruit Salad

All day Sunday I was flashing back to what I was doing 24 years ago to the day – anxiously awaiting the arrival of my baby girl. It was a long, arduous process, but a mere 23 and ½ hours after I arrived at the hospital early on the morning of Oct. 10, 1986 Lex was born. Even though her birthday is Oct. 11, we celebrated on Sunday, complete with Barboursville Brut sparkling wine.

I practically ran over another shopper in the produce section when I spotted these gorgeous graffiti eggplants. I grabbed two of the prettiest and thought they’d be especially festive stuffed with a tri-color rice blend, some Kalamata olives, feta, olive oil and fresh oregano (from my deck).

I’ve been anxious to skewer something ever since the Red Sox didn’t make it to the playoffs and the Yankees did, and this weekend’s weather certainly cooperated for outdoor grilling, so I settled on boneless, skinless chicken thighs and fresh pineapple. I cut the chicken in chunks and marinated them in a mixture of low sodium soy sauce, white wine vinegar, fresh ginger, a little brown sugar and some almond oil for about 3 hours. I reserved the pineapple halves to use as “boats” for a simple fruit salad with blood oranges, pomegranate seeds, kiwi and banana.

This all came together for a nice, casual family dinner. Of course, we had to keep peeling my 87-old Mom away from the TV during the Braves vs. Giants game (she wore her Braves hat, t-shirt and chopped her foam tomahawk dutifully). Sadly, her team lost, but the birthday dinner was a win all around for all three generations.

Time spent
1 hour and 10 minutes

Catrow: Chocolate Chip Cookies

So. I am sure I made dinner a couple of times this week, but you know what? None of it was very appealing to look at. I mean it was tasty, don’t get me wrong. But things like sausage gravy with homemade biscuits, sausage stromboli, and roasted vegetable mash — while delicious — are not very photogenic. My mom was like, “All your food is brown.” WELL SO WHAT, SOMETIMES VEGETABLES ARE BROWN. The above picture is proof that at times things were edible.

You know what is uncontroverted truth? Chocolate chip cookies are delicious — especially chewy ones. Well here is the best doggone chocolate chip cookie recipe that exists. Just ask PharrOut and RVANews.

  • 2c flour
  • .5t baking soda
  • .5t salt
  • .75c butter, melted
  • 1c brown sugar
  • .5c white sugar
  • 1tblspn vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2c semisweet chocolate chips

Combine the dry in one bowl and the wet in another. Then mix the two together, adding the chocolate chips at the end. Here is the important part: each cookie should be ONE QUARTER CUP — which is massive, but key. Also key: bake at 325 for ~15 minutes. The cookies will look raw and mushy, THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT. Transfer them to a cooling rack and eat them all before the sun rises again.

Time spent
About 10 minutes to prep, 15 minutes to cook

Dawson: Fried Chicken, Black Garlic Mashed Potatoes, & Green Beans

My doctor doesn’t read Supper Punch right? Fried goodness two weeks in a row! It all started when we ran into Ryan Smartt at the South of the James Market. As I recall it went something like: “Nick, two words… fried chicken!” Well, who am I to disappoint? Much like the pork chop last week, the chicken when into a 50% brine solution (50g of kosher salt to 1l of water) for 24 hours. While it came to room temperature and dried, I mixed up the coating. Flour, Panko bread crumbs, paprika, cayenne pepper and onion powder went into a bowl, got mixed with vigor and then divided into two bowls.

It should be stated that everything I now know about frying chicken, I learned from Brad at Edo’s Squid in relation to frying sweetbreads. Brad’s method is pretty simple: forcibly press the coating onto every inch of the quartered bird. Place each piece into the first bowl of the coating and, using the back of your hand, literally squash the coating into the meat and skin. The idea is to really pack it on. Then the chicken went through a quick dip of buttermilk and then into the second bowl of coating, repeating the packing process. Shake off the excess and get ready to fry! The cooking is easier with two pans. A high sided dutch oven works well for the thighs and drumsticks. Drop them into 340F oil and let them get a 3 minute head start before lowering the breasts into a cast iron pan with oil at the same temperature.

For the potatoes, we stared with some great local tubers that were boiled until soft. When making mash potatoes, its important to have warm milk or you get lumps — or so my grandmother tells me, and you don’t want to argue with her. Trust me. I used the warming milk as a chance to infuse some flavor, specifically black garlic. Black garlic is garlic that has been fermented while raw in a controlled environment over two weeks. It has the texture and sweetness of roasted garlic and admittedly it was a challenge not to eat most of it raw on some bread. It is also loaded with umami, that sometimes debated fifth taste that represents a fatty mouth feel often associated with things like oysters and soy sauce. Once the potatoes were cooked, we mashed ’em up with the garlic, milk and some…well… lots of butter.

The beans got a simple coating of olive oil and kosher salt and went into a 500f oven for 12 minutes. We served some homemade hot sauce and some home pickled radishes alongside the golden brown and delicious bird.

Time spent
1 hour, 15 minutes

Now get to voting!

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  1. Fried chicken. FRIED CHICKEN.


  2. Close call between the veal and the chicken, but Dawson takes it with the black garlic.

  3. I would be remiss to not vote with my sweet tooth.


  4. Awdang.

    I totally split that infinitive. My bad.

    Please don’t hold it against me.

  5. Jeremiah on said:

    lumme some fried chicken!

  6. Meat and potatoes may have prevailed last week, but fried chicken and potatoes get my vote this week. Go Dawson!

  7. Renee on said:

    Fried chicken AND garlic potatoes? Yep, Dawson has my vote this week.

  8. erica on said:

    Carnam: Pineapple Chicken Skewers

  9. Lindsay on said:

    I’ll never turn my back on chocolate chip cookies. Catrow it is.

  10. My vote definitely goes to Carnam!! OMGish the Stuffed Graffitti Eggplant has my mouth watering already!!

  11. Sarah on said:

    My vote is for Carnam. My mouth is watering!

  12. Linda on said:

    Carnam, looks great!!!

  13. Gigi on said:

    Jennifer Carnam’s Greek style eggplant swung my vote. I’m glad she took out her frustation over the Red Sox’s loss by skewering the chicken, I may do the same next time my Tigers lose. I love pineapple and her use of the pineapple brought back memories of Hawaii.

    Go Jennifer!!!

  14. Though the photo of Val is very cute, and the colorful birthday dinner w/ 3 generations of women is awesome, there’s just something about how crispy that fried chicken looks. And the RVA collaboration at the #SOTJ. I vote DAWSON.

  15. One: Carnam gets my vote because anyone who spent 23 and 1/2 hours bringing me into the world deserves it!
    Two: The meal was awesome and was a perfect reflection of my personality, and how I am desperately trying to cling to the summer and its awesome fruits!
    Three: If I didn’t vote for her, my grandma Bashie might come over and beat me senseless with her foam “tommy-hawk” (as she calls it) :)

  16. Blueshound on said:

    My wife would say there is nothing better than fishin and fried chicken. Throwing a vote to the Dawson.

  17. blogkitten on said:

    How can you NOT vote for fried chicken?


  18. Katherine on said:

    This may be the toughest decision yet. Great contenders all. But I have to go with the pineapple boats and a three generation celebration. Super festive. And I miss my grandmother who too was an avid Braves fan. Carnam FTW.

  19. Dawson. Fried chicken, ftw!

  20. Jayne on said:

    My vote is for Carnam! Looks fantastic!!

  21. You absolutely have to vote for Jennifer; not sure whether she is a better writer or cook, but the combination is unbeatable!!

  22. Ryan Smartt on said:

    Winner, winner…(you know the rest.)

  23. ;Jennifer Carnam gets my vote as well as my praise.That was the best meal yet and prov;ided such comfort after the Braves lost.
    I would love to say that Jennifer learned from her mother the cooking she does so well,but her mother cooks things like turnip greens, corn bread and sweet potatoes.

  24. Susan on said:

    Dawson! Ryan Smartt was right, winner winner chicken dinner.
    This fried chicken was awesome as were the potatos and beans. Seriously, homemade fried chicken, glutinous and awesome!

  25. Shane on said:

    I’m voting for Dawson but I’m not happy about it. I know for a fact fried chicken travels well and he knows where I live. Angry.

  26. Lincoln Carnam on said:

    I think I want to try that fried chicken, because who doesn’t love them some fried anything.
    That said, I have to vote for Carnam because of those pineapple boats of fruit salad. One for that, WOW!!!

  27. Folks, I ate the 12 piece fried chicken meal…for three days…and I’ll be at the gym for the next 3 months thinking about it….it was glorious in the way that only crispy fried bird skin can be.

    But seriously, how awesome does the Bonkovsky veal look? Its got it all: garlic, crispy veal, and pork! If veal is wrong, I don’t want o be right.

    vote: Bonko

  28. Carnam got me that time, although I’m following Catrow’s choco-chip recipe next time I make cookies.

    So Carnam. No, Dawson.
    No, Carnam. Definitely. I think.

  29. Carrie on said:

    Dawson….fried chicken yum yums!

  30. Zach McCluskey on said:

    If I had one meal that I could eat while stranded on an island it would be Dawson’s fried chicken and tators.

  31. Tommy on said:


  32. Bettie on said:

    Drooling over the pineapple boats. #Carnam all the way!

  33. Bettie on said:

    Oops, drooling so much I forgot how to think. Eggplant boats! Still Carnam!

  34. Jeannea on said:

    Though I could indeed make a meal on chocolate chip cookies and who doesn’t love fried chicken with garlic mashed potatoes, my vote is for CARNAM. Greek Polynesian …. a whole new culinary style. Love the pineapple salad bowl!

  35. Tom Campbell on said:

    Nick, seriously. I want to make babies with that fried chicken.

    So….Im voting for Dawson.

  36. Nancy on said:

    Although the fried chicken does look awesome, I have to vote for Carnam…her whole meal looks absolutely incredible! I love chicken and pineapple grilled together…..YUM!!! I want one of those pineapple fruit salad boats now…this has made me hungry….

  37. Elizabeth M on said:

    While it is tough to beat fried chicken or any fresh cookie … my vote is for Carnam. Not only do the chicken and fruit sound and look yummy, the eggplant has my mouth watering. Jennifer gets my vote!

  38. Catherine on said:

    Chewy, gooey, chocolate chip cookies! I’m voting Catrow.

  39. I’m going with Carnam!

  40. jENNY pRICE on said:

    I vote Carnam. I can relate to the long labor and really love anything with eggplant especially with the Greek twist. The Barboursville Brut is so yummy. I would be hungry reading about all this good food but I just returned from the tasting preview at Cinabistro. Big fan!

  41. Rosemary on said:

    Fried chicken, fried chicken, fried chicken, fried chicken – obviously I’m voting for Dawson!

  42. george on said:

    you had me at fried chicken – the mashed potatoes were just the iciing on the cake. Dawson gets miy vote.

  43. One more for Carnam – boats and colors and skewers, Oh my!

  44. Jennifer on said:

    Catrow – Because I saw him twice last week and each time, I couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying because I couldn’t get the image of those cookies out of my head. He’s seriously a cookie monster.

  45. Jonathan on said:

    I’ve gotta go with Bonkovsky! Carnam’s was very creative and well presented, but I am a huge fan of Saltimbocca, and it looked fantastic. Also, I can’t eat eggplant, which makes me sad.

  46. Sarah’s looks delicious. Although, Catrow’s Cookies look Ciller. (get it? Ciller? I replaced the K in “Killer” with a C)

  47. Ashley on said:

    Dawson’s fried chicken!

  48. Dawson.

    Though I wish I could be in a tasting with all of the above.

  49. Those eggplants are gorgeous! Carnam gets my vote.

  50. Michelle on said:

    I can never make eggplant right…. my vote is for Carnam. Her’s looks delicious.

  51. Stephanie on said:

    Mmmmmmmmm. Fruits!! Beautiful presentation! Carnam gets my vote!

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