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Emerilized Pilau
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Pilau and pilaf are first cousins! This dish, which can be rice- or bulghur-based, originated in the Near East. You begin by first browning the rice in butter or oil before adding water or stock. The dish can be variously seasoned and usually contains cooked chopped vegetables, meats, seafood, or poultry. It's easily prepared and can accompany a variety of foods. You'll really be surprised at how versatile it is. Be creative and add whatever chopped vegetables - like yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, green beans - you've got on hand, or whatever suits your fancy. The important thing is the proportion of liquid to rice.

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 pound boiled ham, diced
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 cups long-grain white rice
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions (green and white parts)
1/2 cup seeded and chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup frozen peas
3 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth

From Prime Time Emeril by Emeril's Food of Love Productions LLC. 2001 HarperCollins Publishers. Used by permission. For more about Emeril's cookbooks, click here.