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a very Chopped birthday

by Rob Friesel

If you haven’t seen Chopped… well, it’s pretty much my favorite show on TV1. And it’s pretty awesome. If you’re not familiar with the premise, here is the nickel tour: four chefs compete for a shot at $10,000—they get a basket of three-or-four of “mystery ingredients” for each course (appetizer, entree, and dessert)—and they have a limited time (per-course) to use all of those mystery ingredients in their dish.

Anyway, it’s awesome.

And I thought it might be cool to be on the show. Only I’m not a professional chef, so instead I thought I might settle for doing a variation on the show for my birthday dinner party. My idea for the variation:

  1. Each couple brings a set of mystery ingredients (they are assigned to shop for a course beforehand);
  2. Each couple then has to cook a course at the party (but they only know they’re not cooking the course that they brought ingredients for);
  3. And then at “game time”, you get the usual time limits (20 or 30 minutes) to cook your course; and/but
  4. We’ll let you finish what you’ve started—because who wants to get food poisoning?

And well, we had a couple drop out2 so we were down to two. So here’s how it shook out: we bought the entree ingredients, and made the dessert ahead of time; they brought the appetizer ingredients…

And it turned out… Not bad!

Appetizer course:

We were presented with:

  • ground turkey;
  • croissants;
  • pimentos; and
  • persimmons.

It was a little hairy but 20 minutes plus about 4 we ended up with:

a very Chopped birthday

“French Toast Turkey Sliders”—

  • Turkey sliders with poultry seasoning and shredded carrot fried;
  • croissant “French toast” fries with cinnamon and ginger; and
  • a fruit relish of pimentos, pineapple, persimmon and chopped savory.

Verdict: not bad! For those that got crispy “French toast fries”—they loved them. And the turkey sliders were at least passable.


Entree course:

We presented them with:

  • chicken stock;
  • canned butter beans;
  • dried papaya; and
  • elk meat.

And in 30 minutes plus 3, they gave us:

a very Chopped birthday

“Deconstructed Americana Kebabs”—

  • A deconstructed elk kebabs;
  • papaya-sweetened butter bean mash
  • grilled veggies; and
  • a grilled croissant wedge.

Verdict: butter bean mash was the hit of the night—everyone loved it—like a sweet mashed potatoes almost. And if you haven’t had elk before3—well, it’s a lot like beef. So that was good. And it was fun to see some of the first round’s mystery ingredients make a slight reprise.

As for dessert. How can you go wrong with a pineapple upside down cake (with sour cherries)?

a very Chopped birthday

Delicious. And quite a fun night.

The whole picture set is here on Flickr.

  1. Or at least my favorite show on Food Network. []
  2. Well, they RSVP’d as “can’t make it” so… []
  3. We hasn’t. []

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night; weekend homebrewer. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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