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 $10,000â€”they get a basket of three-or-four of “mystery ingredients” for each course (appetizer, entree, and dessert)â€”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:
- Each couple brings a set of mystery ingredients (they are assigned to shop for a course beforehand);
- 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);
- And then at “game time”, you get the usual time limits (20 or 30 minutes) to cook your course; and/but
- We’ll let you finish what you’ve startedâ€”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!
We were presented with:
- ground turkey;
- pimentos; and
It was a little hairy but 20 minutes plus about 4 we ended up with:
“French Toast Turkey Sliders”â€”
- 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”â€”they loved them. And the turkey sliders were at least passable.
We presented them with:
- chicken stock;
- canned butter beans;
- dried papaya; and
- elk meat.
And in 30 minutes plus 3, they gave us:
“Deconstructed Americana Kebabs”â€”
- 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 nightâ€”everyone loved itâ€”like a sweet mashed potatoes almost. And if you haven’t had elk before3â€”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)?
Delicious. And quite a fun night.
The whole picture set is here on Flickr.
- Or at least my favorite show on Food Network. [↩]
- Well, they RSVP’d as “can’t make it” so… [↩]
- We hasn’t. [↩]