Friday, January 29, 2010

Chopped II

Okay, I guess if I have to watch this, I might as well keep blogging about it!

Appetizer - Ingredients = chicken wings, sake, grapes

I'd know to cook the wings first. That's a given, though I'd give them 5 minutes marinating in the sake while I gathered the other ingredients, then I'd start sauteeing them (Justin had the right idea to keep turning them constantly, though he was wrong to keep the tips on). I'd puree the grapes and some more sake (smushing the grapes was a good idea from the fireman) and cook that down as the wings fry. I think some orange juice and soy sauce would get thrown in the glaze then, along with something to redden it up - maybe tabasco, but maybe just some paprika (I think the trick was to avoid making buffalo wings like the fireman) then I'd add that to the wings to coat. If I had time, I'd serve it with a spicy, creamy dipping sauce on the side - I was thinking horseradish, but that would put me in a bind with the next challenge, so maybe a traditional bleu cheese.

Entree - Ingredients = catfish, something they called "treviso" that I always called radicchio - it just looked bigger, Japanese eggplant, horseradish

You got to bread and fry the catfish, pretty much. I'd say some parmesan and garlic powder in the breading, but make sure the oil's hot enough when you start and just a thin coating (almost knocked out Justin with bad breading). Meanwhile I'd blanch the raddichio like thing til it softens (to be honest, I'd be winging it, I've only made endive or radicchio a couple times, and I thought blanching it was the right way, but everyone on the show fried theirs), after boiling thin slices of the eggplant (again, I'd be winging it, as I always cook with the big Italian version). I'd stake everything on my last ingredient, which I do have a more definite idea about: I'd grate the horseradish with some ginger and carrot. If they had it, I'd grate in parsnips too, since those are so neutral. That'd make a big pile of orange and white stuff that I'd mound on top of the fish and the eggplant/radicchio. I think the plating on this would be much better than I usually do.

Dessert - Ingredients = cherry tomatoes, ginger snaps, silken tofu, coco nibs

I wouldn't know what to do but make a goop, like the fireman. BUT - plating killed him again. You put it in a tall, glass sundae dish, so you can see the layers! So I make a goop out of tofu and - ? I'm thinking whipped cream, since I think ricotta would make it too tart and chunky. But hoepfully there'd be time to try it before it went in the dish. Meanwhile, I'm cooking down the tomatoes to a red goop (and yes, like Justin, I think Liqueur would be the way to go, though maybe a port would be better than the orange - and some more red thing like raspberries or cherries if they had them). Pulverize the snaps and nibs into some trail mix looking concoction (if they had brown sugar and raisins, or even granola, that'd be fab. Layer the white goop with the crunchy stuff and top with the red goop. That'd be my best attempt I could make with those things.

And I'm not a chef, BTW. I am, as my lovely and talented former neighbor (and defeater of Nazis) Julia Child would always call herself, "A COOK." (And yes, she really was our neighbor in Cambridge.) Which means, I don't know how to conduct and orchestrate a staff of people - I do know how to cook things by myself with some distinction, esp after 30 years or so of doing so.

But, with more modest plans for tomorrow night, and in good cook fashion, we'll be serving a lobster and broccoli quiche (mostly because I have some leftover lobster and broccoli, and the supermarket gave me a coupon for a dozen free eggs). Bon apetit!


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