Friday, February 12, 2010

Chopped - Olympic Edition

Chopped seemed more interesting than torch lighting. That's my excuse this time. Okay, okay, I'm getting into the sense of competition on the show - I even pulled for the bald guy this time, cuz he seemed so humble and yet he worked so hard and really deserved it.

Appetizer - sea beans (described as salty, pickled jungle grass - yum!), pork tenderloin, ginger ale

Like the contestants, I wouldn't have known what sea beans are. Unlike them, I think I would've picked one up and bit into it and discovered it was salty. I mean, the saltiness doesn't appear magically during cooking, does it? Blanch those things while searing the pork medallions, rubbed with rosemary, lemon, pepper. (Why does everyone cook the whole slab of meat, cut into it, and is shocked that it's raw?) And WTF - cooking pork in bacon? Geez, some heavy food overkill there, Hans. Saute some red pepper strips, then add the ginger ale and cook it down. Actually, better be cooking the ale down as the peppers are sauteeing - contestants seem to have trouble every week with reductions taking longer than they think. Toss the jungle grass in with that, a little at a time. Correct the seasoning with lemon juice or hot sauce to counter the salt (though I think the sweetness of the ginger ale is the main weapon there). Mound it on top of the pork. Simple, but shouldn't be catastrophic.

Entree - baby artichokes, cashew butter, monk fish, thai peppers (they didn't look dried, but real tiny and hot)

Mild fish again! Let's have sardines and mackerel one week! The cashew butter is throwing me, and I hate artichokes (people make fun of me for liking oysters, but those seem far preferable to hairy, prickly green pine cones), so I think I'm going down in flames. Start the artichokes boiling right away, having cut off the stems and quartered them, as I have no idea how long those take to cook. Sear the fish in fairly small fillets. Cut the little peppers lengthwise and seed them as much as possible, as they seemed to be way too hot for everyone. Dice the little pieces. Saute those and throw in chopped tomatoes and let it cook down. So I got a red, hot sauce. Check the artichokes. Hopefully they've cooked and some of the outer leaves have come off, cuz I want to grab those loose pieces and throw them in the food processor with the cashew butter, some parsley, salt, lime juice, and cilantro - it has to turn out green and not grey for this to work. I think I can do it with the herbs, and w/o making it hot, so it's a compliment to the hot pepper/tomato sauce. Plate the artichoke pieces next to the fish - green sauce on the fish, red sauce on the artichokes. Sprig of cilantro on top. Voila. Hoping plating gets me through this.

Dessert - blueberries, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), and jicama

No meat! Yay! No one thought to layer it in a parfait dish again! Go me! Cook the blueberries and some water and sugar into glop. Toast the pumpkin seeds, though I think I'd add a little butter, some salt, and then at the very end some brown sugar to coat. The jicama? So far as I know, it doesn't have much taste, so let's dice it and cook it down to a mash with some cinammon and sugar. Whip some cream as this is going on. So what have I got? Crunchy, salty, sweet layer. Purple, sweet warm layer. White cool creamy layer. Light brown, spicy layer. I think if I layer that in a glass dish it should be nice!

And the bald guy won! Rocky!


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