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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Week #25 – We played “Chopped”

This week we’re doing something a bit different. Following is the explanation:

There is a cool show on the Foodnetwork called “Chopped” There are 4 contestants, a basket of mystery ingredients and an amount of time on the clock. Each chef must make something from the basket of mystery ingredients in an allotted amount of time. If they fail the task; usually in taste; they are CHOPPED from the competition. We LOVE this show and this week we are doing our own rendition of the show. We had a family member choose the mystery ingredients for us and we had to create a starter and an entree with these ingredients. We’re allowed to use other items in the kitchen but we didn’t use a recipe nor did we plan in advance for the dishes we prepared. Following is the results of our “friendly competition”.

Chef Jonathan:

The Appetizer: The ingredients for the appetizer round were: pineapple, artichoke hearts, and potatoes. My appetizer was a Deconstructed Grilled Salad. I used a romaine heart lettuce leaf as the base, and layered the sauteed seasoned potatoes (adding some Greek Herb dressing), boiled then sauteed (in garlic EVOO) artichoke hearts, and grilled pineapple rings. I also made a classic dressing (50% EVOO, 50% vinegar), adding salt and pepper, and whisking in some of the reserved pineapple juice. I drizzled the dressing over top and voila, Deconstructed Grilled Salad!

                            

The Entree: The ingredients for the entree round were: brown rice, curry, potato chips, and scallops. My entree was Sauteed Scallops with a Curry Sauce, and Curried Rice. I took a very fusion approach to this course, and since curry was one of the secret ingredients, I drew most of my inspiration from there. I made the curry sauce, by heating chicken stock on medium high, whisking in the curry, then making a slurry (water whisked with corn starch), and whisking in the slurry to thicken the sauce. For the curried rice, I simply cooked the rice, and added curry half way through cooking, to infuse the spice into the rice. I sauteed the scallops lastly, and plated everything with 13 seconds on the clock!

                        

Karen:

The appetizer:  I had the same ingredients for my appetizer.  I took a different approach and made potato pancakes with artichoke hearts with a side fruit salad.

For the pancakes, I chopped up the potatoes, artichokes and some onion.  I mixed it with some garlic butter and an egg.  I fried them on the stove just like a pancake.  They actually turned out to be very tasty.  for the salad, I added an orange, Asian pear and some onion to the pineapple.  I stirred in some vanilla Greek yogurt to blend the flavours together.  I think it turned out pretty good!

The entree:

I, again, had the same ingredients as Chef Jonathan. I ended up calling my presentation “Curry 3 ways”.  You’ll see why. First, I crushed the potato chips in a bowl and added some curry.  I then dipped the scallops in them, put them in a pan to sear them and then stuck them in the oven to cook.

Meanwhile, while my rice was cooking, I cooked some onion and garlic and added it to the rice with some curry.  I also cooked some green beans, added a bit of garlic butter and curry to them, too.

I laid the scallops on top of the rice and scattered feta cheese over the whole plate.

Results:

We each had our own judge who graded us on taste, originality and presentation.

Karen received 31 out of 40

Chef Jonathan received 35 out of 40.  Therefore, Karen was chopped.

It was a fun experiment to which we both felt a lot of stress but thankfully, our judges weren’t as cruel as those on the real show!

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Week 24- Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake

Chef Jonathan: This recipe looked so good, and it tastes even better! It’s really quite simple, as long as you’re mise is in correct order, due to the number of steps. For the cakes themselves I followed the method pretty closely, except I used chocolate chips, instead of chunks. I also used my silicone muffin tray, instead of ramekins, which worked out well, since they are an extra large size. I wasn’t particularly fond of the syrup, it was very runny, and I would have liked a thicker base. Although, the ganache was a nice consistency and it was prefect for presentation. My sister put it best, that it tastes like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange! It’s a very easy recipe, and I recommend this for everyone to make!

Karen: I watched Ina Garten make this recipe, emailed Chef Jonathan immediately and asked if this could be our next blog recipe. He agreed and I’m so glad he did. I am usually opposed to multiple-step recipes but this one is well worth it! It’s easy although there are 3 steps. I’ve been totally convinced that making a cake from scratch is worth the time it takes and this recipe certainly proves it. I followed the directions as written even using freshly squeezed orange juice. My husband said he could smell the orange as it was cooking – that’s how fresh it is. I used ramekins instead of silicone molds. I buttered them generously and added a small circle of parchment to the bottom of each one so they would come out easier. It worked! The only change was that I only had 5 ramekins, not 6, so I added a bit of cake batter to each of the 5 and added 10 minutes to the cooking time. They came out wonderfully. I also cut off the top of the cakes; which becomes the bottom before pouring the ganache over them. This made them sit nicely on the platter. Make these little treats for a family treat or for company! You will love them!

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This is a Food Network recipe. Here is the link:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/mini-orange-chocolate-chunk-cake-recipe/index.html

 

Week 23 – Monster Brownies or PURE DECADENCE

Chef Jonathan: We found these brownies in a local newspaper last week, under a different name, and we decided to choose something more culinarily appropriate. I adapted the recipe a bit, to fit my specifications. Instead of using box mixes for both the cookies, and the brownies, I made them both by scatch. I used my Mom’s secret recipe for the cookies, and a wonderful recipe from the March issue of FNM. I also omitted the oreos, as I felt it would too much chocolate……The end result was very delightful, a nice cookie bar on the bottom, and fudgy brownie on top, the perfect combination!

Karen:  Decadence. That’s the only word I have to describe these yummy brownies.  This recipe is derived from one I found on the internet.  This brownie has as many parts as you want to put into it.  I made the base a chocolate chip cookie recipe (my favourite whose recipe I with hold from the public), then I placed Oreo cookies ontop of that and then poured a layer of my favourite brownie recipe ontop of that.  I then sprinkled M&Ms on the top, popped it into the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees and let it cool before cutting into them.  You can use whatever you want for these; add nuts, marshmallows,other layers, whatever sounds good to you.  You can top the hot Monster Brownies with ice cream and chocolate sauce or eat them right out of the pan.  However you do it, make sure you share 🙂  Have fun making these,  Be creative.  Enjoy eating them!

 Chocolate Chip Cookie base

 Oreo cookies go next

Then pour brownie batter onto the Oreos

 Then sprinkle M&Ms on the top… if you want to