Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Chopped" Challenge

I love watching "Chopped" on the Food Network. The show airs on Tuesdays at 10PM EST, but there are re-runs on all the time.  If you have never seen the show and you love watching food challenges then I would suggest you tune in.  Each episode showcases the creativity and imaginations in the chefs who are challenged to use mystery ingredients, all with different flavor profiles, to develop a delicious and cohesive plate.

The show features 4 up-and-coming chefs who are ready to battle it out and make amazing dishes that wow the 3 "Chopped" judges.  The format of the show consists of 3 elimination rounds; appetizer, entree and dessert. All four contestants start with the appetizer round, where they are given matching baskets containing 3 to 4 mystery ingredients.  On top of having mystery ingredients that must be used in the course, they only have 30 minutes per round to plan and cook delicious food.  The chefs also have access to a huge pantry of additional ingredients they can also use in their dishes.  Once finishing each round, the chefs are sent to the judges table to listen to praise and criticisms.  Together the judges come to an agreement of who wasn't up to par in that round and the weakest link is "Chopped".  Then the remaining 3 contestants make their way into the entree round where it starts all over again.  They continue this same way through the dessert round until a "Chopped" winner is crowned.

I am always amazed at how quickly these amazing chefs can jump into action with the random mystery ingredients and create a dish in such a short amount of time.  I asked my husband if he would want to join me in our own "Chopped" challenge this past weekend and, he accepted the proposal.  Because it was just the two of us, and we had no judges, we adjusted our rules slightly to make it work.  

Our " 'Chopped' House Rules"
1) This was going to take place over a course of two days as only one person was cooking at a time. We really weren't completing against each other.
2) We each drew out of a hat to select either Dinner or Lunch Course
3) I drew Dinner, so Bill selected my 3 mystery ingredients and I selected his 3 Lunch ingredients for the next day.
4) The 3 mystery ingredients had to consist of 1 meat, 1 vegetable and 1 wild card item
5) We can use any pantry ingredients that are in the house
6) We had 60 minutes to plan our meal, cook and serve
7) No cookbooks, Google search, Food Blogs etc. could be used. Everything had to come from our own knowledge.
8) Have FUN!!!

I am so glad that we came up with this, because it was a HUGE success! We both came up with great dishes and finished under our time limit.  So we will probably adjust the rules next time.

The 3 mystery ingredients in my basket were Top Round Steak, Cilantro and Boursin Cheese spread! Initially I thought of grilling the steak and serving a Boursin cheese sauce on top, but I had no plan for the cilantro.  So I decided to change up my plans and boy am I glad I did!  I ended up making a Cilantro Crusted Steak accompanied by Boursin Mashed Potatoes and Sautéed Grape Tomatoes!  Sounds delicious, huh?  I thought so too.  I am very impressed with our first challenge.  Next time we both decided to select ingredients that are a bit more difficult to make it even more challenging. 

I challenge you to take on the mystery ingredients basket!

1 comment:

  1. What a fun challenge! It looks like you were successful. I've watched Chopped on Food Network several times, and am always amazed by how quickly they can make tasty dishes from random ingredients.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...