So, as mentioned in my previous post here, to ring in my 29th birthday, we held a CHOPPED Championship competition at our house — and boy, was it FUN!
For those who haven’t seen CHOPPED, a little background: Chopped is a cooking competition on Food Network, where three chefs battle it out by creating dishes using secret ingredients that are hidden in a mystery basket — they do not know those ingredients until they open the basket right before they cook. Each chef MUST use every ingredient in the basket, as well as have the option to use ingredients from a limited pantry. The chef who has the worst dish is CHOPPED, and then two chefs battle, and then eventually you are left with a Chopped Champion who wins!
Since we only have one oven/stove (and we all aren’t chefs, by any means), I had to adjust the rules of Chopped a little to accommodate. I paired everyone up into teams of two. Each team was in charge of a type of dish: appetizer, entree, and dessert. The team that was cooking that dish purchased ingredients for a different team’s basket, so no one knew what they were going to be cooking with until it was time to cook. Each team had 45 minutes total to prepare their dish: 5 minutes for planning, 40 minutes for cooking. Meanwhile, while that team is cooking, the remaining chefs trash talked, drank delicious wine, and enjoyed watching the cooking team panic 🙂
After each dish was completed, the chefs that weren’t cooking would taste and judge the dish on a scale from 1-5 on the following three categories: taste, presentation, and creativity. At the end of the competition, all scores were added, and the team with the highest score was crowned the 2015 Chopped Champions!
FIRST UP: Team Appetizer!
Mystery Ingredients: BBQ Flavored Goldfish, Lil Smokies, Vanilla Pudding, and Kiwi.
WHOA! I really thought this was a hard basket — good job Team Dessert for choosing these items! Team Appetizer were champs though, they jumped right in and got to work! They used the goldfish to create a bread crumb to coat the sausages and used the pudding and kiwi to blend together with spices (and random sauces from my refrigerator) to create a dipping sauce. And, it was dang delicious!!
NEXT: Team Entree!
Mystery Ingredients: Shrimp, Jicama, Hard Root Beer, Fruit Loops
Uh, so.. this was freaking HARD!!! Good job Team Apps for picking these ingredients! I was on Team Entree, and when I saw the Jicama, I drew a complete blank. But, We acted quickly, and thought — Shrimp Tacos. We toasted some tortillas and made a Jicama chip in the oven, cooked down the root beer to make a sauce (adding in the fruit loops and extra spices), and created a tasty cabbage slaw with onion and red peppers. It turned out pretty tasty, and definitely looked pretty!
FINALLY, Team Dessert!
Mystery Ingredients: Fruit Punch flavored “Santa Beard” candy, Glazed Donuts, Raspberries, and Radish.
Since I bought the ingredients for the dessert basket, I actually thought they would be pretty easy. They weren’t for that team though, completely stumped on radish! They did amazing though — ended up melting down the candy and and creating a candied radish with it, created a chocolate raspberry sauce to drizzle over a BROWNIE they made (holy cow–they only had 40 mins!), which they topped with homemade whipped cream and layered on top of the donut! It was intense — and super sweet — but they did an amazing job!
In the end, only one team could prevail — and that team was….
It was a close run, but ultimately, their appetizer was amazing and very delicious. I actually wish I had more of it… right now. 🙂
This had to be one of the best birthdays ever — I’m so lucky to be surrounded by the greatest friends and family — and for those who made it out to this MONUMENTAL event — thank you! You guys are my heroes, and I don’t know what I would do without you!
Until next time.. and there will be a next time — I’m already pumped for a rematch! 🙂