Here’s an idea for your holiday gatherings…
Do your own Chopped Challenge at home!
The gist of the popular TV cooking show, for those of you who haven’t seen Chopped, is that there are four chefs who compete in a challenge that includes three rounds of cooking with mystery ingredients. So the first round is the appetizer round and the competitors get mystery baskets with several ingredients that they must utilize. They usually have 20 minutes to come up with an appetizer that wows the judges. After taste testing each entry, the judges pick one chef that must go home. The second round has three chefs and they must make an entree but again one person is “chopped” and then the third round is dessert. The winner of that round wins $10,000.
When the Felkers were all home for Thanksgiving weekend, we spent one evening doing our own version of Chopped. This is how we did it.
It was decided that two of the guys would be the chefs. (We really had to keep it to 2 due to limited counter space and oven space.) The girls and I went to the grocery store to pick out unusual items for an entree round. We chose lamb cutlets, coconuts, marmite paste, toaster pastries, and mulangoes (an African root vegetable). When we got home we placed the items in baskets and at our signal the guys opened their baskets to reveal their ingredients. We gave them one hour to make us dinner.
Now the guys were allowed to utilize anything else in the fridge and pantry but they had to use at least some of each of the mandatory ingredients. The six of us who weren’t cooking sat and watched the show while we sipped on homemade sangria. We laughed so hard when the guys had to race to the garage for a drill and hammer to try to open the coconuts!
When it came time to “plate” the food, they had to make eight plates (including the two of them). So when we sat down to eat we each had 2 plates of food in front of us. Everyone except the chefs were given score sheets that listed both chefs’ names and also the three categories they would be judged on: taste, presentation, and creative use of ingredients. We used a 1-5 scoring system where a 1 meant “terrible” and a 5 meant “outstanding”. After everyone was done eating they filled out the score sheets and the votes were tallied.
Well that was so much fun that the guys said they wanted to go to the grocery store next and get ingredients for a dessert round. So the four of them took off while we ladies cleaned the kitchen. Two of the girls were chosen to be the dessert chefs. When they received their mystery baskets they discovered starfruit, vanilla pudding, ladyfinger cookies, and prosciutto (of course the guys would pick meat for a dessert!) They had one hour to create desserts for us. Again the rest of us enjoyed the show, and there was no shortage of friendly banter going on!
I was so amazed at what the girls created. My one daughter,Anna, made crepes out of the cookies and filled them with pudding, starfruit, and prosciutto. The other daughter,Lydia, crushed the cookies into a pie plate and placed the juiced starfruit pudding inside it, topped with candied prosciutto and sliced starfruit. Everyone was eager to taste test each dessert. What a night!
Here is a picture of Anna and Lydia working hard to recreate something delicious from those unusual ingredients!
Such fun! You should totally try this with your clan!