My Drunk Chopped Taste – Cooking Challenge

25 Feb

Cooking and eating are activities meant to bring people together. The modern age of eating on the run, microwavable foods, and even skipping meals makes this difficult, however I still strive to make an event of dinner when I can. And with my good friend Leslie, I’ve even turned it into a mixture of reality cooking shows so it’s an at-home food challenge!

Our dinners together have transformed into a combination of Hannah Hart’s “My Drunk Kitchen,” Food Network’s “Chopped,” and ABC’s “The Taste” with the one and only Anthony Bourdain.

Leslie has taken on the challenge of bringing three new “mystery” challenge ingredients that I must use to cook a three course dinner. All while drinking wine. And it’s always about the taste, although presentation is a bonus. Now if only I could get an appearance from Chef Gordon Ramsey, my life would be complete 🙂

Chopped Mystery ingredients

Started the challenge off with a crisp Chardonnay!

This weekend, Leslie brought a bag of original potato chips, a bottle of mild flavor molasses, and a sheet of pre-made pastry dough. Her rules: I could not use them as one would expect, and I could not use the recipes printed on the back of two of these ingredients. I am allowed the use of the internet, but only to double-check measurements. I must come up with the dish by myself, using the ingredient, and whatever my fridge and pantry have to offer. We also had the added challenge of not using any meat, so this became a vegetarian meal! My creativity came up with the following three courses, with the wonderful help of Leslie and my sister, Sonja.

First Course: The Appetizer

Potato Chip & Cornmeal Fritters

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 C finely crushed potato chips
  • 1/2 C cornmeal
  • 3/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 C skim milk
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Beat egg in large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the frying oil, into the bowl, mixing well.

Heat oil in a frying pan, it should be about 1/2 inch deep. Prepare a plate, lined with paper towels, to let the fritters cool and the oil to soak out. Once hot enough, test oil with a tiny drop of the batter. Remove with a slotted spoon to the plate.

Drop batter with a teaspoon into the oil (I used a small cookie scoop, and just didn’t completely fill it). I was able to make 5 fritters at a time, but that will depend on the size of your pan. (Actually, Sonja did this part – thanks for the help!)

Let fry on one side for 2-3 minutes, and then flip over with the slotted spoon to finish frying. Once done, remove to the paper towel-lined plate. Continue this process until all batter has been used. Let cool, and enjoy!

This got us A LOT of fritters – about two dozen. So, you could either half the recipe, invite a lot of people over, or plan to share with your neighbors, which is what we did!

Potato Chip and Cornmeal Fritters

Potato chips taken to the extreme in cornmeal fritters.

Second Course: The Main Dish

Roasted Vegetables with Brown Rice & Molasses Sauce

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 C molasses
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp red wine

For the stir fry:

  • Good-quality brown rice
  • Water and butter (for rice)
  • Chopped vegetables, such as carrots, celery, bell pepper and onion. You’ll want about 1 cup of veggies per person. We had three people, so 3 large carrots, 1 onion, 2 bell peppers, and 4 stalks of celery was just right.
  • Olive oil, sea salt, fresh cracked pepper

Begin cooking brown rice, according to package directions. The rice I used took about an hour from start to finish, but it’s worth it, given how much healthier this version is!

Mix together sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Turn on broiler (or set oven to its highest temperature)

Wash, peel and chop vegetables into bite-sized pieces. You could use any combination of veggies you like (mushrooms, snap peas, sprouts, whatever!). Toss with a tablespoon olive oil and some salt and pepper, to taste. Spread onto foil-lined baking sheet. Once there’s about 30 minutes until the rice is done, place vegetable pan into broiler, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from broiler (and turn it off!!) once vegetables look nice and roasted – cooked, but not mushy.

Transfer veggies into a serving bowl, and dress with the prepared molasses sauce. Serve rice in bowls, top with veggies, and a drizzle of the sauce. Eat and enjoy!

Roasted Vegetables with Brown Rice and Molasses Sauce

Sweet and tangy molasses sauce adds depth to roasted veggies and classic brown rice.

Third Course: The Dessert

S’more Kahlua Pastry Cups

  • 1 tube Pillsbury Seamless Dough Sheet
  • Mini marshmallows
  • 3 oz Neuchâtel cream cheese, softened
  • 2 C powdered sugar (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp Kahlua (or leave out, and add 2 tbsp milk and a splash vanilla)
  • 2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with PAM.

Using a glass with a rim slightly larger than the perimeter of the muffin cups, cut out rounds from the dough sheet, and press into muffin tins. We got 9 pastry cups from the sheet. Line bottom of each cup with a single layer of mini marshmallows. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until dough is golden brown. Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove to a plate or serving platter.

In the meantime, combine the chopped baking chocolate and milk in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave until melted, stirring after each minute.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, the melted chocolate mixture and the Kahlua (or the rest of milk and vanilla). Using a hand mixer, blend until incorporated. Slowly add powdered sugar until desired sweetness and consistency is reached. Store in fridge until pastry cups are baked and cooled.

To assemble, spoon chocolate filling into a piping bag with tip of your choice. Pipe filling into cups – you’ll use all of it, so don’t skimp out! Top each cup with another mini marshmallow. Serve to drooling friends, and devour! Or eat daintily. Your choice 🙂 If there are leftovers, store in an airtight container in the fridge.

S'mores Kahlua Pastry Cups

Kahlua gives these S’mores pastry cups a hint of mocha taste.

We had a lot of fun cooking, drinking, creating and eating together. Such challenges work the brain, and reward the soul and body! Have you ever gathered up friends and loved ones for a night of creative cooking? Would you attempt doing so?

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One Response to “My Drunk Chopped Taste – Cooking Challenge”

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  1. Chopped Kitchen Challenge | Eat, Drink, Be Healthy! - June 21, 2013

    […] been months since my friends and I had an at-home cooking challenge a la Food Network’s “Chopped.” But we’re back at it again! This time, for a […]

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