Mike and I don’t share a lot of common interest in TV shows, but we do both enjoy the Food Network show, Chopped. In each episode, four chefs compete to create three courses: appetizer, entrée and dessert. The twist? In each of the three rounds, they are assigned a basket that contains four “mystery ingredients” that they are required to implement, along with the help of common ingredients that are on-hand. They are then, of course, judged on their creations.
We’ve watched dozens of episodes and decided, psh, we can do this.
So, in lieu of a Valentine’s Day dinner out, we planned our own homemade version of Chopped. We had both written down potential ingredients in advance (categorized by course), which we then drew from on game-day to compile our mystery ingredients. After we both took a few minutes to think of what we wanted to make, we hit the grocery store to pick up both the surprise ingredients and anything we needed to complete our master plans.
We weren’t timed and we didn’t have any other rules, except no recipes (or phones!) allowed and a loose one of “No bogarting.” We also had a judging game-plan, which was the best we could do since we had no outside judges. We both scored our own and the other’s dishes, and divided our scores into categories: taste, creativity, presentation, and use of ingredients, and assigned each a number from 1-10.
If your interest is peaked, take five minutes to view Chopped: Trosien Edition –
Music credit to “THINGAMAJIG” by Jason Shaw & portions of video from the Food Network Chopped, which I do not own. Please don’t sue me.
A few highlights (and lowlights) – Mike said my salsa was “gag-inducing” (turns out beer isn’t always delicious with things), and Mike’s strawberry dipping sauce was less dippy and more sticky. We both agreed that the desserts were the exceptional highlights of the day, although our opinions differed on which of the two was better. There was only one thing that hit the trash and not the plates, when I failed at attempting to make cherry chips (in place of potato chips). I tried them both in a pan and then in the oven and in the end, they were in the garbage. The tasted like grease and gross, and Mike said they looked like corned beef.
In total, we spent about seven hours in the kitchen; I don’t know how these Chopped chefs do three courses in the equivalent of an hour and a half total. Of course,
we Mike also spent a lot of time doing dishes over and over again. In the end, it’s the Valentine’s dinner that keeps giving, because we had enough (mostly edible) leftovers to last us for the week, and all in all, we think we might just do it again!