This past weekend, J and I hopped a Metro North train to spend Saturday evening with our friends Matt & Kat. Beyond just the pleasure of their company, we were excited and ready for a battle. The four of us decided to turn our evening into a Chopped-style night!
Over email earlier in the week, we agreed to skip time limits so we could just enjoy ourselves. We went roughly with 1 Protein, 1 Vegetable, and 1 Weird. They cook as often as we do so they also offered up their fridge and cabinets to be the "pantry" ingredients. There was plenty of wine and beer and a great Pandora station to fuel us through the rounds - here's what went down:
Appetizer: Team Connecticut
Mystery ingredients: (chosen by Team NYC)
They served up radish and red apple salad served in cucumber boats with bay scallops seared in bacon fat with fresh sliced green onions and a Greek yogurt "aioli" with horseradish. The cool crunchy salad plus the creamy scallops and the tangy aioli was bomb dot com. I want to make it all over again for a dinner party.
Dinner: Team NYC
Mystery ingredients: (chosen by Team Connecticut)
WTF is rambutan? It's that crazy urchin-lookin' fruit above. It tasted very much like a lychee mixed with a pear. The fruit itself was really translucent and mild so I figured it could be a sweet pop in the mushroom stuffing.
J handled the shrimp and made a pan seared snapper topped with spicy peanut sauce (peanut butter, soy, chili flakes, cayenne, rice vinegar). I made stuffed cremini mushrooms filled with chopped mushroom stems, rambutan, crumbled crackers, and Worcestershire. The cauliflower turned into pan-cooked "rice" seasoned with fresh lime juice.
Dessert: The Wives
Mystery ingredients: (chosen by The Husbands)
Granny Smith apples
Ginger snap cookies
Kat started on the apples, slicing them thinly and mixing with orange segments. She cooked them in butter with grated fresh ginger, lemon juice, and lemon curd until the apples softened. I crumbled the ginger snaps and made maple-candied prosciutto. My first attempt? We threw it in the oven.... under the broiler. There were flames. I almost set my friends' house on fire! My biggest regret is not taking a photo of the pan engulfed in flames. Alas! (We all laughed about it mere minutes later.) The second attempt, I did the prosciutto in a pan on the stove and 'basted' it with maple syrup as it crisped up. We served the whole mess of fruity gingery bacony deliciousness with a scoop of pumpkin spice Talenti in bowls.
Breakfast, prepared by The Husbands, required the use of avocado. After a late night with lots of feasting, wine, and beer, they opted for a classic -- fresh bagels topped with mashed avocado, fresh tomatoes from the garden, and soft boiled eggs. Beyond perfection and my phone died so I took no pictures.
Collectively we decided that the Appetizer round was the best of the bunch. It was so pretty and they used the mystery ingredients really well with other pantry ingredients. The biggest winner? The whole idea! We cannot wait to do it again and invite additional participants as well.