Just because I'm a grown up does not mean I can't have some good summer fun. Well, this past weekend I had just that, fun. And what better place to have fun than in the kitchen! As you know, I LOVE the Food Network, and I am frequently inspired to try new recipes or techniques that I see featured on that channel. So this weekend I took a slightly different route and tried a whole show rather than just a recipe. That's right folks, I had an Iron Chef competition!
Now, those of you who are not familiar with the show, let me summarize. There are two teams who are given a secret ingredient at the beginning of the show and they each have an hour to produce a five course meal using that ingredient in each dish. The opponents then present their dishes to a panel of judges who judges each dish on the following criteria: taste, plating, and originality.
Our version was slightly different, but we tried to stay true to the rules as much as possible. Due to limited budget, we were only required to make one main dish and a dessert. At 5:15pm we received the secret ingredient and were given two hours to shop and plan. Cook time was at 7:15 and dinner at 8:15. We had two teams consisting of two people each, and we were lucky to have two kitchens in our "kitchen stadium" in Foxridge.
I would say baking is my forte, but I am never against trying something new. So this weekend I donned my non existent chefs hat and got to work. On what, you ask? Well my friends, the secret ingredient was...SEAWEED! Once the initial shock subsided, our teams got to work planning and shopping for the big event.
My teammate, Kevin, and I decided to take a risk and drive a little further to the larger Kroger in Blacksburg. There we were able to talk with a chef who gave us some cool ideas as well as let us try some seaweed, and just as I suspected, I did not enjoy it. Something about grass that tastes like seawater kind of throws me off. But, nonetheless, we came up with some great ideas and headed back for the critical hour.
Cooking went smoothly, and things came out well. It was probably more exciting if you were there so I will skip over the boring stuff and bring you to the final products.
Team one (Ally and Tom): Pizza with chicken and seaweed on top (chicken was wrapped in seaweed and baked), garlic bread with seaweed on top, seaweed tea, seaweed salad, and a seaweed cannoli for dessert.
Team two (Kevin and I): Seaweed quesadillas (ham, cheese, onions, tomatoes, seaweed), rice pilaf, and seaweed ice cream for dessert.
That's right folks, seaweed ice cream. The people on Iron Chef make the strangest things all the time, and one of the most common is ice cream flavored with the secret ingredient. We thought we would be brave and try to do the same! Needless to say, it was pretty much a disaster, but it did beat out the seaweed cannoli by far. My Northern relatives would have been so disappointed in that cannoli.
Well on to the best part of the night...the winner was...drum roll please....Team Two! That's right, me! Success!
After a fun and tiring night, we all sat down to eat our concoctions. Ok, more like try. We may have been slightly hungry after that adventure, but it was totally worth it!