Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chopped Challenge - The Finals!

In the past few weeks, we've had a few "Chopped Challenges" in my house.  First, it was my husband against my step dad and my husband won.  Next, it was my mom against myself and my mom won.  This past weekend, we held the finals: my mom Vs. my husband.  They both love to cook and were really looking forward to this challenge.  Earlier in the day, my step dad, Dan, and I went shopping for the mystery ingredients.  We had a pretty fun time shopping and think that we chose some interesting ingredients.  See for yourself!

The competitors:  My mom, Claudette & my husband, Jonathan.

The mystery ingredients:  Frozen sweetened strawberries, pastina pasta, Spam, fennel (anise), and falafel mix.  All the ingredients must be used in some way in the final dish.  Points will go for overall presentation, taste, originality, and use of ingredients.

Grinding some Spam in the food processor.  Ewwww....

Jonathan is finely dicing some Spam.  Onions have been sliced and strawberries are drying on a plate.

Diced Spam, parsley, parmesan cheese.  Meatball in the making?

No Spam for Olive!  She's feasting on kidney beans, sweet potato, and whole wheat English muffin.

The makings of a stir-fry:  fennel, red bell pepper, shredded carrots.

Falafel balls frying on the stove.  I love falafel but this particular brand had a really overwhelming cumin taste.    Probably won't buy in the future!

Cooked pastina, butter, parmesan cheese.  The pastina is so tiny, it ended up being kind of like a polenta.  It was actually pretty good!
The pastina pasta up close.  Tiny, tiny little stars.

My mom's version of pate.  Ground spam mixed with strawberries and spices atop crunchy bread.   It actually wasn't half bad!

Jonathan ended up making some spam-fennel-falafel....hmmm....meatballs?  He grilled them on the barbecue.  They really did turn out delicious.  

Claudette made mini daiquiris with the strawberries.  And we all know how a slice of fried Spam on the rim of the glass makes any drink better!  :(

Blended something with the hand immersion blender.  I really hope Spam isn't in there.

Claudette's final dish:  Falafel atop a bed of pastina with veggie stir-fry.  Spam pate on the side.   The orange stuff is tomato soup - she thought it would make a good sauce.  She was wrong.  Dead wrong!

Jonathan's final dish:  Pastina with fennel, Spam meatlogs, cabbage-fennel slaw.  Everything was really good except the pastina was kind of mushy and bland.

In the end, Jonathan ended up winning by 1 point.  It was a pretty close race!  And again, like in our previous challenges, we were all pretty amazed at what was created from some pretty strange ingredients!  I love doing these challenges because it really helps you to think outside of the box in cooking and come up with some new, really original ideas.  I think it's helping us all to become better cooks!

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