Monday, December 28, 2009

Chopped Challenge

Perry and I have been talking for a while now about doing a (just for fun) cooking challenge.  We finally decided to do it today because Perry's off work for the holidays and we're both relaxed and in a good mood :-)  We got our inspiration from one of our favourite cooking challenge shows Chopped  So, the way it worked was that Perry bought 4 secret ingredients for me to work with and I did the same thing for him.  We had one hour to plan, gather extra ingredients (anything in the pantry, fridge and freezer was fair game), cook and plate our dishes.
I figured that since Perry doesn't cook all that often (not his fault since he's out at work every day), that I would try to make it fairly easy on him.  Here are the ingredients I bought for him...

Nappa cabbage, beech mushrooms, Granny Smith apples and Sea scallops

Here are the ingredients that my darling hubby thought it would be fun to torture me with :-)


Fennel bulbs

Acorn squash


It actually worked out well and we both came up with fairly decent dishes.  Per made a cream sauce.  He'd never done this before and since there were no cookbooks/checking online allowed, he had to wing it.  Other than being a tiny bit too salty, I think he did admirably.  He told me he made a roux first (very impressive) and then added cream and when it turned out a bit too thick, he thinned it with milk.  He julienned the Granny Smith apples and was smart enough to put them into acidulated water so they didn't go brown.  He served the scallops on a Nappa cabbage leaf, with the apple and covered them with the sauce.  He made a whole wheat couscous with the beech mushrooms.  All in all, it was a lovely dish.

Per's scallop and couscous dish

I made a shaved fennel, red onion and rambutan salad with an orange and lime vinaigrette.  I stuffed the quail with israeli couscous, which I mixed with sautéed shallots, orange zest and fennel fronds.  I sautéed them first and then baked them.  I served these atop an acorn squash purée which I flavoured with massaman curry paste, coconut milk and fish sauce.  I made a sauce for the quail with sautéed onions, deglazed with fresh orange juice and reduced with some cream.

My quail dish

Per's cream sauce

Julienned apples in acidulated water

Per's couscous with beech mushrooms

Israeli couscous

Quail sautéing

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