Tag: Chopped

Beyond the Chopped Basket: What to Make With Quinoa

by in Shows, January 27th, 2013

Herbed QuinoaSo often on Chopped we see chef contestants open their mystery baskets to find such odd, uncommon and downright scary ingredients — pre-cooked pig snout, pickled beef tongue or grasshoppers, anyone? — that it can seem nearly impossible for home cooks to put them to work in everyday meals. On other episodes, however, the ingredients are far less intimidating yet not quite familiar. That’s where we come in. Each week during the brand-new season of Chopped Champions, FN Dish will break down the whats, hows and whens of an approachable, family-friendly ingredient and share deliciously simple recipes for using it, so that you can show off your best culinary chops at home. Following last Tuesday’s round-2 competition, the focus is now on quinoa, which made an appearance in the entree round alongside squab, karela and peanut butter and jelly spread.

Extremely similar in taste and texture to the red quinoa that was featured on Champions, white quinoa boasts a subtle nutty flavor and becomes chewy-tender when cooked. These tiny morsels — a bit smaller than couscous — look and feel like a grain, but they’re actually seeds from a plant closely related to spinach. To become soft, quinoa needs time to simmer in liquid, which is why several of the Chopped competitors struggled to fully cook their variety in such a short amount of time. When it’s ready to eat, quinoa bursts open, shedding fine, slightly crunchy spirals to reveal a light, fluffy superfood that’s packed with protein and good-for-you nutrients. Since quinoa absorbs the liquid in which it’s cooked, try boiling it in chicken or vegetable broth instead of water for added flavor; if you don’t have broth on hand, just add a few drips of lemon juice to water to take the taste to the next delicious level.

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You Won’t Catch Jeff Mauro Eating This Food

by in Food Network Chef, January 25th, 2013

Jeff MauroWe recently caught up with Jeff and asked him about the recent baskets featured on the second episode of Chopped Champions. Just like with Justin, Melissa and Sunny, everyone has ideas about what they would do if they were given the baskets themselves. But what if you were faced with an ingredient that you detested in one of the baskets? That’s what Jeff would have encountered in the dessert round when the basket consisted of Mitmita, Sauternes, cottage cheese and cream-filled snack cakes. So which ingredient keeps Jeff 10 feet away?

“Cottage cheese holds the number one place on my personal no-no list. I’ve never consumed it and never will. My brother Frank loves the stuff and he used to chase me around the house with a near-empty bowl of it. Just the sight of those few remaining curds in the bowl would send me screaming into the bathroom, where I would frantically lock myself in.”

So what would Jeff do if he were given this specific Chopped basket? “Needless to say, I would throw in the towel on this one!”

Now it’s your turn: What’s the one food you won’t touch? Do you share Jeff’s feelings about cottage cheese? Share your answer in the comment section below.

Sunny’s Take on the Chopped Basket — Champions Round Two

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 24th, 2013

leg of lambby Sunny Anderson

It’s my turn to take a stab at the famed Chopped basket. I’m sure I’d come up with something different from these options if asked today, tomorrow or the day after. It’s the beast that is Chopped!

Appetizer basket: Fruitcake, shad roe sack, vodka and Tokyo scallions
I’ve only cooked shad roe sack once and it reminded me of how you cook a good piece of liver — hot and fast. I’d build a brown butter sauce with capers and lemon, then in another pan quickly fry the shad roe sack with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper, maybe a dusting of flour, then I’d rest them in the brown butter sauce while I finished the rest of the dish. With the vodka and the scallions, I’d add some minced shallots and garlic, and I’d simmer them all in a pot with apple cider vinegar and maybe a bit of honey or sugar. Then I’d toast a slice of fruit cake and cut out cubes and make tiny croutons in butter. I’d put the quick vodka-pickled scallions on a plate alongside the shad roe sack in butter sauce and either make a quick bitter green salad for the croutons or just sprinkle them on the plate and hope I don’t get sent home because I didn’t want to incorporate the fruitcake into the dish completely, (ick). Hopefully the quick-pickled scallions would cut the brown butter sauce and I would get points for that — Seared Shad Roe Sack in a Brown Butter Sauce With Quick Vodka-Pickled Tokyo Scallions With Fruitcake Croutons.

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Melissa’s Take on the Chopped Basket — Champions Round Two

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 24th, 2013

Melissa d'Arabian and Ted Allenby Melissa d’Arabian

I have to admit that watching Chopped actually stresses me out so much that if I watch when it airs late in the evening, I find that I can’t sleep. My husband thinks it’s “fun” to press pause and spit out quickly what he would do if he were getting the basket. Clearly he has never been in the Chopped kitchen himself. I can’t watch Chopped without feeling like I’m the one who actually has to pull off a culinary miracle in minutes, but for you, dear readers, I will take one for the team. I will give myself 30 seconds for each round to come up with a menu. Thirty seconds; that’s it (I’m on the honor system here, I realize). Time starts — now.

Appetizer basket: Fruitcake, shad roe sack, vodka and Tokyo scallions

I imagine opening the basket on that first course and pulling out fruit cake, my mind racing to the brandy-soaked monstrosity that my mom used to make for months leading up to the holidays. (Is this the Chopped basket where all fruitcakes go to die?) My mind would be spinning in despair, but not for long because the rest of the basket has potential — shad roe sack is amazing when simply sauteed, vodka and Tokyo scallions for the most part fit into the flavor profile. Even our (fr)enemy the fruitcake can play along nicely, adding some sweetness to play off the richness of the roe sack (think seared fois gras with berry compote). The biggest challenge for me is getting the onion not to overpower the rich roe sack.

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Fruitcake Blinis and “Semifreddo” Sandwiches — Rebel Remix

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 23rd, 2013

Chef Walter D'Rozario - Chopped Champions Round 2
Every Wednesday, Justin Warner, winner of Food Network Star, Season 8, is remixing the Chopped Champion baskets as seen in the episode the night before in pure Justin Warner style: edgy, intense, passionate and full of wit. If you’ve ever watched an episode and found yourself yelling at the TV that you would have made this or that instead, then these are the posts for you.

by Justin Warner

I’ll be frank: sometimes I don’t know everything. Sometimes I call it a steamer and you’ll call it a sloppy Joe. Sometimes I call it a clam and you’ll call it a steamer. Sometimes you don’t know what the heck is in the basket and you just have to taste it and roll along. Even the most complex things in the food world are made of simple things. It’s when you don’t know the simple things that you should be worried about what’s in the basket!

Appetizer basket: Fruit cake, shad roe sack, vodka and Tokyo scallions
Fruit cake — fahruit cake — fahhhruuit cake. Let’s face it: it’s sweetened bread. Salt and lemon will shut it up. It’s pre-made bread though, right? With caviar? And vodka? And onion? This is a gift basket if you ask me.

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Chatting With the Round-2 Winner of Chopped Champions

by in Shows, January 22nd, 2013

Chefs Walter D'Rozario and Vinson PetrilloIn an all-new season of Chopped Champions, 16 chefs, each with a previous Chopped win under his or her belt, are returning to the kitchen to face off for a second time in the ultimate multicourse cook-off. Although they’re no strangers to mystery baskets, these chefs are under more pressure than ever, as they’re competing not just for Chopped glory but also a spot in the finale where they can ultimately claim a $50,000 prize and the coveted title of Grand Champion.

Each week, four chefs will take their places in the kitchen and battle it out in the hopes of outlasting the chopping block once again. While three will crumble beneath the demands of Champions cooking, one will prove his or her culinary chops for a second time. Check in with FN Dish every Tuesday night after the episode to hear from the latest winner.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who won

What’s in Your Ultimate Chopped Basket?

by in Shows, January 21st, 2013

Chopped BasketThree rounds, three different baskets and 12 out-of-this-world ingredients. Whether it’s Chopped Champions, All-Stars or regular-season episodes, that’s a lot of combinations to come up with.

So we’re asking this question: What would be included in your ultimate Chopped basket? Not something you’d want to receive, but something you’d give to a fellow competitor. Would there be two proteins? All sweets? Would you include one or two ingredients they’ve probably never heard of? It can be argued that the simplest ingredients like eggs, chicken, pasta and rice are sometimes the hardest.

Tell us what you’d choose in the comments below.

Beyond the Chopped Basket: What to Make With Plantains

by in Shows, January 19th, 2013

Onion-Crusted PlantainsSo often on Chopped we see chef contestants open their mystery baskets to find such odd, uncommon and downright scary ingredients — pre-cooked pig snout, pickled beef tongue or grasshoppers, anyone? — that it can seem nearly impossible for home cooks to put them to work in everyday meals. On other episodes, however, the ingredients are far less intimidating yet not quite familiar. That’s where we come in. Each week during the brand-new season of Chopped Champions, FN Dish will break down the whats, hows and whens of an approachable, family-friendly ingredient and share deliciously simple recipes for using it, so that you can show off your best culinary chops at home. Following last Tuesday’s round-1 competition, the focus is now on plantains, which made an appearance in the dessert round alongside spiral ham, water chestnuts and spiced rum.

A close cousin of the yellow banana, green plantains are similar in look and shape to the classic fruit, but instead of being peeled back and enjoyed raw at the breakfast table, they’re most often cooked so that they lose their signature tough, firm bite. Plantains aren’t quite as sweet as bananas, so they can be featured in savory dishes as well as sweet desserts, like they were on Champions, and they hold their shape well even when exposed to the high heat of the deep-fryer or grill. The key to successfully working with plantains at home is letting them take their time cooking. On Tuesday’s Chopped episode, Chef Sean Scotese explained, “Green plantains need a lot of love. They need to be fried or boiled until they’re soft and crispy.” Try your hand at plantains this weekend with easy recipes from Food Network Magazine below.

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The Many Faces of Chopped Judges

by in Shows, January 18th, 2013

Chopped JudgesWhether they’re smiling, cringing, panicked about diminishing time on the clock or just stumped by a use of ingredient or technique, all nine of the Chopped judges have very telling faces.

Browse through a gallery of some of the best Chopped judge face-moments captured throughout the seasons.

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Devils on Horseback, Cookie Dough Pasta and Tostones — Rebel Remix

by in Shows, January 16th, 2013

Chopped Champions Round 1
Every Wednesday, Justin Warner, winner of Food Network Star Season 8, is remixing the Chopped Champion baskets as seen in the episode the night before in pure Justin Warner-style: edgy, intense, passionate and full of witty. If you’ve ever watched an episode and found yourself yelling at the TV, “I would have made this and that instead!” then these are the posts for you.

by Justin Warner

I play the Chopped game differently from most. My goal is not to transform things but to find the simplest way to make them work together. I’m not a magician or a craftsman — I’m more like a negotiator or ombudsman. I also try to think of the ingredients as something other than what they are. Yes, they might be duck tongues, but it’s easier to play with them if you think of them as chicken tenders. Make sense? With all of that said, here’s what I would do with the baskets from last night’s episode.

Justin breaks down the Chopped basket

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