Monday, January 27, 2014

Real Life Chopped Challenge

    This past Saturday our friends ALV and BS came over for dinner and we hosted a Chopped Challenge.  For those of you not familiar with the Food Network show Chopped it is a cooking competition with three different rounds where chefs cook an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert using four mystery ingredients for each round. The chefs need to use all four of the ingredients for their dishes, but can also use other ingredients from the kitchen pantry. The judges taste each chef's dish and then determine who made the best dish. The chef with the worst dish is chopped.

     We did a modified version of Chopped with an appetizer and entrée round. ALV and BS cooked the appetizer and DFH and I cooked the entrée.  We provided the mystery ingredients for the appetizer and ALV and BS provided the mystery ingredients for the entrée.  Neither of us knew what ingredients the other was bringing. Each round was 30 minutes and each couple had four minutes to come up with a plan for the ingredients. (No Google allowed), although we didn't end up sticking to the time limit.  

      Our mystery basket for their appetizer consisted of 1.pork necks. 2. Peach Mango preserves. 3. Red potatoes and 4. Wasabi soybeans 

    ALV and BS did an incredible job using the ingredients. They used the ingredients to create potato skins topped with a peach mango preserve marinade and wasabi soybean encrusted pork necks and cheese.  

The final appetizer dish

      Next up was the entrée round. ALV and BS gave us the following mystery ingredients to use for the dish:
1. Mahi Mahi 
2. Cornflakes
3. Manchego cheese
4. Pickled beets
5. Buttermilk
6. Wasabi paste 

    We created cornflake and wasabi paste encrusted Mahi Mahi which we let marinade in buttermilk. We then created an arugula salad with pickled beets, carrots and Manchego cheese topped with a Dijon mustard vinaigrette.   We also made a Manchego cheese sauce to add on top of the fish. 

I was honestly impressed how both of the dishes turned out. We didn't vote on a winner since there were just two of us, but it was so fun seeing what each of us would come up with and it was the perfect activity to do on a snowy Saturday night. This is definitely something I want to try again. I would love to do it with more people and add additional courses, but it would be very time consuming with access to only one kitchen.  We created our own rules and baskets, but this site has a great overview of planning your own Chopped Challenge.  

   It is another cold snowy day out there, everyone keep warm!


  1. This looks like so much fun! I'd love to have a Chopped challenge with friends!


  2. WHAT a fun idea!! Oh my gosh, we love the show and I have a perfect couple in mind who would be interested in doing this challenge with us :)

  3. What a great idea! The Mahi salad looks delish!

  4. Oh my goodness, that is such a fun idea. I would be in trouble if I had to come up with something out of those ingredients. I can only follow recipes. I'm impressed with your skills :)

  5. This is such a FUN idea!! Don't know if I would be able to come up with such tasty and creative dishes on the spot!