We are battling what might be the most heinous disease on the face of the planet. Food blogging might be riddled with inappropriate references but I will try to get it together.
Jules, I think, is his name, thinks all the other contestants on the show have been yahoos. I kind of have to vote for him now even though there's a woman chef. She's a food stylist. i don't have high hopes for her. I have high hopes for the guy who can butcher a whole pig.
Did you know you must use every ingredient in the basket in some way? Ted. He's full of old news.
But here we go: appetizer: Firm tofu, scotch, dragon fruit, and pickled herring.
"My heart sunk" says older gentleman. (Oh. Steven). That too is a cliche. Never a good sign. Isn't firm tofu scotch herring salad with some dragonfruit an option? Salad is the go to plate.
He doesn't like pickled herring. How is this possible? Ulli says (who seems kind of Scandinavian) claims that pickled herring is good for hangovers. She prefers tequila to scotch. When this disease is gone, I'll have to look forward to experimenting with the pick-me-up of the pickled herring. She's making salad. More surprise.
Jules name is actually Joe. He is making slaw. Slaw is another word for salad.
Chris Santos, who has made small plates big business, the judge, claims this is a TOUGH basket.
Amanda Freitag thinks that dragonfruit is the scary ingredient.
Old Boston versus NY story between Steven and the other guy. Name to be revealed later.
Steven loves scotch. I feel Ted should tell him that drinking the ingredient isn't the "using it" they had in mind.
Oh no an injury.
Am I waiting for blood?
Is Chopped the gladiator of Food TV?
Joel stuck his hand in the blender and nicked a finger. "The glove is full of blood," says Scott.
There's no blood in the blender? He told Ted, he got his finger out of their quick enough that there's no blood in his green blender sauce. This seems unlikely. The judges seem nervous.
Seared tofu with pickled herring topped with dragonfruit salad. Scott says the scotch doesn't mix. With the blood!
Ulli's trying to talk Chris into eating the dragonfruit rind.
Oh. My sick kid is happy and trying to type. I'm glad he's happy but I want to finally figure out this other guy in the glasses name at least. I have no idea what he made. Salad?
"Quickest 20 minutes of my life," says glasses Boston guy. Original.
They like Joel's tofu. I like tofu too.
Steven lacked texture.
Ulli cooked nothing. Raw. Isn't salad raw?
Jamie! That's his name. He made the flavor work.
Oh poor Ulli. I can tell. She's on the chopping block. Her uncooked salad, versus the salads with some heat applied, plus arguing with Chris about Dragonfruit rind, plus hiding the scotch from Scott plus being a woman equals please take your knives and go. Whoops. Wrong show. Still. Pack.
Surprise. Ulli is chopped for her unnuanced dish because she didn't develop the flavors. With heat. Remember future Chopped-goers. Cook the food.
Entree round: Sugar coated fennel seeds, violet mustard, rump roast, asparagus.
I could live on those fennel seeds. Pasta!
Steve: Seared roast with hollandaise.
Joel: Fennel & Panko Beef Milanese
Jamie: Pounded Viennese Steak. Or Vietnamese steak. I type too slowly and Max wants still to show off his moment of good-health with his clicking fingers.
By the way, Erik and I aren't sick yet. We had lamb chops with tarragon mustard, spinach and quinoa for dinner.
Joel, pounding his steak, is like a "Pitbull off his chain," according to Jamie. The metaphors of Chopped are replete with nuance. Unlike Ulli's dish.
Hollandaise sauce all over the pots Steve. And then he catches his napkin on fire. I'm not seduced.
Now Jamie says that "Joel is like a ping pong ball." Beware the mixed metaphor.
Jamie took the fat cap off of the roast to saute something in. Fat cap plus sauted something = I AM seduced.
Steven hasn't even opened the fennel seeds. Wouldn't you make a sauce--reduce them in some liquid to gather up the sugar and then let the fennel add the flavor? Then. Butter. Delicious fennel sauce. Erik and I are 100% into this pasta that uses the fennel bulb, fronds and fennel seed. Plus pancetta. It is our 2011 pasta. By July, we'll be sick of it but for now, I bought a pound of pancetta in L.A.
This violet mustard business is so Chopped. It's just mustard, people.
Steven's hollandaise sauce blows their minds: Butter slowly sweated garlic and shallots. Depth of flavor. But fennel seeds were just tossed on--especially Chris's whose were tossed on after time rang.
It is Vietnamese! Transported, says Amanda. But. Overcooked, tough meat and ugly plate. And overcooked asparagus. I'm thinking tossed fennel seeds might trump fennel seeds.
Scott is making fun of Joel. "Raw red onions. My favorite." Joel admits that after the first slicing of the meat with the breading that the breading became soggy but he just had to go with it. I think the judges like the admission of guilt. Blood and confession make them happiest. They're Catholic in their love.
The judges complain about blue meat but they don't mean it. They love it rawer.
Steven's metaphors are 100% baseball--one foot on home plate, if they send me home it won't be because I put up a bad pitch. Perhaps if he channeled the Ninja, he would catapult himself to the next level.
Joel is chopped. How is this possible? The soggy breading? The cutting of the meat? His inability to wax metaphorical?
Oooh. Extra slam from Amanda: Even though one of the contestants left an ingredient off, we still had to chop you. Double chopped. Like pork. That's how much you suck.
Ribiola Cheese, mission figs, Robiola Cheese, shelled pistachios and taco shells. (Two Robiola cheeses? Oh that's my bad typing.)
Steven: if you can't make a crust out of taco shells perhaps you should go give Joel his overcooked, tough beef back.
Napolean? I have to agree with Jamie. A napolean is the salad of dessert. Stack all the ingredients on top of each other. Jamie says it's a "culinary school short-cut." Now I know.
Carmel with pistachios equal a brittle. Delicious. And yet, Jamie. I can never follow what he's doing. Then Steven gets the blowtorch out
"Points deducted if you burn down the Chopped arena." Finally, they admit their coliseumloving ways.
Steven has forgotten about his pistachio brittle.
God. I really can't get behind either of these folks. Steven: forgetful. Jamie: forgettable.
Oh. Nice cut: Steven's face when he recognizes he forgot the brittle. I imagine Erik dreams of such authentic video-graphic moments.
Stuffed figs. Fun! Says Scott: "I love the way you think."
But Amanda, who also hates really hot peppers, does not like to work to pull the taffy off her plate. Chris says it's not sweet enough to qualify as dessert.
Steven forgot his pistachio brittle but he did put pistachio oil in the sauce which counts. And the napolean: the taco shell was soggy. When is a napolean not soggy? It's meant to sog.
There's a great deal of equivocation on the part of the judges but I'm not invested in either. Perhaps Max, who went to bed but got up again, should type.
Steven! No! Now I care. Steven had personality. I could remember his name. He loved baseball metaphors. Jamie and his mixed metaphors and his forgettable food.
I think I'm always a little sad at the end of Chopped. They only time I was happy was when Madison won Chopped Champions and his daughter came out into the "arena." Perhaps one day we'll have a kid's Chopped. If she were feeling better, she'd play right now. She'd kick 5 year old cooking but with her pumpkin bread making skills.
But, for now, she's giving me the look that says, mom, I wish you didn't poison me with the viruses. Make it better.
Well. At least I'll go make her bed.