I have a lot of foodie friends and I work with a lot of foodie people, it is troubling for my waste line as well as my wallet. But in the end food brings happiness, togetherness, and COMPETITION! I was invited into a tradition titled “Iron Chef” much like the television show it pins two chefs (albeit amateur in our case) against each other using 1 secret ingredient. As friends we decide that ingredient at least a month ahead of time to give the challengers time to come up with an appetizer, entrée, dessert, and beverage that uses the ingredient.
The rest of us are judges and we use the following rubric to decide the winner:
- Sustainability 1-5, so the chef would get extra points if he/she bought local or in some cases hunted/fished the animal themselves.
- Aesthetics 1-5, how pretty is the dish?
- Use of the ingredient 1-5, for instance is the ingredient just sprinkled on top as an afterthought or is it core to the flavor of the dish?
- Overall 1-5, for this category I like to think how important is it that I have this dish again?
We judge each course according to this and then the may the best chef win! By the way being a judge is awesome; you sit back drink wine and let others serve you… not too shabby.
Before we get into the recipes, word of the wise from my peers who have been doing this awhile be careful on your special ingredient selection. Apparently citrusy and cheesy ingredients can be a bit much… I am sure there are others you should steer clear of. Before I knew this group of friends they had a peanut butter challenge that was very tasty. For my first iron chef, the secret ingredient was BACON! The challengers were Mason and Elizabeth. Spoiler, Elizabeth won and I tell you this because Mason wont share his recipes with me so the following pictures share some of both of their dishes but only Elizabeth’s recipes.
Elizabeth started the competition with a butternut squash pizza on phyllo dough with rosemary.
Recipe from Epicurious
Mason countered the offer with walleye sushi and homemade lefse with bacon mashed potato:
Both were delicious… onto the main dish.
Elizabeth BROUGHT IT with bacon corn chowder and BACON JAM. Yeah that’s right jam made of bacon… no berries necessary.
Bacon jam recipe from Not Quite Nigella and the chowder is from Bitchin Camero
Mason had the hard task of following BACON JAM with pasta with bacon:
While up to this point Elizabeth had essentially dominated Mason showed her who was boss when he busted out these waffles with homemade bacon ice cream… nom nom
I still remember that waffle… Elizabeth made unique bacon cashew caramel popcorn. Regular popcorn no longer makes the cut for me.
Recipe from Foodily
In the end, Elizabeth clinched the championship with this candied bacon martini
Recipe courtesy of the LA Times
Any questions? Ask below. Stay tuned, coming up will be the results from Iron Chef 3: Pumpkin!