When most people think of a “fun” Saturday night, they normally don’t consider raiding a Harris Teeter in order to make a spontaneous meal a normal weekend activity.
So first and foremost, if you’ve never had the pleasure of watching Chopped on the Food Network, you’re surely missing out. The show basically consists of frazzled chefs using secret ingredients and throwing random shit together to make a fantastic three-course meal.
However, our Chopped experience consisted of blending ingredients together on a porch (college life is hard), melting a spatula, spilling things everywhere, and dodging the flirtatious advances of one overly friendly employee.
My fellow Spoonie, Meredith, and I entered the store, each with $15 to spend on the weirdest, but most functional foods we could find.
After escaping from a super awkward encounter with a pushy, overly flirtatious employee (sorry, we will not be attending your band’s gig tonight) we set off in different directions to gather goods under the oh-so-important categories of the food pyramid.
Meredith was in charge of a protein, a fat, a starch, and one random ingredient, while I was to get a vegetable, a fruit, and another random ingredient.
After 20 minutes of wandering the store, we met back up, analyzed our baskets, and our dinner ingredients were the following: Italian sausages, couscous, asparagus, strawberries, coconut milk, pickled eggs, and jalapeno feta cheese…What the hell.
Forming a Game Plan
After looking at our ingredients, only one word came to our minds: “help.” After laughing and freaking out for a few minutes, we collected ourselves as the “professional” chefs that we are and began to form a culinary game plan.
Seeing as all of our ingredients scared us, we decided to cook our asparagus first, mostly because we were most familiar with it. We decided to bake it, and after seasoning with salt and pepper and drizzling with oil, we placed it on a baking pan for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
We then decided to puree our strawberries with the coconut milk (worst idea ever) and make some sort of weird reduction out of it. After blending the two together and adding some vinegar from the eggs (another bad idea), we poured the mix into a pot and brought it to a frothy boil.
We then became so confused with the mix that we banished it to the fridge in hopes it would harden and become edible. Then, we decided to mix our sausages with the couscous and added salt, pepper, and garlic to the frying pan.
They say you can’t win them all, and we kind of lost this one.
We ended up sprinkling the asparagus with chopped pickled eggs, feta, and some salt, which actually ended up tasting kind of awesome compared to the rest of the meal.
The sausage and couscous came out decently, however the conflicting tastes messed with our palettes and confused our minds. The enigma that was our “reduction” was drizzled over the whole meal, and let’s just say it was not one of our better food creations.
Let’s also just say, for the record, the entire event left me and Mer substantially wine drunk and starving.
While it remains true that not all Chopped challenges end well (or tastily for that matter), the idea as a whole was still a super fun and creative thing to do with a friend.
Although our tummies weren’t too satisfied, our night was stuffed full of laughs and kitchen blunders making this challenge one for the books.