Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thoughts on The Next Food Network Star...Episode 2 and 3

This is for any other Next Food Network Star nerds like me (and for a couple friends who will remain nameless who have been giving me a hard time about saying I would do more of these and then procrastinating like crazy)...

I started to write these awhile ago but never got them finished.  Thought I would at least get these published while the show is on right now and I can ponder who's going home this week while I wait a few days for the episode to appear on Hulu.

Episode 2 (do any of you even remember that one?):
First Challenge: Create a pizza that captures "you" and tell a story

It's hard to decide this one, since I love to make pizza and I feel like there are a lot of different pizzas that I feel could represent me.  I would probably land on making a more sophisticated Taco Pizza that would definitely have roasted green chiles on it (you haven't lived until you've tasted green chile on pizza, it's incredible!) and would be able to connect my experience of how living in different parts of the country has influenced my cooking (Among other places, I spent some time growing up in New Mexico and went to college in Iowa (surprisingly, they love taco pizza there--topped with crushed Doritos!). 

Second Challenge: Restaurant Inspired Dishes reinvented to be accessible to the home cook but still able to impress: (the contestants were assigned one of three dishes to make over)

I would make:
Short ribs (time consuming): Steak Bites (bite sized pieces of steak quickly seared in butter so they are brown and crispy on the outside and rare on the inside) served with a roasted parsnip-potato puree and a red wine butter sauce

Abalone (expensive ingredients): Bay Scallop "Bisque"
(probably something similar to this:

Pork Belly (high technical ability): I think I would secretly hope against getting this one because it's still stumping me a bit...
What comes to mind is glazing thick cut bacon with hoisin sauce and maybe pairing it with a fried rice.  I really liked Jeff's spring roll idea and I love to make spring rolls, if only he didn't have such trouble with them (and controlling the perspiration...yikes!).

Episode 3:
Make Dinner with a Hershey's Chocolate Product

contestants were randomly assigned a Hershey's Product (I randomly drew one of the available options.  I picked Almond Joy Pieces).

I would make: Asian Style Rice Noodles with a Coconut Curry Sauce and ground Almond Joy Pieces. 
The coconut in the Almond Joy Pieces makes me immediately think of an Asian noodle dish where I could make a sauce utilizing more coconut flavors and sweet and savory work in harmony.

Dessert Challenge: Create 150 individual desserts plus two team desserts.
Teams: "Team Robert:" Unique Flavor Combinations vs. "Team Duff:" 5 Star but something a 6 year old would like
Randomly (again), I drew what team I would be cooking for and I drew "Team Robert."
I would make: Some kind of dessert parfait (kind of like these Coconut Lime Dessert Parfaits).  To increase the "unique flavor combination factor," I think I would make use of a fresh herb flavor such as mint or basil in both the whipped cream and garnish.  I also like the idea of doing something similar but using oranges and rosemary (here's a fancy sounding idea)--possibly layering an orange rosemary compote with creamy marscapone or zabaglione custard and crushed biscotti or anisette cookies

I like the parfait idea because there's a wide margin for error, yet it can still look elegant.

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad you are watching and cooking along!