On a Chopped Dinner

Years ago, we were one of four couples assigned together as a church function to meet once in each of our homes over the course of a year. We had such a good time, we decided to keep going, and this past weekend we completed our 60-something meeting. The bottom line is the host sets the theme, provides the entrée, and assigns the other courses.

This past weekend, we hosted an evening based on Food Network’s Chopped – which also means I dressed in jeans, a bright shirt and tie, dress jacket, and tennis shoes.

It started several weeks ago when we announced the theme and asked each couple to donate one item to each of the four baskets: appetizer, soup/salad, entrée, and dessert. After receiving each list of items, we placed them in a basket, assigned the courses, and sent the electronic baskets to the participants. Of course using other ingredients are fine, but the basket items are the featured taste/ingredient.

Saturday was quite the evening as we ate well and consumed our share of good wine. Even some honey bourbon made it into the evening. Below are the list of ingredients, the description of the creation, and a picture. We are very proud of this group. Enjoy.

Basket: Shrimp, dried cranberries, kiwi, and pretzels

Chef DD Result: Kiwi-dried cranberry-jalapeno salad served with a shrimp conquistador dipping sauce and pretzel chips.

Comment: A little zip to start the evening.

Basket: Dairy case crescent rolls, green grapes, tomatillos, and pork rinds.

Chef DP Result: Avocado-tomato salad served on a bed of lettuce with a green grape-tomatillo dressing and two bread strips encrusted with pork rinds and asiago cheese.

Comment: The creators took much time to determine the right balance of these two diverse tastes.

Basket: Orange juice concentrate, beer, red wine, and ham hocks

Chef FK Result: Oven-baked, beer-marinated pork chops topped with a red wine, ham hock reduction sauce and ham hock bits, served with fresh green beans topped with orange-ground coriander vinaigrette accompanied with beer bread.

Comment: Reduction sauce is time consuming, but tasty.


Basket: Egg white, walnuts, frozen waffles, and hominy

Chef BR Result: Hominy with essence of banana ice cream topped with walnuts and served with two Eggo cookies dipped in egg whites and chocolate.

Comment: The toughest challenge of the night, and surprisingly yummy.