Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I played Chopped by myself. . . and I won!

I know I'm only one among a sea of  people addicted to Food Network's Chopped series. I mean... the mystery ingredients, arrogant or awkward (it can really go both ways) competing chefs, crazy/sad back stories, Aaron rolling his Rs, Maneet's song of an accent, Scott Conant looking perfectly disheveled, Marcus Samuelson just being awesome, the dishes that either wow you or make you say things like "ugh why isn't he just making a stroganoff!" Yep, I said that one time. Anyway, only this combination of awesomeness could have you watching episode after episode for 3 hrs (maybe 6) straight. Who's with me? Everyone? Ok perf. I'll continue then...

I definitely think anyone who is a half decent home cook plays chopped all the time. I love making dinner out of whatever scraps I can find. A can of black beans, frozen spinach and leftover noodles is transformed into Latin-Asian fusion cuisine using a few normal-person pantry items on the reg. Most recently pan fried noodles with bean and veggie cakes and a side of brown sugar, soy dipping sauce! AY! The idea of using random ingredients to make savory food in a short amount of time is something that most of us are familiar with. The dessert round however--not so obvious. But guess what? That's exactly what No Bake Makery is about. Using pantry items to make something quick, sweet and fun.

So without further adieu... I played Chopped by myself! and I won!

The RANDOS: California Nectarines, a Green Tea Tropical Tea Bag and Brown Rice Cakes (Ted Allen voice).
The Transformations: Green Tea and lemon Whipped Cream, Caramelized nectarines and Sweet Almondy Rice Cake Crunch.

Birthdays was the worst days / Now we eat PARFAITS when we thirst-ay

Serve em up on a little tray at your end-of-summer :( bbq! Or eat them by yourself while you watch Chopped?
Fun for the whole family.
Nom. Nom. Ha!
Pantry Helpers: Brown Sugar, Granulated Sugar, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Almond Milk, Heavy Cream, Lemon and Butter

What to do: 
1. Steep your tea bag into just 1/2 cup of very cold water for a few minutes. Make sure to pinch the tea bag with your fingers so the water is super concentrated with Green Tea Tropical (?) goodness or whatever kind you are using. I think passion fruit would be bomb. Put that in the refrigerator (with tea bag still in water) while you work on a couple other things.

2. Throw your rice cakes in the food processor with a tablespoon of brown sugar and almond milk (or regular, cream, soy--whatever dairy or dairy-ish thing you have around) and mix until they are moist but still crumbly. Taste it and continue to add brown sugar and milk until it reaches the consistency and sweetness that you like. Don't over-sweeten because the nectarines will be plenty sweet.

3. Chop 3 nectarines into tiny little pieces. Heat a generous amount of butter in a small saute pan and add the the nectarines. Sprinkle them with granulated sugar (I'd go a little heavy here). Pour in about half of your Green Tea Water and keep the heat on high until it's totally reduced, then remove from heat, transfer to bowl and refrigerate.

4. In your mixer (or food processor) add 3/4 cup of heavy cream, 2 tsp of granulated sugar, a generous squeeze of lemon, 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk, and the rest of your Green Tea Water. Mix until soft peaks form.

5. Layer ingredients into mini cups.

No Bake Time: 24 minutes

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