Auros (auros) wrote,
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Orson - Next Iron Chef ep03

Best episode yet. Both the main challenge, and the secret ingredient elimination, had some very tight competition. Elizabeth emerged with a well-deserved victory; the other two folks in the top three had ingredients that were significantly easier to work with. (A cinnamon syrup is not that hard to work into a savory -- you can get that into a variety of European, Moroccan, or even Chinese dishes -- and for the root beer, heck, folks in the South braise or marinate meat in soda-based liquids all the time. If you haven't had Coca-Cola based bbq sauce, you don't know what you're missing.)

For this week's event, Elizabeth got ambitious, and made stuff with almost all the other chefs' ingredients, as well as replicating her own dishes. I believe her phrasing was, "We took the other ingredients and made better things with them." *g*

They're probably going to skip next week (because of Thanksgiving), and then do a double-header the week after. This week was actually less crowded than last, which surprised me. Maybe Falkner fans tend to be people for whom coming after work is convenient. I had a pleasant conversation with a Japanese woman who came here a few years ago to go to architecture school, and I finally got to meet Esther, who runs the main kitchen at Orson. And Elizabeth says she'll see what she can do about getting us a table at Tickets, and I sent her the list of evenings we could potentially go, so yay.

My boots are on fire!

My boots are on fire!

Wore these, along with the pants from the wedding and the shirt from the engagement shoot. These were considered for the wedding, but I decided to go with the Italian loafers, b/c the color matched better, and they were more comfortable. (I was standing for about 8-9 hours that day. Plus dancing.)

Entrance

Entrance

I loved the jars of malt balls at the entrance. Also, a friend of Elizabeth's who does magic hung out at a front table and delighted onlookers with assorted card tricks, coin tricks, etc.

Raisinet Tapenade

Raisinet Tapenade

Diced Raisinets, with roasted red peppers, eggplant, capers, possibly some other stuff. (Kalamata olives, maybe?)

Surprisingly... unsurprising. But very pleasant. The choco-raisins add a hit of sweetness, without overpowering the more usual flavors.

Cocktail Fixings

Cocktail Fixings

Note the labels. They melted down the gummi bears and sour-patch kids. Yum.

I stole several of the garnish bears.

The Gummi Bear and The Sour-Patch Kid

The Gummi Bear and The Sour-Patch Kid

Each made with its respective syrup. The Gummi Bear also contains vodka and a dry muscat. The Sour-Patch kid has rum and Canton ginger liqeur.

Spare Ribs Braised in Root Beer and Soy

Spare Ribs Braised in Root Beer and Soy

A hybrid of American South and China. (If you've ever had a cola-braised bbq... this was better.)

Elizabeth said she would've enjoyed getting the root-beer as her ingredient, b/c she's played with those sorts of flavors in both savory and sweet dishes before. (We had a dessert named Sassafrass Leaves at the rehearsal dinner.)

Hot Tamale Buffalo Chicken

Hot Tamale Buffalo Chicken

A basic buffalo wing sauce, with an extra hit of heat from a syrup of melted-down Hot Tamales cinnamon capsules. You can see the bleu cheese dressing in the photo of the ribs.

This photo was of some breast-meat nuggets. Later, they brought out some whole bone-in wings, which were even better -- the rougher surface held the batter and sauce more effectively. (And they're just fun to eat.)

Popcorn Soup

Popcorn Soup

The soup was not all that distinguishable from a basic corn chowder, though it was pleasantly buttery.

The garnishes are truffle-oil sauteed mushrooms, and cocoa nibs mixed into some kind of mildly peppery paste. (Maybe a play on mole?)

Fry Station

Fry Station

Oil heating up on an induction plate.

Fresh-made potato chips, dusted with cocoa and malt-vinegar powder.

Sweet malt aioli, with flecks of chocolate visible. It was much tastier than it sounds. (Bear in mind that this is the dish that won the episode.)

Feeeeeesh! (before)

Feeeeeesh! (before)

Fillets of black bass, swimming in barleywine / malt-vinegar marinade, awaiting a very hot bath.

Feeeeeesh! (after)

Feeeeeesh! (after)

The first golden-brown, crispy piece of fish emerges from the hot oil.

Q&A Time

Q&A Time

Elizabeth answers questions from the crowd.

Q: Which chef was the most cutthroat?
A: I was!
Q: So who was the nicest?
A: I was!
Q: Who was the sexiest?
A: No comment.

Popcorn Ice-Cream Sandwich

Popcorn Ice-Cream Sandwich

Buttered popcorn ice cream, between popcorn sugar cookies. This was really, really good.

Hot Tamale Macarons and Raisinet Phyllo Wraps

Hot Tamale Macarons and Raisinet Phyllo Wraps

The meringue was infused with hot cinnamon oil, and the filling was a cinnamon gel.

The phyllo wraps had a flavor quite similar to cocoa-raisin ruggelach.

Victorious Cake!

Victorious Cake!

Basic vanilla chiffon, with barley ice cream (surprisingly bittersweet and complex), and a malt-ball / cocoa nib crumble.

Elizabeth and staff assembling plates of cake. Elizabeth and staff assembling plates of cake.

So, yeah. That was awesome. And any of you who can should come next time. And if you're not watching the show, it has been, thus far, the best season of NIC that they've aired. (Season Two was pretty good, but I have never forgiven them for making such an egregiously stupid call at the end.) If you like Iron Chef at all, or the concept of competitive cooking, you should check it out. Tomorrow night: cooking mad libs. SRSLY.

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