Last weekend I decided to put on an Iron Chef party (home edition). It was a blast! I enjoy cooking, but due to kids, schedules, life, etc, I don’t get to cook as much as I would like to. I found that my neighbors were in the same boat. They too don’t get to stretch themselves in the culinary sense as well.
You can only make macaroni and cheese and hot dogs so many times before you get bored.
So I got the idea in my head that I would throw an Iron Chef party. It always looked like a lot of fun for the chef’s on TV. While I’m not skilled enough to go against a real chef; with some recipes in my pocket, I can pull off some good eats. So I set about picking a date and time and sending out the invitations.
Here were the contest rules I said:
The contest will be held at the host’s house. Cooking will begin @ 5:00 sharp, but come early and let the kiddo’s play outside or on the Wii if weather does not permit outdoor play.
Here are the rules:
- You must lay out ahead of time so that each of us can purchase the ingredients for the dish.
- You may prepare your ingredients (cut, measure, etc) but NO COOKING! Assembly and cooking of your dish must happen at the host household (given there is enough cooking space)
- Everyone meets at the specified time with our ingredients (and any specialty cooking items required)
- You have 1 hour to prepare your meal. Overtime means the loss of 5 points.
- You MUST incorporate the secret ingredient into your dish in some way.
You will have access to the outdoor grill, stove, oven, microwave freezer, and all preparing utensils that we have. If you need something specific, please bring it along.
The secret for this event will be:
And with that I was committed. The house had to be cleaned, the grill had to be stocked, and every dish and measuring instrument that I owned had to be cleaned. I went to the dollar store and purchased some measuring spoons, liquid measure and dry measuring cups. I put them in brown bags and colored them with crayons to denote first, second, and third places.
Finally the day was upon us.
The appetizer was a cheesy spinach artichoke dip that was so rich and warm and delicious that it threatened to derail the entire competition because we all stopped to sample it.
I created the main dish, two thirds of it anyhow. I make a beef wellington with top round, watercress, and blue cheese. I also created a creamy garlic mashed potatoes as a side dish. My competitor steamed some green beans so that we would have a vegetable to eat.
The desert was a cheesy warm delightful sopapilla cheesecake with homemade whip cream with cinnamon and fresh berries.
We all walked away full and happy and hopefully better cooks for the experience. I went to sleep that night with grin from ear to ear. I didn’t win the contest, but I did get to share my love of cooking with my neighbors and friends.
Now it’s time to put on my next Iron Chef contest and as I look back on the first one and wonder “Why didn’t I do this a long time ago? Thanks Alton Brown.”