Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ramblings: Iron Chef'n stuff

Avery is the newest member to jump aboard the vomit train. This morning at about 4 am we heard him sitting on the stairs crying about throw up. So we set up the pack and play in the downstairs bedroom and Jeremy (who has no negative reaction to vomit whatsoever, yet gags, winces, and holds his breath while changing a poopy diaper) stripped his sheets and pillow for me to deal with this morning. Luckily, I think most of his dinner had already been digested so it wasn't as disgusting as it could've been. (We had Tilapia, pasta salad, and watermelon and I was more than a little relieved that I didn't have to see all that a second time around in chunk version on his sheets.)

Last night we had a big Iron Chef-themed activity with our church youth group that was a blast. We divided them up into five groups, each with a head chef, and gave each group a bag of ingredients. Each group split up and went to separate kitchens of some nearby families that we had made arrangements with beforehand. Each group was given a different secret ingredient, but everything else in the bags was the same. They had one hour to create a dish using everything in the bag and only adding spices or seasonings from the kitchen.

I drove a group back to our kitchen where Jeremy was waiting wearing his chef's hat and drooling at the chance to recreate his favorite Food Network show. I had to remind him more than once that the kids were supposed to be doing the creating, not him. I had to pry the spatula out of his hand--good thing his kung fu grip isn't as good as mine. But he was more than a little involved in the creation of the final dish--which he swears was really good. I wasn't brave enough to try it.
Our group's ingredients:
bag of bowtie pasta
chicken breast
canned shrimp
3 tiny phyllo tart crusts

I thought that we ended up cheating a bit by adding some dried onions, bacon bits, and heavy cream in the creation of our pasta dish. When we got back and saw all the other groups, I think we cheated the least of everyone because there were some that added all sorts of stuff like cheese, salad, desserts, etc.

I was surprised how into the "creative presentation" the guys in our group got. Especially with the orange that we cut in half zigzagged. With one half we took out the orange, and then pureed it and added it to some whipped cream. Then stuck it back in the orange peel, topped it with a little more whipped cream and orange peel zest. The other orange half along with the zucchini peelings got used to decorate the pasta bowl. We crumbled up the phyllo shells and sprinkled them on the top. Anyway, our main dish won "Best Tasting" and turned out fairly spicy because Jeremy kept dumping in Chipotle and Cayenne Pepper seasoning and Tapatio hot sauce.

The judges were not taking their assignment lightly--they spent about 15 minutes deliberating and repeatedly tasting the different things (they were very, very brave). They gave awards for categories like best presentation, most creative use of an ingredient, etc. (Jess--your dad was cracking me up.)See how cute our little orange cup dessert concoction was? It was definitely a fun activity that everyone seemed to enjoy regardless of their cooking ability--just in case you're ever in the market, or you have a slow night around the house and want to challenge your spouse to a bizarre cook-off.


Lindsay said...

how fun!!! hey..i know that guy.. i think i lived with him when i lived there :)

Our Family said...

What was the same and what was different as far as ingredients go for the other groups? We would love to do this in our YW/YM, but I haven't seen it done "easily". Could you share your secret?

Laura said...

Every group had chicken breast, pasta, a tomato, an orange, phyllo tarts, a zucchini, and one "secret ingredient". Ours was canned shrimp. The others were ketchup, chips, peanut butter, and olives or something. While the groups were at the homes cooking, 2 of the leaders stayed back at the church and cooked spaghetti and salad for everyone to eat when they returned while the judges were judging. Then we served cream pies at the end. It turned out fun and wasn't too difficult. I would recommend keeping the groups to 4 or 5 people so they all get to participate in the cooking and don't get too distracted screwing around. To speed it up, we had the groups preliminarily assigned and then made last minute adjustments when we saw who was there. You can give as many awards as you want and then pick an overall winner.

Our Family said...

Thanks for the information. We are so going to try this at our next combined YM/YW. Now that I know how to do it. Thanks so much. In case you're wondering how I found you...I'm from Garland. I spent my teen years there and my parents and sister still live there. I love reading your blog. It always makes me laugh.

brent and kashann said...

Are you serving in YW's?

The Lowe Family said...

i've seen that guy too...

he sent me a indiana jones homemade video of himself in slow motion teaching jake how to use his whip. maybe i'll blast him on my blog with it.

u know how i am with homemade way.

Jill said...

Seriously cool idea..I e-mailed it to my friend who is the YW president here. I bet they would totally dig doing this, and how do you get your pics so BRIGHT and clear looking...I'm so enjoying reading your's been a while. Now that I'm stuck home with's been fun to catch up!