I really enjoy the TV show Chopped (read: have seen every episode. Many of them more than once). For those who don’t know, it’s a show on the Food Network where four chefs are given four entirely random ingredients (the “mystery ingredients”), out of which they have to create either an appetizer, entree or dessert in a specified period of time (usually from 20-30 minutes). The mystery ingredients range from the normal and mundane (pork loin) to the absurd (crickets); the chefs also have access to a pantry of ingredients they can use in addition to the four mystery ingredients. As an added bonus for the chefs, the mystery ingredients never seem to make any sense in terms of going together. After all, you have to give the television viewers what they want. Which, in this case, is food poisoning. Or vomiting on national television.

Since we have been married, Paul has been drawn into the show as well. Or I have forced him to watch it. Whatever.

A couple weeks ago, Paul suggested we do a Chopped experience at home. After altering the rules a bit (only one round, no time limit – I have to ease myself into this, not being a professional chef or anything), I agreed to do it. Paul would come up with four ingredients and I would use those ingredients and the others in my kitchen to make him supper.

At the time I agreed to do this, I didn’t realize one of the ingredients was going to be Sour Patch Kids.

Then again, as Paul was going to have to eat the ultimate product, perhaps he should have thought that move through a bit more.

Opening the basket of mystery ingredients. What horrors could be within?
Opening the basket of mystery ingredients. What horrors could lie within?
The four mystery ingredients: acorn squash, pork chops, Sour Patch Kids & toasted sesame seeds.
The four mystery ingredients: acorn squash, pork chops, Sour Patch Kids & toasted sesame seeds.
The aforementioned Sour Patch Kids. I'm pretty sure these are not meant to be cooked.
The aforementioned Sour Patch Kids. I’m pretty sure these are not meant to be cooked.
I had no idea what this thing was. It was an acorn squash (according to the sticker on it). Number of times I had previously cooked squash? Zero.
I had no idea what this thing was. It was an acorn squash (according to the sticker on it). Number of times I had previously cooked squash? Zero.

 

Yeah. We're going to need more of the wine to deal with these things.
Yeah. We’re going to need more wine to deal with these things.
Yeah. We're definitely going to need more wine.
Yeah. We’re definitely going to need more wine.
When it doubt, boil the thing (this is the acorn squash).
When it doubt, boil the thing (this is the acorn squash).
Our menu for the evening - complete with an awesome turkey napkin created by Paul.
Our menu for the evening – complete with an awesome turkey napkin created by Paul.
The ultimate result (and yes, I put wine in the pork chop sauce. If it wasn't good, I at least wanted it to have the redeeming quality of alcohol).
The ultimate result (and yes, I put wine in the pork chop sauce. If it wasn’t good, I at least wanted it to have the redeeming quality of alcohol).
It was not inedible. This is Paul's plate. Either he enjoyed it or is a polite husband and ate everything even though it tasted bad. Either way, I am happy.
It was not inedible. This is Paul’s plate. Either he enjoyed it or is a polite husband and ate everything even though it tasted bad. Either way, I am happy.


UPDATE!!

Ted Allen (host of Chopped) replied to my Tweet about the Chopped Challenge!



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