Thursday, December 13, 2012

Quickfire! What would YOU make on #TopChef?

First, let me admit that I haven't been watching Top Chef since the beginning. Not my fault, though. It wasn't part of my cable package. People were talking about it, and it sounded great, but ... not for me. I felt left out of the conversations. Sad.

Then, suddenly, it was there in my TV lineup, and I was pretty excited to be one of the cool kids again. Since then, I've been watching the new seasons and catching up and watching old seasons.


So when Bravo TV contacted me about blogging about the show, I thought it would be fun. I mean, when I see the quickfires, I always think about what I'd make. Of course, I'm usually thinking in terms of what's in my kitchen rather than a fully-stocked commercial kitchen complete with sous vide machines and tanks of liquid nitrogen.

But it's still a fun sport. What would I make? Could I win?

In episode 4, chefs were faced with two beef primals during the quickfire challenge, and they had to butcher the meat and then cook a dish. Well then. That's a challenge for sure. I like cutting up chickens, but I've never had to cut up a hunk of beef like that. So if I was on that show, I'd have to make up for my butchery weakness.

I'd make ... fajitas!

Sure, it's simple, but a simple dish has fewer ingredients that I could screw up. And since I wouldn't need big pieces, it wouldn't matter if I was a little messy with the cutting. AND, I could use flank steak, skirt steak, flap meat, or any tender cut of meat. Heck, I could scavenge other people's trimmings.

To go with the meat, I'd make a nice little fresh salsa, chop some avocado - or maybe make an avocado cream. And then I'd make a couple little flatbreads.

Cookistry Quickfire Fajitas

1) Find appropriate bits of meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Under-seasoning is always a killer on these competition shows.

2) Find peppers. Bells are nice - the salsa would be hot, so there's no need for more hot peppers. Red and green would make a nice presentation, or yellow and green. Oh! And onion. Run to the pantry for an onion. Slice them all with great skill. If there are nice-looking mushrooms, that would be a good addition. I love mushrooms.

3) Run around madly for a while looking for ingredients or a proper pan.

4) Heat a cast iron frying pan, add oil. Quickly stir fry the peppers and onions (and mushrooms, if I found them).

5) Remove the vegetables from the pan, add the meat, sear quickly. The goal is a super-fast sear on all sides that would leave the center mid-rare. Seriously, in real life I would say medium rare. But all the judges say "mid-rare."

6) Worry on-camera that I might have over-cooked the meat. Does my hair look okay?

7) Pile the vegetables on the little flatbreads I made off camera. Top with the meat. Artfully add the fresh tomato salsa and the chunks of avocado that I prepared off camera.

8) Stand around nervously as my fajitas are tasted. If I cooked the meat correctly, I'd be golden. The salsa would probably be the key, because that's a huge burst of flavor. Would it be too messy to eat? Would I win? Probably not, but with a simple recipe with no major flaws, I think I'd stay out of the bottom three.

What would you make?

Oh! And one last thing! If you're watching the show, you can help keep your favorite chef in the competition. Check out the Save a Chef competition where you can vote via Twitter or by texting. Easy peasy!

And how about a little clip from Episode 6? Here ya go!


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