Saturday, December 21, 2013

virtual date: mystery box cooking challenge

For my second virtual date, I thought it would be fun to show off our cooking skill and creativity.

I asked 25 people to name a single food/ingredient, for the most part these people did not know what other people selected.  I wrote down the items in order received and when I thought there was enough, I shared the number with my date, and told him he could eliminate a few to pick the numbers from 1 - 25.  Having him eliminate random ingredients was a good idea, because over the course of the few hours of collecting items, ideas were forming in my head about what to make...but then when something was eliminated, that changed things.  Brought it back up to a level playing field.

This is what was given:
  1. onion
  2. hot peppers
  3. cumin
  4. cilantro
  5. basil
  6. hominy
  7. sausage
  8. apple
  9. ginger
  10. spam
  11. bacon
  12. asparagus
  13. jicama
  14. shrimp
  15. brussel sprouts
  16. bell peppers
  17. capers
  18. pretzels
  19. kale
  20. snow peas
  21. lime
  22. quinoa
  23. mozzarella
  24. raisins
  25. cabbage
At the selected time, we have 60 minutes to prep and prepare a dinner using a minimum of 13 ingredients.  We can use very basic extras like salt, pepper, oil, butter, etc.  

There are a lot of green in there...I hope I can get creative enough to pull something off...that is edible.  My goal is one main dish and two sides.  We'll see how it goes.

I cut up half the apple and put it in the food processor, I mixed in juice from the lime and added part of the hot pepper.  I marinated the shrimp in this marinade and closer to the end time, I sauteed the shrimp and added the kale and cut snow peas.

The brussel sprouts were the most work.  I chopped them up quite fine and sauteed them in some olive oil and a smidgen of garlic.  I cooked 2 strips of bacon and some spam; once cooked/browned I added that to the brussel sprouts.  I stirred in raisins and topped with broken pretzels.

The hominy I sauteed with olive oil.  I cooked the hot sausage through and cut into small pieces.  I mixed the sausage into the hominy and added cut up asparagus.  I wasn't sure if the hominy should have stayed in the balls...or blended, so I put more into the food processor and mixed the extra hominy into the rest.  It tasted good, but didn't look good, so I thought maybe I could try to make it into a patty/cake, so back into the frying pan it went.  However, it didn't stay in a patty/cake, when I attempted to flip it, it fell apart.

I did not use the capers, cumin or mozzarella.

When 54 minutes passed, my meal was done.  It didn't take that long to cook it all...but I wanted to be sure my food was hot when 60 minutes was over.  It all tasted good....well, except for the spam. I probably shouldn't have bothered, but I figured I never used it or tasted it before, why not try it?

My completed meal

My competitor, did not finish in the time allowed, he apparently was a little distracted by household work. He did not use hominy, spam or brussel sprouts.  What I appreciated was the whole time, he was enthusiastic about this idea for a date and his meal looked good too.
his completed meal

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