Senior Iron Chef | foodsciencenerd.com

Senior Iron Chef

Posted on Posted in Nutrition Information, Recipes

(Spoiler alert: I didn’t win.  Then again, if I was cooking for vegetarians I would’ve.)

So recently, one of my friends challenged me to an Iron-Chef-type competition.  Of course, I couldn’t turn down that kind of invitation, so we set about planning meals to impress our many many friends with.  We each came up with an appetizer, entree, and dessert as well as an official scorecard to hand out to the lucky dinner guests.  After much deliberation and an attempt to not choose only healthy dishes (which failed), this is what I presented:

Appetizer: Zucchini Bites

I’ve been wanting to try these forever– they look so delicioso (the recipe’s in Spanish).  After some translation, linguistic and cultural, the recipe ended up looking like this:

Makes 40 apps

  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
  • 8 oz fontina, sliced into zucchini appropriate sizes
  • 1 cup homemade breadcrumbs
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  • SECRET INGREDIENT: Applewood smoked salt (optional)

This is super simple: Make fontina sandwiches, using zucchini as bread.  Then, dip the sandwich in egg white, and then in breadcrumbs.  Place the sandwiches on a sheet pan covered in tin foil (cheese is sticky!).  Sprinkle with the applewood salt and bake at 350 F for 6-10 minutes.

Senior Iron Chef | foodsciencenerd.com
These are obviously fantastic no matter what, but the salt really adds something special… it’s like adding bacon!

Unfortunately, the other app, toast with scrambled eggs and mushrooms, beat this out.  Admittedly, it was delicious, but I still liked this app better!

Dinner: Whole Wheat Gnocchi with Pesto, Roasted Tomatoes, and Romano

This one was fun.  And by fun I mean hot mess and delicious.  Just a tip, don’t try to feed 15 people this recipe… start with just a few.  Gnocchi is notoriously hard to make, but I didn’t have too much trouble with the recipe itself (stay tuned, though).  I used this recipe, but replaced most of the flour with white whole wheat.  I froze them (on a sheet pan, separately, and then put them in baggies), and planned to just boil them as some recipes suggest.  Unfortunately, I didn’t watch them very well when I boiled them, and they got all waterlogged and shapeless.  Ew.  But then, I did this to them, and managed to salvage at least some of the shape, if not the texture.  If done correctly, the frying technique is AMAZING (if not authentic).

For the tomatoes, I covered 2 pints of grape tomatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and stuck them in the oven at 350 F.  They took about 30 minutes to roast, rotating them every so often, until some of the sides are browned and the tomatoes are slightly soft.

For the pesto, I used this recipe but substituted slivered almonds for the pine nuts (they’re cheaper) and threw in some spinach.  I also added some pasta water, but that’s just because our blender won’t blend without it.

Senior Iron Chef | foodsciencenerd.com
If this had better texture, it would’ve been the best gnocchi I had ever had!

This also lost, which I expected, because the chicken/veggie/spaetzel dish that my competitor made was fantastic.

Dessert: Pavlovas with Vanilla Bean Cream, Berries, and Nutella

 I’ve always wanted to make a pavlova.  I saw it on Barefoot Contessa like a million years ago, and I never worked up the courage to try until after working as a baker for two years and mastering the meringue.  It’s a stunning dessert, and it’s named after the dancer!  Fortunately, the meringue shells can be made ahead, so I had time to change my plans if it failed.  Also fortunately, the shells came out perfectly!  I used this recipe for the Pavlova shells.

I took inspiration from that same recipe for the vanilla cream, but used my own whipped cream recipe:

Chill the cream and, preferably, the bowl and whisk.  Dump it all in the bowl and whisk really hard for a few minutes until the cream reaches the desired texture– I like it pretty over-whipped.

Fill the shells with the cream, top with berries, and drizzle with Nutella!

Image
The WINNING dessert, for looks if nothing else!

Now this dish was victorious!  My competitor made a pretty darn incredible molten chocolate cake. Buuuut it wasn’t enough to beat this beauty!

Senior Iron Chef | foodsciencenerd.com
Just one more lovely look…

All that’s left is having the guests bring a looooooooot of wine (and bourbon) and consuming some periodically while cooking and for about 3 hours after.  Now that’s a good night.

Zucchini Fontina Bites

Zucchini Fontina Bites

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
  • 8 oz fontina, sliced into zucchini appropriate sizes
  • 1 cup homemade breadcrumbs
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  • Applewood smoked salt (optional)

Directions

  1. Make fontina sandwiches, using zucchini as bread.
  2. Dip the sandwich in egg white, and then in breadcrumbs. Place the sandwiches on a sheet pan covered in tin foil.
  3. Sprinkle with the applewood salt and bake at 350 F for 6-10 minutes.
http://www.foodsciencenerd.com/senior-iron-chef/

0 thoughts on “Senior Iron Chef

I'd love to hear your thoughts!