Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Picture Yourself in A Boat on a River, or, Four Fat Men in a Kitchen

I'll go take a picture of Mark's kitchen sometime. Probably take a picture of the four dudes too, just so you can see why we agreed to add 15 mintues to the competition after cooking for an hour. I'm not sure Greco or I really thought about the space. I suppose I expected one member of each team to be at the grill outside for much more of the time. Suffice it to say, sardines feel less crowding in the tin.

Picture if you will a double sink, on either side of the sink is a cutting board. On the left, Herb. On the right, Randy. Around the corner to the left was the stove (all four burners of glory). There was a fifth burner that Greco and I agreed would not be used because it would be unfair if one team got more aggregate burner time.

We started using the 5th burner about 20 minutes in...

To the right of Randy (after an L counter and the microwave) was the refrigerator. Greco's half of the stove was closest to his cutting board, Randy and I were on the outside of the stove.

The food processor was between Randy and the Microwave.

The 'Pantry' was the kitchen table in a corner behind us all and three TV Dinner stands on the wall.

Oh, and the door into the house to get to the bathrooms for everyone there was between the pantry and the cooking. Fun!!!!

So we were there for just over 2 hours.

Randy and I had chatted a little bit before the competition started. He had a sauce in mind that would work with pretty much everything on Mark's list. I was going to do a risotto, with the secret or without as a side, it just made sense (cold night, hot creamy risotto-y goodness).

Basically though, we looked at the beef, looked at the pantry, I said 'two apps and two entrees, one sweet with your sauce and one savory. Let's fill in the blanks.' Five minutes later we were off.

The fun stuff (and I'll let commenters question to get more details, much is still a blur):

- If there was a search for anything, Herb's immediate response was: "It's hidden in a secret crevasse...up my A@#."

- Greco would call, Herb would answer, and it was incredible. Greco would be at the pantry table, pick something up, yell 'left shoulder lemon' and Herb would answer 'heard' as the lemon was hurtling toward him. They never dropped a thing.

- Greco cut himself 3.2 seconds into the competition...with the corkscrew. Tracy walked through the kitchen asking if that was wine or blood. It was blood. Greco cooked the whole damn time with duct tape on his thumb.

- Randy spoke twice, maybe, during the entire 2.25 hours.

- Herb had his knife pointed at me at least seven times (but only once below the belt).

- At the 30-minute mark (after we had added the 15 minutes to the total, so we're 1:45 in to the cooking), I remember that I have carmelized onions and sauteed spinach, AND NO RISOTTO STARTED. I ran into the kitchen from outside, screamed "F#@!, I haven't started the risotto! How much time???!!!???" and started stirring.

- I sweat. A lot.

- Heather has a favorite quote from the evening.

- We ran out of Jaeger at about the 1 hour mark.

- I used a can of Grape Big-K soda in a recipe.

- We helped each other out.

- One bottle of olive oil and one jar of pre-ground black pepper is NOT enough for us.

- I CAN hurdle Diesel if needed.

- I must have walked over to the pantry table 10 times in the 2 hours and stared at the coconut milk.

- We used: at least 3 bottles of wine, all the yellow onion, all the eggplant, all of the scallions, all of the mushrooms, most of the olive oil, both bags of tri-peppers, all of the baby bok choy, at least a pound of butter, several heads of garlic, 1 cup of walnuts, 1 bag of frozen raspberries, 1 bag of frozen cherries, 2 quarts of heavy cream, several boxes of chicken stock, 1 box of manicotti, 1 cup of arborio, half a baguette, four ears of corn, half a knob of ginger, one tub of ricotta, at least a pound of pecorina romano, a brick of amish cheddar, a pound of shrimp, a couple bags of spinach, some sugar and some brown sugar, and gobs of other stuff I'm sure I'll remember eventually.

- We did not use any of the saffron Herb brought (and we should have), any of the cocnut milk (see above), any black beans, any of the tortillas, any of the chipotles, any orichette, spaghetti, or angel hair, any of the filo dough, puff pastry shells, or pie crusts, any of the cornmeal, any chickpeas, and i'm sure several other items in that category as well.

- Most shocking of all...there was a slab of amish bacon (unsliced) in the fridge...and I never touched it. Not once. Never even thought about it. I had MEAT, and I could have WRAPPED IT IN BACON...and I never even thought to...

Next Post is the Recipes...


I'm The Chez said...

The conversation that contained my favorite quote:

(Some off color, obnoxious remark/comparison about the Iron Chefs and a Monkey Habitat. You really had to see the layout of the kitchen and the "observation deck" to understand that comment. Plus, egging them on about how they couldn't yell at me because I held the power of a SCORE CARD!)

Why dontcha just shut the fuck up!

(insert evil laugh) muaaahaaaaaaaa

Pauly, you really HAVE to QUIT telling the judges to shut the fuck up!

mamachezz said...

You know what....it is one thing to tell the judge to shut the fuck up, but it's another to tell my daughter that!!!!!

Bethie said...

only a pound of butter?

I'm The Chez said...

Perhaps they used the other lb of butter to help remove anything and everything that had a tendency to get lost in the "crevasse...up [Herb's] A@#."

redneck muppet said...

the 1/4 pound of butter in one dish alone matched up pretty well with the 2 pounds of potatoes, cup of heavy cream, 1/2 cup of chicken stock, and cup of walnut.

and you know the Una-Greco and Chef Mori-Dano are olive oil whores. It's the italian/latin cooking instincts.

and no, i'm not latin, i just cook that way a lot.

I'm The Chez said...

I just piddled in my pants a lil bit. I misread the last line of Dano's last comment. I thought it said, "And no, I'm not Latin. I just LOOK that way a lot!" Yeah, with your Mori-Dano Dooooo Rag! Oh man, that was a funny misread.