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The Shows of 2015: More Indecipherable Seasonings

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Is tomato paste the new truffle oil?

 

I'm watching the episode with the chef that was playing for money to pay for his sister's dental work and they dinged one of the chefs for using it. I know one other chef this season was criticized for using it (uncooked) and I'm pretty sure it also happened to at least one other chef.

Edited by xaxat

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If you just throw it into something without simmering or baking, it tastes funky. Metallic. I buy it in the tubes that look like a toothpaste tube so that if I only need a teaspoon, I don't waste a can. I cannot imagine just putting it into something at the end without cooking it.

Yes, the Chopped for Choppers episode. :) Now onto the redcoats and the Champions rounds.

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I have to go with them on that. For me, straight out of the can tomato paste is really hard to tell from pureed prunes. It's a terrific ingredient, but it's a thickener, and most thickeners are kind of awful to eat if you don't let them meld.

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I buy it in the tubes that look like a toothpaste tube so that if I only need a teaspoon, I don't waste a can.

 

I'm too cheap for that, so I take out the two tablespoons I need now, and then lay out a sheet of Saran wrap and dollop out the rest in two tablespoon piles I throw in the freezer.

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I'm too cheap for that, so I take out the two tablespoons I need now, and then lay out a sheet of Saran wrap and dollop out the rest in two tablespoon piles I throw in the freezer.

Wouldn't it be easier to put it in an ice cube tray? Then you could just pop out a cube whenever you needed it.

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Good ideas on the tomato paste! I too buy the toothpaste tube looking ones, but I am constantly watching for the cheapest price because they are way to expensive about 99% of the time. Freezing a few teaspoons or tablespoons sounds like a great idea.

 

I keep meaning to get better about freezing herbs in water/ice cubes too - I think it's time to find my old school ice cube trays. I have an Aerogarden and love it but holy cow those herbs grow wayyyy faster than I can possibly use them once they take off.  Hmm come to think of it Aerogarden could be a fun product placement thing for Chopped. Put a bunch of different herbs in there, and have those herbs in the baskets for a few episodes? Plus they could fight over it like they fight over the ice cream machine.

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Wouldn't it be easier to put it in an ice cube tray? Then you could just pop out a cube whenever you needed it.

Since my fridge makes ice cubes, I'm also too cheap to own an ice cube tray :)  At any rate, it's real easy, four dollops or so wrapped up like little ravioli and flattened out, takes about ten seconds and just a couple of spare inches in the freezer drawer that's kinda useless except for stuff like this anyway. Same thing for Chipotles in adobe sauce, I get months out of one can because I don't use them often.

Edited by Totale
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When they were introduced, they all have cookbooks which seems so weird to me versus some of the celebs they've shown on the past on Chopped who just like the show and to cook.

 

I hated the "reality stars" episode. I'm not familiar with any of their shows, by choice. I'm not a fan of the whole "people being famous just because they want to be on TV" phenomenon.  I watch a few reality shows, but they're all competition-based shows like Top Chef or Project Runway where the point is (ostensibly) that these people have a particular talent and are being rewarded for it.  Shows about "mob wives," "housewives," "little people," etc. ... I don't see the point.  And the fact that they all have cookbooks annoys me even more! Why should they make money for something they know basically nothing about? I'm as qualified to put out a cookbook as these people are (and I have no qualifications other than cooking at home).  I'm just really disgusted by our fame-whore culture sometimes. 

 

That said, Travis seemed like basically a nice guy who has some decent cooking skills and I'm glad he won.  

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What the heck was up with the Late Night episode, with no judging segments until the end?  I hope that's not a new template for the show, the judges' deliberations are one of the few spots I always pay attention and never FF through.  I would have been happy with either of the final two winning.

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What the heck was up with the Late Night episode, with no judging segments until the end?

 

 

What was missing?  The parts where the judges talk with each other after the chefs leave the kitchen?  If so, I didn't even notice last night but I agree that those comments are important information for viewers so I hope that isn't a new thing.

 

I didn't like 3 of the 4 contestants right out of the gate so I was happy that the only chef I did like won. 

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The entire episode felt out of sync without the judging segment. Did you notice they showed more of the conversations between the chefs and the judges. Guess that ate up the time. I personally didn't like the way the show flowed.

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Leaving out the judges' comments was a mistake, I think. I like to know why or why not they liked something.

In the first round, why didn't anyone make an omelet with hash browns? I'd have taken the sandwich components and diced them up (minus the bread), quick sauteed diced tomatillo with diced morels, then put that all in an omelet. Chop up those fires with the gravy and form them into small patties of hash browns to put atop the omelet.

Second round, dice the eggplant with the corn, red bell pepper, onion and add some curry powder to give it some heat, along with the beer for flavor, and sautee that in a frying pan. Put those burger patties in the food chopper and give it a quick coarse dice. Throw some rice in the pot of boiling water. Toss the diced patty meat in with the eggplant mixture, which by now has a nice thick sauce from the beer and curry. Serve that over the rice, with the toasted buns from the sliders topped with garlic butter. Those toasted noodles that the bald guy made really looked good, I may have to try that.

Last basket, I'd have done something I learned from my Granny. A half moon pie. Use the tortillas to hold the apple mixture from the pies, adding in a little of the cheese, some cinnamon and sugar with a tad of the whipped cream to bind it. Fold it over to make a half moon shape (like a turnover) and fry it in a frying pan until it's crispy. Meanwhile, take the chocolate milk and mix it with some of the whipping cream and some chopped mint into a smooth creamy consistency and put it on that anti-griddle thing to create a disk to top the apple turnover with.

I am making these things up as I watch my recording, btw, but I am good at doing things on the fly late at night. :)

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Wow, this show really must have lost me. I watched the Late Night Food show, but didn't realize they didn't show some of the judges comments until I read the comments here. 

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They didn't show the judges' comments after the first two rounds.  Well, OK, I guess.

But then, when they did discuss the "complete meal", the judges did not discuss the dessert round on camera.

 

Seemed like a strange choice from the director/editor...

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I tend to FF through portions of this show, and without the judges' comments, I completely lost interest. Had you asked me beforehand what my preferences were, I'd have said that I most like the comments to the chefs' faces, the cooking, and the judges' comments without the chefs, in that order. Now I'd have to revise that.

 

I wonder if something happened behind the scenes that made them revise the format this time. I often wonder this about competitions, however, so maybe that's just me. OTOH, this could be an experiment. In that case, I believe it failed.

 

They're always trying to tweak the show to keep it "fresh," but this was a bad idea.

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I agree the judging segments were really weird. Bella I do the same thing - FF through certain parts, and this time I kept rewinding because I was like "Wait? did I miss something?  No?"  I guess if their goal was to get DVR watchers to keep rewinding it worked, but I didn't care for it.  I thought the theme itself was fun, but it could've been so much better.

 

On a totally separate note what's up with Poutine lately on Food Network? It was on Cutthroat Kitchen the other night, then on Chopped. I keep wondering if they hired some new person to come up with baskets/ingredients. I like gravy and I like fries but ewwww that stuff looks nasty, even as a late night snack.

Edited by NikSac
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The only thing I want on my fries is ketchup or malt vinegar.

 

Remoulade sauce is good, too. I learned that by accident.

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Poutine is good in Canada, but it loses its magic here. YMMV.

My best poutine experiences were 2AM drunken mornings in Montreal many years ago, but I don't think you can get the right cheese curds here.  Trader Joe's frozen definitely doesn't cut it.  Cold poutine in the Chopped basket won't do it, either.  "Disco Fries" are no way the same, Jersey girl.

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Poutine is good in Canada, but it loses its magic here. YMMV.

 

Thank you for giving me more ammunition to convince my husband we must visit Canada someday. :) "Babe they have french fries and gravy" wouldn't have worked, but "they have poutine!" might, if only because he'd wonder what the heck I'm talking about. Even better, it apparently must be eaten in Canada.

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The only thing I want on my fries is ketchup or malt vinegar.

Turkey gravy! Mmmm, the best 3:00AM-and-the-bars-have-closed diner food ever.

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haha... must say I never knew there were so many different ways to eat fries! Leave it up to Chopped to show all the likely possibilities.

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Yeah, just what the fuck was that? (regarding this week's episode)? My favorite part of this show is listening to the judges discuss, debate and argue.

 

As for French Fries, me likey  ketchup, and then I discovered this by accident, but love it also--the sweet and sour sauce from McDonald's. Yum.

 

I'm hoping they go back to the normal way of judging next week. I don't have a twitter account (refuse to get on just on principal), but wish someone would ask any or all of the judges from this week, why we didn't get to see them debating the food. 

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Do you have a Facebook account? I follow Ted, Chopped, and am "friends" with several of the judges. You can always express your displeasure on the Chopped page. :)

 

Actually I do! I follow Ted, Scott, Maneet, Aarron, Amanda...you know, the judges I like! I think I just liked all their pages, didn't even occur to me to send a friend request.  Thanks cooksdelight, I may just do that.

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I was genuinely shocked at the outcome of tonight's show. I thought for sure the fix was in. (Especially after we saw the bitch faces from both Scott and Alex when the older couple admitted they didn't use much of the creme fraiche.)

 

I was so annoyed when the chef complained that the judges didn't appreciate their level of technique. Maybe you should clean your ingredients properly before you start dabbling in the maltodextrin. 

Edited by xaxat
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I thought the right couple won.  I didn't care much for either of the younger couples.  I liked the food truck pair OK until I saw how often she fooled with her dyed red hair.  I wasn't sorry they were eliminated after that.

 

I was shocked, shocked when Scott Conant and Alex said nice things about truffle oil.

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What was up with that cross on Chef Sling Blade's hat? To me, that looked like an homage - if such a thing is possible- to the Confederate flag, which created immediate dislike, rightly or wrongly.

And if the producers' intentions were to create bad behaviour between these couples, I'm glad they didn't get it.

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What was up with that cross on Chef Sling Blade's hat? To me, that looked like an homage - if such a thing is possible- to the Confederate flag, which created immediate dislike, rightly or wrongly.

 

It's the state flag of Alabama and may or may not be an homage. It is, however a lot better than the state flag of Mississippi, which has an actual Confederate flag depicted on it.

 

The guy was so stereotype I was wondering if it was for real or if the guy is really a hipster from Brooklyn putting on an act.

 

What it’s like to compete in the Chopped kitchen

 

And, in what is easily the biggest news ever from the show,

 

FoodNetworkChopped

‏@ChoppedShow

Coming up next season on #Chopped: Celebrity competition featuring @jimmykimmel , @kanyewest , @chrisbharrison and @nathanfielder STAY TUNED

 

 

I can't figure out if this is real though.

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Picturing in my head -   Jimmy Kimmel presenting his dish to the judges, explaining it. 

 

Kanye: "I'm a let you finish, Jimmy, but they have to admit that my dish is the most  superior use of the ingredients, blah blah blah" 

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I don't know what spa cuisine is, but I'm glad the snotty Team Spa was voted off in the first round so I didn't have to hear more about it.  I totally knew Team Brain Freeze was going to the third round as soon as the girl said she was feeling all left out and abused now but pastry was her thing, so too bad for Team Hillbilly since Team Geezer was pretty much a lock from the first round.  I was surprised they lost, but sometimes the producers must just have to toss the adorability coin up in the air and let if fall where it might.

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Thanks for the link to the interview, xaxat.  It's nice to read that things behind the scenes are like we expect them to be.  Interesting that Amanda sought out and hired a contestant.

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The Food Network staple Chopped—which recently finished its 23rd season despite only premiering in 2009

 

This made me laugh so loud, I scared the cats.

 

And 

 

They did say, however, that we shouldn’t make bread pudding in the dessert round. Apparently everyone does that and the judges are sick of it.

 

Yay!

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All these years and I've never seen anyone on chopped use their bread to make make cinnamon toast croutons. I would eat the hell out of a dessert with cinnamon toast croutons.

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Me, too! I just about roll over and play dead for cinnamon. I can go on at length about how good quality cinnamon is hot, not sweet. Cinnamon is my favorite ice cream flavor. I use cinnamon with onions. I would make it a mandatory ingredient as much as possible.

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Oregon Spice Company sells the best cinnamon. It's that hot quality you're looking for. I used to know an eBay seller who worked there and he sent me a box of assorted spices....that being one of them.

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I just could not get into the couples Chopped challenge. I wanted to, I really did, but after realizing I'd rewound it about 5 times and still hadn't paid attention I gave up. I managed to catch the end once and was happy for who won, though.

 

Bella cinnamon is good stuff in ice cream - and onions!  My favorite tricks I ever learned for making a delicious Bechamel were to add a dash of nutmeg, dash of cinnamon, dash of coriander, and some Worcestershire. Most recipes I've seen say dash of Cayenne pepper too, but if the cinnamon's hot enough I use that instead. Yummy.

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I was shocked, shocked when Scott Conant and Alex said nice things about truffle oil.

Alex has been mentioning truffled this and truffled that a lot lately. I get the feeling she and Scott may be on a mission to make truffle oil the next new foodie fad. I hope I'm wrong.

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I'm wondering if they're looking for a sponsor that makes truffle oil. Alex said a couple of similarly random things about the honorableness of canned food at about the time the canned food trade association came onboard.

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What I recall about truffle oil is that it's full of artificial perfumey stuff that imitates truffle flavor, but has no actual truffles. It's kind of like using artificial vanilla in baking. If you're familiar with the real thing, the fake flavor tastes off to you. Every cooking show I've seen has blasted truffle oil as ruining food, I was confused by the turnaround on Chopped.

I had truffle-Flavored popcorn once. It tasted like dirt.

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Alex has been mentioning truffled this and truffled that a lot lately. I get the feeling she and Scott may be on a mission to make truffle oil the next new foodie fad.

 

They'd be a good five years too late, at least in my neck of the woods.  "Truffle oil" (artificially-flavored olive oil, as noted above) suckered many a diner into over-priced pasta dishes.

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What did you guys think of the "fry-day" episode? All 3 of the chefs besides Mo seemed embarrassingly bad.  The judges were really struggling to say anything nice about the first 2 dishes from both of the female chefs.  And I think they deliberately played up how great Ann's dessert was so that there would be at least a little bit of suspense about who'd win.  Maybe it really was the best thing they ate all day, but even so, it was obvious Mo had the win in the bag.  

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I agree with all of that, iggysaurus.  Mo clearly deserved to win and I would have been highly annoyed if he hadn't.  I wondered what his wife thought when she saw the episode months later.  "I'm getting married tomorrow.  I have the day off.  Shrug."  LOL

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If they expect good tasting dishes with frying being the rule, give them something good to fry. There was a blonde female chef from Kentucky who fried a lot of her items, and she won. But a small Asian man kept making fun of her in his THs about her frying everything. I'd have loved to have seen him in this episode.

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I'm not sure what season this episode was, but it was just on. Anyhow:

 

the guy in the dessert round basically did what I thought to do (I'm not a chef at all), just put all the stuff in the croissant lol. He did that and didn't change any of the ingredients. I was surprised that he basically just gave up.

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