FoodBuzz 24,24,24: Could I Be the Next Food Network Star?

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This is the fifth season of the Food Network’s dive into reality TV as they search for the network’s next big star. The show airs on Sunday evenings and contestants ranging from seasoned chefs to stay-at-home moms compete in different cooking and TV challenges to try to win a place on The Food Network’s lineup. For my FoodBuzz 24,24,24 event I decided to see how I could stack up against this season’s lot of contestants by preparing a number of the winning dishes featured on recent episodes and having my family act as the judges, rating each on a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being the best) and providing comments about each one. The dishes prepared were:

♦  Red Chili Citrus Mushrooms with Grilled Zucchini
♦  Bruschetta with Poached Egg, Truffle Oil, and Arugula
♦  Mulberry Street Burger
♦  Crispy Catfish wtih Edamame Succotash
♦  Spicy Southern Collard Greens with Sweet Maple Cornbread
♦  Chocolate Crepe with Tangerine Dried Red Chili Sauce

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(That’s me, slicing bread for the poached egg bruschetta appetizer.)

This was a lot of fun, as I got to try different combinations of foods and flavors that I most likely would have never ventured to attempt on my own. I also learned that seemingly advanced and “gourmet” style dishes are not at all harder to make than what you are used to. For each dish I made, you will find a picture below, along with the average rating it received and reviews from those who tasted it. All of the recipes are listed at the end of the post, with links to printable versions.

As far as my two cents are concerned, my favorite dishes were the Poached Egg Bruschetta and the Mulberry Street Burger. The bruschetta’s flavors were fantastic and I loved the egg on top of the crusty French bread with herbs. I am absolutely a burger girl and this burger could not have been any better. From the fresh mozzarella stuffed inside (tip: Sam’s Club sells fresh mozzarella already sliced!) to the basil ketchup (I made a double batch and saved the extra) and the butter herb mixture that is brushed on the buns (I *may* have slathered that on extra burger buns and ate it while the burgers finished cooking) – these burgers were fantastic!

Red Chili Citrus Mushrooms with Grilled Zucchini

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“Goat cheese isn’t my favorite but the flavors mixed together wonderfully.”

“I feel like the chili powder enhances the goat cheese.”

“Excellent! The tenderness of the zucchini was just right and the flavors complemented each other very nicely.”


Bruschetta with Poached Egg, Truffle Oil, and Arugula

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Very good!”

“The egg, greens, and bread tasted great when the flavors mixed together in your mouth.”


Mulberry Street Burger

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“Fabulous! This burger’s taste was very good.”

“I loved the cheese filling and the basil ketchup was awesome.”

“The bacon gave it a great finishing touch.”


Crispy Catfish with Edamame Succotash

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“I liked all of the different flavors in the succotash – they were simple yet flavorful.”

“This was the best fish recipe I have ever eaten! The breading on this fish made it.”


Spicy Southern Collard Greens with Sweet Maple Cornbread

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Very good! The consistency of the cornbread was just right. I would eat this with any meal.”

“Very tasty. The chicken broth, garlic and onions made for a great flavor.”


Chocolate Crepe with Tangerine Dried Red Chili Sauce

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

“I love Nutella and I love crepes, but I didn’t like the spices in this dessert.”

“I thought that the spiciness overpowered everything else.”

“This would be the perfect dessert – Nutella with the fruit flavors – without the spices.”

Red Chili Citrus Mushrooms with Grilled Zucchini
Source: Jeffrey Saad (printable recipe)

4 tablespoons olive oil
1½ pounds yellow onions, sliced
5 pounds white button mushrooms, cut into quarters
Salt
2 cups orange juice
1 cup lime juice
1/3 cup red chili powder
3 cups chicken stock
½ cup honey
4 pounds green zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 3 pieces
4 pounds yellow zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 3 pieces
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
8 ounces fresh goat cheese

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and saute until golden brown. Season with salt, to taste.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, combine the orange juice, lime juice and chili powder. Add juices to the mushroom mixture along with the chicken stock. Simmer until liquid is reduced by two-thirds. Stir in the honey and keep warm over low heat.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium.

Rub the zucchini slices with the cumin and season with salt. Grill the zucchini, marking both sides, but keeping the slices still firm. Remove to a cutting board. Chop the zucchini into 1-inch pieces and arrange on a large platter. Top with the mushroom mixture and sprinkle with cilantro and goat cheese.

Bruschetta with Poached Egg, Truffle Oil, and Arugula
Source: Jeffrey Saad (printable recipe)

1 baguette, cut diagonally into 4 slices (1/3-inch thick)
Olive oil, for drizzling, plus 1 tablespoon
Salt
2 teaspoons vinegar, your choice
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups baby arugula
4 eggs
2 tablespoons Gremolata, recipe follows
Truffle oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium heat.

Drizzle olive oil over one side of each bread slice. Grill the bread slices on both sides until well marked. Set each bread slice on a plate.

Fill a medium size saute pan with cold water. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the vinegar and bring to a boil; lower the heat to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in another medium saute pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir in the garlic and cook until just fragrant. Add the arugula and toss to wilt. Remove from heat. Place some arugula over each slice of bread.

Crack 1 egg into a small bowl; then slowly slip it into the simmering water. Repeat with the rest of the eggs. Poach the eggs for about 3 minutes, until the whites have coagulated. One by one, remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon, resting the spoon on top of a towel to dry off the excess water.

Place 1 egg on top of each bread slice. Spoon some of the gremolata on top of each egg and drizzle with some truffle oil. Sprinkle Parmesan evenly over each egg and serve immediately.

Gremolata:

3 cloves garlic
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, stems removed
1 lemon, zested

Chop the garlic and parsley and place in a small bowl. Add the zest and stir to combine.

Mulberry Street Burger
Source: Michael Proietti (printable recipe)

2 (8-ounce) portions ground beef
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
4 slices pancetta
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for salad
½ cup butter
3 cloves garlic
3 or 4 basil leaves
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 burger buns, your choice
Baby arugula
4 slices tomato
Basil Ketchup, recipe follows

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a large skillet.

Divide each beef portion into 2 equal amounts and shape them into patties (you should have 4 patties altogether). Place 2 mozzarella slices on 1 patty, then top with another patty. Close the edges of the patties to enclose the cheese, basically stuffing the burger with the mozzarella. Wrap each burger with 2 slices of pancetta.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium oven-proof skillet over medium heat and brown each burger on both sides. Place the burgers in the oven to finish cooking.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and remove from heat. Meanwhile, chop the garlic and basil and add to butter with 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Brush this on the burger buns and toast under the broiler or in a toaster oven.

In a bowl, toss together the arugula, olive oil, to taste, and the remaining 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.

Place the burgers on the bun bottoms, top with tomato slices, arugula salad and Basil Ketchup.

Basil Ketchup

½ bunch fresh basil leaves
1 cup ketchup
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In a small blender or processor, blend all the ingredients. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Crispy Catfish with Edamame Succotash
Source: Debbie Lee (printable recipe)

Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
4 catfish fillets, approximately 6 ounces each
Salt and white pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Edamame Succotash, recipe follows

In a large deep skillet, heat oil, about ½-inch high, over medium-high heat.

Season fish fillets with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a deep shallow bowl or pie tin, place flour and season with salt and pepper. Stir with a fork. Set aside.

Beat the eggs in a separate shallow bowl or pie tin. Set aside.

Combine the bread crumbs, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in another deep shallow bowl or pie tin. Stir with a fork. Set aside.

Dust each fillet with flour, then dip in the eggs, and then roll in the bread crumbs. Deep-fry fillets in heated oil for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Serve one fillet on top of a bed of Edamame Succotash.

Edamame Succotash:

2 tablespoons sesame oil
½ cup red onion, small dice
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
2 strips applewood smoked bacon, finely chopped
1 cup cooked edamame soy beans
½ cup fresh corn kernels
¼ cup small diced red bell pepper
Salt and pepper

In a large skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the bacon and saute for 2 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and serve hot.

Spicy Southern Collard Greens with Sweet Maple Cornbread
Source: Jamika Pessoa (printable recipe)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2-pound smoked salt pork (thickly sliced) or turkey wings
1 onion, halved
1 quart chicken broth
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white vinegar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 pounds fresh collard greens, washed, stems removed and roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic
Sweet Maple Cornbread, recipe follows

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the pork pieces and brown on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the onion, cut sides down, and brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth. Season with chili flakes, salt, vinegar and garlic powder. Bring to a boil,

then turn down the heat to a simmer. Adjust seasoning, if desired. Add the collard greens and garlic cloves, stir to combine and cover. Cook until greens are tender, approximately 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the onion halves, garlic cloves, pork pieces, for better presentation. Transfer the greens to a serving bowl.

Sweet Maple Cornbread

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons salt
¼ cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, softened

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat an 8 by 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except the butter and pour into the pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the cornbread is lightly golden brown.

Once baked, remove from the oven and brush with butter. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Crepe with Tangerine Dried Red Chili Sauce
Source: Jeffrey Saad (printable recipe)

Crepes:
½ cup milk
½ cup water
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 ounces butter, melted to light brown

Filling:
1 teaspoon cayenne
10 ounces chocolate spread (recommended: Nutella)
5 Bing cherries, seeds removed and chopped

Sauce:
1 cup light brown sugar
¼ cup cold water
1 cup heavy cream
1 tangerine, juiced
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1½ cups trail mix, roughly chopped in a food processor

To make the crepe: In a medium bowl, mix all wet ingredients. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Stir in the melted butter and set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add 1/3 cup of the batter into the center of the skillet. Swirl the pan so the batter covers the surface of the pan, evenly and thinly. Cook until golden, then flip. Cook a few more seconds, then remove to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter. Let cool and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

To make the filling: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

To make the sauce: In a small pot over medium heat, combine the sugar and water and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and whisk in the cream until blended. Stir in the tangerine juice and cayenne and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

To assemble: Lay each crepe out on a work surface and spread 1 line of chocolate spread mixture down the center. Roll up each crepe to enclose the filling. Sprinkle some of the trail mix on a plate, lay 1 crepe on top and pour about 2 tablespoons sauce over each crepe. Repeat with remaining crepes and filling. Serve immediately.

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