Month: December 2015

MasterChef Junior: Taste it, Make it

Last week’s MasterChef Junior featured a classic Gordon Ramsay challenge– taste it, make it– with a twist!  First off, the kids were blindfolded so they couldn’t use their sight to gather any details about the dish they were to consumer.  Secondly, I don’t think we’ve ever seen our junior take on this challenge!  I was especially surprised by the results.

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We’re seen adults get the protein wrong with use of their eyes, so these kids seriously impressed me along with our judges– Gordon, Graham, and Christina.  The top tier was Kaitlyn, Kya, Ian, and Corey.  Kaitlyn and Kya win and end up team captains for the upcoming elimination challenge.

Kya, as the overall winner gets the choice of first pick of teammate, or pick of ingredient box: New England v. New Mexico.  Kya picks her ingredients and chooses New England– great choice, Kya!  Kaitlyn’s Blue Team includes great first pick Addison, Zac, Kamilly, JJ, and Amaya.  Kya’s Red Team is Avery, New Englander Sam, Corey, Jesse, and Ian.

In 90 minutes, the teams of young home cooks must prepare 31 dishes for VIP grandmas!  Red’s clam bake faces Blue’s pork loin and the grandmas vote to see which team goes straight through to the top 10… Blue!

While the Red Team faces some eliminations, Gordon says that two teammates did not deserve to be in the bottom– Sam and Avery.  They head up to the balcony leaving Kya, Corey, Jesse, and Ian.  Kya was team captain, so you can see why she bears responsibility, but she obviously isn’t going home.  Jesse and Ian are, and I must say, these were the right choices, as hard as it was to see Kya’s team go down.

Different episode, huh?  I can’t wait to see the kids create something of their own next time around!

Top Chef: Hot Hot Heat

Sorry this is late, guys!  The right-before-the-holidays hustle and bustle gets you, am I right?!  Just as it’s getting cool over here on the East Coast, we check in with Top Chef: California in Palm Springs where the chefs experience some extreme heat!

The Quickfire challenge takes place in the desert.  After a jeep tour to the San Andreas Fault, the chefs are faced with super weird solar ovens and solar stoves to harness the sun and cook for Padma Lakshmi and guest judge José Andrés.  The chefs draw knives to determine who will cook on the solar stoves– let’s call them giant silver satellite dishes– and who will use the solar ovens– weird tubes you have to orient toward to sun.  The ovens look a lot more intimidating, and Giselle freaking shatters hers by putting liquid in it!  Others have more success, like Isaac who makes cornbread in his.  Wesley redeems himself from last week and wins the Quickfire and immunity!

The stoves become the blue team and the ovens become the orange team.  These two teams of seven are to create a progressive four course meal… to be served on the golf course!

Here’s what they make:

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Blue down left in course order; Orange down right in course order

Tom seems amped to play golf.  Padma, Blais, and guest judge José all show off remarkable lacks of golf skills.  I know of a couple of kids they can take lessons from!

The fact that they’re serving from refreshment carts in extreme heat and significant wind presents complications.  Phillip makes his second odd choice of the day (the first was serving Padma an oyster on a desert rock in the Quickfire) by plating underneath his serving table.  Padma, José, and John Besh all lose it with laughter at this, the “weirdest experience” of Padma’s life.

The Blue team is declared the winner, with Jeremy closing in on his second win!  On the Orange team, it’s Grayson who’s asked to pack her knives.

…but who didn’t see that coming?  Thoughts?!

Holiday Season Madness

Is it just me, or is this a super stressful time of year?  I’ve been running around trying to complete my Christmas shopping, all while trying to get some reading done, and keep up with my new gym routine– spin Tuesday and Friday, body pump Wednesday and Saturday!

Although the season’s a bit crazy, I’m excited to show you Boston Public Market, my awesome Pokémon Gym t-shirts via weheartgeeks.com, the new Gwen Stefani Urban Decay palette, and my favorite YA series, Zodiac!

How’s everyone else doing lately?

MasterChef Junior: Lemons & Lobster

Last week’s MasterChef Junior had yet another team challenge in store for the young home cooks.  Graham unveils a lemonade stand, from which Christina will blind taste test raspberry mint lemonade prepared by the Red and Blue teams.

Gordon has the kids pull straws to choose teams.  Tae-Ho, Zac, Mia, Corey, Kaitlyn, Addison, and Amaya pull long straws and become the Blue Team.  Jesse, Kya, Kamily, Sam, Avery, Ian, and JJ pull short straws and become the Red Team.  The losing team faces a looming balloon full of lemonade.

When Christina announces the Red Team as the winners, the balloon above the Blue Team bursts, dowsing the kids in lemonade!  To keep things fair, Red’s balloon bursts too.  After a quick costume change, the winners head up to the balcony, and the losing team face a time warp challenge.

Groovy Gordon comes out, reppin’ the 1960’s and suggesting the kids make duck l’orange.  Graham does a little disco reppin’ the 1970’s and suggests the kids make chicken kiev.  Finally, Christina rollerskates out (promptly falling, but recovering!) representing the 1980’s and finally declaring the challenge: surf and turf.

Here’s what the kids make:

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In an episode that makes me feel so old, it’s kind of hilarious that Addison (born in 2005) makes steak Diane, but her dish is exceptionally well-received.  Tae-Ho’s use of sriracha on lobster is not to be forgiven.  Zac’s filet & lobster goes over well, especially considering he burn himself while cooking.  Amaya’s garlic sauce might have over-powered Graham’s palate, but the rest of her fish impresses.  Mia doesn’t cook her steak or lobster correctly, due to the fact that she’s a vegetarian and eats neither.  Kaitlyn’s beurre blanc sauce may not be “as good as her mom’s,” but it sure impresses Christina.  Corey’s New York Strip and lobster doesn’t shine, but is a good idea.

Kaitlyn is declared the winner!

Addison, Zac, and Amaya are all safe.

Corey is spared, and Mia and Tae-Ho are sent home.

I’m waiting to see all the kids cook again!  I’m still loving Sam and Kya, and we didn’t get a dish out of either of them this time around.  Addison is another one of my front-runners.  There are still a few that probably are a cut below the rest… thoughts?!

Top Chef: Kwame for President

Top Chef is taking their California road trip very seriously and takes the show from LA to Santa Barbara.  Amidst a vineyard, the 15 remaining chefs find themselves in a Sudden Death Quickfire.

If you’re new here, a Sudden Death Quickfire means the loser is in danger of being eliminated.  I’ll explain when we get there.  The Quickfire is a cool one– the chefs are to pair a wine with an uni (sea urchin) dish.  Guest judge Dana Cowan of Food & Wine magazine tastes with Padma.  The top dishes from the Quickfire are Grayson, Wesley, and Carl, with Grayson declared the ultimate winner and securing immunity.  The bottom dishes are Angelina, who kept it too simple, Karen, who’s uni ribbon idea didn’t pan out, and Giselle, who couldn’t find eggs to make the dish she wanted.  Giselle is the loser, thus she must pick a chef she thinks she can beat one-on-one and fight for her place in the competition.  If she wins, she stays.  If she loses, she goes.

Giselle picks Angelina and they cook again.  Giselle wins, meaning no one goes home this time.

The elimination challenge is supposedly about surf & turf.  The chefs pair up, pick proteins, and have to collaborate on a dish.  Grayson gets to work alone because she won.  After shopping, Tom drops a bomb on them– it’s not a surf & turf dish, it’s surf vs. turf and they’re not partners, they’re competitors.  Again, Grayson’s win gives her an advantage.  She can choose surf or turf and also the pair she’s competing against.

Here’s what the chefs make:

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Grayson chose to battle Amar and Wesley.  Her dish beat both of theirs!

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Jeremy faced off against Phillip and won.  Angelina and Giselle faced off again, and Giselle won again.  Kwame and Chad had a tight match, but Tom broke the tie with, “Kwame for president.”

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Isaac battled Carl, and Cambridge Carl won!  Karen and Marjorie faced off, and despite Karen forgetting to cook a piece of fish, (poor Padma got this sad dish,) she still won.  Jason and Frances were another tiebreaker situation, but for the opposite reason… Jason won.

The top three for the week are Jeremy, Kwame, and Karen.  Kwame takes the win!  The kid is on a roll!

The bottom three for the week are Frances, Angelina, and Wesley.  Sadly, Frances is eliminated.  She seemed so well liked by everyone– her presence will be missed!

Thoughts on who will be next to pack their knives?!

 

Scream Queens Finale

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Well, I’ve sat with the Scream Queens finale for a day now, and I must say, my current feelings are the same as my initial thoughts: I hated the ending.  I want those 13 hours of my life back.

I mean, it’s kind of cool that the killer won.  I can support the bad guy winning.  What I can’t support is so blatantly having the most loved characters lose and ultimately, the story feeling so unfinished.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the real stars of this show were the Chanels.  We loved Emma Roberts, Billie Lourd, and Abigail Breslin even though we suspected that one of them might be the killer at times.

The first episode of the finale was fine.  Grace almost died so we all cheered.  We found out the truth about Pete which we probably all suspected from the beginning.  I loved Chanel’s missive.  Loose ends were being tied up, but we waited until the last second to find out who the mastermind was.  Then, the second episode started and the rage set in.

Even as Hester explained her backstory, I maintained hope for what could turn out to be amazing Chanel revenge for an ending.  She pulled a twist, but I was expecting an even bigger twist to turn the story around.

Number Five’s parents disowning her felt unnecessarily harsh, but it really fell apart with the undeserved guilty verdict at the trial.  Grace and Zayday are apparently too stupid to see they’ve been tricked… only Dean Munsch gets it, but she’s a killer too.  The only saving grace seemed to be that the Chanels enjoyed the psychiatric hospital life.  The ending itself was perhaps a huge cliffhanger, but honestly, we don’t care by then.

What I want to know is: what was the story Scream Queens was trying to tell us?  Was this a twisted morality tale about mean girls?  If so, then why were the Chanels the likeable characters?

Simply, I don’t get the point.  I’m never upset I watched something, but this comes close.  Could a second season even save this for me? I’m not yet convinced.

Help me out, guys, what did I just watch?

And what did you think of the Scream Queens finale?