Month: December 2016

Top Chef: If Snooki Served This

Well hello!  I hope everyone’s has a lovely Christmas/Hannukah/winter holiday of choice.  It’s time to get back into the blog groove with a Top Chef recap just in time for tonight’s new episode!  (We try.)

Hey, did you know there was a new editor at Food & Wine?  I hadn’t realized until Padma annouced Nilou Motamed, who brought the chefs Quickfire gifts.  The chefs have 30 minutes to create a dish using everything (and we mean everything) in the wrapped boxes before them.  The box holds a pressure cooker (which I actually just got for Christmas!), Patron Tequila, pomegranate, chocolate-covered pretzels, cloves, wasabi, squab, and a melon baller.  Ooookay!

Shirley basically has a bad time.  She sets fire to her squab.  Sheldon accidentally works on her station and steals her melon baller, so she doesn’t even know to use it.  Padma makes a comment about how it’s a good thing it’s not a sudden death Quickfire… (“or is it?  I don’t know yet.”  Cute, Padma.)  Shirley finds herself in the bottom with Emily and BJ.  The top of the pack is Brooke, John, and Casey, who takes the win and immunity for the elimination challenge.

Local chef Mike Lata joins Padma for the elimination challenge.  He once fired Emily, so it’s super awkward for her.  The elimination challenge is a take on a tradition that I just experienced, the Feast of the Seven Fishes… but, with trash fish.  The chefs draw knives to pair off and grab a less-than-ideal fish to work with.

They serve to Padma, Nilou, Mike, Tom Colicchio, Richard Blais, Hugh Acheson,and Graham Elliot.

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Having recovered from their Quickfire spat, Shirley & Sheldon come together to create a harmonious mullet dish– even the multitude of bones can’t detract.

img_2510Jamie and Sylva’s fish may taste a bit like blood, but they’re able to turn it into something that looks like tuna.  Impressive!

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Poor Brooke got no support from a frazzled Emily.  This dish needed editing.

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The broth and, what BJ calls, “Silvia’s Italian cracker than I can’t pronounce,” were the only things good on this dish.  The barrel fish ate like chicken.

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An unlikely duo, Katsuji & John, hit it out of the park with their triggerfish.  Okay, they served two different preparations of tomatoes… Katsuji’s sauce sealed the deal for this one and egos were pushed aside!

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Amanda was kind of a nutcase in the kitchen and undercooked her beans.  She and Jim’s dish came off a little pedestrian for the judges.  Tom calls it “South Jersey” cuisine.

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Since Casey won the Quickfire, she got to work alone.  She was grateful to have immunity this week, as she would’ve rather not served anything than this dish.

At judges’ table, Shirley and Sheldon, Jamie and Sylva, and John and Katsuji are the standouts.  Katsuji wins for his sauce, as he & John had the judges’ favorite dish!  The rest of the crew is the bottom, save for Casey with her immunity.  I was nervous for Brooke, but BJ is ultimately sent packing his knives.

I’m so looking forward to what seems like a very interesting Quickfire tonight.  Who’s ready?!  Who do you think is next to go?

Top Chef: Best Meal Ever

Last week’s Quickfire was a play on the mise en place relay.  After drawing knives, the chefs split into a Blue team of Sheldon, Brooke, Jim, Shirley, Sylva, Emily, and Jamie and a Green team of Sam, Katsuji, BJ, Casey, Amanda, John, and Silvia.  The must peel & mince 5 oz garlic, finely dice 2 quarts of onions, properly turn artichokes, peel & devein shrimp, shuck clams, and cook!  The best dish wins.

Katsuji and Sheldon are their teams MVPs, both finishing the onions first and moving on to each station to help pull them through.  Blue wins!

For the Quickfire, the same teams work to create a 7 course progressive dinner and each course faced off head-to-head.  The losers of the head-to-head challenges on the losing team will be up for elimination.  Each course must also feature guest judge Chris Cosentino’s favorite ingredient, radishes!

The chefs serve:

Emily (Blue) vs. Sam (Green) |  Emily wins; one point for Blue!

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Jim (Blue) vs. Katsuji (Green) | Katsuji wins; one point for Green!

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Jamie (Blue) vs. BJ (Green) | Jamie wins, bringing Blue back into the lead!

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Sylva (Blue) vs. Casey (Green) | Silva wins and makes Blue just a win away from taking it all!

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Shirley (Blue) vs. Amanda (Green) | Amanda wins, keeping Green in the game!

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Sheldon (Blue) vs. John (Green) |  John wins, tying the game again!

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Brooke (Blue) vs. Silvia (Green) | Brooke wins and Blue wins it all!

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Despite the winners and losers, it’s very stiff competition!  Padma calls it the best meal ever on Top Chef!

Sylva and Brooke are the top two, but Brooke wins!  She gets vindication for the dessert she never got to serve against Kristen Kish in the final and rival Mei Lin’s dessert for Tom’s title of best dessert ever served on Top Chef.

Silvia, Casey, Sam, and BJ all lost their head-to-heads and thus were up for elimination.  Sam is sent packing his knives to Last Chance Kitchen.  It’s a little bit of a shock to see Sam out this early… thoughts?!

Anastasia Master Palette

My eye shadow skills have grown leaps and bounds over the last couple of years… and with them, my palette collection.  Enter: Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario.  One look at this limited edition beauty created with celebrity make-up artist Mario Dedivanovic and I knew it had to be mine.

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It’s not the neutral palette I usually go for, but it’s warm tones were a complete draw.  The more comfortable I get with my eye make-up, the more I’m willing to push the envelope with bolder shades.  ABH eye shadow is highly pigmented, but extremely blendable!

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This palette has a mixture of finishes from matte to metallic.  While I’ve gravitated toward matte shades in the past, thinking them more wearable, I’ve learned that you need a little shimmer to finish off most looks, especially around the holidays!  ‘Tis not the season to wear an everyday look!

If you’re looking for a stunning Christmas or New Year’s party look, grab this palette!  I get a little nervous with Limited Editions and it’s currently out of stock on Sephora.com, so get it when you see it!  It would also make a lovely gift for the make-up lover in your life.

Have you tried out this palette?  What are your favorite shades?

Top Chef: Didn’t Inspire Biscuits

“Southern Hospitality” picks up straight where we left off– it’s on to the elimination challenge!  To truly experience Charleston cuisine, the chefs are dining in the homes of local chefs Carrie Morey and BJ Dennis.  It’s a team challenge: rookies vs. veterans.

Shopping goes pretty terribly for the rookies and they panic at home over their menu.  The veterans are calm, cool, and collected in comparison.  Cooking with that many people in the kitchen is always interesting too!  The rookies serve first:

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The irony of the rookies not serving biscuits is that Carrie Morey is the owner of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit.  She is not pleased that she didn’t inspire biscuits and neither are the judges.  Tom comments that there are a few misses.

Then the veterans serve:

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John served okra despite knowing that Tom can’t stand it, but it totally paid off ’cause even Tom admitted he enjoyed it.  All and all, the veterans cleaned up.

It’s no surprise that the veterans won the challenge.  Casey, John, and Sheldon are noted for the top spots, but Casey takes the win for her collard greens!  On the losing side, BJ, Annie, and Jamie are called out for the bottom spots.  (Seriously, can Jamie stop burning vegetables?)  Annie is eliminated for her tomato tart and goes to face off in Last Chance Kitchen.

I’m ready for a Quickfire & Elimination Challenge all in one episode now!  I hate to say it, but I think the veterans are going to keep dominating until the teams are mixed.  Any early favorites?  I happen to love Jim from the rookies and am partial to Brooke and Shirley from our old favorites.  Who are you cheering on?