cheese

Return of the Weekend Vlog

A little late due to Chicago vlog editing and general busyness, but it’s actually last weekend & a bit from Easter weekend!  Enjoy!

MasterChef Junior: The Moon & The Sea

This title is not only relevant to the episode, but also my main interests in life… on to MasterChef Junior!

The Mystery Box comes with one big mystery box containing the judges in space suits.  Astronaut Tracy Dyson guests and impresses the heck out of both the children and me.  Since, as Tracy says, real astronauts know that the moon is made of cheese, the kids pull open their Mystery Boxes to see a bunch of different cheeses.  Their task is to make an out of this world cheese dish.  (Thank you, MCJ; so much better than marshmallows!)

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Addison, Kaitlyn, and JJ have the top dishes.

Kaitlyn wins!  Before her advantages are announced, the judges take it back to earth for the elimination test– they wheel out a bunch of fish.  To tie to moon to the sea, Graham shows the kids how to filet a fish using the GIANT moon fish.

Kaitlyn doesn’t have to cook and also gets to pick a peer to go through to the next round with her.  She chooses Addison.  Kaitlyn also gets to act as fish monger, tossing the chosen fishes to the kids about to cook.

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L to R, T to B: Avery, Jaeclyn, Derek, Vivian, Kya, Kyndall, Nate, Ian

Avery is so spunky.  Her decision making process for this dish seemed to be “my daddy likes it,” and that was just too cute.  Jaecelyn didn’t taste her fish because she doesn’t like it.  Derek is praised for having the best palate in the MCJ kitchen.  Vivian’s sauce doesn’t go with fish.  Kya is the cutest thing and my current favorite.  Kyndall’s veggies are uncooked.  Nate impresses with Asian flavors despite the fact that he’s “not really Asian.”  Too cute.  Ian’s dish goes well despite not needing the potatoes, but MAN this kid makes me nervous in the kitchen.  I’m not sure about his skills.

Nate is the winner!

Jaeclyn, Vivian, and Kyndall are called out for bottom dishes.  Jaeclyn is sent back to cook another day.  Vivian and Kyndall go home.

We’ve still got 18 kids in the kitchen and some still have a way to go to distinguish themselves.  Anyone sticking out in the pack to you?  I’m loving Kya and Sam!

Au Revoir, April

The amount of instagrams I post in a given month is directly proportional to how much fun I had.  April started out with a big surprise and the whole month has been shaky and confusing.  The weather has made major improvements, though it’s been cool this week!  Mostly, I made myself feel better my buying myself a lot of things.  You’ll notice that in April’s instas:

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[1] April started out with Easter weekend!  Here’s my dad grating so parmesan for our Italian holiday. [2] I picked up a couple of the Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection brushes on my first trip to Ulta.  I’ve been loving them! [3] My Colour Pop Cosmetics order arrived and this color, Julep, has become my absolute favorite! [4] I spent some quality time in my favorite place, bed, with my favorite companion, Netflix. [5] I felt my cutest this day I went to Foxwoods to see Iliza Shlesinger. [6] I ate a lot of cookies, which should come as a surprise to no one. These were slice and bakes when I was young, but now you just pop ‘em in the oven! [7] I picked up this lovely rose gold bracelet from Kate Spade on a Trip to Wrentham Outlets with Elissa of Style Wire. [8] I bit the bullet and bought the perfume I’ve been wanting for years– Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb.  It reminds me of Paris! [9] The best thing ever happened to Downtown Crossing: Roche Bros. Supermarket!

Yesterday’s Justin Timberlake memes encouraged me (you know what I’m talking about!) that May is going to be a good one.

Have a great weekend, loves.

❤ nc

HK14: 14 Chefs Get Cheesy

This week’s episode of Hell’s Kitchen was 7 versus 7.  The theme of the challenge is what Gordon Ramsay and I both call an essential ingredient: cheese!

A member of Red goes head to head with a member of Blue; one spins a win to find out what dish they duo will compete with.

  • Grilled cheese is a competition between Nick & Monique.  Nick clinches the point for Blue.
  • Enchiladas are prepared by Milly & Meghan.  Meghan takes home with point for Red.
  • Brendan & Alison make croquettes, for which Alison wins another point for Red.
  • Lasagna is made by Sarah & Randy.  Randy gets Blue for his.
  • Adam & Christine compete with cordon bleu.  Both achieve a point.
  • Michelle & Josh face of with manicotti.  Both win points for their teams.
  • Bret & T are the final battle.  T’s calzone secures a victory for Red!

The girls get to spend another day on the water for their victory.  They get to jet ski, which looks like so much fun!  The punishment for the boys is actually kind of awesome, but tedious.  They must break open a giant wheel of parmesan and grate it all for dinner service.

fun.

fun.

For dinner service, Alison and Nick are charged to serve a rustic salad featuring parmesan table-side.  In the kitchen, service starts out smooth for Red.  They hit snags with Monique on the garnish station.  Christine’s raw salmon and Sarah’s raw rice illicit a warning for Chef Ramsay: one more mistake and they’re out!  Blue bumbles too, as Brendan struggles again and again with lamb.  When Sarah and Michelle on the fish station put up re-fired salmon, the fate of Red is sealed.  They get kicked out for the third time in a row.  Blue recovers and is able to finish service.

IMG_7251There’s no question that Red will be nominating two chefs for elimination.  Monique is an easy choice, as she hasn’t had a successful service yet and she’s clearly not a team player.  Christine was also considered for her performance on the fish station, but ultimately Sarah is chosen to go up.  Gordon says she’s cooking like she’s given up, and that seems accurate.  She’s been slipping.  Ultimately, she is a better chef and has more potential than Monique, who continuously blames her team for her shortcomings.  Monique is eliminated, finally.

Meghan seems to be emerging as the leader, while T remains a strong player.  I think without Monique, Red should start winning services.  What do you all think?!

Top Chef Boston: You’re A Cheese Chef

Last night was part 2 of the 3 part Top Chef Boston finale in Mexico!  Mei, Gregory, and Dougie, the final three, are all hyper-focused and ready to compete for that title.  A Quickfire and an Elimination Challenge stand in their way.

Mei, Gregory, and Dougie show up at a beautiful organic farm for their last Quickfire of the season.  They are greeted by Padma and executive chef Enrique Farjeat.  For this Quickfire, they are cooking with a Mexican staple: chocolate!  Each must create two dishes: one savory and one sweet.  The winner gets first pick of sous chef for the Elimination Challenge.

Here’s what they make:

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There’s no doubt Dougie struggled with the sweet ingredient.  When Mei asked what his dessert was, he simply replied, “Chocolate.”  Gregory ends up the winner!

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs must work together to create a six course progressive dinner.  Each course is to feature a prominent Mexican ingredient.  Each chef is responsible for 2 courses.

Greg, who’s won first choice of sous chef picks George.  Mei picks Melissa, who is exactly who she wanted.  Doug picks Katsuji again, who served him well last time.  He jokes that he only picked him because he speaks Spanish.

The six ingredients are:

  • Guava
  • Avocado
  • Poblanos
  • Cheese
  • Huitlacoche (a fungus that grows on corn and makes me nervous)
  • Escamoles (ant eggs)

It’s kind of a free-for-all when the chefs see what ingredients they have to feature.  Gregory and Mei make their choices quickly, selecting guava and poblanos, and avocado and huitlacoche respectively.  Dougie gets stuck with escamoles and cheese.  Gregory’s guava course will be first, followed by Mei’s avocado feature, then Doug’s escamoles.  Mei will then present huitlacoche, followed by Greg’s pablanos, and finishing with Doug’s cheese course.

The chefs serve to a table of Mexican chefs, Padma, Tom, and Richard Blais who wears awesome purple glasses and puts his face so close to the food its hilarious.  They serve:

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After the meal, Gregory is a solid yes from the judges to go into the finale.  They vie between Mei and Doug to face off against him.  Mei’s guacamole came off as too simple, and Doug’s escamole dish did not allow the flavor through at all.  They make a decision, and call the three to the judges’ table.

Gregory is told his good news, and tears run down Mei’s face as she awaits her fate.  Padma asks Doug to pack his knives.

It must be a big blow for poor Dougie, but I am by no means surprised to see Gregory and Mei as the top 2!  I knew these two were going to be here from the beginning, but who is going to take the title of Top Chef?!

We’ll find out next week!