Here were the items in my basket:
As you can see, my four ingredients are steak, Kraft Mac n Cheese, Dry Roasted Premium Black Edamame (which is a new-to-me food), and a single unripe peach. (You may recall that the very first Chopped basket they gave me
contained unripe plums. Sigh. At least there were two. One peach for four people?)
This event took place on Saturday, 3/14... aka, Pi Day. So I'd already decided that no matter what my ingredients were, I'd try to make them into a pie. But my four ingredients did not sound like they would combine to make a tasty pie. With no backup plan for dinner, we'd be stuck eating whatever I made and I really didn't want a Macaroni Edamame Peach Steak Pie. So I decided to bend the rules a bit and created one entree and one dessert using the ingredients.
I diced the peach and left it to macerate in brown sugar, then turned my attention to the edamame. I love green, soft, slightly-salty, boiled edamame and wasn't sure how this black roasted version would compare. I tasted some and was pleased that they were delicious. They reminded me more of pistachios than soy, so I treated them as if they were nuts. I chopped them and thought about how I could use them as a crunchy element in my dish.
I turned my attention back to the peach. I diced up some pears that we had on hand and added a little bit of cinnamon. The whole time I worked, Trevor peppered me with questions. "Chef Mommy, what is your plan for the unripe peach?" "Chef Mommy, I see that you've chosen to chop the edamame. How will you be incorporating it?" "Chef Mommy, will you be putting brown sugar on anything besides the fruit? I like brown sugar." And, "Chef Mommy, I am going to have to mark you down in points if you don't use the macaroni noodles AND the cheese sauce."
As he continued his commentary, I used a biscuit cutter to make personal-size rounds of pie dough and put a heap of pear/peach mixture on top.
I added a second piece of pie dough, and crimped the edges with a fork. I dusted them with cinnamon sugar. I sliced the leftover scraps of pie dough, dusted them with nutmeg and put them on the same pan with the mini pies. I put the pan into the oven and turned my attention back to the entree.
As I sliced the steaks, I thought about what to do with the mac n cheese. By far, this was the most difficult ingredient. I combined the powdered cheese with just enough water to dissolve it, then beat in whole milk until it was thin and the cheese wasn't so concentrated. I made a roux to thicken it slightly, then set it aside.
I experimented with crusting the meat with the edamame, but it didn't work at all. Time for something different. I pulled a tube of prepared polenta from the fridge and cut it into slices. I pressed the chopped edamame into each slice, then fried them in butter.
It worked. The edamame actually stayed in place.
I seasoned the beef and did a quick saute, then it was time to assemble. I put a bed of greens on each plate, then rested two polenta rounds next to it. I drizzled the cheese sauce onto the greens, then topped that with slices of beef. Finally, I sprinkled the nutmeg pie crust pieces on top like croutons.
The judges were excited to dig in.
I'm happy to report that dinner was a success! For the most part, the judges were pleased with my use of the mystery ingredients and thought the meal was tasty. Trevor marked me down a bit for not using the macaroni noodles, plus he felt that my use of the steak was too expected.
For dessert, each person got a personal peach/pear pie, plus some extra of the filling. It was a hit.
Another successful deRosier Chopped Challenge!