Day 276: Compete Iron Chef-style

June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today, Stephanie’s friend Micco presented me with a challenge.

My competitor, Micco.

A regular reader of the Novice du Jour, Micco was acutely aware of my prowess in the kitchen (for evidence, see Day 196: Insult the Irish or Day 143: Eat chicken feet). Well versed in traditional Chinese cooking, she decided to put my skills to the test by having each of us cook the exact same recipe and then allowing a panel of friends to decide which was better.

In this iteration of Iron Chef, our 12-square-foot kitchen served as a stand-in for Kitchen Stadium, Micco played the role of the suave Iron Chef, and I played the role of the hopeless Challenger. I guess you could say that Stephanie played the part of the Chairman, but no raw peppers and/or apples were bitten. Instead of a mystery ingredient, Micco provided a target dish: Hong Shao Chicken.

Micco wrote the recipe out for me on a series of nine Post-Its, including a list of ingredients, and we went to a local produce market to buy the supplies. Ingredients I’d never heard of before included Chinese cook wine and star anise.

Then the real competition began: “In the words of my uncle, ‘Allez cuisine!'”

I was made to cook my dish first, so that I couldn’t cheat by watching Micco and copying her technique. She did not include any measurements whatsoever in the recipe, so I just threw in any amount that seemed reasonable.

As I cooked, Micco was nice enough to whip up a few extra Chinese dishes to serve as sides: Three Vegetable from the Ground, Mushroom Fry Bochoi and Chinese Seaweed Salad.

Here are our dishes, side by side.












As you probably expected, the panel unanimously determined that Micco’s Hong Shao Chicken was twice as good as mine. My dish wasn’t terrible, but somehow I managed to overcook the chicken and undercook the potatoes, while every tender chunk of vegetable and meat in Micco’s gushed flavor.

So here were the final scores:

  • Plating – N/A, we were lazy and served them in giant tin bowls.
  • Originality – 0, they were the exact same recipe.
  • Taste – Tyler: 5, Micco: 10

In this round of Iron Chef, Micco’s cuisine reigned supreme.


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