Food Network Star - Episode #3


I felt a lot of pressure going into this week. After last week's performance, I couldn't make another mistake or I really could be going home. 

With this weight on my shoulders, I walk into the mentor challenge only to see mystery bags on each of our stations. I don't like mystery bags. oh geez.

I am confronted with Baby Cuttlefish, an ingredient that I haven't cooked before but I have cooked plenty of squid. So I'm actually a little relieved and I start to formulate a plan.

If I cut it up, marinate it as long as possible in flavors of bright orange, tart lime and fresh mint and add it to some great vegetables and noodles, I can make this Cuttlefish the perfect "Meat on the Side" to a veggie salad. 

The salad goes over great and Alton is surprised by some little touches that I added. I feel like I have a chance to win but Rodney's booze-filled salad trumps my sober one. 

I'm not too dissapointed about not winning until I find out that the winners are safe, don't have to participate in the chopped challange, and will be guest judges. NOW I'm jealous!!

You see Chopped is me and my husband's favorite show, we have seen almost every episode and I am well aware of how difficult of a challenge the mystery basket can be.  I have seen the basket take down the best of chefs. And countless times have watched as people let the clock beat them.

This is my week to redeem myself and now I not only have to beat these other chefs but the basket too, all while the judges and Alex Guarnachelli watch. 

The nerves are through the roof. 

At first I tell myself to forget trying to intrigate my POV and just make something delicious and most importantly...just FINISH!

But then I realize I can add a ton of broccoli, a little of the chopped chicken nuggets, the fish crackers, some gourmet cheese, caramelized onions and garlic and make a killer spring roll. With a little Fruit Leather and apple juice sweet and sour sauce to dip it in and this could work. 

I get a little nervous as the hot filling starts to break through my spring roll wrappers but I get them rolled up and they fry up beautifully.

The judges loving my creation is the greatest reward and I haven't had a better day so far.

Alton even finishes his :)

"Your dish was one of our favorites, if not the favorite of the day" - Bobby Flay 

Back on top with my favorite BBQ man Chad and that weight that was on my shoulders has been lifted. The problem?? There is always next week and you never know what your walking into...

Watch the full episode: Click HERE

Get a sneak peak of next weeks episode: Click HERE

Photo's from the episode: Click HERE

Make my Cuttlefish and Vegetable Noodle Salad: Click HERE

Episode 3 recap and behind the scenes: Click HERE