A Novice Attempt at Shucking and Frying Oysters for Fried Oyster Salad

The cheftestants’ families came to visit on Week 11 of Top Chef Boston, and part of the chefs’ challenge was to go out on a fishing boat and catch ingredients to use in the elimination challenge. Because of this caveat, most of the chefs ended up using the same ingredients. Almost everyone used oysters as an appetizer and lobster as their entree protein. I worked with lobster tail during the Thanksgiving challenge, and since 1) part of the purpose in doing this challenge was to try new things, and 2) I’m not cooking on a reality tv budget, I decided to work with oysters this week. I have always been intimidated at the thought of shucking my own oysters. Oysters seem like they are on a different level from comparative critters, such as clams or mussels. So I found a kick ass sounding fried oyster salad from Emeril Lagasse, and vowed to learn how to shuck. Continue reading A Novice Attempt at Shucking and Frying Oysters for Fried Oyster Salad

Duck a’l’Orange- A Tale of Attempting to Make the French Classic

Have you ever been really psyched to watch an old classic movie, only to be totally bewildered half-way through, trying to figure out what all of the fuss is about? (I’m talking about you, Some Like It Hot). That sort of sums up my experience of tackling the Top Chef Boston’s Week 10 Challenge of cooking a dish that honors the late, great, Julia Child. One on hand, I feel like mastering classic french dishes is some kind of test you must pass if you are going to call yourself a “serious” home cook. On the other hand, I do wonder why we are still talking about a recipe that was introduced to the American public in a cookbook published in 1961. Do french people even still make duck a’l’orange? Is this recipe worth all of the fuss? I gave it my best shot to try and find out. Continue reading Duck a’l’Orange- A Tale of Attempting to Make the French Classic

Top Chef Boston Week 9- Spicy Carrot Soup with Barley and Mushrooms

It is week 9 on Top Chef Boston, and it was exciting to see a creative challenge posed to the contestants. Each chef was given a different famous local author and asked to create a dish that was inspired by a piece of the artist’s work. Surprisingly, this led to both a number of visually inspiring dishes, and vegetable heavy food. With Christmas right around the corner, I was happy to take on a dish that was high in veggies and low on butter for this week’s challenge. Mei ended up winning with roasted vegetables, that were enhanced by “onion soil” and a Thai coconut “snow,” but I felt more drawn to Doug’s flavorful carrot soup.  Continue reading Top Chef Boston Week 9- Spicy Carrot Soup with Barley and Mushrooms

Top Chef Boston Week 8- Chorizo and Mussels

It is week 8 on Top Chef and the competition is more than halfway over. Now that some of the weaker competitors have been eliminated, the quality of food if higher than ever. This week, the chefs had to cook using ingredients that the Judges selected while shopping at Whole Foods. Adam struggled with Judge Richard Blaise’s basket, but Doug made the winning dish, keeping it simple with mussels and chorizo. Continue reading Top Chef Boston Week 8- Chorizo and Mussels

Top Chef Boston Week 7- Beer Braised Pork and Bacon “Baked” Beans

We have officially eliminated 8 of the original 16 Top Chef Boston contestants, and you know what that means- Restaurant Wars! Like every other Top Chef fan, I love watching 4 people scramble to open a full restaurant in 24-hours. Over the years, some teams have really risen to the occasion and pulled off a great service. Other teams have fallen flat on their face. This year we saw a little bit of both, as Four Pigs soundly defeated the losing restaurant Magellan. And in the spirit of Four Pigs, this week I chose to make my own variation of Executive Chef Doug’s winning dish: beer braised pork and beans. Continue reading Top Chef Boston Week 7- Beer Braised Pork and Bacon “Baked” Beans