Food Network Star 2012 "Dish". Current Contender Fan Fave, Meanest Mentor, More Gossip.

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On the Next Food Network Star 2012 episode aired 6/3/12, the contenders were charged with preparing a dish for fashion week. The fashion connection was a bit clever but the challenge really involved the contenders updating old standby dishes such as ham with the proverbial cherry and pineapple and Shepherd's pie. This is a challenge that is presented every year on this competitor reality series, indeed most food competition series have this sort of challenge at least once.

First, couple of gossip items. So far, contender Martita is considered the favorite to win this thing. At least on the Food Network Site Blogs, not necessarily by this Blogger.

Alton is viewed as the toughest of the mentors. Emily is considered the most fashionable of the contenders. Michele is viewed as the one who looks most like Guy Fieri.

Couple of things about the update challenging. Emily's trick of pickling her marischino cherry is considered a bit of culinary genius, this for her update on the ham/cherry and pinapple update challenge. Cooks consider this garish red cherry very difficult to do much with for its extreme sweetness. Eric, who, alas, was sent home this episode, struggled to make fritters due to a spring roll he could bring to completion.

Finally, heh, there was the deconstructed stroganoff offering by contender Justin.

Just for giggles and grins, I include the recipe below. Any yon reader makes this thing, please send me a pic that the world may admire your handiwork.

I've watched enough of these cooking shows to know that so-called "deconstructing" of a recipe is considered haut cuisine, the sign of a chef extraordinaire.

The concept involves taking all the ingredients in a recipe and using them in some other fashion that would involve having these ingredients separate from incorporation in the recipe, but as distinguishable parts of a separate menu offering.

Pineapple upside down cake, for example, might have the cake part on the side, the pineapples mixed with brown sugar and butter to the side, with the cherries perhaps incorporated into a small salad. This might not be the best example but I am winging it.

It's something most home cooks would not likely ever do because, well why?

But for a chef trying to make a stellar impression to a bunch of judges? It's almost always considered a sort of cooking genius.

So Justin took the ingredients for Beef Stroganof and made some sort of checkerboard looking foodstuff. Check out the recipe for doing this. Also check out the picture.

Deconstructed beef stroganoff
2 cups beef broth
3 teaspoons agar agar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 shallots, diced
2 packs mixed mushrooms
4 ounces dark Russian beer
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
8 ounces beef tenderloin
Olive oil
Truffle salt
Ground black pepper
1 package mushroom tagliatelle
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons beet juice
2 tablespoons vodka
16 small mushroom caps, for garnish

Chill a small baking sheet (1/4 sheet pan) in the fridge.

Combine 1/2 cup beef broth with the agar agar in a bowl and let sit.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the vegetable oil and add the shallots, mushrooms, remaining 1 1/2 cups beef broth, beer, salt and sugar. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Add the moistened agar agar and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour onto the cold baking sheet and chill in the fridge until it forms a solid gel.
Slice the beef tenderloin into 1/4-inch-thick medallions and pound as thinly and evenly as possible.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over high heat and sear the beef slices on one side. Sprinkle with truffle salt and black pepper. Cook in batches if needed, adding more oil if needed. Transfer the beef slices to a large plate or baking sheet and place in the freezer until ready to serve.

Cook the pasta. Drain and rub with olive oil.

In a bowl, mix the sour cream, beet juice and vodka. Chill until ready to serve.
Slice the chilled beef into perfect squares, 1-inch-by-1-inch. Do the same with the now solid mushroom gel.

Plate the pasta flat, 2 to 3 strips per plate should suffice. On top of the pasta, arrange a 3-by-3 grid of mushroom gel and beef squares. Garnish with beet sour cream and mushroom caps.

This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. The Food Network Kitchens have not tested it for home use, therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

The challenge for the episode aired 6/10/12 had Guy Fieri, he being a former Food Network Star himself, hosting the competition.

The show began on a serious note, I must suppose to add some gravitas to the contest. I thought it a bit dumb. This is a cooking show for God's sake, not Love of Life. Beginning scenes had the mentors sitting all close and comfy like with their charges. I had to laugh when Giada responded to one of her contender's laments of issues with such as accents with her own sad story of a childhood where she was bullied. Come on! The woman's beautiful and she comes from money! Now I know bullies are everywhere but dear Lord, if I know I'm beautiful and I go home to fancy abodes filled with fine artifacts, well I'd get over it.

After this soap opera beginning, the teams were challenged with:Alton-Halloween, Giada-big game day, Bobby-cooking for kids.

For some reason, Alton's team came up wih some weird sort of combo of "healthy" food and I'm still scratching my head at their food choices. The contenders were also, as a team, do a live presentation of their challenge.

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I thought the healthy food concept for a Halloween theme to be a bit dumb. Justin made, I'm not making this up, fried sardine bones. Seriously. And the judges loved them! Judson did the vegetarian chili, which the judges thought a bit ho-hum. Emily showed us how to make canned jelly or whatever. All I saw was her filliing up a canning jar with something, putting on the lid, and dropping it into a water bath.

Alton's team's live presentation was really bad, disjointed and poorly timed.

Giada's team prepared some really great food and did a terrific job on their live presentation. Their challenge was big game day, and no this did not mean preparing tigers, lions and bears. It was a tailgate kind of concept, feeding the crowd on the day of the big football game.

Giada's team prepared teriyaki hamburgers, tortillas, wings and football cookies consisting of two chocolate chip cookies with a sandwich filling, the cookie sandwich iced to look like a football.

Their presentation was playful and flowed very well.

Bobby's team was charged with preparing meals for children and they came up with a breakfast, lunch and dinner thing, with one juice recipe that was, eh, green.

The breakfast of some sort of ill-advised blender drink by Nikki was not well received by the children. A whole wheat pizza was prepared as well as a "spaghetti" made with squash instead of noodles and chicken tenders served with different dips that would allow the children to use the skewered grilled chicken as a pen to paint their plates with the various sauces. This was Malcolm's contribution and the judges thought he should have used his vantage point as a father in his presentation, that he blew what was a good opportunity.

Alton's team threw a dart at a map of the United States. This week Alton's entire team was in danger of elimination in that Giada and Bobby's teams were BOTH declared safe.

Wherever the dart landed the contenders had to prepare a dish from the state in which it landed.

Martie's dart landed in Pennsylvania when she was aiming at her native south.

The four elimination cook-off meals included a steak from Justin loaded with accompanying carbs , Emily made a chicken noodle with an Arizona accent made in a pressure cooker, Martie messed up her presentation, her dish being some sort of mushroom filled with cream cheese. Judson presented a dish from Arkansas, catfish, only a non-fried version of it as part of a story of his 115 pound weight loss.


Below other posts on this Blog on Food Network 2012

Food Network Star 2012-Giada Still Gorgeous, Flay Still Nasty, Alton Still Snobby. The contenders are great.Food Network Star 2012 Begins; Let's Take a Look At How It Begins

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