It was a dawn of a new age with the introduction of “CHOPPED – THE PAGE ONE POT LUCK LUNCH EDITION EXTRAVAGANZA BONANZA”. If you’re unfamiliar with “Chopped”, here’s a brief intro (stolen and abridged from wiki) “Chopped is an American reality-based cooking television series that pits four chefs against each other competing for a chance to win the glory of the universe and eternal praise.” Okay, maybe the glory of the universe is a stretch but you catch the gist. The real challenge of the whole show is the fact that the chefs are forced to cook with mystery ingredients. You’ve got that right, you have no idea what you’re cooking until your cooking – and for cooking’s sake, you’d better be ready.
Alas, with the help of our Page One matriarch Elise and Google Drive, the Page One Chopped Edition was born.
Our ingredients for this week’s challenge were Pomegranate, Pink Grapefruit, Lime and the option of Rum. Magically pulled from the Sorting Hat aka Google’s Random Number Generator, the stage was set. (Authors Note: Now for someone like me who still has to Google what the difference between a Bulb and a Clove of Garlic are, I was terrified.)
Scott set the bar really high with his Citrus Salad made of pink grapefruit, oranges and limes – garnished with pomegranate seeds and pistachios. Everyone agreed he had thoroughly embraced the spirit of Chopped while making a darn tasty dish.
Becky made a sweet potato, black bean, & pomegranate salad that literally disappeared in front of my eyes. I’m pretty sure Shamus saw where things were going helped himself to a second serving while there was still time.
Rob made his inaugural appearance at the Page One Potluck with a tropical rice dish made with stir-fried ground beef, pomegranate juice, fresh-squeezed grapefruit and coconut milk.
Apparently Emmie thought that technique was going to play a factor in the judging of the dishes as her “Island-inspired Paella” featured a brilliant shade of green that resulted from the fresh basil and saffron she used to flavor it. The chicken in the paella was marinated in a combination of pomegranate, key lime, and grapefruit juices, and a reduction of these juices was added to sweeten the dish.
Lauren opted for a light Summer salad of seasonal greens, grapefruit, dill, feta salad and cucumbers served with a home-made pomegranate juice dressing.
I thought I’d be the hero by delivering dessert. Turns out that no gelato place in town creates pomegranate, lime or pink grapefruit flavors. So Oreo, Hazelnut and Strawberry would have to do (I was never one to follow the rules)!
It was a blood bath until the finish, or maybe that was just me getting pomegranate juice all over the place… Actually, yes that’s what it was. It turned out that I didn’t have to be scared, everything was delicious and cautioned on the side of healthy. As Michael Scott says, it was a “WIN, WIN, WIN!” With the exception of Erich who threatened to strike since no one concocted a Dark & Stormy, everyone seemed to really enjoy their meal.
The clear winner of the day was Becky’s now famous “Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad” and the eternal gratitude from all of us at Page One for another Friday lunch down the hatch.
Words Used by Our Team to Describe the Experience:
BECKY’S SWEET POTATO BLACK BEAN & POMEGRANATE SALAD
For the Sweet Potato Salad:
4 medium sweet potatoes, diced
1 TBL extra virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil
sea salt and cracked pepper
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch of chives, chopped
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup of feta, crumbled
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the sweet potatoes in the olive oil and season to taste. Roast for 20-25 or until tender.
Remove from the oven and cool for at least 20 minutes. Toss with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Dress with Citrus Dressing (recipe below). Serve at room temperature.
For the Citrus Dressing:
Juice and zest of 2 limes
1/4 of pink grapefruit juice
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 TBL balsamic vinegar
a pinch of sea salt
Add all the ingredients into a clean jar, put on the lid, and shake it like a Polaroid picture!