Iron Chef Vinegar – Recap of the second Iron Chef competition
Last Saturday, my friends and I held one more Iron Chef style cooking competition. After the success of the first Iron Chef ‘coconut’ event, where all of us were awed by each others’ cooking prowess, we eagerly awaited one more opportunity to show off our inventive cooking skills. Although this time’s secret ingredient was intimidating to say the least, everyone came up with some very impressive dishes! From mango vinegar, to white balsamic vinegar to cider vinegar, we all incorporated some type of vinegar in all our dishes.
I have to say, EVERYONE seriously got very competitive this time around. I for starters struggled with what to make with this secret ingredient. Not only was I pressed for time to research recipes, the imaginative part of my brain had taken a pretty long vacation, owing to all the crazy amounts of studying I’ve been doing lately. In the end, I decided to make my version of Strawberries & Cream – Strawberries marinated in apple cider vinegar, topped with a syrup made of cider vinegar, sugar and sherry vinegar, and then topped with a dollop of mascarpone & ricotta cheese whipped together with chopped basil and a dash of cider vinegar.
I have tried my best to give you an idea of how much effort everyone made. It was so much fun and I can’t wait for the next one. The following is a list of dishes everyone made, with prizes that they won.
1. Winner of the Iron Chef Vinegar – Vinegar fish and coleslaw tacos by Sameera Kapasi Soni
Sameera seriously got the big guns out with this dish. Her fish was marinated in vinegar and spices, cider and white vinegar were incorporated in the tangy-sweet coleslaw, and she got special taco chips made with vinegar too! Other categories Sameera also won were: 2nd place in Creativity, Tie on 1st place in Presentation and 2nd place in Taste.
2. First Runner-up – Vinegar Pecan pie by Sheila Wheaton
None of us even imagined that we could incorporate vinegar into a pie! Sheila has a reputation for being a fantastic baker in our group so when we learned she’s made pie, we weren’t surprised. The pie was perfectly cooked, with a delicious crust and a very nice filling with just the perfect hint of vinegar-y flavor in it. YUM! Sheila’s pie also won other prizes – Tie on 1st place for Presentation and 1st price for Taste.
3. Second Runner-up – Peach and Apricot compote by Huzefa Gandhi
Huzefa’s dish was another unexpected, delicious, taste-bud-tingling delight. He used a combination of various vinegars, the most prominent being Mango vinegar. The whole spices added a wonderful warm note to the dish that really reminded me of Fall. This dish had to be the most innovative fruit preparation I have tasted. Huzefa’s compote also won 3rd place in the Taste category.
Other delicious preparations that we enjoyed but which didn’t make it to the top 3:
Scott’s Vinegar-marinated Beef. I’m really not much of a beef eater, but this dish made me want to kill a bovine then and there and eat it whole. This was so so so delicious… I must ask Scott to make this for me again. The pineapple added an interesting tartness to each bite.
Huzefa’s Balsamic vinegar and sweet potato Risotto. This dish tied in 3rd place under the Creativity category. I loved the creamy sweetness of this dish, whose flavor went really well with a reduced Balsamic vinegar sauce.
Scott’s Chicken & Potatoes. Scott’s dish was an adaptation from a traditional Italian dish where meat and potatoes are browned in a skillet before they are baked together slowly for a long time. Loved the hearty, familiar flavors of this dish.
Sheila’s Chicken Adobo. Sheila’s dish was a take on a traditional Vietnamese dish that is actually eaten with sliced banana. The sauce from this dish was to-die-for. Loved drizzling it over my rice and eating spoonfuls.
Sameera’s Warm Taco Salad. Delicious, comforting and vinegar-y, in just the right way.
Rob’s ‘Grandpa’s’ Salad. Rob’s salad seemed simple but had tons of interesting flavors. His dressing was vinegar based and complimented the tartness of the fruits very well.
My entry into the competition – Strawberries & Cream. I tied in 3rd place in the Creativity category and won 2nd place in the Presentation category.
What’s your favorite vinegar-y dish?