Neil & Caili fight it out (through cooking)

One thing I love about us is that we try our best to turn mundane things into fun, memorable events. So it was fitting when one night last week, we turned dinnertime into a hardcore TOP CHEF BATTLE TO THE DEATH! Okay, so it wasn’t that intense. But we both of us picked a dish we’d never made before, then we judged it. (Since we’re usually silently judging each other anyway, this was a chance to put it on paper.) Caili decided to tackle an intricate soup & salad, while I picked a marinated steak with pineapple. What follows is an epic chef battle–caught on film!

The gloves are off (and so are the wedding rings) as I prepare my steak for marinating.

Caili whisked together a salad dressing from scratch. Ingredients included either lemon juice or Lemonheads–I can’t remember which.

Caili prepares the Asiago cheese for her soup and the green apple for her salad.

After being marinated in a chimichurri sauce, my steak & pineapple skewers are ready to hit the cast iron–with my secret ingredient (brown sugar) waiting anxiously in the background.

Caili’s dish hits the table: “Roasted Garlic & Tomato Soup served with a Lemon Salad with Apple Matchsticks and Avocado.” The soup was a bit overcooked, but the salad and dressing were masterfully done–you could taste at least 7-8 ingredients and none were too overpowering.

My “Sweet & Savory Beef Skewers with Pineapple” make their debut. The steak was done at a perfect medium but what put it over the top was the brown sugar I sprinkled onto it at the very end. I don’t think I’d ever NOT put brown sugar on steak now.

It was a hard fought battle, but when the results were in, my skewers edged out Caili’s soup & salad by a few points.

All in all, a fun event. So if you’re ever bored and you’re cooking anyway, turn it into a competition. You’ll get to eat two meals in one and maybe even feel superior to your spouse. It’s a win-win.

Notes on Recipes:

Neil based his dish on this Food Network/Giada de Laurentiis recipe, but increased the spice and garlic in the sauce.  You can also use any chimichurri sauce recipe in place of the “parsley sauce.”

Caili looks at so many recipes that she can’t remember where she got hers.

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