The Helsper Chef Trifecta is back with another cook off. This time, we attempted to solve an age-old problem: filling up on appetizers and having no room for dinner. Except we don’t see it as a problem, we see it as awesome. This week’s challenge was Appetizers: Reinvented. Why not make a meal out of ’em?
Things got intense, fast. Ten minutes in, Neil and Eric were already fighting over two feet of counter space and I think it unearthed some resentment from that one Nerf gun fight in the dark in 1991.
Once things calmed down, I jumped in to see what was going down. Neil was hard at work with a mallet and toothpicks, so I knew he was going to live up to his reputation of choosing the concept that is least likely to work…Yet somehow his always ends up at the top of the rankings.
Eric surprised us with some sort of dumpling concoction. Was he reinventing the dumpling into a new dumpling? So not the concept. Let’s hope not.
My prep was going swimmingly, because I showed up early and claimed the biggest counter top.
Finally the prep work was done, and it was time to get to it. Neil’s was the first out of the
His recipe was a reinvention of the mozzarella stick.
Wait, are you kidding me? Can we get a closeup of that?
He combined the mozzarella stick with the ever-popular chicken crisper and made chicken sticks stuffed with mozzarella, breaded, deep fried and served with marinara dipping sauce. How he pulled it off I don’t know but we ate every last bit. So good!
Next up was my dish. I reinvented the jalapeno popper. Making it into a grilled cheese was surprisingly easy and crazy, crazy delicious. Jalapeno cheddar bread was topped with a layer of cream cheese, roasted jalapenos, cheddar jack cheese and panko bread crumbs (you can’t forget the crunchy topping!).
I was obsessed with my sandwich. It was all I could think about. That is, until….
Don’t hold your breath for this sentence, it’s a long one. Eric’s submission was French Onion Soup: realized in individual dumplings in a Swiss cheese bath, sprinkled with bits of compound butter and green onion, and topped with a homemade crouton. It was the entire french onion experience, in one bite.
Mr. Fluffypants always comes up with these long-winded recipes, but the guy knows what he’s doing. I’m trying to get this recipe from him so that you can all try it, but it’s taking longer because he MADE IT UP as he went. Talent.
I am telling you, you HAVE to try a cook off (and invite us). I never knew any of us could come up with such creative and fun new recipes. It was definitely the highlight of our week.