"Chopped" Inspiration / Ingredient POTLUCK!

We've got some budding foodies in our midst. And by that I mean some of us love to watch Food Network and pretend we're professionals! As I mentioned previously our Secret Ingredient: Alcohol Potluck was a spinoff from Food Network's Iron Chef. Well tonight's potluck was from Chopped. Have you seen it? Here's the little promo ad.

Don't let the video fool you; we weren't in a competition and my kitchen didn't burn down by chefs crazily cooking things right before the potluck. Our inspiration is from the basket on Chopped. The video here doesn't do much justice for the creative aspect on the show. Did you see the baskets the chefs open? Well in those baskets are 3-5 random ingredients that they must use in preparing their dish. The ingredients can be a little wacky.

The previous potluck week we had filled a bowl with random ingredients. Everyone then picked out 5 ingredients. Your dish had to feature at least three of these ingredients.

The feast! Match up the dish with their descriptions and photos below...
Romin's Ingredients: something from a tree, orange, onion, "leafy" green, grain
Boiled rice in salted water until all the water was absorbed. Repeat 2 additional times. For the final cook, I switched to half and half, again till the liquid was essentially gone. In the meanwhile, I separately sauteed onions until translucent, added mushrooms, then almonds and finally some chopped spinach until heated through. Once the rice was finished, I combined all the ingredients, added a generous amount of parmesan cheese and some lemon juice to lighten it up.

Holly's Ingredients: beans, honey, something you peel
Barbecued Orange and Honey Baked Beans
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4-1/5 cup barbecue sauce
2 tbsp of honey
1 peeled and sliced orange
orange zest
32 oz can of beans (For the potluck I used a 55 oz can and increased all other portions)
   Saute onion in oil until just tender. Stir in barbecue sauce, honey and zest. In casseroel dish, combine baked beans and onion mix, stir well. Bake at 350 for 40 mins, stir occasionally. Stir in orange slices and place back in oven for 5 mins longer.

Tilden's Ingredients: basil, breadcrumbs, cream, egg, stock
Cook 1lb fettuccine - al dente
Added 1 egg, 1/2 cup cream, and fresh basil to 1 container of alfredo sauce. Brought to slow boil and stirred regularly for 5 minutes. Mix and eat.

Tim's Ingredients: tuna, beef, wafers
Basic tuna pasta salad with tuna, celery, mayonnaise, and some wafer crackers for crunch.

Whitney's Ingredients: rice, dairy, something yellow/orange
Combined rice, cream of mushroom and chicken soup, sauteed yellow bell peppers, broccoli, onion, and cheese in a casserole dish. Baked for 20 minutes in a 350F oven.

Patrick's Ingredients: something red, eggplant, apple, peaches, "you pick"
Most experimental "chopped" dish. Sliced the eggplant very thin lengthwise, roasted it, then used it to wrap up a peach-apple salsa.

Ryan's Ingredients: nut, cheese, fish, maple syrup, something from the ground
Pecan-crusted fish with maple syrup served with couscous.

Natalie's Ingredients: habanero, citrus, "you pick", berry, cinnamon
1 habanero pepper (recipe called for three, but I think one would be enough)
2 tablespoons sugar, plus 1 cup
24 ounces cream cheese
Pinch of salt
4 eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 lime, zested
1 very juicy or 2 less juicy limes, juiced
1 lime sliced thinly, for garnish
1whole habenero, for garnish
1 pre-made pie crust
   Set oven to broil and roast the habaneros - rotating ever few minutes. Remove habaneros from oven and set them to steam under a towel. When they are cool enough to handle, put on plastic gloves (didn't do this, but I would definitely recommend it). Peel and deseed habanero, then mix with the 2 tablespoons of sugar until a coarse paste results.
   Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cream the cream cheese, then add remaining sugar and salt. Beat in the
eggs 1 at a time until incorporated. Add the cream and blend. Beat the zest and lime juice into this mixture. Add the habanero paste last and beat until well mixed. Pour into the crust, then gently tap the pan to level the filling. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until the cheesecake pulls away from
the edge of the pan. Remove from the oven and allow to set for 20 minutes. Wrap and keep in the refrigerator overnight, or if rushed, place in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours.
   whoo spicy!

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