TED ALLEN: Welcome to a very special edition of Chopped. Today, a home chef will have an hour to prepare a side dish for a BBQ using just the items she already has in her kitchen. Today’s chef will be preparing a dish for a co-worker’s BBQ. She hopes to make it good enough to distract from the fact that she plans to slip out of the event after staying only 30 minutes. Let’s get started.
MARCUS SAMUELSSON: It looks like she will be making some sort of quinoa salad. I see she has started boiling the water for quinoa and is now chopping some shallots.
AMANDA FREITAG: Yes, she is off to a good start. But I’m not sure why she is using a steak knife to cut the vegetables.
TED: It is unusual.
AMANDA: And now she is also cutting the prosciutto with the steak knife — although it’s not working very well. It’s almost like she doesn’t want to get more than one small dishwasher-safe knife dirty.
MARCUS: Right, and maybe that is why she is chopping everything on that chipped dinner plate instead of a cutting board.
MARTHA STEWART: I can’t really blame her — I pay someone to hand wash all my dishes and fold all my fitted sheets.
TED: Now I see her adding a little wine. What do you think about that choice of wine to cook with, judges?
MARCUS: I’m not quite sure that I would be using that white zinfandel.
MARTHA: I would not. But the label on the bottle is very pretty.
AMANDA: Okay, it looks like she is seasoning it well with salt. But now she seems to be having trouble finding something in her spice cabinet. Whatever it was, I guess she decided against adding it.
MARCUS: What is that she is getting out of the freezer? A bag of generic frozen mixed vegetables? Is she really going to dump those in?
TED: No. She is just picking out the peas and tossing those into the pot. Now I see that she has pulled a beer out of the refrigerator. Is she going to add beer to it too? Oh, no, she is just drinking that one.
MARTHA: Yes, I respect that method. Drinking while cooking used to help me get through countless catering events.
TED: It looks like our home cook has gone to sit on the couch and scroll through Twitter while her dish cooks. I guess this is a good opportunity for a brief commercial break.
[Ad for personal chefs that come to your home]
TED: We are back with a home cook making a shared dish and time is almost out on the clock. She has headed out to the back patio to grill now.
MARCUS: I like that she is grilling the figs, but I’m a little concerned that she seems to have forgotten about the quinoa.
AMANDA: Yes, the quinoa should be done by now. Oh, actually I think it’s smoking.
MARCUS: I doubt that burnt quinoa is going to impress her colleagues.
[Loud beeping sound]
TED: Well, she will have to take care of that fire alarm now and time is running out. But I see she knows how to pull the batteries out. I’m guessing this isn’t the first time this has happened.
MARCUS: And now she is looking at the quinoa and trying to scoop some of the burnt parts into the trash.
AMANDA: The figs aren’t going to save this.
MARTHA: This is most definitely not a good thing.
TED: Now I see that she is going to the fridge — maybe she has some special ingredients that can help save the day because time is coming to an end. What is she pulling out?
MARCUS: I think it’s a bowl of pre-made quinoa salad from Whole Foods. It looks like she is just putting it in one of her own plastic bowls.
MARTHA: [Visibly relieved] Oh good. I look forward to trying that.
MARCUS: But, I mean, we will probably have to chop her for this, right? She didn’t even cook it?
MARTHA: Yes, she is totally gone.