Sunday, November 27, 2011

Master Chef Casting Call 2011

After a couple of weeks of recipe development, Saturday the 29th of October was go time. Headed to Hollywood for the Master Chef casting call at Le Cordon Bleu on Sunset. I'd auditioned last year and done well, getting a call back for an on-camera interview. A couple of days before the call, I got an email that I was a VIP--scheduled time to show up, no waiting in line. Sweet! Last year, I had to arrive hours ahead of time, and saw the VIPs walking right in. Well, this year it didn't work that way.

For some reason, the casting company decided to do a blog and radio giveaway for what appeared to be a ridiculous amount of VIP passes. Consequently, there was more VIPs than not. Add the fact that the entire casting crew took lunch while I was waiting in the hall, and I was there for like five hours, longer than last year! Finally into the food room, we had two minutes to plate our dish, ready for inspection by two "food experts" and our examination by casting personnel. My annoyance at the wait might have been apparent; although I got very good comments on my food I wasn't selected for a callback that day.

Here's the recipe for what I served the judges, Natchitoches Meat Pies with Cajun Mustard Aioil.

The filling:
1/2 pound ground chuck
1/2 pound ground pork or mild sausage
1/4 pound chicken livers, cleaned and chopped finely
3 large shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp freshly ground allspice berries
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
kosher salt, to taste
1/3 stick unsalted butter
1 bunch spinach or collard greens, cut and blanched

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat, add shallots and sweat, then add meat. Cook until well-browned, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat. Drain and season.

The crust:

1 can evaporated milk (13 oz)
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup shortening
5 cups all-purpose flour

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then whisk milk into egg until well, blended, set to side. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut shortening into the dry ingredients. Add the egg-milk mixture slowly until moist. Do not overwork, or dough may be tough. Form a ball, flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour (can hold up to three days), until dough is firm. Roll out to ~1/4 inch thickness, and use a bowl to cut 6-8 inch circles. Fill half with filling, add a few pieces of blanched greens, fold over, and crimp edges with a fork. Deep fry in oil quickly until crust is golden-brown and flaky.
The aioli:

2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 pinches coarse kosher salt
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup olive oil

Make a paste with the garlic oil and salt in a mortar and pestle or with the flat of your knife on a cutting board. In a bowl, whisk together garlic paste, cayenne, mustard, egg yolks and lemon juice. Whisking constantly, begin very slowly adding oil, starting drop-by-drop for the first 1/4 cup or so. If you overdo it and the emulsion separates, stop adding oil and whisk until it comes back together. Chill and serve.

1 comment:

  1. Its ok that you didnt move on this year. I guess you will just have to cook me tons of stuff this year to get more ideas and training!