Monday, August 10, 2009

The Games We Play

Hey there! So, every profession has it's at-work games or ways to break tension and stress, right? When I was in the Air Force as a radio broadcaster in Korea, all the dj's would try to think of funny ideas for commercials and then we'd each rush to produce it. It was work, but we made it fun by challenging each other and actually got awards for them. Just recently, I got to experience some more at-work fun while testing recipes in Food Network's kitchens...

Here I was, wrapping bacon around turkey with my head down and in the cooking game, when I heard the challenge thrown at me. Santos Loo, who I've dubbed my Culinary Gangsta of All Things Cuisine, decided he wanted to challenge moi to ...

A SEAR-OFF!

I like any challenge and if it has to do with food and work, why not? We were working on my Thanksgiving episode of Cooking for Real for this fall and my recipe called for 2 turkey breasts, stuffed and rolled up and then wrapped with bacon. Sear first, then roast and I was juuuuuust about to put the first one in a pan to sear when Santos layed down the challenge. I promptly accepted the challenge and waited for him to finish stuffin' and rollin' his own turkey breast then snapped this shot of him searing ....

Then I put mine in a pan and he took this pic ...
He haggled me for the hands-on approach, but I told him if my hands were clean, they were fair game! We rushed into the challenge so fast, we didn't even lay ground rules! In a Sear-Off, contact with the surface is key, so I wanted to make sure my turkey-roll ends got love. I laughed at him and told him not to steal my technique and he in turn asked me to not watch him sear, all in fun of course. So for a time, we seared with our backs to each other. Here we are, a few minutes deep into the competition. I had my ends taken care of and now all I was going for was 360 degrees of color.
Looks neck and neck right? So the key was that these would have to go in the oven and still roast for some time, so the sear is important. Too much of a sear and the final will look blackened and too little and the final product just won't be crispy all the way around, especially on the bottom of the roast. And the results are in ...
Ahem, lol ... This is actually the way I took the final picture at first, but then Santos pointed out that I played favorites with the angle. I know, I play dirty! We laughed it off and I took a Santos-approved flick.
That's Santos' on the left and mine on the right. So, we both agreed ... I won! Then we realized in our haste to enter the Sear-Off challenge, we forgot to make sure Santos tied up his bird. This keeps the shape and holds the bacon in place. So, really he wasn't on even playing ground. That being said, we both won because we eventually got to eat!
Turkey anyone? I like at-work challenges. I've seen some office Olympics stuff online and have heard of other at-work challenges, just thought I'd give ya a foodie one. What I really want to do is a blind-folded palate test. I'm sure I also owe Santos a rematch in the Sear-Off. Can't wait to share the turkey and stuffing recipe with you on the show this holiday season!

7 comments:

Mise En Place said...

That looks awesome. Can't wait to see the episode!
:)

Lana said...

LOL! Fun day!

Did something like this at my restaurant a cpl weeks ago; my co-owner, Brian, and I had a Sauce-Off. We wanted to add a Walnut & Cumin Crusted Chicken to the menu, but needed a sauce.

So with all our sous chefs and most of our servers watching and cheering us on, Brian and I each took a sauce pan, a burner and whatever ingredients we had at hand to create a sauce.

3 minutes later we drizzled our sauces over the chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces and everyone had a taste ... and a vote.

My garlic & cumin browned butter sauce won. WOOT! The best part about our lil' competition was that everyone there became a little more invested in the dish.

I notice our servers recommending it to our diners. And that's a good thing.

Thx for sharing your stories Sunny. :-)

Sunny Anderson said...

mise en place, thanks! look for it during the holiday season, i think this is my thanksgiving show. i am taping now and haven't taped this episode yet, but i can't wait to eat it!!! i'm on break now and i've already had chicken fried steak, gravy, mussels and some salad! food overload!!!

lana, well that just sounds down right yummy! thanks for sharing your at-work games! i knew i wasn't the only one! i think it's cool you involve the staff like that as well, it's better when they are pushing a dish because they feel ownership! with garlic and cumin, you just can't go wrong! ever do the blindfold palate test? that's our next game, we've talked about it all we need now is to bring it to life. wait, where is your restaurant?

The Duo Dishes said...

We need to do some face offs with each other in the kitchen. It would make things even more fun.

Sunny Anderson said...

the duo dishes, well if you do ... report back and share!

Anonymous said...

Really, Really, REALLY want to make this dish. Saw it on TV last week, but foodnetwork.com has not posted it. PLEASE can I have it? If not, can you please tell me how long in the oven on what degree, and is the stuffing cooked before being stuffed in turkey (I'm assuming yes). I'll try to wing it if I can't get the recipe. It looked so good, and like it looked like you had so much fun making it. I LOVE your show, by the way. Thanks, Tabatha

Sunny Anderson said...

tabatha, thanks soooo much for watching!! it should be up now ... but just in case, lemme post the link here. Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast Stuffed with Pear Hash