Friday, February 5, 2010

1st Ever Slice-Off!

Ok, I've told you about The Games We Play in the Food Network kitchens when I'm in recipe testing mode. First, it was the 1st ever Sear-Off! Two bacon-wrapped turkey breasts were put on the ticket and Culinary Gangsta of all Things Cuisine, aka Santos, challenged me to have a more perfectly seared protein than him. I love a challenge, so if you click the link above you can see how that went. BTW, that turkey was my Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Breast stuffed with Pear Hash.

Fast forward to our current round of recipe testing and a challenge was thrown at me out of the blue again ... and this time, Santos was the judge and Jenna, an assistant culinary producer was pit against me in the 1st ever (and probably the last lol) ...


Ok, here were the rules. Santos cut two equal-in-size pieces of yellow bell pepper and challenged Jenna and I to see who could make the most thin slices out of our piece of pepper ... and it wasn't pickled :-). I chose my trusty 10-inch wide knife and Jenna put her Yan Can Cook Cleaver to work. Now, I have to tell you, I always admire Jenna's chop, sometimes even saying things in conversation with them like "Ok, for this recipe I'm gonna Jenna Chop the garlic then saute ..." or "I think I'll add some onions all Jenna-chopped up". So she truly has a rep for a great slice game in my book. The piece of pepper was smaller than a business card, but in hindsight I don't know why we didn't measure it. We just made sure both pieces were equal in size from the start. I got to work on my piece with Jenna to my left and to my surprise finished before she did, but that doesn't matter. The goal was quantity of slices not who got to the finish line fastest. Santos told us early on that he wouldn't have any half slices, they needed to be the full length of the piece and even throughout. Tough judge eh? Not so much, I mean no one would try to sell off a bad slice to the Culinary Gangsta would they???

Here he is inspecting my pieces while Jenna intently focuses on her slivers of yellow bell pepper in the background ..
I was so nervous while he was counting!!! I just wanted a good showing. He counted and I had 37 slices that were regulation. I had a few that just didn't make the cut, but I knew it early on and pushed them to the side with an audible ugh of defeat. All I could think was I why didn't I take my time??? ... look at Jenna over there intense and deep in concentration ... will I win??

He counted up from the 30s and my stomach was excited as he counted ... 33, 34, thirrrrrteeee-fiii-eeeveee, thirty-siiiiiiiiiiiiiix ... and to both my and Jenna's surprise he stopped at the magic number 37! A tie! Here we are happy with our results!
What fun! After that teeny break we got back to work testing recipes, but with a tie maybe we should have another go at it huh? Ok, just wanted to send you off with a smile for the weekend. Enjoy your Superbowl and check the Food Network Big Game page for last minute party ideas ... btw GOOOOOOOO SAINTS and COLTS!!! (fyi, I'm not pandering to everyone, I'm actually a "when in Rome-er" lol, I've lived both places so I support them just like the Cowboys, Lions, Jets and Giants)


tamilyn said...

Holy cow that is a big knife she has! I'd probably lop off a finger! I will need to save some $$ and maybe treat myself to the "food fest" as a birthday gift. I'm thinking I could easily be swayed into getting into some trouble with you :) It was nice that you let us know about the scholarships for the students-what an awesome thing for them.

Happy Superbowl Sunday!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sunny, I am a Madison graduate in SA, and you look so familiar. I am older than you, but I am so curious as to who you were then. I graduated in '92. Your name rings a loud bell for me. I think it is awesome to see you cooking and looking like a natural on there. Lots of shows have hosts that look like they are watching their every word and move because they are on tv. You make us feel like we're sitting with a friend in the kitchen. Good job. Now if only I can throw down some grub like that on an everyday basis. ha!
Thanks, Erica Rodriguez

Jen said...

Oh how fun! I think I remember seeing Santos when I was at Guy's taping of Guy Off the Hook! He definitely looks familiar!

And that Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast sounds divine! Bacon makes almost everything better. I say almost because we went to a bar in NYC and tried a bacon martini. Ewwwwwwwwww.

LindaHensens said...

I just wanted to share with you my favorite web site to buy spices in bulk. You probably already know of it, especially if you do any grocery shopping in places like Whole Foods or Fresh Market or somewhere that sells organic foods pretty much exclusively. However, just in case you don't know.. here it is:

This place has phenomenal pricing on spices when you buy in bulk, 1 pound packages. I get my faves there and freeze the parts that I don't use right away. The bags are resealable, and if you have a Tilia machine you can vacuum pack them to keep them fresh far longer.. There is nothing like opening up a bag of this company's organic garlic.. Even their cayenne pepper will bring tears to your eyes when you just open the bag.. Make sure you use gloves if you have to touch it though.. Trust me on that one.. :)

Have a great day!
Linda in NC

Sunny Anderson said...

tamilyn, i know! it's a big knife, but she wields it with expertise! if you get to the fest, let me know and i'll make sure to get this blogger's drinks or lunch up and runnin for ya! i think no matter if it's me and one person, i'll do it :-).

erica rodriguez, yaaaay madison! i'll go through my book and check your pic, i am horrible at names. i hung out with everyone, so no matter the clique, i'm sure we ran into each other. ahhh the wheel and the windowless school, don't ya miss it! :-) thanks for the compliment, i often got in trouble with ms. valentine for speaking in class too much, but she did a bang up job on making me love english and language. i'm so happy to use it in my career field now. and don't worry, none of my stuff is hard, give something a try, take your time and relax. i've made a few things i didn't like, but i always give it a go until i get it right! it's how you get to carnegie hall!

jen, yep santos was there, he worked that show. whoever coined that term about bacon making everything better should've gotten a copyright, because it is so true and said by many!!! i have to try that martinin though to be honest ... try to remember the bar for a foodie please :-) i'm sure i can google and make one, but i'd rather have a mixologist have a go 1st ...

linda, thanks! i'll check the website. many store bought spices are months even years old before they reach market. we have so many place to shop here in nyc, but i really want to do a spice vacation one day! ever think about that? ahhh a foodie day dream!! thanks again!