CJ was trying to make a curried potato risotto and he wanted to add sugar to it, but he confused his sugar with salt. We see CJ take a taste of his dish from the saucepan and go, "Bleaah!" He examines the saucepan intently. Howie tosses mandarin oranges in a skillet and tells us he was trying to do a quick sauce, but the oranges fell apart. Time ticks down. Howie puts his mandarin oranges in a cocktail glass on a plate and tells us, "I realized I wasn't at all happy with any of the stuff." Howie dumps the contents of the cocktail glass back in the skillet and turns the glass upside down on the plate. Dude, it's totally the culinary equivalent of laying down the king in chess. I know I give Howie a hard time for seasoning his dishes with his own sort of Brow BAM, but I guess we should be happy that at the very least, he's not going commando in his pants and roasting his chestnuts like Ramsay. Time's up.
Padma and Michael start with Sara and her free-form ravioli stuffed with white beans and sweet peas sitting on a pureed tomato sauce and topped with crispy shallots. See, that sounds pretty damn good to me, so I'm completely confused when Padma takes a bite and says, "It's not as bad as I thought it would be." Sara boggles. Moving on to the Brians, who are fidgeting with themselves, the judges are hurriedly told, "I had the canned meat aisle. Really lit up when I saw the Spam." As O'Brian came down from the canned food aisle with the two cans of Spam in his hands, he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the MALARKEY. Heh. Padma's face sort of freezes, but she turns to Michael and asks if he's ever had Spam. Nope, never eaten it, never cooked with it. The Brians -- I think it's Bryan, judging by the speed-talking -- quickly explain, "Um, so what we did was we sautéed the Spam. And I have nice little Spam and eggs. Corned beef hash with some fried onions and I did a little balsamic reduction to kind of sweeten it all up." Michael tells him, "Good job."
Dale presents his Ramen noodles with hominy, black beans, queso fresco, and a fried egg. Dale, I love you, but that looks and sounds pretty gross. Dale goes on that he added some hot salsa to his "really spicy Mexican breakfast." "That's got a little kick," Michael observes. "Oh, yeah," Padma agrees weakly. Wow, there's something about her delivery there that is so hysterical. Maybe her acting coach really did pay off! "Thank you," Padma adds in the same weakened tone, half-laughing. Dale points the way to the water, and Padma coughs as she tries to sip from a bottle. Guess she's not a phaal phan. Dale stands there, getting red and grinning sheepishly. Their palates doused, the judges arrive next at CJ's station, who explains, "I had the aisle with everything pickled and pre-made salad dressing." "Not bad," Padma shrugs, emoting like hell. Anyway, CJ has a curried potato risotto with a bitter orange marinade, and we'll just stop right there -- exactly what aspect of the curried potato risotto needed to be marinated? He also has blanched leeks with hot banana peppers. CJ adds, "I will warn you, however, that I sweetened my potato risotto with salt, so it's not as sweet as I'd like." Padma is confused and tries to work it out, but CJ interrupts her and says, "Well, let's just go for it and we'll see what happens here." The Brians and Sara are loudly cracking up. "Have fun with it, Padma -- here we go!" CJ cajoles. "I want him to take a bite first," Michael says, handing his fork to CJ. "I've taken quite a few, my friend, and I'm not going back," CJ laughs. Michael scoops up a taste, commenting, "I must say, it looks a bit of a mess." However, after he tastes, we don't get to see what he thinks. Hee -- that was pretty damn funny as well.