Tonight, we start to see signs of Hung getting the asshole edit. He grabs at his seafood too quickly and (for some) greedily, he leaves a flailing crawfish on the floor to suffocate, and he might have been complicit in another Ovengate. However, his food slides him right under the radar in both the Quickfire and the Elimination Challenge, so there's not much more to say about him tonight. Other than the fact that he may or may not own a monkey.
An oddly-designed "go fish" Quickfire involves the cheftestants digging around a large aquarium in the kitchen and hauling out cockles, scallops, crawfish, and conch. After thirty minutes, Brian (MALARKEY!) clinches the win and Immunity with his "Three Rivers" dish. What the three rivers are, or why rivers are involved with saltwater seafood like mussels, scallops, and clams, we never find out. Classic crazy-pants MALARKEY!
Alfred Portale -- the guy who beat out both Tom Colicchio and Hubert Keller for last year's James Beard Outstanding Chef of the Nation -- is on hand with Ted Allen as the guest judge.
The Elimination Theme was to update classic American family dishes -- think fried chicken, tuna casserole, and the Brady Bunch-ian pork chops and applesauce -- and make them low in cholesterol. It should be noted that unlike last year's Camp Glucoyapi episode, there was no one on hand to measure or otherwise assess cholesterol content, which is why Brian (MALARKEY!) created a stuffed cabbage dish with lobster and got dinged by the judges for using a high-cholesterol protein. Lucky for him, he had immunity.
Although I did harbor fears that poor Howie had definite strains of the loser music playing him right out of this show tonight, he creates a light and delicious version of pork chops and applesauce that enchants the judges and nets him the win.
Two of the bottom four, Sara M. and Micah, who are not even American (supposedly), could not hope to really understand just what Chicken a la King and meatloaf and mashed potatoes are. Hell, I don't know if I even know what Chicken a la King is. Something gloppy and beige with chicken? I know I've never eaten it.
Oh, and did you see that I said "supposedly" up there? Yeah, well, that's because recent evidence (of the old yearbook variety) has come to light that when Micah appears to dismiss meatloaf and mashed potatoes as an American dish that she, as a South African, doesn't quite understand, she seems to be forgetting that she grew up -- at least junior high and high school years -- in Bridgewater, MA. Which raises the question: just how far under the T do you have to be living not to eat, see, or even encounter some form of the Mother's Meatloaf that manages to be both the bane and savior of American culinary existence?
Karma might be a bitch, but it looks like this time she was right on target when she sent Micah packing her knives and sobbing her way home at the end of this episode.
2 ounces Hangar One Kaffir Lime Vodka (or vodka of your choice)
1 lb ripe Heirloom tomatoes
1 pinch celery salt
1 pinch Kosher salt
1/4 freshly ground black pepper
3 dashes Chipotle Tabasco Sauce
2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated fresh horseradish
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 boccaccini mozzarella balls, for garnish
Celery stalk, for garnish
Pierce the bottoms of each tomato with an "X" and bring a large amount of water to a boil. Toss the tomatoes in and leave them for thirty seconds. Pull the tomatoes out and shock them in a large bowl of ice water. Peel off the skins, cut out the stem, and cut the tomatoes into chunks. Puree the tomatoes in a blender and measure out six ounces. It's up to you if you want to strain the six ounces or not. It doesn't change the flavor, just the thickness of the end result. Store the rest of the juice in the fridge in an airtight container.
Combine all ingredients except the garnishes in a cocktail shaker with ice and stir. Fill a 16-oz glass halfway with ice and strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with three toothpick-speared boccaccini balls and the celery stalk.
If you can find it, you might want to use the newest in celery cocktail garnishes: the edible straw. The hollow celery -- a horticultural mash-up of ordinary celery and a wild hollow strain -- is called Dandy in the produce section of your nearest grocery store.
Now, the lycopene in tomatoes is supposed to lower cholesterol, but if that's not a problem for you, use a garnish unique to Bloody Marys in Minnesota: a Slim Jim.
To make this virgin, replace the vodka with the same amount of fresh squeezed lime juice.
Makes 1 drink.
The day after Sandee's departure, we see a scribbled note from her telling everyone how much they rock. Lia tells us that with Sandee's departure, they are all realizing how intense this is going to get. Dude, she's only the second one to leave. Camille disappears into a bathroom, closing a bra-draped door behind her. Part of me thinks, "Yeah, okay, I do that," but then the other part of me -- the GE/Kenmore conspiracy theorist -- wonders if the producers walked around placing things just so being all, "No, but see this is how people live. This bra here will make the shot look natural and lived in." Joey From New York and Howie both note that they "had words," but they're moving on. Micah -- whose accent got totally bizarre in this particular scene, and I wasn't even analyzing it for any Mass reason at this point -- tells us how she moved her business from Italy to South Africa with only her suitcase and her daughter and thinks highly of herself for it.