Chopped: The Swamp Edition - We Did It Again - Swampy's Kitchen Blog at - 201996

Swampy's Kitchen

CHOPPED: The Swamp Edition - we did it again 
Oct. 25, 2010 11:59 am 
Updated: Nov. 15, 2010 7:18 am
This past Saturday, as some of you might have seen, my family challenged me to another episode of “CHOPPED: Swamp Edition”. My ingredients this time were bone in Pork Chops, Apple Cider, Cabbage, Navel Oranges & Thai Rice Noodles. Not exactly a completely daunting proposition but not a great combo either. In order to conform with full disclosure, I was given the ingredients list a little early but I was also told that I was getting Pork Loin, Blood oranges & WonTon Wrappers which obviously had me thinking of dishes in a completely opposite direction than the direction I wound up taking.
So what did I do ? Well the first thing I did was shred half of the cabbage and toss it in a large covered sauté pan. I added in some red cabbage, half a diced sweet onion, the apple cider, salt, pepper, celery salt, lemon pepper and I am sure there was something else but I can’t remember what it was. While the cabbage was stewing (braising ?), I juiced the oranges & a lime, added in a half a heaping teaspoon of Chinese five spice, salt, pepper & a little sugar and then half of it was poured over the pork chops which had been artfully arranged (jammed) into a large stainless steel oven ready pan. I let those marinate while I messed up thai rice noodles.
Thai Rice Noodles should have been easy. I should have just made them like regular pasta and then tossed them with the cabbage but no. I decided to soak them and then finish them in the leftover cabbage juice. We will come back to them shortly.
Once the pork chops had marinated I turned on the heat and started to brown them on one side. As the liquid started to bubble and the edges started to curl, I flipped them and poured the rest of the marinade on before tossing them into a 350 degree oven to finish. Once the pork was just about perfect, I pulled them out of the oven and put them on a plate and covered them with aluminum foil. I then turned the burner on and began to reduce the juices in the pan. Knowing that I already had fat in the pan from the pork chops, I sifted in a little flour and whisked down a citrus five spice gravy to be poured over the pork chops. In hindsight, this might have been great on the thai rice noodles too but I made the mistake of trying to finish them in the leftover cabbage juices and that just didn’t work as well as I had hoped.
In the end, my judges were not quite as cruel as the judges on CHOPPED (who have a perpetual stick stuck up their….but this is a family blog and we won’t say anything). My son who gives out stars like the government prints money, gave me 500 stars, claimed to like the cabbage and chewed on 3 different bones. My daughter that eats everything loved the pork, loved the cabbage and was less than complimentary about the rice noodles. My daughter that doesn’t like anything and will say the opposite of her older sister almost every time, loved the pork chop and tried to convince me that she liked the cabbage & rice noodles but the fact that she never touched either one after her critique told me that she might have been fibbing just a little to Daddy. My wife loved the pork, loved the sauce, hid the cabbage from the kids so she could have it for breakfast and then helped open the trash can when I asked what I should do with the leftover noodles.
All in all, I think I still would have made it to the dessert round but I don’t think that I would have won the $10,000. Come back next time when we finally take on a CHOPPED: Breakfast Edition with my daughter that has to always be contrary.    
The Ingredients in the "Basket"
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The final dish
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another view
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Oct. 25, 2010 12:31 pm
Sounds like fun :) I love watching chopped.
Oct. 25, 2010 12:36 pm
I hated CHOPPED when it first started SB but then the more I watched, the more hooked I got. I love watching the pretentious judges get indignant over the use of some obscure ingredient no one has ever seen before....thanks for stopping by
Oct. 25, 2010 12:39 pm
Great job!
Oct. 25, 2010 12:50 pm
Sounds like so much fun! Great blog!
Oct. 25, 2010 12:55 pm
Thanks Nurse Ellen
Oct. 25, 2010 12:57 pm
It was fun Southern Belle - my wife is already planning a Halloween edition - it better not include crappy halloween candy
Oct. 25, 2010 1:33 pm
Hi Doug- Great Blog!!! Does your family time you? That would be hysterical and video worthy at least at our house. In the Food Network Mag, Ted Allen had an interview re: the filming of chopped. It was really interesting. Sounds about 20 times more stressful than what we see on T.V.(Unless you like having your makeup done over and over while trying to cook strange food in a 900 degree kitchen.):)
Oct. 25, 2010 1:52 pm
Hi tonijo - they don't time me yet but that is coming. My wife & I went to a taping of Iron Chef and that hour went by SO FAST
Oct. 25, 2010 4:49 pm
Doug, I love reading your blog, you always make it sound like so much fun in your "Chopped" kitchen! Love that your kids are having fun with it too. They should all grow up liking to cook,maybe? I look forward to the breakfast blog.
Oct. 25, 2010 6:47 pm
What a hoot! But, I could never do "chopped." Too much pressure. You're a really good sport.
Oct. 25, 2010 9:59 pm
^Chopped^ ... just reading about it and envisioning the show makes my blood vessels contract. No way that would be fun for me. I like your non-timed version, though. Congrats on a (mostly) successful meal!
Oct. 26, 2010 5:33 am
Good morning GrannyGigi - all the kids do like to cook though my son prefers to EAT
Oct. 26, 2010 5:36 am
Thanks Candice - my wife & kids want to stump me but they also know they have to eat what I make so they don't throw too much of a curveball
Oct. 26, 2010 5:37 am
Thanks Hezzy_tant_Cook - the judges on chopped make my blood boil - the cluelessness of some of the cooks cracks me up too
Oct. 29, 2010 5:01 am
Great blog, Doug! I, too, love Chopped, but the judges get me pretty ticked off sometimes. Especially when the contestants are given a piece of meat that MUST be cooked low and slow or it will be tough and then the judges complain that the end result is tough. WTH??? You give the poor contestants such a short amount of time to prepare something that SHOULD take hours and then complain when it's inferior??? How about the flavor? Did they at least accomplish something great in that respect? But the one that really gets me going is when they refuse to enjoy a fish dish if there's ANY kind of cheese included. What king of the fish realm decided it was against the law to pair fish with cheese, anyway? One of my favorite ways to cook fish is with a crushed cracker and Parmesan CHEESE topping LOL! Anyway, sorry to get off on a rant here. I'm so glad your family is more supportive and compassionate about your results than the Chopped judges are. It makes it just that much more fun for you :-)
Oct. 29, 2010 6:27 am
I actually do this to myself. I keep a very well-stocked pantry, freezer and fridge and need to eat out of it so nothing goes to waste. I reach into one shelf or two of the freezer as my "basket" ingredients and then pull other things from my pantry. Consulting has resulted in some good meals and only a couple of dishes that the dogs were able to enjoy with relish. I encourage everyone to challenge themselves and use up some of that food that is squirreled away in your kitchen also.
Oct. 29, 2010 9:03 am
Thanks Keri - I have expounded on the pretentiousness of the judges on more than one occasion but aren't they part of the reason that we watch the show ? It makes me smile when they actually have to eat something that is virtually inedible. It does make me wonder how much the production assistants in charge of getting the basket ingredients really hate them ?
Oct. 29, 2010 9:04 am
Hi ROBINBRADY - thanks - I agree with you about the fridge & pantry. One of my old favorite shows from the Food Network was "Door Knock Dinners" where the chef came in and and made dinner out of whatever he could find in the house. We usually do a couple of those types of meals prior to visiting Costco.
Oct. 29, 2010 10:32 am
LOL Loved the blog! I confess I feel like I'm on Chopped regularly cooking for the "whatever" twins as I do. Luckily, last night's episode was a hit cause the youngest was gone. :)
Oct. 29, 2010 11:22 am
We get that too from the kids sometimes and one of these days I am going to cook up something really bad and when they ask what it is, I am going to say "It's whatever. You asked for it" - take that kids !
Oct. 29, 2010 11:51 am
LOL Doug, good idea! I do watch the show and really enjoy it, but of course don't even know some of the ingredients, so doubt I would do well at all :( I think you also have to good at the 'science' of cooking
Oct. 29, 2010 11:52 am
If you lived closer, I would give you some of my homecooked dogfood to try and pass to your kids. Just a ton of veggies cooked long and slow to mush in the crockpot, lol
Oct. 29, 2010 6:07 pm
Hi Carrie - there is a little science involved but if you watch enough of these types of shows (Iron Chef, Top Chef) you can get an idea as to what might go with what. Thanks for stopping by.
Oct. 30, 2010 12:59 pm
That is the coolest idea! How fun! We are thinking of doing something like that now. That is a very fun show to watch.
Oct. 30, 2010 5:51 pm
Hi SuperMom - we plan on doing a Breakfast Chopped next Sunday morning - trying to think of ingredients that wouldn't be horrible with breakfast
Oct. 30, 2010 8:45 pm
1st I love a man that cooks~2nd I love a man that knows whens he has messed up and takes the family to a resturaunt~3rd I love a challenge and that you have done! Congrats!!!!
Oct. 30, 2010 9:19 pm
Love watching Chopped and playing it at home. I randomly choose ingredients from a cookbook (or my cabinets, etc.) and try to create something wonderful. It's amazing what you can do with 4 ingredients that seem unrelated.
Oct. 30, 2010 9:55 pm
1st I love a man that cooks~2nd I love a man that knows whens he has messed up and takes the family to a resturaunt~3rd I love a challenge and that you have done! Congrats!!!!
Oct. 31, 2010 5:58 am
Hi Doug. I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how much I enjoyed your blog! This is the first one I have read and look forward to more. What fun you and your family must have! Such a great idea. Good luck with the Halloween Chopped!!
Oct. 31, 2010 11:49 am
Hey suzycue2257 - thanks for stopping by - I've been cooking for a long time and it's just plain fun to do
Oct. 31, 2010 11:50 am
I think we all play Chopped to a certain degree hmay311 with those ingredients in the back of the fridge or the pantry that are on the verge of being there just a bit too long
Oct. 31, 2010 11:52 am
Hi Purplepixie - thanks for comment - we do have a lot of fun. Now to figure out what to do with nasty orange spongy circus peanuts...
Oct. 31, 2010 11:14 pm
Great blog! That sounds like a lot of fun!
Nov. 1, 2010 5:23 am
hi Rebecca - it is fun until my wife sees something nasty on TV and starts to think hmmm...
Nov. 1, 2010 7:46 am
This was a fun read!
Nov. 1, 2010 8:34 am
Thank you tat2whttrsh aka Lambchop's Mom - it was a fun write too
Nov. 1, 2010 11:04 am
What fun!!! I have 5 daughters, and we may try a chopped. Great blog.
Nov. 1, 2010 12:15 pm
I like what you do with your family! I may have to find some friends to try this with.
Nov. 1, 2010 2:43 pm
Great blog. Makes me really want to try your dish. The circus peanuts? Throw them on top of the sweet potato casserole instead of marshmallows! I've always wanted to try that with peeps, too. :)
Nov. 2, 2010 5:22 am
Thanks ROKLYN - get those girls in the kitchen challenging each other - it will be fun
Nov. 2, 2010 5:22 am
Thanks Seamus - good luck & have fun
Nov. 2, 2010 5:23 am
Thanks *eclectRicity* - I wonder if theymake Turkey shaped Peeps ? Hmmm....
Nov. 11, 2010 7:12 am
Thanks for sharing! We enjoy watching and have thought about doing this at home--now we just might! I look forward to future stories!
Nov. 15, 2010 7:18 am
Thanks vbmom - it's fun to do and the whole family gets involved
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Doug Matthews

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Princeton, New Jersey, USA
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About Me
My mother decided early on that her sons would never have to rely on someone to feed them so we all learned to cook at an early age. I really started to branch out when I moved out west to Denver, SF & Dallas. Combine that with extended business travel to Louisiana & my growing love of spices and you get a real mix of flavors.
My favorite things to cook
Love to make cajun food with my favorites being crawfish pie, alligator stew & alligator chili - I go nuts on Super Bowl Sunday
My favorite family cooking traditions
We didn't have a lot of traditions per se but you could count on pancakes or waffles on sundays - dad making scrambled eggs twice a year on christmas morning & mother's day - veal parmagiana on christmas eve, Thanksgiving with Grandma Matthews and any menu of your choice on your birthday. We weren't a spicy family so I learned a lot of good strong basics in the kitchen from Mom that I have carried over into my cooking today.
My cooking triumphs
I love to experiment with variations of dishes I try around the country. My biggest success is here on allrecipes where I had 2 recipes published in the same cookbook - Southwestern Turkey Soup & Curried Carrot Soup. I think my corn muffins are a great starting point and my alligator chili has become a much requested Super Bowl favorite.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few times in the past where I tossed everything and took everyone to a restaurant instead. I'm not too proud to say my cooking is awful when it really is.
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