Thursday, June 16, 2011

Teen Cafe - Iron Chef Contest

Teenagers + chocolate syrup + knives + my new cookie sheets + competition = what could possibly go wrong?

Nothing, actually (although Alex M's mother may disagree, after he consumed the high-sugar-content creation he made and dubbed "the volcano"). The teens were really looking forward to our first Iron Chef Contest, and I don't think anyone was disappointed - including the judge, thank goodness.

We made it pretty simple. After making everyone wash their hands (I was the judge, and we have enough sickness in the house, thank-you very much),  teens picked one of four stations and the secret ingredient was revealed: flour tortillas. I picked those because they are a pretty versatile base, and because they are cheap:) Each team got 15 tortillas. The rule was that they had to include tortillas in their recipe, but did not have to use all 15.

Teams had five minutes to look over the additional ingredients and confer with their teammates, then they took turns taking one additional ingredient at a time before starting on their creations. Additional rules were:
- only Miss Ami operates the stove
- don't scratch up my cookie sheets
- don't make the pregnant lady throw up

These two girls dove right in, starting by mixing melted chocolate into the cream cheese. Their teammates chose to ponder their options for a bit longer.

This team began, not surprisingly if you know them, with an argument. Is the white rubber utensil called a spatula, or a spreader thingy?

Click here, guys.

Whatever it was, they put it to use, assembly-line style. There were actually several thing going on here, but they all worked together in the end, as you will see later.

I took this picture early on, thinking it looked rather intriguing, but it didn't show up in a final product. I have the feeling Mr. Happy Face and Friends were consumed by their creator shortly after this.

In the meantime, the girls who had started out so strong ran into a snag when they discovered melted marshmallows don't always spread very well. They also don't come off very well. A little time was lost here (and no, health department folks, this was not eaten.)

Sissy appears to be assuring me everything is going just fine on her team. No need to worry. Or to look too closely just yet.

At last it was time for the judging, which consisted of me cutting off a piece of each creation and forking it into my mouth while people took pictures with their cell phones. Gee, can't wait to get on Facebook tonight.

Multi-colored marshmallows and chocolate syrup proved to be favorite ingredients, with or without peanuts. Not bad, actually.

This was the only group that asked to bake theirs - about 5 minutes to warm everything up. Looks pretty!

And here's one as it was presented to me for tasting. The peaches, while still sweet, helped balance out the sugary ingredients.

I didn't say I would be looking at presentation, so I was pleased with how many groups took extra time on it. Remember the group I said had several things going on?  This is how they put them all together. The grape jelly, I was told, was mainly there for color contrast. The size and spacing were so artistic I hated to cut into it. On the right we have pears and coconut in a sauce made of pear juice, honey and melted chocolate chips. The crepe with the lovely garnish had melted butterscotch, and I'm afraid I forgot what else - the butterscotch kind of overwhelmed any other flavors.

Another nice presentation - more marshmallows and chocolate syrup, with the addition of Heath bits, which gave a nice crunch. Very sweet, though.

This, though, was the winner - for presentation, texture, flavor, and originality. Tortillas layered with peanut butter, mini chocolate chips, sour cream (I think) and two kinds of cereal, drizzled in chocolate syrup. The peanut butter kept it from being too sweet, and the cereal gave it a crunch that kept it from being too heavy.  

We had a runner-up I did not get a picture up, prepared by one lone girl: sort of an open-face quesadilla, with lots of cheddar cheese and black olives. A very welcome change from all the sweetness, perfect proportions! The winners and runner-up all got raffle tickets for some of our big SRP prizes.

Thanks to everyone who helped clean up afterward, especially since we have a performer first thing tomorrow morning in that same room. Apologies to the parents of the teens now on sugar highs - if it's any consolation, the bits I sampled seem to have hit Baby L's system, so I don't expect to be falling asleep any time soon, either!

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