Sunday Challenge - part 1
September 27, 2009

With winter approaching we may be spending more weekends at home, and while I look forward to my Sunday dinner creations, my husband and I decided to have a little fun culinary activity each week just to make it interesting. Since we are (mostly I am) watching several cooking reality tv shows these days (now we are following Top Chef, Iron Chef America, Chopped. Not long ago, it was The Next Food Nextwork Star) and with so many shows there are now several interesting variations of the cooking competition challenges - some of them silly, others rather interesting. I began to wonder how I might fare in one of these clever games. So we decided to try our own selection of food challenges every Sunday. My husband gets the easy part: he picks the game and sets the rules and is the ultimate judge - but I still think I am the one who has all the fun.

Our first challenge was last night. This time we decided to use the game typically played on Food Network's show, Chopped, where chefs are given 3-4 rather random ingredients and asked to come up with one dish unifying or at least using them all. So my husband went down to the store mid-afternoon and came back with the following three items for our Chopped challenge: pork, brie and cinnamon. Here's the result:

The challenge : cook one entree using 1) pork loin 2) brie cheese and 3) cinnamon stick
What I Made : Brie-stuffed rolled pork loin with prune and cinnamon sauce and mashed celeriac.
His verdict : I don't have to pack my knifes.
My note: I think he was easy on me for the first time, including three items that were not to hard to combine. It did not take more than 5 minutes to decide what to make. Brie and cinnamon invited something sweet and fruity. And I thought about something that goes well with the pork. Originally I was going to make savory and sweet apple & raisin sauce but I had prunes instead and I thought it would be a perfect ingredient for the sauce. Though not part of the challenge, the celeriac on the side turned out to be a wonderfully mild and light accompanyment, giving the heavy cinnamon prune sauce more prominance on the plate than a similar potato mash might have done.


part 10 : Full Course Meal with Finger Food

part 9 : Funny Fusion

part 8 : Inspired by movie character

part 7 : Lamb and pea puree

part 6 : skirt steak

part 5 : grilled cheese sandwitch

part 4 : Thai green curry

part 3 : nem

part 2 : pork 4 ways

part 1 : cinnamon pork and brie