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This past September, I threw my hat in the ring for a Seattle-based cooking competition, Kitchen Circus, where home chefs (like me) were invited to audition for the chance to cook at Rover’s here in Seattle for a full house and compete against each other. It was created and hosted by Top Chef Master Thierry Rautureau, who is just as interesting, kind and funny as he seems on TV.

The process of auditioning, coming up with recipes and dishes, competing and cooking all while being filmed was fun, incredible, difficult, challenging and exhausting. It was also a complete BLAST! I haven’t shared any of this yet, or the outcome, on the blog because the competition is actually also a web series that’s coming out in the next couple of months!

But, they just sent us a teaser trailer and I wanted to share it with you all. If you don’t see me in the video, look again (9 seconds in, I’ve got a yellow apron on), my hair actually looks pretty dark brown, not the blonde you may be used to (I’ve been lazy about getting to the salon, don’t judge). (PS: The best way to get updates on the series is the Kitchen Circus Facebook page)

It was a great experience, and I can’t wait to see the whole season of episodes! As soon as they start airing, I’ll be sure to embed them here so you can watch from the comfort of A Half Cup, as it were.

And of course, I’ll write up a ton of commentary to discuss my process, recipes, and what happened (or didn’t happen), which as we all know, sometimes gets lost in the action we get to see on screen. I’ll be sharing my recipes from the night I cooked, and maybe even post a vlog or two (that’s a “video-blog”, not a typo).

As a little teaser, here’s my Amuse Bouche course for you – something that can easily be done at home (as all my dishes always are). My cooking is always elevated comfort food, showing how everyone can make and eat something delicious at home with out any complicated equipment.

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Smoked Paprika Garnet Yam with Roasted Garlic Aioli

***NOTE: This recipe was created to serve 50 people a single bite, so you could actually still make this quantity and serve as a side dish for about 6 people

SMOKED PAPRIKA GARNET YAMS

Ingredients

8lbs Garnet yams
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tsp Kosher Salt
2 Tsp Smoked Paprika
1 Tsp Ground cinnamon
1 Tsp Chili Powder
1 Tsp Cayenne pepper (ground)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease lightly.
  2. Wash, dry and peel yams making them into bricks/rectangles (cut off ALL round edges and sides).
  3.  Cut yams into 1 inch cubes.
  4. In a mixing bowl or really big Ziploc bag, mix all seasoning ingredients, then add yams and mix to coat. If you do this in a bag, make sure you seal it tight and do it over a counter, in case you have a bag explosion.
  5. Spread the yams out onto the baking sheet in a single layer.
  6. Cook for 30 minutes, checking/turning every 10 minutes. DO NOT put yams too close together or they will steam instead of roast.
  7. Once fork tender, set aside to cool slightly before transferring to serving dishes.

ROASTED GARLIC AIOLI

Ingredients

4 heads Garlic (roast off with olive oil first for 45 minutes – 1hr, then peel and set aside whole cloves)
6 Egg yolks
1.5 Tsp Dijon
1.5 Lemons, juiced (remove all pith/pulp)
2-3 cups Olive oil
Kosher salt for seasoning

Directions

  1. Mash 5-6 garlic cloves with 1/2 – 1 Tsp kosher salt until paste is formed and oils have released.
  2. Add to mixing bowl first
  3. Then add 4 egg yolks one at a time till fully combined
  4. Add 1 Tsp Dijon and fully combine
  5. Add lemon juice and fully combine
  6. Add a pinch of kosher salt
  7. Steadily and slowly add drizzle stream of olive oil  while constantly mixing in bowl till emulsion and aioli is complete.
  8. Taste for seasoning, then put all in pastry bag and chill till plating

 FRIED SAGE LEAVES

Ingredients

____ Enough sizable sage leaves for 50 people – 1 medium leaf per dish
1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Olive oil

Directions

  1. Clean and dry and separate sage leaves to be individual leaves
  2. Melt butter in olive oil and bring to fry temperature in sauce pan
  1. Gently fry sage leaves in batches – strain dry on paper towels and keep till service
  1. Insert a leaf into aioli dollop atop garnet yam
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