Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off Season 3 Episode 4 Recap

I almost didn't watch Rachael vs Guy last night. As it was, I missed the first eight minutes of the program, but I'm pretty sure I didn't really miss anything of consequence. From what I gathered when I tuned in, the celebs were making chicken wings.

At that time, Judy was mixing plum jam into something, and Herschel was turning the drum part of his wings into lollipops by scraping the meat into blobs at one end of the bone, leaving the bare bone poking out. Not sure what the time limit was for the challenge but Guy sure did seem to be in a hurry, the way he nagged his team.

After barking at Herschel to hurry up, Guy barks at Tiffany to see where she was in the process. "Dry rub?!" "Done!" "Brine?!" "Done!" I'm pretty sure Tiffany didn't have time to properly brine her wings, and they looked mighty naked to me. Perhaps she dry rubbed them before brining, and the brine washed off the rub? In any case, she was putting her whole wings in a hot cast iron pan and then placing another hot iron pan on top. Nice technique, but a bit much for wings, which are mostly bone. Predictably, they are burning in spots so she has to start over.

Off on the sideline, we have our Special Celebrity Guest Judge for the day, Alex "Cranky Pants" Guarnaschelli. She's making bitchy Chopped-style remarks to some pretty boy sitting next to her. Penn is doing classic Buffalo-style wings, with bleu cheese and celery sticks. She thinks he's making things hard on himself because everyone knows what those are supposed to taste like, and if he f***s it up, well....

As we all know, Vanilla Ice is a vegetarian, so he's bravely making fried tofu lollipops in an incendiary sauce that makes his team mates Herschel and Tiffany cough.

Time is up and judging commences. I'm surprised to see that it's only about 17 minutes into the show and secretly (or not so secretly) hope that this week's episode will miraculously last only half an hour. The celebs plate their wings and take them to Pretty Boy and Cranky Pants.

Ma Brady's wings were baked (I missed that whole action sequence). Despite that, they were pleasingly crispy. Her soy honey glaze could have been hotter, however. Penn's classic Buffalo wings turned out very well, and Cranky Pants appreciates that there was some real acid in the sauce--something she's always looking for. (Personally, I think she's got enough in her already.) Judy's plum teriyaki wings were pretty, garnished as they were with sesame seeds and scallions, but the sauce was too sweet. Vanilla's fried tofu blobs-on-a-stick were anything but vanilla, and were a bit too hot for Cranky Pants. Herschel's wasabi ginger wings were terrific, but Tiffany's were all technique and no flavor.

Each team gets an MVP again this week, and those two folks also get immunity. Immunity? I guess that means the episode will have a second challenge. Insert frowny face here. Herschel and Penn earn the title, and that gets each of their charities (Patriot Support and Opportunity Village, respectively) $2500.

Before the second challenge, the pretty boy has to "go back to GMA." Turns out he's Josh Elliott from Good Morning America (I don't know these things--I'm at work at 7:30am, not watching TV.) He worked for ESPN before going to GMA, which apparently makes him an authority on chicken wings. (Srsly?) Either that, or Cranky Pants refused to be alone with Rachael and Guy.

The second challenge in this "the Super Bowl is coming up so let's make game day food" episode (although it was probably filmed before the 2013 season even started) is to make "elevated" stadium grub. The celebs go off with their respective mentors to their ginormous cushy trailers to get told what to make. Each of the non-immune folks (Tiffany and Vanilla, Florence and Judy) is responsible for a dish, plus there will be a team nacho presentation. Herschel and Penn will act as sous chefs for their team, and likely take on the bulk of the nachos.

Over in Rachael's trailer, Judy suggests crab cakes, which of course she has never made because shellfish are not Kosher. Rachael thinks she's brave; I think she's stupid, but then I feel that way about most people. Florence, who grew up on a farm as one of 10 children, wants to make corn on the cob. Because who doesn't want to eat a butter-dripping ear of out-of-season corn while wearing mittens and sitting in 20°F weather? Also, that's not so elevated, so she's going to do a shrimp salad, too. Because shrimp salad and corn are a natural pairing! As for the nacho part of the program, Rachael suggests that they do them New York deli-style, topped with corned beef, sauerkraut, and mustard. My blood runs cold at the thought, but whatever--I don't have to eat them.

Over on Guy's side of the street, in his giant air-conditioned bus that probably gets a whole 12 miles per gallon of hair grease gas, Vanilla Ice forgets his vegetarianism momentarily and volunteers to make lobster rolls. Guy tells him to make lobster mac and cheese, instead. Tiffany wants to do a chicken and waffle sandwich, which Guy seems ok with. He then declares that their nachos will be individual nacho bites, which doesn't seem all that special to me.

Out on the cooking field (they seem to be in some sort of sports arena for this exercise, possibly somewhere in the wilds of New Jersey once again), Vanilla starts throwing the word "voodoo" around (in place of last week's "ninja"), and immediately burns the roux for his cheese sauce while mugging for the camera. Guy makes him throw it out and start over, much as he had to do with his "brittle." The lobster mac and cheese has morphed into a lobster mac and cheese sandwich, and a cute round toasting iron has miraculously appeared from nowhere. I have to wonder how that happened....

Producer: Hey Guy, mac and cheese is a great idea, but your team is supposed to make a toasted sandwich.
Guy: Dude, mac and cheese with lobster is the fast bus to Flavor Town! It's a party on your palate! It will be the bomb diggity dog do! Plus--my show. We make what I want. You do want to continue getting that paycheck, don't you?
Producer: But you made me buy that iron--with my paycheck--at that flea market in Podunk, Arkansas, when we filmed one of the new episode of Diners, Dipshits, and Douchebags. Remember? When I indulged you yet again on your never-ending quest for Three Stooges memorabilia? I was going to use that money to buy something for my wife, but you insisted on that damn sandwich iron.
Guy: Dammit. Can we use it next week instead? Or just give it to Rachael. I think it's her turn to lose.
Vanilla Ice: Did you say "dog doo?" It's "voodoo."

Over on Rachael's side, Penn is cutting up what appears to be canned corned beef. And I'm going to be sick. Judy is mixing her crab and seasonings together rather violently, like its cake batter. Definitely no Maryland-style lump crab cakes going on over there! And she's dumping all sorts of crap in the bowl--grainy mustard, seasoning that looks like Old Bay, Tabasco--because she says she knows these judges "love flavor." Rachael suggests that she fry up a tiny cake and taste it for seasoning before making larger cakes for judging. Judy says she likes the flavor, but she doesn't look convinced.

Back on Guy's side, Tiffany confesses that she's never made waffles before. And this is how Guy tests the consistency of her batter:

<shudder> ::::runs to the bathroom::::  <vomit>

Vanilla says while the thought of eating animals sickens him, seafood is ok. He's whacking up the raw (aka live) lobster into chunks before tossing them into a pot of boiling water. Like any good carnivore who has no regard for the feeling of the animals whose flesh they enjoy. He's tells us he's being a "vegiquarium" today. Ooo-kay. Then he's layering cheese sauce and mac and cheese and lobster and more cheese sauce between little rounds of bread and toasting the whole shebang. The result resembles Smucker's Uncrustables, the ultimate food for lazy people. (I mean, come on. If you can't be bothered to smear peanut butter and jelly on white bread for your own offspring, you really need to reexamine your lifestyle.)

Judging time! Grumpy Pants has to tie the feed bag on yet again.

Flo's shrimp salad is a bit saucy (which is what she wanted) but otherwise quite delicious. Her corn on the cob topped with cilantro pesto is good, but not quite what anyone considers "elevated." Judy's crab cakes are a mush-fest, and Grumpy Pants wants more texture. Even a few shells would have been good. Vanilla's lobster mac and cheese grilled cheese is wrong on so many accounts, but GP really loves it. Tiffany's chicken and waffles are pretty good if you eat the components separately, but together the combination is a bit sweet, and the waffles are gummy. There were some of Guy's knuckle hairs in there, too, I'm sure.

Rachael thinks the New York corned beef and sauerkraut nachos are a clever idea, but then they were *her* idea, weren't they? But Grumpy Pants doesn't like getting bites of pickle, mustard, and sauerkraut. What? Too much acid? Team Guy's individual nachos sport some of Vanilla's tasty "voodoo" cheese sauce, but Herschel over-smoked the chicken, making their nachos less-delicious than Rachael's. Even with canned corned beef.

Grumpy Pants is then left to make the winner/loser announcement. She chooses Guy's team as the winner. Surprisingly, that means Rachael's team has lost two weeks in a row. I suppose that doesn't matter when both teams have the same amount of members, as they do this week. I predict Guy's team will lose next week, whether it needs to or not.

Judy manhandled her crab meat, and there was perhaps a bit too much flavor going on between the crab cakes with their mustard and whatnot and their Sriracha horseradish aioli accompaniment. So bye bye Judy.

I'm betting she called her therapist immediately thereafter.

Next week? I dunno...I didn't stick around to watch the promo. Fifty minutes of the show was plenty for me, thanks.

Posted on Minxeats.com.