Thursday, June 13, 2013

Masterchef Season 4, Episodes 6 and 7 Steak and Butter Poached Lobster - Oh My!

It's that time of the week again - Master Chef recap day - and, hold onto your chef hats! There was a lot of excitement this episode; beginning with the team challenge.

The cooks were charged with cooking an amazing steak dinner for 101 firefighters and right off the bat I was cheering for the blue team led by Bethy simply because they actually seasoned their steaks. I know that sounds odd but the meat being used in this challenge was premium quality beef and because of that, the red team, led by Bime, made the bizarre decision not to season it directly but instead thought it would get extra flavor from a mushroom sauce.

For a delicious and well seasoned recipe, click the link to my Pan Seared New York Strip with Mushroom Sherry Sauce

I've had unseasoned steak in restaurants before, and quality of the beef notwithstanding, nothing is more disappointing than a steak that hasn't been generously treated with good quality salt, pepper, and garlic powder the way my mom used to do it - and mom's know best!

In the end, the hungry firefighters agreed and declared the blue team's Steak with Chimichurri Sauce the winner - which was not without controversy on the red team because they pretty much bickered from start to finish in today's competition.

But when Beth made the fatal error of calling Natasha's pureed cauliflower disgusting, (oh no she di-in't!) Natasha went off like the girl with a bad makeover on America's Next Top Model.

Tear soaked drama ensued featuring Beth as wounded blue eyed ingenue while Natasha - with indignant penciled brows pointing straight to the heavens - carried on gangland style about how she had been done wrong.

At one point, I half expected her to spit on the ground three times and sacrifice a chicken.

In the meantime, Krissie jumped in with her own heroics and amidst a string of long bleeped out sentences, made an attempt at crisis intervention Jersey style. Her advice was for "Everyone to just calm the ( f bomb) down," and I as I sat eating my popcorn, a feeling of jubilation came upon me.

So far this episode Joe had been irate over missing chimichurri sauce on a steak and sprayed spit toward the camera like a Shakesperean actor in a murder scene. Gordon Ramsay seemed locked, loaded and ready to channel his best Hell's Kitchen self, Mean Girls melodrama was occurring all over, and Krissie is shaping up to be the female Tony Soprano of this season's cook off.

In other words, damn good TV.

You don't see this stuff on Next Food Network Star.

When all was said and done, though, Natasha, Beth, Luca, Krissie, Kathy, and Bri were set to cook off in a battle to the culinary death with eggs benedict.

This is a Master Chef no no that tastes so good! Eggs Benedict with Mock Hollandaise Sauce.

As has happened in challenges past, Krissie - who originally broke her Hollaindaise Sauce - rocked it out at the 11th hour producing unctuous, perfectly cooked eggs over top crispy English muffins, Canadian bacon, and enveloped in a velvety hollandaise sauce. And though this was the first time Bri had ever poached an egg ( begging the question: how did she ever get onto Master Chef ?) her dish also managed to take her to safety leaving us with a moment of suspense prior to the commercial break when a tear filled Kathy looked into the camera and Gordon Ramsay barked "They should all go home!" (or something like that) and we were forced to sit through another Walmart steak commercial while we waited to see if all four of the remaining cooks would, indeed, be sent home.

But we all know what a big group of tricksters the Master Chef editors are, and after the dramatic commercial break, the four remaining chefs were told they would be competing against one another in a burger cook off to be held in Gordon Ramsay's Las Vegas restaurant BurGR.      

To add insult to injury, our two arch enemies from earlier, Beth and Divah Natasha,  were paired up and though they got off to a rocky start with a hangover burger featuring a fried egg that never quite worked, they pulled it together and managed to put their differences aside enough to win over Luca, Kathy and their caramelized onion burger.

Which brought us to the final challenge: Luca and Kathy would be facing off over butter poached lobster.

As an aside, do you think the home chefs get recipes or some kind of coaching before preparing the dishes? My best guess is that they do. I'm a die hard food nerd/addict/junkie who reads everything I can get my hands on about technique and I still don't know enough to be able to cook all these complex dishes on the fly without a recipe - so my question is, how do they?

I became doubly suspect this evening when both cooks used the exact same technique to kill the lobster. It didn't surprise me that Luca knew how to do it, but I really would have thought someone would have sent that poor creature screaming into the pot had they not been coached.

In the end, though, who cares? Both cooks put together a beautiful plate of food, but only one would be going on. That cook was Luca. On a positive note, because of her fighting spirit Kathy was offered a position with Gordon Ramsay in one of his New York restaurants.


Butter Poached Lobster Recipe and Techniques

If you're looking for a great How To on Butter Poached Lobster, check out this link to French Laundry 
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Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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