Thursday, July 18, 2013

It's a Sausage and Wild Mushroom Extravaganza! Masterchef Season 4, Episode 14

This week's episode began with an awesome Mystery Box Challenge: the cooks were tasked with making their own sausage with a variety a fabulous ingredients to choose from.

As per usual, my mind wandered to what kind of sausage I would make and the foodie adventurer in me thought duck would be interesting - maybe with a little green apple or other bright fruit.

Mmmmm.... MasterChef hunger kicks in....

The cooks opted for a wide variety of sausage dishes including chicken, pork, and even a vegetarian version prepared by Bri made with seitan. Not to be confused with the prince of darkness, seitan is a food made from gluten often used as a meat substitute. Interestingly, it is also known as "mock duck" so in a way we were on the same wavelength.

In the end, though,  the judges three favourite dishes came from Natasha who did a play on breakfast with two eggs, hash, and a chicken, bacon, and apple sausage with mozzarella cheese.

Krissi, who did Italian Sausage with Polenta

And challenge winner Eddie, who did a pork sausage with purple cabbage and apple chutney.

His advantage in the elimination round involved luscious wild mushrooms in several different varieties vs rubbery canned mushrooms - with the twist being Eddie got to choose who would cook what. Half of the cooks would get the wild mushrooms and the other half, canned.

In a strategic move, Eddie decided to give some of the stronger cooks the fresh mushrooms. Wagering Jordan and James would over complicate their dishes he chose fresh for them along with Bri and Bethy.

Bethy ended up drowning her mushrooms in sesame oil and Jordan and James - who Eddie correctly guessed would have difficulty editing themselves - had the three least successful dishes. 

As an aside, Luca's cream of mushroom glop soup with truffle oil looked a lot worse than either of the dishes from James and Jordan and he should be thanking his lucky stars to still be standing. Luca, did you not watch the episode in season 2 where the judges about lost their minds over the white truffle oil?

From my season 2 recap blog: "To say that they slammed the very notion of truffle oil would be an understatement because the judges in their infinite culinary knowledge not only slammed a product I, the earnest Kitchen Witch, have been touting (and still believe in) as a condiment that can be used to elevate certain flavour profiles, damned the mighty oil and sent it to hell as quickly and efficiently as the 1990's version of the Exorcist, or Donald Trump in the board room." 

With the fish sauce in Christine Hah's risotto not yet a distant memory, and tonight's ultra thick truffle infused "soup," I fear Luca might be down to his last life.

Not so much for Natasha, though, who has been hitting it out of the park lately, or Krissi's arch nemesis, woodsy hipster Bri who had the best dish in the challenge. Both she and Natasha will be captains in next week's Team Challenge.

In the end, with three of the strongest cooks in the competition - Bethy, James, and Jordan - on the block, I was sad to see Bethy go home. Joe Bastianich said that if he had to hire one person from the entire competition for his restaurant it would be her and I'm certain she will go on to make all of her culinary dreams come true.

I'll leave you with a favourite, simple mushroom recipe of mine:

Mushroom and Gruyere Omelet with Fresh Herbs - this makes a beautiful lunch, brunch, or casual dinner dish.

Until next time everyone!



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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