“Doesn’t Everyone Spend Saturday and Sunday Nights in the Kitchen?”: The Deadpan Entree Smackdown

We on the Deadpan/Ithaca FamilyStyles Team – you know, that ruggedly good-looking bunch – always love a little bit of competition. You can usually find us going to war with Bananagrams, settling Catan with all the imperial zeal of Cortez or Columbus himself, or quizzing each other on random yet seemingly important information (think real-life Sporcle): name as many pokemon as you can! List the members of the nightshade family! Extoll the virtues of kosher salt! You get the idea.

So, it was only natural that when it came down to figuring out an entree for our first Deadpan event, we decided to compete for it, with a facebook event,┬áscorecards, and of course, hours upon hours in the kitchen. Once again taking advantage of Hilary’s generosity and five-burner Electrolux stove, we went to work.

Max Hull is a photoshop god

I’d say each one of us totally and completely brought it. Pictures and results after the jump!

Daniel started the evening off strong with an oxtail and beef tongue stew done two ways (!). The first incarnation was served hot with baby spinach and horseradish mash, adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingsall’s Meat cookbook.

The mash was delightful, and the meat extremely tender, having cooked in red wine for upwards of four hours. The second incarnation was served cold, in jelly form, with baby spinach on a bit of toast – we served an adaptation of this dish as an amuse bouche for Deadpan’s opening events:

The next contender, Amin, wowed us with a recipe adapted from Charlie Trotter’s latest. You may have seen it on the table, sampled it yourself, and subsequently wondered why on earth anyone would ever eat unwhipped goat cheese. This salad featured wilted arugula, walnuts, wine-braised figs, whipped goat cheese with shallots, brined and panfried chicken, and arugula and spinach puree:

And a close-up, to better tantalize you with:

Next, Irene put together a dish featuring the unfailingly good Momofuku fried chicken with octo-vinaigrette, miso-butter whipped potatoes and an impromptu slaw. You may be wondering, “isn’t there bacon in this dish? Could Irene really have served anything without some form of pork included?” The answers, of course, are yes, and no (respectively). The slaw, made up of green and red cabbage and tart granny smith apples, also included bacon, which added a subtle but hearty and obscenely fatty touch.

Here’s the whole dish together:

Finally, Max showcased both his skills and endurance with his sauerbraten dish. A German-style spice-marinated pot roast, sauerbraten is extremely flavorful and tender. This tasty friend was paired with traditional bacon and red-wine braised red cabbage and pan-fried spaetzl (dumplings):

Need just one more peek? Okay:

After much wine, food, and general delight, the four of us got down to business with our scorecards. The winner, as many of you know, was Amin’s delicious chicken and arugula salad, which proved a hit at our opening events, but Daniel, Max and Irene came close. Maybe we’ll see them make a comeback at our next entree smackdown. In the meantime, look out for some recipes from this and other Deadpan events, and our newest menu developments!

2 Responses

  1. admin says:

    obscene is an excellent word to describe that bacon. wow.

    also, why do i ever eat unwhipped goat cheese? I knew that questions was lurking somewhere in the back of my brain.

    also, congrats to all four of you. please make me dinner, now.


  2. Kellin says:

    Who are you people!?
    And, more importantly, how can I be more like you!

    I only just mastered the frittata. Baby steps. Baby steps.


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