Iron Chef? Rusty Chef??

Iron Chef

This is a busy week.  I have my usual monthly tasks PLUS income taxes and a wine club shipment to get ready.  A wise and disciplined person would be concentrating on this task list.

But I can’t keep from thinking about Thursday afternoon, when our friends Kendy and David are helping Leslie and me stage our own Iron Chef cooking challenge.

Kendy and I are the chefs.  We have accepted the challenge of preparing dinner using the ingredients presented to us by the other two participants.  Oh, and we have to plan and execute the entire meal in 90 minutes, using every ingredient they provide.  While we cook, they drink wine, watch, kibitz and snicker.

David and Leslie are the shoppers.  They will gather all the ingredients for use in preparing the meal.  I know these two.  They are smart.  They are creative.  They are evil.  They will find the most obscure, bizarre ingredients available at the Farmer’s Market or Chinatown, or Fisherman’s Wharf or…

I an a decent chef.  Though I have not spent as many hours in cooking schools as in wine schools, neither am I a stranger to their rosters.  And Kendy’s cooking chops?  Well, Kendy’s Italian, and that pretty much says it all.  But this is a TIMED event, and we need to be able to quickly come up with a great recipe for whatever they provide – Opah, or Ugli fruit, or oxtails, or head cheese, or…

So instead of working on taxes, I’m boning up on obscure vegetables.  While I should be writing up wines, I’m researching the art of smoking meats over tea on an indoor stovetop.  While I should be replying to suppliers, I’m thinking about ways to use Lemon Grass.  And every few minutes I’m bugging every chef friend who will answer the phone.  At the moment, I’m looking for a good source on bizarre sea animals – anyone know how to prepare Sea Cucumber?

As for the wines – I’m prepared for whatever they throw at us!  In the cooler I have several bottles of sparkling and still whites and roses, from light to heavy.  And in the cellar I have set aside a plethora of reds representing a similar spectrum of weight and alcohol.  This is the part I’m least concerned with – if the food is edible, we’ll have a wine that compliments it.  And if the food is not edible, we’ll have a wine that masks it!

I’ll let you know how it all turns out on Thursday.  I can’t wait…

Dave Chambers, Wine Merchant