Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Bobby Flay's Throwdown

Bobby Flay is one of my favorite chefs. I love his books and his shows, especially Throwdown. Last year I spent hours and hours scouring the internet looking for recipes that sounded similar to the ones he and his competitor made on an episode (struck out, but got over it as I no longer remember what episode it was). So I was really excited to hear that his next book would be Throwdown, a collection of recipes from the show.

And I was even more excited when I was asked to take part in a Throwdown to celebrate the book coming out.

The plan was this - pick a Bobby Flay recipe out of Throwdown and make it as well as challenge dish. Just like on the show! Judge the recipes and blog about the results.

It was really fun to sit down and read this book. Each section begins with a short writeup on the episode by Bobby; who he's competing against, information on the dish, what his plan was, etc. I found these all really really interesting. And the recipes! Both recipes from the Throwdown are there, with the winner noted.

We had a hard time, but a fun time, picking recipes to try for our Throwdown at Home. We went with 2 - a cocktail challenge and the Muffuletta challenge.

Before the dinner we made judging sheets, as well as "A" and "B" labels. The dork in me really enjoyed that.

We started dinner with our cocktail challenge - Bobby Flay's The Throwdown Cocktail vs a Pina Colada.

Pina Colada is A, Throwdown Cocktail is B.

We each gave the drinks a mark out of 20, judging on appearance, aroma and taste. 3 of the 4 of us chose Bobby Flay's drink. For me, it was no contest. The Throwdown Cocktail, with pineapple, mint, basil and ginger syrup was AMAZING. It left that sad little pina colada in the dust.

And we moved on to the Muffulettas. Scott really wanted to try the sandwich, but we'd never made a real one before, so we decided to recreated the whole Throwdown, and make the competitors, Mike and Jack Serio's Muffuletta as well.

The Serio's sandwich is A, Bobby Flay's is B.

Because none of us are experts on Muffuletta's, we used the same criteria as the drink - appearance, aroma and taste. This one was a little tougher as they were both really really great sandwiches. The Serio's used the traditional olive salad; Bobby Flay's had a olive mayonnaise. Both were absolutely crammed with meat and cheese - we had to buy 6 different kinds of meats and 3 cheeses for the sandwiches! - and it took us a long time to declare a winner. But we did, and again 3 to 1 we declared Bobby Flay's sandwich the winner.

We had so much fun that we had another Throwdown at my parents house.  They chose Chicken Pot Pie.  Bobby Flay's Chicken Pot Pie with Sweet Potato Crust vs Sandy Pollock and Crystal Cook's World's Greatest Chicken Pot Pie.

World's Greatest is A, Bobby Flay's is B.

My parents chose Crust, Filling and Overall Comfort Factor for the judging criteria.  The pies scored nearly even on filling and comfort factor, but A was the winner for crust, and took the Throwdown.

We made Bobby's Grilled Rib Eye with Molasses Mustard Glaze as well,

Which was really good.  The glaze was fabulous.

My parents also tried the Collucci Brother's Meatloaf, and gave us a piece.  It was fine, but I was pretty surprised that it beat Bobby's Roasted Vegetable Meatloaf, as I've made the turkey version from Food Network Magazine and it was delicious.  

We had a blast at the dinners and I was surprised at how into the judging we got. They were really fun and definitely something I would do again.

If you like delicious food, then tell yourself this - you're ready for Throwdown (the book)!

Thanks,Random House!