We’re getting close to crowning another Top Chef winner. In the last episode, the cheftestants arrived in New Orleans for a great showdown. The Big Easy’s most famous chef, Emeril, was guest judge. In a surprise twist, previously eliminated contestants Leah, Jamie and Jeff were brought back to compete in the Quickfire Challenge, which featured crawfish as the main ingredient. Emeril was hot-to-trot over Jeff’s crawfish and grits, so he earned a spot in the Elimination Challenge. The Elimination Challenge had the cheftestants cooking two Cajun-Creole influenced dishes and a cocktail!, for guests at a masquerade ball.
The Euro Duo prepared the least favorite dishes. Stefan lazily made gumbo and Fabio didn’t use enough heat. The Europeans apparently can’t make cocktails either because both Fabio’s bell pepper martini and Stefan’s black cherry rum cocktail were much too sweet. Sadly, we had to say arrivederci to our charming Fabio, and again to Jeff. But, we rejoiced when our hometown girl Carla won with her oyster stew, savory beignet and non-alcoholic cranberry lime spritzer. The oyster stew looked amazing and Bravo has made the recipe available.
Carla’s Oyster Stew with bacon, potatoes and celery root
As far as a drink pairing, we really, really, really wanted to bring you Jeff’s cucumber mojito. Not only is it a refreshing twist on the cocktail, it was the judges’ favorite, and for crying out loud, we’ve got someone named Miss Mojito around here! We’ll keep an eye out for it, but in the meantime here are two other recipes that look promising, the infused version in particular.
Cucumber Mojitos for a Crowd
recipe appeared in Seattle Times and makes 8 servings
- 3 cups light rum
- 1 bunch fresh mint (about 1 ½ cups sprigs)
- 1 cucumber, sliced thin
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups fresh lime juice
- Loads of ice for serving
- 1 bottle (10-ounces) soda water
- Fresh mint sprigs for garnish
- In a large bowl combine the rum, 1 bunch mint and half of the cucumber slices. Cover and let infuse overnight.
- The next day, strain the rum, being sure to press out all the rum! Discard the mint and cucumber. Place the rum in a large pitcher and add the sugar and lime juice. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Add the remaining cucumber slices. Right before serving, add the soda water and stir gently.
- Serve in glasses filled with ice and garnish with mint.
recipe courtesy of myrecipes and makes 4 servings
- 2 cups cold water
- 1 cup coarsely chopped cucumber
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 large)
- 12 mint leaves
- 3/4 cup rum
- 1 cup sparkling water, chilled
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 4 mint sprigs
- 4 cucumber slices
- 4 lime wedges
- Place 2 cups water and chopped cucumber in a blender; process until smooth. Strain cucumber mixture through a sieve into a medium bowl; discard solids.
- Place 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 4 mint leaves in a 2-cup glass measure; crush with a wooden spoon. Add 3 tablespoons rum and about 1/2 cup cucumber mixture; stir until sugar dissolves. Stir in 1/4 cup sparkling water. Place 1/4 cup ice in a 12-ounce glass; pour cucumber mixture over ice. Garnish with 1 mint sprig, 1 cucumber slice, and 1 lime wedge. Repeat procedure with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.
posted by Ms. S&C