Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Top Chef goes on KP duty,Design Star goes outback and True Blood goes out of it's mind

This week's Quickfire Challenge on Top Chef had folks making "out of this world" dishes with potatoes,one of my favorite things to eat. Jennifer C wound up winning immunity again with her offering of mussels served with Yukon Gold and blue potatoes and a lemongrass sauce. Not crazy about saucy spuds myself but it certainly beats an over spiced soup,that's for sure(Jesse,Jesse,what are we going to do with you?)

Since Jennifer C was safe from Elimination,she agreed to be the executive supervisor for the big challenge,which was to cook for 300 service people at a local Air Force base. The chefs had four hours to make the food,but did not get to see the kitchen or look at the ingredients on hand until they got there.

Everyone else split up into teams of two and despite some minor squabbles over sharing the equipment(no regular ovens or pots and pans were available),things turned out rather well. The Air Force folk were pleased as punch with their meal,which made me extra happy to see due to my late father having been in their ranks in his youth. In fact,it seemed pretty hard to choose a Bottom Three this time around.

In the winner's circle were Eli and Kevin for their combo plate of Georgia style pork shoulder and mustard potato salad. Both of those dishes went over like gangbusters,especially that potato salad-one of the soldiers said he wished for something like that to have had while he was overseas,a rather high compliment there.

This challenge was a group effort,so only one winner could be chosen and that was Michael V,for his braised pork belly with peanuts placed on slices of romaine lettuce. It was basically bacon that was incredibly well prepared and everyone adored it. Looks like the Voltaggio Brothers are starting to become the ones to beat!

Michael Isabella's accompanying Greek shrimp salad wasn't as good,which landed him in the Top and the Bottom Three,which really pissed him off. Sorry,buddy,but the shrimp was undercooked there.

Joining him on the chopping block were Preeti and Laurine,for making a bland pasta salad with veggies. A vegetarian dish was a good idea but not a well executed one.

At least Laurine was willing to admit that she screwed up(especially by saying she forgot she was in a competition!)but Preeti was in full defensive mode and came close to tossing someone under the bus when asked about how smart her plan for the dish was. "Was it a good idea to serve clam chowder(made by Jesse and Ron)in ninety degree heat?" she snapped and I was so disappointed in her for that.

First off,the chowder was not the only hot dish served and second,as Judge Tom pointed out,it tasted a hell of a lot better than that flavorless pasta salad. Not cool,Preeti,not of the cool! That,in my opinion,was good enough reason to make you pack your knives and go-sometimes,it's better to swallow some humble pie instead of throwing your weight around.

Next week,the Quickfire Challenge will be extremely slippery to handle,not just with the main protein but the added incentive of the loser being sent home:

Design Star gave the four remaining designers a fresh challenge this week,by having them make over a large backyard for a young family. Torie was in charge but Antonio was calling most of the shots here.

The biggest problem was the budget;Dan foolishly approved a pergola( the large white structure in the far end of the yard)that made the team $5000 short before any other important purchases could be completed. Luckily for them,HGTV coughed up some extra cash and they were able to finish on time.

While it was Dan's mistake,it was Torie's lack of leadership which lead to the whole thing happening,so she was sent home. Sorry,Torie,but you needed to be more aggressive on this one:

Evan Rachel Wood made her full fledged debut on True Blood this week as Sophie-Ann,Vampire Queen of Louisiana and she's quite a lively addition to this broody bunch. Not many people can be sexy and menacing while playing Yahtzee but at least she was chock full of info about maenads and their wild woman ways(bonus points to Alan Ball for remembering to put Sookie's cousin Hadley in the mix):

Back in Bon Temps,all the hard work that went into bringing Tara out of the darkness that Maryann was drowning her was quickly undone by her mother being stupid enough to hold a shotgun on Sookie and poor Lafayette(who had one of his worst Eric induced flashbacks so far,thanks to that!). You really can't blame him for getting caught up in Maryann's clutches later on,that must be bliss compared to such a private horror show.

Sam,meanwhile,went to Fangtasia to ask Eric for some help,which was a smart idea but taking Arlene's kids with him was definitely not!

I know things have gone haywire in Bon Temps and those two youngsters were pretty much abandoned there,but a vampire bar is the last place in the world they should be. Hopefully,they won't become entrees on a future Fangtasia menu:

HBO is cruel in making us True Blood fans wait until September 13 for the finale. On the plus side,it does like it will be worth the wait and then some:


MAD MEN: So far,the new season has gone off swimmingly well and while Pete is a total weasel,you can't deny that he and his missus certainly do know how to cut a rug on the dance floor:

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