When we did Iron Chef Spicy a while back, the results were... less than spicy. To put it mildly, well, they were mild. However, Iron Chef Chili Peppers was definitely spicy. Like breathing fire spicy in some cases. But you know me, I love me some spicy, so this Iron Chef turned out pretty good in my opinion. And I hosted in my fancy new kitchen, so yay! Not a lot of the ladies could make it this time, but keeping it cozy was nice.
We started with Emily's Strawberry Habanero Cocktail served in a mason jar. She made it with strawberry habanero simple syrup, vodka, malibu rum and some La Croix, plus muddled strawberries! It was pretty awesome to watch people as they tasted it for the first time, because it was surprisingly spicy. Especially since the habanero was only infused in the simple syrup and not blended in the actual drink. But despite the spiciness, it was also really tasty and Emily was our runner up for the night!
Kristy brought Cucumbers with Lime and Chili Pepper, which were actually kind of cooling after such a spicy drink. They were refreshing, in a way, even though they were covered in chili pepper. It was a smart pairing, and even though I'm not a big cucumber fan, I enjoyed them!
Next we had Doan's appetizer, a Brie and Spicy Apple Chutney on toasted baguette. It also featured habaneros and was also extremely spicy. We all thought it kind of tasted like super spicy apple pie. And it was truly delicious, giving Doan her first ever win! A lot of us were surprised that it was her first win since she's made some really good dishes in the past. Congrats Doan! Well deserved.
We enjoyed Kim's main dish next, which I would call sort of a Jalapeno Popper Chicken. It was chicken with cheese and a whole jalapeno, all wrapped up in bacon. Even though Kim wasn't happy with the crispness of the bacon, I thought the whole thing worked really well together. How can you go wrong with cheese, bacon and jalapeno, right? It wasn't spicy at all, but that wasn't a requirement of the challenge. I would definitely make this again for a meal.
Chelyen served her side dish next, making Cheesy Grits with Ancho Chile Butter. I don't have grits very often, but these were really good! Again, not super spicy, but that was sort of a relief after the others. These packed a lot of flavor and I thought the addition of fresh thyme on top was a great layer to the dish. I could see making this with chipotles if you wanted to increase the spice level.
Finally we had my dessert, which I served amid flashbacks of Cara's infamous Chocolate Cayenne Ice Cream at Iron Chef Spicy. I made a White Chocolate Habanero Ice Cream that sounds scary but actually turned out pretty tasty. It was definitely spicy, but that was helped by the coolness of the ice cream. This was a pretty interesting dish, and although it's not something I would make for every day, it was tasty for an occasion like this.
There was a lot of good food in the mix for this competition, and as always, great company. Plus our spicy offerings didn't make our pregnant guest go into labor at the party, so that's always a good thing. This probably does it for the year for Iron Chef competitions but we will resume the competition next year!