Alright friends, grab your breath mints, it's time for Iron Chef Garlic! We had a fun night at Shu's place, and tasted a lot of good dishes as well. Garlic is one of those ingredients that everyone loves, but it isn't usually the main ingredient in a dish, so it was a nice challenge to try and make it shine. We opted to not have a drink this time, since none of us wanted to know what a garlic-tini tastes like. But for some reason, we kept the dessert option on the table... so now we all know what garlic truffles taste like. But more on that later, first, the apps!
We started off strong with Kim's Zucchini Fritters with Garlic Dip. They were one of my personal favorites of the night, and that's coming from someone who doesn't have zucchini high on her preferred veggies list. I got a lot of sharp garlic flavor out of the dip, and nice crunch from the fritters. It was hard not to eat a bunch of them and ruin the rest of the meal (okay, I still ate a bunch of them.)
Morgan served her Garlic Bruschetta next. It had nice big chunks of mozzarella and tomatoes flavored with balsamic vinegar served on garlic covered bread rounds. You know something is good when people are willing to look ridiculous and possibly get messy eating it, and we definitely did both. These were nice, simple appetizers that delivered some great garlic flavor.
Our third appetizer ended up being our runner up for the night. Chelyen's Garlic Risotto Balls with Butter Tomato Sauce were very delicious. I could have eaten the sauce like a soup, it was so flavorful. The risotto balls were extremely tasty too, and a great idea if you ever have leftover risotto (does anyone ever have leftover risotto?).
Garlic bread is classic for very good reason. Cara gave the classic a twist by making it as pull-apart monkey bread. It was great! The bread was nice and soft, pillowy and easy to eat, plus there was plenty of garlic flavor. And if you have kids, they are suckers for this monkey bread so I recommend you try it!
Doan earned her second win with her Garlic Chicken pizza. The white sauce was excellent, nice and creamy and of course, very garlicky in the best possible way. The crust was very crisp and flavorful as well. I'm a big pizza person and this one definitely got high marks from me. And evidently from everyone else as well. Congrats on another win, Doan!!
Emily recently unearthed a crockpot she had gotten as a wedding gift many years ago and decided to put it to good use for this battle. Her Crockpot Herb & Garlic Pork Roast wasn't over the top garlicky, but had really subtle flavor and made a great garlic main course. And gravy! Who doesn't love gravy?
Shu was brave and took on one of the garlic desserts. She made Garlic Cheesecake Chocolate Truffles with crushed graham cracker that she felt were maybe a bit too garlicky for dessert. I thought they were fine, though. I mean, garlic and cheesecake maybe should just stick to their own corners as a general rule but for something like an Iron Chef competition where we are pushing the boundaries a bit, these were a great attempt.
I also chose to do a dessert and tried a garlic peanut brittle that I then put into chocolate chip cookies. I actually didn't think it was too bad, considering, again, that garlic dessert makes very little sense. The garlic paired with peanuts made for a savory brittle. If you were unfortunate to get a big chunk of garlic though, you definitely knew it was there. I don't think I'd ever make these cookies again, but I also ate a fair amount of them, so I consider it a valiant effort.
That did it for the dishes for the evening, but trust me when I tell you that they stuck with us for a long while, in scent alone. I think I had garlic coming out of my pores the next day, and I definitely did not have any fear of a vampire attack. Our next Iron Chef will be in August and it looks like we've forced Doan to host just so she can't beat us all again.