My friends and I, on occasion, like to mimic the Food Network's Throwdown programme. You know, the one hosted by that arrogant New York f### Bobby Flay. These started when I started making pizza from scratch and found out another friend of mine made pizza from scratch. The trash talking began at a garden party, and so, we eventually decided on making a whole party/event of these food competitions. We had judges, categories and we tabulated scores and announced winners.
A lot was learned during these events. I got obsessed (as usual) and experimented with various ways to make pizza and really perfected my dough and sauce. Research was done. And I'd like to believe that everybody raised their game for this event. This is not something you can half ass if you wish to win.
We haven't had a throwdown in a while. There will be one this weekend. The topic will be burritos. A couple years ago I got into making burritos and beans and all that good stuff, sometimes using habaneros and even ghost chilis at times. I would use, probably as most people here, store bought ingredients, canned beans, pre-made green sauce, etc.They still turned out great.
Due to the Throwdown (this is number 5) though, the bar will have to be placed a little higher. This competition has lead me to do some mild studying, in learning how to make mostly everything from scratch. This will be another adventure. Honestly, I'm slightly concerned about the homemade burrito shells, and I will have back ups on hand in case they fall apart. I do have confidence in my dough making abilities cause I do make a pretty serious thin and tasty pizza crust, but this is a different approach. I will do a practice run.
Tonight I plan to play around with a green sauce and I have all the usual ingredients but I've purchased a few different types of dried chilis to play around with. This may or may not work, I might just have to keep it simple and straight forward.
Friday I will make beans from scratch, which I'm embarrassed to say I've never done. It shouldn't be hard, except for the fact that I'm trying to get a hold of some rendered duck lard, because I don't eat pork products (for the most part).
Before the serious and intense labour is done, the kitchen needs to be seriously prepped. I create certain stations, one for making the shells, maybe one for the beans, skirt steak, sauce, etc. I believe I have acquired a grille for Saturday, which is essential for my approach. The manner in which the meat is treated will be vital to the outcome. Skirt steak isn't hard. It will be fine.
I'm going up against friends and others I don't know. Weeks ago I've started degrading and putting down all competitors to get in their heads and intimidate them. Deep inside I have respect for all competitors but I can't let them see that. Trash talking improves and inspires everyone else to do their best and beat the asshole (in this case, me) who is running his mouth. But they won't.
I get a little nervous before winners are announced. Me and my ego don't like losing these things and sometimes inside, I've questioned the sensitivity of the taste buds of some of the judges. I bring a lot of heat to my game and I'll be damned if some white bread dutchie who has a diet of meat and potatoes their whole goddamned life rules against me because I've decided to add another seasoning other than salt and pepper. Don't get me started!
Anyway. Less than a week away and I'm starting to again feel the fire again. I'm entering unchartered territory for me, on many of these ingredients. May the best person win. Competition brings out the best in all of us, as long as we remain mature and respective of others while competing.