masterchef mysterybox at home

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Salmon on Herbed Rice with Black Bean Relish and Creamy Basil Dressing

Submitted to MasterChef by delishytown

The ingredients in the MasterChef at Home Mystery Box this week were: Salmon filets, bacon, black beans, balsamic vinegar, rice, fresh basil, fresh mint, and Plain Greek yogurt. I knew that the salmon had to be the star of the show, but I definitely wanted to use the bacon. I decided to break out the electric smoker for this dish, & wrap the Salmon in bacon. I finished it under the broiler to crisp up the bacon. It was soooo good! Every bite was heavenly and smoky and fresh. This was one of the best dishes I’ve ever made.

Here’s how I made this delicious Smoked Salmon:

Rinse 1 cup of rice a few times until the water runs clear. Add to a pot with 4 cups water and a pinch of salt. Simmer until al dente, drain and add back to the pot. Add 1 tsp chopped basil, ½ tsp chopped mint, sprinkle of celery salt, a grind of black pepper and a pinch of dried dill. Toss together with a fork, then cover and set aside to steam.

Drain and rinse black beans. Add to a bowl with 1 small chopped Persian cucumber, 2 tblsp balsamic vinegar, ¼ tsp minced garlic, ½ tsp fresh chopped basil and ½ tsp chopped mint, and season with celery salt and pepper.

Turn the smoker to about 180 to 200 degrees. Soak apple and mesquite chips in water. Remove any bones from the salmon. Rinse and pat dry. Drizzle the salmon with some of the balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with a little brown sugar, season with salt and pepper. Smash and chop 1 large garlic clove, (reserve ¼ tsp of this garlic for the dressing) spread the rest of the garlic on the fish. Slice a lemon very thin, you need about 4 thin slices of lemon depending on the size of the filets. Place basil leaves on the fish, top with the lemon slices, wrap with the bacon. Crisp up the remaining bacon for garnish. Place the fish in a shallow foil pan and into the smoker. Smoke the fish about 25 - 35 minutes. When it comes out, it should be most of the way cooked. Turn the broiler to high, sprinkle a little more balsamic vinegar and a pinch of brown sugar on top. Broil a few minutes until the sugar bubbles and the bacon crisps up.

While your Salmon is in the smoker, make the creamy basil dressing. In a small bowl add 10 - 15 basil leaves, 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, celery salt and pepper, ¼ tsp smashed & minced garlic, juice of ½ lemon, 1 tblsp balsamic vinegar, and a tiny pinch of brown sugar. Blend with a stick blender.

Serve the Smoked Salmon on a bed of Herbed Rice with the Creamy Basil dressing and a side of Black Bean and Cucumber Relish with Crispy Bacon Crumbles. Yum!

Submitted by Notions and Notations of a Novice Chef

For the final MasterChef mystery box challenge at home we have: Chorizo, Rosemary, Asparagus, Orechiette, AP Flour, Ground beef, Grits, Canned baby corn, Garlic powder, White rice and Butter.

It’s my personal favorite basket, since the ingredients are all pretty versatile and don’t have the tendency to point to one specific cuisine. My submission is pretty simple and uses three of the above as its main components. Let’s get started:


  • 1 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

Bring water and water to a boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Add in all the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms. Reduce heat to medium low and cook while stirring until the dough pulls away from the sides of the saucepan.

Remove pot from heat and add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition to prevent the eggs from curdling. Add in the chese and chopper parsley. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a ½ inch tip.

Let mixture rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer. Have a rimmed baking sheet ready on the side. Holding the bag over the boiling water, squeeze the mixture out and cut it off with a knife or scissor into 1-inch lengths and let them fall into to water. Continue cutting as many as you can in 1 minute, then stop.

When all the gnocchis have floated to the top, continue cooking for about 3 more minutes. Fish them out with a metal spider and transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Repeat with remaining dough. Set aside to cool for another 30 minutes.

Trim and blanch the asparagus in salted water. Cut into bite sized pieces and set aside.

Heat the unsalted butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add in the gnocchi and cook until brown and toasty. Add in the blanched asparagus and season to taste.

Grate some parmesan cheese or any cheese you like on top before serving.


Grilled Asparagus with a Poached Egg, Served Over a Rosemary & Parmesan Grit Cake

Submitted by jerryjamesstone

It wasn’t until the first MasterChef Mystery Box At Home Challenge that I cooked with grits. I have eaten them before but being a vegetarian and living in California, they’re tough to come by. One of my favorite things about this challenge between MasterChef, Tumblr, and Plated, is that I am forced to do sh*t I would never do. From Basil Lassis to Hummus Jalapeno Poppers, as a food blogger… this challenge has been hella sweet. It has me thinking outside of the box!

When grits made a second appearance, I had to use them! What better way to bring it all home for the last challenge, right? Thank you, MasterChef!

So let’s get to it so you can eat the hell out of this tasty dish!

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary (1 minced)
  • 1 cup grits
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 5 asparagus spears
  • olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp white vinegar

1. Add 3 cups of milk, 1 tsp of salt and 2 sprigs of rosemary to a saucepan and bring it to a boil over a medium-high heat.

2. Remove the rosemary sprigs and slowly add in 1 cup of grits, stirring while adding. Reduce to a medium heat and cook covered until grits are tender; about 20 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and mix in 1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon minced rosemary.

4. Pour mixture into a 9x9 baking dish and let cool, til grits are firm and can be cut like cake. About 30 minutes. Cut into 3” squares. Wrap cake(s) in tinfoil and place in the warmer. Depends on how many servings you are making.

5. Grill 5 spears of asparagus (more for more than a single serving), by trimming them, tossing them with enough olive oil to coat, and grilling them.

6. Fill a small sauce pan with about 4 inches of water, bring to a simmer. Add in 1 tsp of white vinegar and while stirring the water in a circular motion, slip in the egg. Cook the egg for 3 to 5 minutes.

7. Plate the grit cake, grilled asparagus and top with a poached egg. Salt and pepper to taste.


Sweet Basil Lassi

Submitted to MasterChef by jerryjamesstone

Sometimes the best recipes are just the simplest. Frothy, crisp, and refreshing, this lassi brings a Thai-twist to the traditional yogurt based drink. And don’t worry, no Thai basil is required.

  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • ½ cup milk (conventional or rice)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 5 fresh mint leaves

1. Add half of the yogurt, half of the milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar, the basil leaves and the mint leaves to a blender. Blend well and pour into an ice filled glass.

2. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender, and blend well.

3. Pour the blended lassi into the glass, creating the floated look. Garnish with fresh basil and enjoy!


Sumbmitted to MasterChef by dinnerwasdelicious

Mystery Box Ingredients

Ground beef
Iceberg Lettuce
Sour Cream
Blue Cheese
Soy sauce
Russet Potatoes

Seeing the array of ingredients from Plated, we knew that a trio of Pierogi was the perfect dish for this Mystery Box–  not to mention a great excuse to eat our weight in sour cream (not that we’d ever need one). We’re proud to say that we used every single item, except for the rice and peanuts.
Pierogi are a classic Polish dumpling, stuffed with meats, cheeses, and carbs. They’re a perfect, pan seared main dish. Hearty without being heavy, Pierogi adapt easily to fill up your favorite vegetarians.

While your Baba might raise an eyebrow at iceberg lettuce, balsamic, and blue cheese in pierogi– she’ll be stealing this dough recipe at first bite. The acid in the sour cream keeps the wheat’s protein nice and soft, giving you an easy-to-roll dough that doesn’t get tough, no matter how many times you have to re-roll the scraps.

3 cups All Purpose Flour (plus more for dusting)
½ tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 Eggs
1 cup Sour Cream
1 batch Pierogi Filling (below)
You’ll also want: tons of Sour Cream, Chopped Parsley, and Sliced Pickles for Serving
Makes: 25-30 Pierogi

Sift together the Flour, Salt, and Baking Powder. In a large bowl, whisk the Egg and Sour Cream until they become a well-combined, satiny yellow. Add the Flour mixture into the Sour Cream and Eggs all at once. Mix until a shaggy, lumpy dough just hardly forms, and set aside for five minutes to rest. At this point, the dough will look pretty hopeless but giving it a chance to rest lets the moisture balance out.

This down time is a great chance to fill your largest, pot with cold water, season lightly with salt, and start to bring it to a boil.
When your 5 minutes are up, press the dough into two equal balls. Roll them out on a lightly floured surface to ¼ inch sheets.

Using a cookie cutter or just a well-floured drinking glass that’s about 2 ½ inches in diameter, cut the dough into circles, re-rolling the scraps until it’s all used up. Using your rolling pin, slightly press the center of each circle to elongate them slightly from the center.

When it comes to actually filling the pierogi, less is decidedly more. Place a scant tsp of your filling of choice in the center of each piece of dough. Lightly wet the edge of the dough, cleaning away any filling that’s out of line, and fold the dough onto itself, over the filling. Pinch the pierogi closed using your fingers or a fork. Be sure to seal them very, very well, so you don’t crud up your water.

Once all of the pierogi are sealed, drop them in batches into the rapidly boiling water for exactly 5 minutes and 20 seconds. Pull the pierogi out of the water with a slotted spoon and drain well.
They freeze or store great after a quick toss in some neutral-tasting oil (to prevent sticking).

When you’re ready to serve, fry them until golden brown and crispy.

Caramelized Mushroom Filling
2 Yellow Onion (about the size of a tennis ball)
2 tbsp Olive Oil or Butter
2 lb Mushrooms
3 sprigs Thyme
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Roughly chop the Onions and sweat them in butter over medium-low heat until translucent. Roughly chop the Mushrooms and add to the Onions, along with the sprigs of Thyme. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until the mixture takes on a nice, nutty aroma and a deeply caramelized brown. Deglaze the pan with the Balsamic, remove the thyme and transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor. Process them until they form a chunky paste. Season well with Salt and Pepper, and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Beef and Pseudokraut Filling
1 head Iceberg Lettuce
¼ tsp Caraway Seeds
½ tsp Fennel Seeds
½ cup White Vinegar
¼ cup Pickle Juice
½ tsp Kosher Salt
½ Pickle, finely diced
1 lb Ground Beef
2 tbsp Mustard– we used yellow, because it’s what was in our Mystery Box but, if we had our druthers, we’d go for an intensely horesradishy grainy one.
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Bay Leaf
Black Pepper, to taste
1 Egg Yolk

Remove the green pieces of the Iceberg Lettuce and reserve for other preparations. Finely chop the core, any thick or white stems, and add to a bowl. You should yield between 1-2 cups.

To the lettuce, add the Caraway and Fennel seeds, Vinegar, Pickle Juice, Salt, and ½ of a finely diced Pickle. Let this weird concoction sit for at least half an hour, or up to overnight in the fridge. Drain very well– we stuck ours in a Chemex filter and gave it a good squeeze, but you could wring yours out in a clean dish towel– and set aside.

Brown the Beef well in a skillet, breaking it into very small pieces. Add the Mustard, Soy Sauce, Bay Leaf, and the pickled Lettuce. Sautee until any excess moisture evaporates, and the Lettuce is a little soft. Season with Black Pepper. Allow to cool slightly while you prepare your dough.
Because Ground Beef is well, um, ground, it can be a little hard to maneuver. Right before your Pierogi, fold in an Egg Yolk. It won’t add much noticeable flavor or texture, but it will help the Beef stay together.

Potato, Chive, and Blue Cheese Filling
1 lb Russet Potatoes
½ cup Sour Cream
4 tbsp Blue Cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp Chives, chopped
Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

We don’t cook much with microwaves, but they are a Potato Perogi’s best friend. Nuke your Potatoes until tender– 5-8 minutes, depending on their size. Scoop the Potato from its skin, mix with the Sour Cream, and gently fold in the remaining ingredients. The filling should be very, very dry– and, depending on how funky your cheese is, it might be a little bit blue. Season well with Salt and Black Pepper, and pretend like you labored over a hot stove all day.

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