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Mystery Box Burger. Raw salmon. Smoked bacon. Mint, basil, garlic and yogurt sauce. Rice cake. Rice bun. Black sesam. Salmon eggs. Mint and basil leafs. Balsamic cream. #masterchefUSA #mysterybox #challengeaccepted 
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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:

PARISIENNE GNOCCHI AND ASPARAGUS:

  • 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.

Enjoy!

3

The Dumpling’s The Thing…
Submitted to MasterChef by thewayweate

Dumplings, may the one food loved the world over. While many cultures stake a claim to the origin of the dumpling (writing can be found over 1500 years old in both Roman-era Italy and Han Dynasty China heralding the joy of dumpling) the culinarians of today could care less. Personally, i’d much rather pursue the next dumpling than debate it’s origins. With a multitude of glutenous deliciousness to choose from, including dumplings from Korea, China, Georgia and a multitude of other nations, diners would be hard pressed to find a cuisine in the world that doesn’t serve a signature dumpling.

If these wonderful treasures wrapped in small parcels are new to you, perhaps one of the finest and most delicious examples available are the wonderful dumplings that are offered in Eastern European and Russian culture. While the recipes provided below by no means attempt to convey authenticity, they are quite celebratory of the spirit, flavor and history of a captivating part of the world, and their enchanting cuisine.


Bleu Cheese Pierogi, Pelmeni in Dressing & Free Form Varenyky

Prepare an all-purpose dumpling dough.

½ Cup Whole Milk
½ Cup Water
1 Large Egg
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
Pinch of Salt
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour

In a large non-reactive bowl, whisk the egg, water, milk, Oil and salt together.
Add the Flour, ½ cup at a time, incorporating with a wooden paddle.

Once the dough has formed and is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl, remove the dough and place on a floured work surface. Knead the dough for 5 full minutes, adding flour as necessary. Do not add more than ½ cup of flour or the dough will become too tough.

Roll the dough into a large ball and flour liberally, Place in a clean, non-reactive bowl, and cover with a towel. Let the dough rest at room temperature for ½ - 1 Hour.

To make all three dumplings, divide dough into thirds.

Bleu Cheese Piergoi

3 Medium sized potatoes
¼ Cup Crumbled Bleu Cheese
½ Large Yellow Onion
1 Teaspoon Yellow Mustard
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1/8 Teaspoon Table Salt
1/8 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
2-4 Cups Vegetable Oil
½ Cup Sour Cream

Peel and chop potatoes into 4-6 pieces each. Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with 1 inch of cold water. Set pan over medium high heat to boil. Once boiling reduce to medium low and simmer potatoes for 15 minutes. When tender drain potatoes in a colander and allow them to completely drain out. Meanwhile, Chop ½ onion very fine and add it to a saute pan with the butter set over medium heat, turning  the onions frequently. Caramelize onions slowly for about 15 minutes until deep golden brown, but don’t allow them to burn. Reduce flame to low if necessary. Remove from flame and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Add cooled onion and butter mixture and potatoes to a metal bowl and mash them. Add salt, pepper and mustard and combine well. Add Bleu Cheese and fold in with a spatula. Set mixture aside.

Using 1/3 of the All-Purpose Dough, knead dough slightly over heavily floured surface. Roll dough into a rope and cut off 1 inch sections using a heavy knife. Roll each section into a disc using a straight or french rolling pin. Stack the discs on top of each other, adding flour in between each layer.

Using 1 disc at a time, place 1 heaping teaspoon of the potato mixture on a disc. fold the disc over into a half-moon shape and pinch well. Crimp edges using a fork. Repeat for all the remaining disc, placing the pierogi on a floured plate.

In a deep frying pan, add about 1 inch of Vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat to 350 Degrees. Fry the pierogi in batches and let them drain over absorbent paper. Serve the Pierogi warm with a side dish of sour cream.

Pelmeni in Dressing

1 Large Yellow Onion
3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
1 Pound Ground Beef
2 Dill Pickles
1 Teaspoon Yellow Mustard
1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce
½ Teaspoon Table Salt
½ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
½ Cup Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Fresh Dill, Finely Minced

Peel and coarsely chop onion and add to the work bowl of a food processor, Coarsely chop the pickles and add them with the garlic to the work bowl. pulverize the onion with the garlic and pickles until very finely chopped. add the mixture to a bowl. Add Mustard, Soy Sauce, Salt, and pepper to bowl and combine well.

Using 1/3 of the All-Purpose Dough, knead dough slightly over heavily floured surface. Roll dough into a rope and cut off 1 inch sections using a heavy knife. Roll each section into a disc using a straight or french rolling pin. Stack the discs on top of each other, adding flour in between each layer.

Using 1 disc at a time, place 1 heaping teaspoon of the Beef mixture on a disc. fold the disc over into a half-moon shape and pinch well. Fold the two points of the moon over each other and press, making a purse shape. Repeat for all the remaining disc, placing the Pelmeni on a floured plate.

Heat 2 quarts of salted water over a very high flame, and bring to a boil. Reduce water to simmering and add the pelmeni. Pelmeni will need about 6-8 Minutes to cook and is generally “done” when floating. Remove a single pelmeni from the water and check inside that the meat is cooked.

Remove remaining pelmeni with a slotted spoon and allow them to drain well in a colander.
Meanwhile prepare the dressing in a large, non-reactive bowl by adding the sour cream, vinegar and dill. Combine well. Add the drained pelmeni and coat them well, but carefully in the sauce, using a rubber spatula. Serve the Pelmeni in the sauce, about 4-5 for each person, and add more dill as garnish if desired.

Free Form Varenyky

1 Large Yellow Onion (divided in half)
2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
½ Pound Ground Beef
1 Dill Pickles
¼ Teaspoon Yellow Mustard
¼ Teaspoon Table Salt
¼ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
½ Cup Medium Grain Rice
6 Medium Sized White Mushrooms
½ Large Yellow Onion
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
6-8 Large Iceberg Lettuce Leaves, Minced Fine
1 ½ Cups Water
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce


Peel and coarsely chop ½ of the onion and add to the work bowl of a food processor, Coarsely chop the pickle and add it with the garlic to the work bowl. pulverize the onion with the garlic and pickles until very finely chopped. add the mixture to a bowl. Add Mustard, Salt, and pepper to bowl and combine well. Set mixture aside.

Chop the mushroom very finely and set aside. Chop ½ onion very fine and add it to a saute pan with the butter set over medium heat, turning  the onions frequently. Caramelize onions slowly for about 10 minutes until medium golden brown, but don’t allow them to burn. Reduce flame to low if necessary. To this mixture add the mushrooms and allow them to cook down, about another 10 minutes. Add minced lettuce leaves to mixture and allow to wilt. Add balsamic vinegar and soy sauce and stir all the ingredients well.

Add the rice to the mixture and coat the grains well. Turning frequently for about 2 minutes. Add the water to the mixture, ½ cup at a time, allowing the water to absorb between each addition. Turn frequently. After all water has been incorporated. Set aside to cool for five minutes then add the onion mixture to the rice mixture.

Using 1/3 of the All-Purpose Dough, knead dough slightly over heavily floured surface. Roll dough into a rope and cut off 1 inch sections using a heavy knife. Roll each section into a disc using a straight or french rolling pin. Stack the discs on top of each other, adding flour in between each layer.

Using 1 disc at a time, place 1 heaping teaspoon of the Beef/Onion mixture on a disc.
Using your fingers first bring up two points of the disc together over the mixture, then the opposite two points, creating four points of the disc to meet over the mixture inside. Pinch together and twist to create a purse shape with a sealed top. Repeat for all the remaining disc, placing the Varenyky on a floured plate.

Heat 2 quarts of salted water over a very high flame, and bring to a boil. Reduce water to simmering and add the Varenyky. Varenyky will need about 6-8 Minutes to cook and is generally “done” when floating. Remove a single Varenyky from the water and check inside that the meat is cooked.

Remove remaining Varenyky with a slotted spoon and allow them to drain well in a colander.
Serve the Varenyky cooled to warm, about 4-5 for each person, and add more dill as garnish if desired.