Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cutthroat Kitchen

Doom has granted Cutthroat Kitchen, the new Food Network game show, a few weeks of his attention, and Doom has concluded thus: It's fatally flawed.

The premise is this: Four chefs are given an item to prepare -- tacos, fried chicken and a side, spaghetti and meatballs, etc. They have 60 seconds to grab items from a pantry. They are each given $25,000 and to bid on items to improve their meals or sabotage their competitors. They might give themselves better cuts of meat or make another chef cook exclusively with a campsite burner. Some chefs suffer multiple sabotages in each round. The chefs have a certain time to cook the item. Halfway through, they may bid on yet another sabotage. At the end of the time, a guest chef judges the dishes and eliminates one competitor round by round until one is left. The winner gets to keep whatever money he has left after all the auctions.

The problem is this: The dish is considered a success the closer it comes to the platonic ideal of that dish. For instance, when a chef cannot make spaghetti because he has lost his noodles in a sabotage, that chef loses the round because he has not made "spaghetti and meatballs."

The show demands the competitors react to curveballs and outright cruelty. The judge knows this but they are not told the specific sabotage the chefs have suffered. The majority of chefs have been eliminated because the end result of their improvisation and salvage has not produced the classic example of the requested dish. And the show is designed to make that nigh-impossible. Flavor and creativity and effort and resolve mean squat.The Accursed Richards could be judged the superior chef over Doom (yes, even over DOOM) merely because he stole Doom's ingredients.

One could argue this mirrors the chaos of a real kitchen. The customers don't know what happens behind those doors as their dish is prepared. But, the judge has not requested the food. He has not decided a longtime favorite or tried something new. He is informed after the food is made what the chef has been told to make. And the judge-chef decides which dish best matches that title regardless of available ingredients and resources. Again, the chefs' success is determined almost exclusively by the expectation of the judge based on a meal he didn't order.

In Chopped and Iron Chef, the judges of course don't choose the meals. But they know what the chefs have to work with and how they adjusted to hiccups in their limited cooking time. They take into account the effort in preparing the meal in addition to how successful those efforts are compared to other chefs.

In Cutthroat Kitchen, a show named for the many opportunities for sabotage, food is judged with no regard for that sabotage or the responses to it. That strikes Doom as silly. As silly as the Accursed Richards making taco deemed superior than Doom's.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Chopped All-Stars 2013

Doom bestows this small kindness upon you: Doom is about spoil this year's Chopped All-Stars competition, so begone if you have yet to watch.

All clear? Good.


Doom spoke about last year's Chopped All-Stars here and sighed with deep relief when a Chopped judge failed to win the whole shebang. That loss maintained the integrity of the show. Because, otherwise, they could skip the farce and give the $50,000 charity donation to a judge picked at random.

This year, what happens? A Chopped judge won it all.

Now. Yes. These people are chefs. They can cook. They know of where they speak. And Doom correctly (no shock) picked Scott Conant to emerge from the judge bracket. Doom begrudges Conant nothing in being the better chef among the judges. One Victor recognizes another.

But the presentation of an open competition is besmirched when, in truth,12 invited competitors have a one-in-three shot at facing a judge in the last dessert round of the final episode.

(Shut up, Richards. Doom's math is unassailable! Doom will prepare a recipe just for you: A raw bug. Cooking directions: Find one bug. Go and eat it!)

Chopped All-Stars should be called Beat the Judge, with 12 potentials squaring off to take on a representative of the Chopped citadel.This is the proper manner of presentation. At the very least, instead of one tournament bracket being all judges, guaranteeing a judge finalist, the four judges should be mixed within the four categories. That way, it's possible there will be no judges in the finals.

(Is it possible two or more judges will make the finals? Doom supposes. But it's less likely.)

Also of note: Last year's runner-up judge Aaron Sanchez was a judge in this year's finals. That must be addressed.

Two last things:
1) Give Lailah Ali a cooking show yesterday. Unlike the cackling blond grotesques Food TV foists upon us, Ali has true charm and skills.  Doom would watch her show always.

2) Nadia G will come back and wax the competition like Beatrix Kiddo. Bet on it.

Doom out.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Doom runs from no man. Doom runs toward victory. Thus Doom is training for the Latverian Parking Lot Marathon, an annual tradition dating back hundreds of weeks. It started last year, Doom remembers not how, perhaps as the populace fled from the weekly random Doombot security sweeps. It matters not.

What does matter is that Doom shall grace this exercise with his glory. Doom will join the peasantry in their sweaty revels, but Doom will of course establish a higher standard. Doom will run in full armor. What any man may dare, Doom shall exceed tenfold. And, nay, sneakers will not besmirch Doom's tootsies.

If any Latverian dare tug on Doom's cape, he shall be punted to the moon. DOOM WARNS YOU THUS.

The Accursed Richards would attempt no such gesture. He would no doubt simply start the race by stretching one idiot foot to the finish line and proclaim himself the winner. Because Richards is a small man who needs constant approbation. Unlike Emperor Doom, who must leave you now to oversee the mountainside sculpture of Doom's likeness. AWAY WITH YOU!

Doom commands you to marshal your resources:

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 can tomato sauce (15 ounces)
8-10 tortillas (5-6 inches in diameter)
1 cup shredded habanero cheese
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
2-3 cloves garlic minced/smooshed 
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons oregano
1/4 teaspoons ground cumin

* Your secret ingredient is habanero cheese. Instead of adding cheese and chiles separately, use this instead. Test it first in small bites to determine how much you want in the recipe. Pepperjack cheese can work if you need it milder.

Doom commands you to:

Brown the beef in a skillet on medium heat. Drain the grease. Add onion, cream, cheese, parsley, and pepper. Stir, cover, and remove from heat.

In another pot, combine sauce, water, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Heat to boiling and simmer for five minutes.

Soak each tortilla in the sauce mixture before filling it with 1/4 cup of the beef mixture. Fold shell around filling and place seam side down in ungreased baking dish. Pour remaining sauce on all the tortillas when pan is full.

Cook uncovered in 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.

Before serving, add more shredded cheese and sour cream as desired. Doom allows you this modicum of sovereignty. Doom is generous.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Summer Stir Fry

As noted in detail in Doom's entry for Pineapple Butter Chicken, Latveria is flush with chickens. Awash.

Twas a mild winter, and the mountain pigeons never quite settled into a proper cold-weather behavior. In previous years, they would nestle in their coops. This year, thanks to a malfunctioning Weather Dominator from that numbskull Laird James McCullen Destro XXIV -- sabotaged perhaps by The Accursed Richards -- the Latverian Strutting Wickerbeaks treated the dim weeks like a spring break, cavorting and wenching as only giddy chickens can. And so, Latveria is up to Doom's cape rope in more chickens than ever, and the peasants have responded in a variety of ways, including training them for poultry circuses, using them as footballs, and of course making more chicken dishes.

Well, curs, if you must, do it right. Heed once more the Secret Gypsy Mama Cookbook, the Greasy Grimoire, and make a dish worthy of the Von Doom name.

Summer Stir Fry
Gather ye these vittles:

1 pound boneless chicken pieces cubed
1 medium onion chopped
1 cup carrot coins
1 cup chicken broth, separated into 1/4 cup and 3/4 cup increments
1 cup rice cooked according to package instructions
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup red bell pepper chopped
2 cloves garlic (at least)
2 tablespoons sliced ginger
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon cooking oil

Doom commands you to:

Cook chicken, garlic, and ginger in oil on medium high heat until chicken browns. Move garlic and ginger about to prevent burning

Add carrots, onion, 3/4 cup of broth, soy sauce, and sugar. Cover and cook for five minutes and stir a few times.

Add pepper and mushrooms. Again cover, cook, and stir for five minutes.

Mix cornstarch and remaining broth in a small bowl and add that to pan. Stir together until sauce thickens.

Plate over bed of rice.

Doom commands you to relish.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cube Steak Stroganoff

Latveria sloughs winter,
stretches bones toward the sun,
and bends slowly to half-remembered obligations
to craft a summer and autumn
to provide dreams
to make bearable 
the return of winter's comet trail.

Oh, Doom shall once more own Versus Verses, the Annual Villain Poetry Slam. Bring your sonnets, Baron Zemo! Doom will eat your icebox plums. Doom lurks late, and Doom strikes straight. Doom's ass-kicking will kindly stop for thee.

Do you demand more brief lines of genius? Try this recipe, peasants.

Cube Steak Stroganoff
Doom knows what you are about to bark in your simian cackles. "Cube steak is for frying." HOOLIGANS AND CURS. Cube steak is a perfect sauté cut. Thin and tenderize, it cooks quickly and retains a distinctive flavor and texture. You would do well to heed Doom in this as in all things.

1 pound cube steak
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup beef broth
1 medium sweet onion chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon paprika black pepper to taste

Doom commands you to:

Melt butter in large skillet (not iron this time) on medium-high heat. Brown steak, turning once and set aside.

Into steak drippings, add garlic, pepper, onion, mushroom, garlic, paprika. Cook on medium until mushrooms are tender. Add broth and stir.

Combine cream and flour in bowl and then add that to skillet. Cook until bubbling and cook one minute more. Return steaks to mixture to warm and coat.

Prepare seven handfuls of rotini pasta according to package instructions. When done, pour out water and add noodles to skillet and stir to coat.

Doom commands you to poetry slam that into your belly parts.