Top Chef Texas: Restaurant Wars – What Was That Ingredient? [Buddhacation]

The pain that is this season of Top Chef Texas continues, and with it comes another edition of What Was That Ingredient?  While the show struggles to keep my attention, I still watch with some anticipation, hoping to see and hear something that will turn my creative juices.  If things don’t change, WWTI will be shelved after this season wraps (if not sooner).

The only real commentary I have on this season’s version of Restaurant Wars is this:  What happens to all the regular customers when the judges walk in?  The both kitchens basically came to a screeching halt to attend to the needs of these very special guests … that can’t be good for the rest of the restaurant.

Though I’m quite familiar with the inner workings of media, reality TV, and all that jazz – I’m really curious to know what it’s actually like to go to one of these “Restaurant Wars” dinners.  It’s obviously highly edited, so we’re left to wonder how concocted a diners experience is at the restaurant.

Alright y’all, here’s a recap of the handful of ingredients and dishes that might need some explaining!

Ingredients

ham-hocks-wiki-image

Ham Hocks

A ham hock (pictured above via wiki) is basically what people call pigs feet.  It’s really just a specific part of the joint where the foot is joined to the leg, so most of the time people shouldn’t call ham hocks pigs feet … but they do.  It’s full of tendons and ligaments, so not matter what you do with ham hocks, be prepared to hunker down for a few hours just getting them all soft and such.  Ham hocks are a big part of soul food.

Kaffir Lime
If you’ve had lime before, there really isn’t anything to get too excited about at the opportunity to try Kaffir limes.  They hail from Southeast Asia (especially the Island areas), so it’s the indigenous cuisines of those country’s (think Thai, Malay, etc …) where kaffir limes are most prevalent.

Dishes

Caponata 
Caponata is a Sicilian vegetable salad of fried eggplant and stuff.  I’ve most often seen it as an antipasto.  There’s no one single way to do it – instead, you’ll see regional variations all over the place.  I went ahead and dug up a recipe for y’all.

Schaum Torte
Ever the “I don’t eat dessert” guy, I had never heard of this.  A little poking around on the internet tells me this sweet serving is akin to a meringue.  It’s basically comprised of egg whites and sugar.  After cooking it in the oven, the center is filled with stuff … and that’s about it.  Everyone on the net seems to say this one is super easy to make.

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Alright folks, that’s all I turned up during the sixty-minute edition of Restaurant Wars, if you saw or heard any other things mentioned that are worth explaining, just let me know!

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