Time to Bring the Heat: Tastemaker Challenge 2K10

BEFORE YOU READ THIS: If you only have a second and don't want to read this long post, just skip down to the video and rate it. I promise, you will NOT be disappointed (if you like cooking, Rocky, Karate Kid and/or lightsabers).

When I was in 4th grade, I spent my summer vacation fighting boredom by playing a game called "Joe's Diner" with my sister. I was Joe, the proprietor of a diner that cooked anything to order. She was Joe, a regular customer (we weren't too original with names) who came in and ordered random stuff. She would ask me about my kids, order an omlette and I'd cook it. Then I'd eat it, and we'd start over. I invented a lot of dishes that summer and learned a ton about how ingredients played off one another. I also learned that even a 9 -year-old's metabolism isn't invincible.

Luckily, I eventually stopped growing outwards and started growing upwards, which allowed me to work various skills in the kitchen without getting into too much trouble from there on out.

Last week, the US Potato Board approached me and said "hey, BusyDad, you want to join 8 other bloggers in a video cook-off contest? You're the only guy."

"What'll you have, Joe?"

I Need Your Vote

So here's how this contest works. For the next three months, I will be producing one video a month highlighting creative ways to cook with potatoes. Each month will feature a special ingredient or theme (Sound familiar? I know!! Awesome!). Each month I will post that video and people will rate it. By the end of the three months, the contestant with the most ratings wins. There's no prize or anything, but to me, being recognized for something that has been my passion since childhood would be kind of awesome. Plus, it would be nice for a dad to be recognized for his prowess in the kitchen for once, wouldn't it? And in February, all of the contestants will be flown to Blissdom for one final showdown, head-to-head, in front of a live audience. Who are my fellow Tastemakers?

Amy at ResourcefulMommy

Jen at Savor the Thyme

Jo Lynne at Musings of a Housewife

Jodi at Mom's Favorite Stuff

Lindsay @ Rock and Roll Mama

Melanie @ MelaDramatic Mommy (I recently met her and we did the staredown already)

Melanie @ Modern Mami

Rachel @ A Southern Fairy Tale (She's a buddy. I would be happy, and not surprised, if she won).

This month's theme was seafood. I chose shrimp. And I think I rocked it. This is what I made:

And here's my video, where the above went down. Please click through to YouTube and rate it. I would appreciate it very much! And if you're interested in testing out my creations, the recipes are below:

Shrimp Chumbo


  1. 1/2 cup clarified butter (unsalted)
  2. minced garlic (approx 4 cloves' worth)
  3. 1 medium onion, chopped
  4. 1 rib celery, chopped
  5. 1/2 tsp white pepper
  6. 1 tsp cajun spice
  7. 1/2 tsp gumbo file powder (ground sassafras)
  8. 2 bay leaves
  9. 1/4 tsp thyme
  10. 1/2 cup flour
  11. 4 cups shrimp stock (you can use store bought, but to do it right, get a pound of whole shrimp, shell them, take the heads off, and throw the shells and heads into 5 cups water, along with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tbls cajun spice, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/8 cup lemon juice and a stalk of celery. Then boil for about 15 min, uncovered).
  12. 3 cups half and half, divided into two batches of 1 1/2 cups each
  13. 1 med potato, diced into 1/2" cubes
  14. 1 1/4 tsp salt
  15. 1 lb chopped fresh tomatoes
  16. 1/2 small can tomato paste
  17. 1 lb andouille sausage, cooked


Sautee minced garlic in the clarified butter on low heat for 1 to 2 minutes.

Next throw in your onions and celery, along with the bay leaves and spices (except for salt). Turn the heat up to medium and cook about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. It is important to keep it moving! 

Once the onions are translucent, slowly add the flour a little at a time, stirring constantly. Cook this for about 5-7 minutes.

Slowly add your stock a little at a time, to minimize lumping. Add the 1 1/2 cups half and half that you set aside. Slowly bring to a boil. Keep stirring.

After it has simmered for a while, add the diced potatoes and the salt. Stir occassionally for about 10 minutes. Then add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir to incorporate.

Add the sausage and shrimp. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Pour in the rest of the half and half (1 1/2 cups). Stir it around for a minute or so and remove from heat.

Serves 6-ish

Shrimp Korroke with Asian Plum Sauce

Ingredients for Korroke:

  1. 1 lb potato, peeled and diced
  2. 1/2 lb shrimp, chopped
  3. Cornstarch, for dusting
  4. Oil, for stir frying
  5. 1/4  cup scallion, chopped
  6. 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  7. 1/4 cup shallots, chopped
  8. 2 eggs, beaten
  9. salt
  10. pepper
  11. 1/2 cup flour
  12. 2 cups panko or unseasoned breadcrumbs
  13. oil (for deep-frying)

Ingredients for Plum Sauce:

  1. 1 1/2 lbs plums or similar fruit, chopped
  2. 4 whole dried apricots, diced
  3. 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  4. 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  5. 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  6. 1 tbls garlic, minced
  7. 1 tbls fresh ginger, minced

To make the Korroke:

Peel and boil the potatoes until tender. Then mash them in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Toss shrimp in cornstarch to lightly coat (you want the pieces to be fairly dry).

Heat up a pan or wok, add oil to cover the entire surface. Add shrimp and red bell pepper. Sautee about 3 minutes, constantly moving the ingredients. Add the scallion (but set a bit aside to garnish), garlic and shallots and sautee for another minute or so.

Remove from heat and dump into the mixing bowl with the potatoes. Mush it around so everything is evenly distributed. Salt and pepper to taste.

Add a quarter of the egg mixture into the bowl and mush some more.

Form patties with the mixture. Dip patties into flour to dust lightly. Then into the egg. Then into the panko breadcrumbs.

Refrigerate patties for about 2 hours.

Deep fry the suckers in 350 degree oil for 3-5 minutes until a desired brownness. Serve with sauce (instructions below) and a sprinkle of the scallions.

Serves approx. 4

To make the sauce:

Combine the all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stir to keep sugar from scalding. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened and reduced, about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

Transfer to a food processor or use a stick blender and puree until smooth.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Funkdafied Potato Chips


1 lb russet potatoes
1/4 cup chopped leeks (1/2 green part, 1/2 white part)
1/8 cup chopped chives
1 tbls minced garlic
1/4 cup Fresno red pepper (or similar med heat pepper), seeded and chopped
2 Serrano chilis, seeded and chopped
1 tsp sea salt


Preheat the oil in a pot or fryer to about 350 degrees.

With a mandoline or by hand, cut chip-width slices (leave skin on) widthwise.

Add the slices 1 at a time to the hot oil. Use your judgment and make in batches. You don't want to crowd them too much. Constantly move the slices so they don't stick. Do this for about 4 or 5 minutes until crisp. Remove the chips and place them on a plate with a paper towel. Repeat for all the chips.

Once chips are done, combine the leeks, pepper, chilis and garlic into a dip strainer and dip into the hot oil for a few seconds (like 10 to 15). Dump into a bowl. Add the salt to the bowl and mix.

Take a gallon Ziploc or similar bag and place a spoonful of the mixture into it, along with a handful of chips. Close the bag and leave lots of air in it, so there's room to shake. Shake it. Shake it. Shake it, baby. Dump onto a platter. Repeat with more mixture and chips until all the chips are seasoned.

Sprinkle fresh chopped chives on top and serve.

Let me know what you think! And please go rate my video. Thanks!