Saturday, August 22, 2015

FEATURED RECIPE: Hot Cheeto-Crusted Quiche with Pink Lemonade Hollandaise - UC Davis Broke College Kid Meets Chopped Competition Winner!

During this past school year, I had the opportunity to help UC Davis' Food Tech Club organize a food challenge for a group of students from the northwest region of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). In town to compete in a College Bowl competition the following day, these students got to see and tour UC Davis and hear from some of its top professors the day before. The day culminated in this exciting challenge, which was done in the style of the hit TV show "Chopped"! 

There were six teams, with two teams responsible for an appetizer, two teams responsible for an entree, and two teams responsible for a dessert. For each category of dish, four different secret ingredients had to be used, and each team had about an hour and a half to cook and plate up four servings of their dish for judging. There was also a limited pantry and fridge supply available to students. 
Part of the Pantry provided to students, an abundance of fresh produce!

The judges were Cyn Leo, a local Whole Foods manager who provided an amazing winning prize of Whole Foods gift cards to the winning team and a feature on their own blog, as well as Matt Ford (the director of the Food Innovation Lab at UC Davis) and Evann Dufort (the president of Food Tech Club at the time of the competition, now graduated). 

Judges panel.

All six teams came up with amazing creations with pretty unique concepts. The winning dish came from an appetizer team, who had to use pink lemonade, Hot Cheetos, Mozzarella cheese sticks, and broccoli. They inventively came up with a mini-quiche appetizer with a pink lemonade Hollandaise sauce from the ingredients provided, which tasted amazing but was also extremely creative! All of the judges agreed that it was one of the top dishes overall in taste, presentation, and creativity. I got to taste the dish and agreed; the combination of spicyiness, richness, and flavor from the quiche was unique and amazing! Take a look at how they made it below. 

The winning team, comprised of students from 4 different universities!

Recipe makes about 6 mini-quiches.

For the Crust: 

1 cup Hot Cheetos
1 T mozzarella (ground in coffee grinder)
3 teaspoons egg 

For the Filling:

2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup of milk 
1/3 cup broccoli, chopped 
1/4 cup canned corn 
1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped 
1/4 cup onion, chopped 
1/4 cup cooked bacon, crumbled 
Black pepper to taste
Salt to taste 

For the Hollandaise: 

3 egg yolks
2 T pink lemonade
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 T bacon grease
3 T almond oil
1 1/2 t Hot Cheeto dust
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/2 t salt


1) Whip the egg yolks for the hollandaise with the pink lemonade until the volume roughly doubles. 

2) Add in the oil, bacon grease, and lemon juice slowly to the bowl while whisking over simmering water. 

3) Whisk in the cheeto dust, smoked paprika, and salt. Adjust the oil and lemonade/lemon juice ratios to taste. 

4) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. 

5) Make the crusts by combining the Cheetos, mozzarella, and egg until a paste is formed. Form around the inside of muffin tins for each quiche to be made.

6) Saute the bacon, onion, mushroom, and broccoli with salt and pepper until cooked. As it cools, combine the milk and 2 eggs together to form the quiche base.

7) Place roughly a tablespoon of the sauteed vegetables into the crust. Add cheese and corn, then fill with the egg and milk mixture.

8) Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. 

The final dish presented to the judges. Yum!

I personally love the dish idea because of all of the creativeness, fresh produce, and guts that went into the idea! Making a pink lemonade hollandaise for a challenge was an extremely bold move that paid off very well, especially with the Hot Cheeto dust giving it a kick! It tied in perfectly to the quiche. I couldn't be happier for this winning team and their prize, as it was awesome! 

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think about this competition, and how these students performed! If you do attempt to make this at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =) 

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