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June 11, 2006

A Very Close One

Dominic Armato
Well, we're finally back to our winning ways, though only just barely. Our challengers were absolutely fantastic, and I hope they'll come back for a rematch at some point. We nearly had our first tie, the margin of victory being two hundredths of a point, but we somehow managed to stumble through and just barely eke out a win. Frankly, given that we were deep in the weeds almost the entire evening (perhaps moreso than we've ever been), I'm amazed we managed to get anything out on the table. But thankfully, I'm blessed with super-sous extraordinaire, Kirsten, who I'm certain had no idea what she was getting into when we did the first Iron Chef Chicago five and a half years ago, and somehow still manages to put up with me.

Speaking of which, the day after Iron Chef always serves as a stark reminder that I made the right choice in not pursuing a culinary career. Yesterday, Kirsten and I put 84 dishes on the table. My feet ache, my legs are weak, my back is cramped and my head is aching and foggy. And then I remember that there are people who do this every day. I can barely get off the sofa, much less do it again. Though I will allow myself a little cooking this evening. The minimum order for Wagyu was one pound, and I only needed a half, so I have a nice little steak waiting for me in the fridge. Snake River Farms doesn't produce a pure Kobe-style Wagyu (they cross-breed them with Angus), but it's still a damn fine piece of beef, so I'm looking forward to it.

Now, with the judging behind us, the veil of secrecy has been lifted. Photos and a recipe or two will follow later (thanks to Lindsay... I was in no position to take the time for photos last night), but for now, here's the menu:

Sauteed Garlic Cloves, Three Flavors
Steaming Garlic Broth with Wagyu and Green Garlic
Roasted Garlic Raviolini with Egg Yolk Sauce and Crispy Pancetta
Fried Garlic-Crusted Halibut with Pickled Garlic-Miso Sauce
Pork Tenderloin with Ancho-Cherry Sauce, Garlic Confit and Green Garlic Salad
Roasted Garlic Creme Brulee with Strawberries and Balsamic Syrup

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