MasterChef: Breakfast and TV Dinner

If you haven’t watched last nights episode you can watch it here: MasterChef on Fox


It was time for another Mystery Box in the Masterchef kitchen. I lifted that wooden crate and in front of me was an assortment of breakfast ingredients. I saw eggs, Brioche, bacon, blood sausage, smoked salmon, cream cheese, heavy cream, asparagus, berries, maple syrup and nuts.

We then learned that chef Graham Elliot was going to be cooking along side of us!! He went to station and informed us that he would be making three dishes in the thirty minutes we had!

I made a stuffed french toast with a maple bacon nut crumble, berry compote, and two berry coulis’. I separated the blueberries and raspberries so I could have two brightly colored sauces!

Yes, you read correctly. Maple bacon nut crumble! I cooked bacon for the first time ever and from what I know I did a good job at it! Chef Gordon Ramsay walked by and tasted it and smiled!!! 😀

I was proud of my dish! I cooked with a protein I’ve never cooked with before and had a beautiful plate.

The top 3 dishes were very impressive; Nick, Katrina and Derrick were the chefs behind those dishes!

Derrick won with a stunning three part breakfast and got an advantage. He was able to selected which TV Dinner the rest of us would be making for the elimination challenge.

He chose Salisbury steak with mac and cheese and broccoli.

We then learned that Derrick had another advantage. He was able to selected one person to sit out for the first 15 minutes of the cook!

He choose…


We had five minutes to gather our ingredients from the pantry and I decided on a Mediterranean style dinner. I made a spicy beef Salisbury steak with finely chopped peppers and onion in the patty, a pistachio and panko crusted mac and cheese that was flavored with a bit of garlic and cumin and roasted broccolini with a balsamic glaze.

I was very happy with my dish!

The top two dishes were made by Nick and Olivia. They will serve as team captains in next weeks team challenge.

Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to Jesse and Veronica. Two incredible home cooks with hearts of gold and smiles that can make any day better!

Jesse is a true southern gentleman! He is so charming and caring of all those around him!

Veronica is as bright and loving in person as she is on TV!

Both will be missed in the Master Chef kitchen.

You can “like” their Facebook pages to stay up to date with what they are creating!

Veronica’s Feast

Po Boy Jesse


Until next week!





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Ramadan Mubarak!

The most blessed time of the year for Muslims around the world is here; Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calender and is the month that the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). Muslims that are healthy and of an age of maturity, will fast from sunrise to sunset during this month, which lasts 29-30 days. Fasting the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam.

I set some personal goals for myself during Ramadan. I like to set goals that are challenging, but are attainable and realistic 🙂

This Ramadan I do not want to have any food waste. Traditionally, many may have made a table long feast. It is easy to get caught up in that. I will try to keep it simple with a salad, entree and fresh fruit for dessert. Leftovers? We will eat them the next day. I do not want to take from the true essence of this month by focusing only on food!


Some questions I often get about Ramadan:

Q: Can you drink water?

A: No. Muslims refrain from all food and water from sunrise to sunset.

Q: Is that healthy?

A: There have been many studies done on fasting and have proven health benefits.

Q: What if you are sick?

A: If you are sick then you are not required to fast. If it is temporary illness, will have to make up that day later when you are feeling better.

Q: Do you celebrate at the end of the month?

A: Yes! Eid Al-Fitr is a big celebration for the end of Ramadan. People give gifts, visit with family and eat lots of delicious treats 🙂


I am by no means a religious scholar. Just a Muslim practicing my faith and this is my understanding.

I wish you all a wonderful, spiritual month, of growth and love. May Allah (SWT) accept all of our fasts and prayers!


Happy Ramadan!







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Viva Las Vegas

Did you catch last nights episode of Masterchef? If not, watch it here: Full Episode


During last weeks elimination challenge, Stephen and Shelly were selected to be captains. When we arrived at Drais Nightclub in Vegas, Stephen was told he had the absolute “best dish” and got to select either his star team or his star protein.

Stephen, being the Jedi that he is, used his minds tricks on Shelly and got everything he wanted: star team and star protein. Shelly selected the chicken tenders and Stephen was left with the lobster! He then selected his All-Star team and I was the first pick! OMG! So exciting 🙂

Our team was run with great leadership. We were all given specific tasks and Stephen checked in and tasted as he went along to ensure everything was seasoned and cooked perfectly. It was a long night, so as expected there were some bumps in the road, but at the end our team finished early and we were rewarded with victory!

We learned that the blue team (loosing team) would have to send 4 of its team members into the pressure test and that the captain could not send herself in.

Lets stop right there for a moment. Every single time a team looses, Twitter demands that the captain be sent in to the pressure test and if for some reason they choose to save themselves (Courtney season 5) they feel the wrath of the Twittersphere.

Back to Vegas.

Shelly was essentially saved by GR.

The next day, we arrived at Gordon Ramsay’s Steak restaurant. Shelly saved people on her team that many did not agree she should have saved (from what we saw Christopher and Derrick pretty much saved their team) but it is a game and everyone will play it differently.

So, into the pressure test went Derrick, Claudia, Christopher and Ailsa.

Did I mention this was a two part pressure test? Because you know, we weren’t already feeling the heat.

Claudia and Derrick had some great steaks, were safe and joined the rest of us on the balcony.

Christopher and Ailsa cooked a filet Mignon and in the end, Ailsa was sent home.

Ailsa is an incredible young woman and a word traveler. You can visit her blog here: The Curious Tastebud


Next week, we are back in the MasterChef kitchen and we have a breakfast mystery box!

See you then!



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Crabs and Corn!


If you missed last night episode of MasterChef you can watch it here: Full Episode


Mystery boxes are always a little nerve wrecking. You never know what is under there and you really want to impress the judges and win the advantage.

To my surprise and delight, I lifted the wooden box to find LIVE crabs!

After Hussein and I moved to Seattle 3 years ago, we of course did some food exploring. One of my favorite spots was Pike’s Place Market. There you can find the freshest fruits, vegetables and of course seafood! We love crab, especially the Dungeness crab, so when I saw that under the Mystery Box, I knew exactly what to make!

I made Dungeness crab cakes with a mango and arugula salad and an avocado cream sauce and it earned me a spot in the top 3 dishes of the night! *does happy dance*

Beside me was Olivia who made a beautiful crab Benedict and Jesse who made a crab dumpling soup with a crab, avocado and apple salad! Jesse came out on top and won a HUGE advantage!

Jesse was able to decide who would make a sweet or savory dish. He asked which basket I preferred (what a gentleman) and I said “sweet” and that is what I got.

Once we entered the pantry, we learned what the ingredient was.. CORN! I would have never guessed that! How was I going to make a sweet corn dish?

Well, corn is naturally sweet, so in my mind including it in a dessert was not that far out. I also knew that Chef Christina Tosi has a corn cookie (amazing) and uses corn flakes in several of her desserts, including her famous cereal milk!

I decided to roast the corn and make a cheesecake! The kernels were little golden nuggets in the smooth creamy, cheese filling. The crust was made with crushed corn flakes and corn pops! I also popped some popcorn and made a popcorn ball with salted caramel. For garnish I pulled some sugar (I also added corn syrup to the mixture) and crushed some tortillas for a list “dust” on the plate. I was very proud of this dish and wish you could have seen it.

I may just have to remake it for you all 😉

The youngest contestant, Justin was sent home. He is an incredibly bright young man with an even brighter future ahead of him! He just graduated high school and is on his way to culinary school!

The two best dishes in the elimination challenge were Shelly and Stephen who will act as team captains in LAS VEGAS!!!!


See you in Vegas!



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First Team Challenge!

What a roller coaster ride! OMG!

The contestants will split into their own teams of ten, but team captains will be chosen by the judges.
The contestants will split into their own teams of ten, but team captains will be chosen by the judges.


The 20 of us who remained arrived at an amusement park only to learn we would have to decide on our teams ourselves! I turned around there was my team… Charlie, Christopher, Jesse, Justin, Kerry, Nick, Shelly, Stephen, Veronica! Dare I say, we were the dream team? 😀

Our captain was selected by the judges and it was Kerry! He is an HR manager and is great with people! We learned we had to feed 500 people! Yes, you read that correctly, 5-0-0!!

We were to make fish and chips with tartar sauce and a burger with onion rings and coleslaw. The time flllleeeeww by! Before we knew it, a line as long as my eye could see formed in front of us. We only had 10 seconds to serve the guest, before they had to move on (which means we would loose that vote).

Thru the chaos, the heat, the never ending crowd, the forgotten onion rings, our team communicated and stuck together! We were rewarded with victory!

After the votes have been counted, the Red Team celebrates their win!
After the votes have been counted, the Red Team celebrates their win!

The losing team had to face the dreaded pressure test and make a dozen cinnamon rolls in 45 minutes! The means making a dough and filling, rolling it up into a beautiful pinwheel, cutting it and placing it into the oven QUICK!

The cinnamon rolls got the best of the sweet, talented Darah.


There are 19 of us now! Who are your favorites?




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