Vending machine Iron Chef...will it be an annual contest?

So I didn't win, and Eric Scott exceeded expectations on a well deserved victory. He took the prize for an outstanding boneless rib creation that included homemade BBQ sauce and cornbread.

But surprisingly, I actually made something that I might make again...probably not with the exact same ingredients. I opted for a simple sandwich with pork cutlets breaded with the potato chips. Believe it or not my contest entry was pretty good. What can you do with Orange Soda, Potato Chips and Strawberry Shortbread Cookies?!? Pork sandwiches with candied walnuts and arugula salad with strawberry vinaigrette of course! The big hit from our resident picky eater Dan Zarrow was Eric's sauce and my candied walnuts.

My takeaway from the whole thing? Patrick Lavery is an excellent judge. Seriously, the professionalism and thorough analysis of each bite. What a pro. Looking forward to next year. Of course no morning on my show would be complete without some hate on Twitter!


 

Eric Scott's Sticky Finger Boneless Ribs

These delicious ribs are a savory sweet blend of Asian fusion tartness and smoky sweetness

1 rack boneless pork ribs (about 3lbs)

1 1/2 tbsp Montreal Steak Seasoning

1 tsp kosher salt

2 Cans orange soda

3/4 Cups Ketchup

1/2 Cup Molasses

3/4 Cups brown sugar

1/2 Can orange juice concentrate

2 tbsp smoked paprika

1 dash Cayenne Pepper

1/2 bag potato chips (crushed)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375°

Trim ribs and cut into one inch sections

Season front and back with salt and Montreal Steak seasoning and place in a baking dish in a single layer. Pour just enough orange soda over the ribs to cover them half-way.

Cover dish tightly with foil and bake for about 35-minutes

Remove ribs from baking juices and place on a lined baking sheet to cool.

Prepare sauce by combining 1/2 can soda, ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, orange juice concentrate (not orange juice), and smoked paprika in a small sauce pan and heat on the stove until sugar is dissolved.  Add a dash of cayenne to taste.

Roll ribs in crushed potato chips, and pan fry in oil until crispy.

Brush sauce over cooked ribs, and leave enough sauce for dipping!


 

Bill Spadea's Pork Sandwiches with Candied Walnuts and Arugula Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Pork Sandwich.

Brine thin cut pork cutlets in orange soda, water and salt.

Crush potato chips and add panko bread crumbs. Spread on a plate.

Coat each cutlet with a generous amount of the potato chip breading.

Fry in canola oil until each side is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes depending on how thin they are.

Slice Italian bread or baguette 3 inches per sandwich.

Pork Sandwich Spread

Combine a cup of mayonnaise (the real stuff, not lite) with Tabasco hot sauce, capers a spritz of lemon juice and a little balsamic vinegar.

Spread on both sides of the bread and put one cutlet per sandwich.

Strawberry Vinaigrette

This can be served over arugula on the side or you can take the dressed arugula and add to the sandwich. I prefer the side salad with some arugula without dressing as an added green to the pork sandwich.

Separate the strawberry jam part of the cookie from the shortbread. Set the cookie part aside in a plastic bag and crush into a powder.

Chop up the strawberry filling and add a couple chopped fresh strawberries. Combine extra virgin olive oil with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and whisk in the strawberry mix.

Candied Walnuts

These will make a great top to the side salad or (as Patrick Lavery did during the judging, can be added to the sandwich)

Take a piece of parchment paper and a baking sheet. Spray the baking sheet with a canola non-stick spray. Then place the paper on top. Set aside. This is gonna be used to coat and cool your walnuts.

Melt a 1/4 stick of butter in a not stick skillet and mix in white sugar with a wooden spoon. Add a little vanilla extract and when the sugar and butter are combined - not too hot - low heat, add the walnuts. mix and heat until all walnuts are completely covered. After about a minute remove from heat and spread around on the baking sheet. take the crushed shortbread portion of the cookie and spread over top of the cooked walnuts. Let cool. Save some to snack on later.


 

Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea. The opinions expressed here are solely those of Bill Spadea.

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