July 19, 2010

Let's play "Doorknock Dinners"

Blog, you may not remember that awesome Food Network show from about ten years ago, "Doorknock Dinners," hosted by UK-born Aussie Gordon Elliott. Gordon would pop in unannounced at a lucky home with gourmet chef in tow, and said chef would construct a gourmet meal out of whatever happened to be in the fridge.

Occasionally I love to indulge in the home game of this show, that is, peruse whatever I have on hand and try to make the fanciest feast possible out of the ingredients. It's more fun than playing Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock, Blog! And Davie likes it too because he gets to eat the results.

Let's take a closer look at how yesterday's round of the game went down.

Scheduled on the weekly menu was tilapia. Other than that, I had a hankering to make use of the fresh cantaloupe I had on hand, and to somehow fit bacon into the mix. Why? Because everything is better with bacon, dudes! I also wanted to enjoy some of the gourmet olive oils we recently bought from Vom Fass. Yum yum good and good for you.

After some pondering and googling, I came up with this menu:

Bacon-Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia
with Cantaloupe Basil Salsa
Lemon Dill Pasta
Crusty French Bread with Garlic Dipping Oil

Scrumpt City USA, Blog. Proceed to dig the specific recipes....

Bacon-Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia
(serves 2)

1 - 1 1/2 pound tilapia fillets (5-6 pieces)
3 slices of bacon
1 cup panko or fine breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
Salt, pepper, parsley
1 T butter
1 T olive oil

Fry or microwave bacon until very crispy; crumble fine. Mix crumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper to taste, and bacon bits till well blended. Beat egg with a teaspoon of water till well blended. Dredge tilapia fillets in flour, then egg, then crumb mixture; allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Melt butter and heat with olive oil in large skillet or griddle. Saute fillets, turning once, about 4 minutes per side or until breading is golden brown and fish cooked through. Sprinkle with parsley and garnish with lemon slices or wedges.

Cantaloupe Basil Salsa
(serves 2)

1 cup cantaloupe, chopped
1/8 cup Vidalia onion, chopped
1/4 cup cucumber, chopped
1 T fresh lime juice
1/2 T fresh basil, chopped fine
Cayenne pepper

Blend all ingredients, add salt and cayenne to taste. Chill at least one half hour to blend flavors.

Lemon Dill Pasta

This one was a bit off-the-cuff: I whisked together about a quarter cup of fat-free sour cream with about 2 teaspoons of lemon olive oil and about 1 teaspoon of dry dill weed, and a little salt and pepper. Stirred the mix into about two cups of cooked and drained whole wheat spaghetti, and voila! So delish.

Crusty French Bread with Garlic Dipping Oil

Just that!

And for those of you who, sadly, missed getting to see the show, here's a handy video:

Meanwhile, I cannot help but also share, in the spirit of the mash-up (to which of course Blog and I are total slaves), hightlights from the "Iron Chef" episode of "Doorknock Dinners." It celebrates the good old days of the original, Japanese Iron Chef, with all its campy, "oh no! Ican'teatthatit'stoocharred!" glory.

So readers, is your cupboard a bit bare today? All the more reason to challenge yourself to a round of Doorknock Dinners!


  1. I never saw this show but we used to do it with a twist - no recipes allowed. Just throw whatever you have together in a way that makes sense.

    As you can imagine, we had some great results and some really bad ones. Yuk!

    Can't remember what we called it though. It was something like refrigerator roundup.

  2. Very similar thing, Eileen! And there is certainly no end to the fun you can have with food. I'm also reminded of a situation when some friends decided to invent a drink called the Bloody Irishman by combining tomato juice and Bailey's Irish Cream. They even devised a slogan for it: "The Bloody Irishman: It's Really Not that Bad." Hey, you don't know till you try.