Once a month or so, we invite a new lucky soul to attempt to conquer The Box. Their challenge: To create something awesome out of whatever ingredients are in the box. It's like Chopped plus Punk'd, only less terrible. This month, Campo's Matt McCallister attempts to make some Super Bowl appetizers that don't suck. (Primarily out of ingredients that do suck.)
McCallister was given two days to create one or two Super Bowl appetizers that elevate the variety of awesome, locally sourced (at Target on Abrams) ingredients found in the box. Box contents:
Velveeta (brick), Rotel, Oreo cookies (Double Stuf), Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers (Fuzzy Navel), Funyuns, Ruffles (Molten Hot Wings), Hebrew National Hot Dogs Ranch Dip powder mix, Archer Farms Multigrain Chips (Fiesta Seven Layer Dip)
And holy crap, you guys, he made us three freaking tasty, way-better-than-just-busting-open-the-can-of-Rotel-and-eating-it appetizers!! (Which is technically cheating, since he was only asked to create one or two appetizers. But when a chef makes you three delicious things instead of two, you don't say, "Hey, excuse me, dude -- that's one too many delicious things." You eat it. And you're happy. And holy wine cooler ice cream sandwiches, we were so very happy.)
When I posted a link on Facebook to the teaser post we did for this piece, McCallister had this to say:
WTF, indeed, Chef. WTF, indeed.
But after just a few hours, McCallister was able to turn "What the fuck?" into "This the fuck!"
This beautiful bowl holds some celery leaf, a few pretty carrots, Molten Hot Wings Ruffles and FRIED CHICKEN SKIN CHICHARONES, all dusted with about a teaspoon of Ranch Dip powder.
One thing ran through my mind as I ate this dish: Effin' hell, McCallister just invented Ranch and Hot Wings Ruffles, you guys. This chip's so good it should be motorboated.
And dear chicken that had to die so this dish could live, that fried chicken skin McCallister made out of you was otherworldly. As Nick Rallo and I were trying to politely taste the dish instead of just dumping the whole bowl in our face holes, Rallo reached for last bit of fried chicken skin and I almost had to punch him in his pretty little face. That shit was mine.
McCallister came out with his second dish just in time:
He goes, "So, these are just peaches and cream ice cream sandwiches." He made wine cooler sherbet and put it on an Oreo, y'all. Of course it was good. Bartles & Jaymes don't play!
McCallister told us, "This third dish was "Epic Meal Time-inspired. You gave me that Seven-Layer Dip chip and I decided I wanted to make 14-Layer Dip. So, here it is: Seven-Layer Dip with Seven-Layer Dip chips."
After one bite, then a second bite, Rallo goes, "I kind of want to go hide in a dark corner and finish this whole thing." I kind of wanted to do a sodium count on the whole thing. Funyuns+hot dogs+Velveeta+bean dip? There's gotta be a record here.
Here's McCallister with the details on all three dishes:
And finally, McCallister, on where that bean dip came from: "I was going to make my own bean dip, since there wasn't any in The Box. And so I'm sitting there smashing Peruvian beans and I'm like -- this doesn't make sense. So I went to 7-11 and just bought a can of bean dip."
And with that, Matt McCallister is the first person to add a shitty ingredient to The Box. Cheers, sir. And thanks for kicking the shit out of our box. Happy Super Bowl.