Top Toas-Tite: The Improv Challenge

Boy and I are big Top Chef fans.  We’ve seen every season, plus the new Top Chef Just Desserts and the last Top Chef Masters.  One of our favorite challenges is the improv challenge. Here’s the scenario.  Tom and Padma (the judges) tell the contestants they get the night off – they get to go to an improv show.  The contestants show up, thinking they’re going to have a good time.  As the show goes on, the improv actors ask for some audience participation.  They pull out a white board and ask for 3 categories of words – a color, an emotion, and an ingredient.  Think something like “purple, depressed, bacon.”  What’s this?  That’s right.  It’s a Top Chef challenge.  Now the contestants have to go back to the kitchen and make a dish exemplifying all three of their words. So now for the Toas-Tite version.  Boy and I wrote down 4 colors, 4 adjectives, and 4 ingredients on pieces of paper.  Then we put each bunch into hats and drew.  Here’s what we ended up with…

First “Improv” Toas-Tite Combo:

  • Orange
  • Chocolate
  • Luscious

Second “Improv” Toas-Tite Combo:

  • Green
  • Fruit
  • Sweet

Third “Improv” Toas-Tite Combo:

  • Blue
  • Seafood
  • Warm

Fourth “Improv” Toas-Tite Combo:

  • Purple
  • Bacon
  • Old-fashioned

This week (to make up for our rather sad lack of Toas-Titing over the last month), we’ll be rolling out all four of our recipes.  (Un)fortunately, we don’t have Chef Tom Colicchio or Chef Hubert Keller judging our Toas-Tites so you’ll have to put up with our very biased opinions.   To kick it off…here is our….

Luscious Orange Chocolate Toas-Tite


  • 1.5 Tbsp of crumbled dark chocolate with orange (we used a Theo organic and fair trade chocolate bar)
  • 2-3 candied orange slices*, diced
  • 2 slices of white bread
  • Butter

* We made homemade candied oranges.  See the instructions for  these instructions as well.

Candied Orange Directions

  1. To start, prep your candied orange slices.
  2. Slice one thick skinned navel or Valencia orange into 1/4-inch slices.
  3. Bring 1.5 cups of water with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar to boil.
  4. Add the slices to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-high.
  5. Let the oranges simmer for about 30 minutes, turning them over maybe two or three times.  The oranges are done when they are translucent and tender but not falling apart.
  6. When they’re ready to go, pull them carefully out of the pot and let them cool on a wire rack.  If your orange isn’t super sweet or if you have more of a sweet tooth, coat the oranges in a bit of extra sugar.

Toas-Tite Directions

  1. Butter one side of each piece of bread.
  2. Place the bread, buttered side toward the metal, into the Toas-Tite grill.
  3. Layer the diced candied orange onto the center of one piece of bread.
  4. On top of that, layer the crumbled dark chocolate.
  5. Carefully close your Toas-Tite and toast away.
  6. When you’ve reached desired toastiness, remove the Toas-Tite sandwich carefully and let cool.
  7. Then take a bite and revel in the luscious orange chocolatey-ness.

Judging (i.e. Kitchen Notes)

For this Toas-Tite, I would recommend a white bread or sourdough.  These will keep the spotlight on the filling, both in terms of texture or flavor.

At first I wasn’t so sure about this Toas-Tite after I pulled it out of the grill.  After I cut into the sandwich and tasted the melted chocolate on the knife, I was a little concerned it was too bitter.  However, when taking a complete bite, the candied sweetness of the orange melded beautifully with the dark chocolate.  The high quantity of cocoa powder could have been bitter without the sweet orange and the sweet orange could have been too sweet without the cocoa powder.  The combination went very well together and it was nice to have the extra citrus from the orange-chocolate bar.  If you’re looking for a rich Toas-Titey dessert without any overkill sweetness, this is a great one.


by Girl

Tags: ,

Categories: Sweet Toas-Tites


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