Mystery pile #1: First meal

A couple days ago Cambridge produced the first mystery pile meal.  She used all the crossed out ingredients…

  • A baguette
  • Applewood bacon
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Chicken breast
  • Eggs
  • Swiss cheese
  • Lemons
  • High class $7 bottle of wine with the twisty cap
  • Shrimp

…to make a lemon, butter, and dill salmon with a lemon basil ice cream.  Holy shit, they were amazing.

She now has to make a meal with the remainder of the mystery pile: baguette, bacon, chicken breast, shrimp, and swiss cheese.  My expert culinary opinion?  Toss all of them into a bowl, heat, stir.  Done.

What would you have made?  You’re not limited to the mystery pile items, but you get bonus points if you use them all in one meal.

What should I purchase for the next mystery pile?  I will get five things based on the comments here:

First two suggestions get purchased automatically assuming 1) I can find them and 2) they’re with in reason, so nothing that costs hundreds of dollars and no recommending human heart or anything.

The remaining three will be chosen by me from all remaining comments.

PERSONAL: Sorry to disappoint you, Julian.
PERSONAL: Happy birthday, Hitch.
PERSONAL: Mid day lab pics from the wife.
PERSONAL: The corrupting power of fame and my love for my commenters.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • JMSpencer

    Dates should definitely be in the next Mystery Pile

  • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

    Cogniac. You can get a cheap one for alcohol-based cooking.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Get some snow peas and some apricots

  • Ashley F. Miller

    Open with a shrimp cocktail, followed by a toasted open faced shredded baked chicken, swiss, maple bacon, granny smith apple sandwich (on the baguette).

    • Ashley F. Miller

      I would actually double toast this. Toast the baguette, then toast again to melt the cheese.

  • Zed

    Need more greens! Spinach or Cabbage.

  • KirikaSena

    One option is Cajun spiced bacon wrapped shrimped for an appetizer, then use the chicken (marinated) and Swiss on the toasted baguette, with roasted red pepper.

    Damn, I miss eating meat. XD

  • Matty

    Cook the Bacon-try not to eat all before finished preparing rest of meal. an impossible task, but worth it.

    Split open the chicken and pound into flat sheet. Do this carefully since you will want to be able to use the chicken. place bacon and swiss in on the chicken and roll into a sort of loaf. Bake at 375 until the chicken is completely cooked and at 175-180 degrees F. Don’t skimp on this step, nothing puts people off of cooking than salmonella.

    Bake the baguette until it is crispy. Don’t put anything on it and eat it hot with the meal. Yum!

    Use the eggs, the lemon, the basil, and the dill. You can find many ways to make a relatively good sauce with these ingredients and unsalted butter and milk. Butter works best for this due to the fat.

    Cook the shrimp in a 3-1 water-wine mixture. Boil the shrimp for only two minutes. Rubbery shrimp are awful. Put the shrimp in the sauce from above.

    Pour shrimp sauce over cooked chicken and also use shrimp sauce for a dip for the baguette.

    Pour the rest of the wine in glasses, sit down with friends and enjoy.

    I have always approached food as an adventure and as one of those places and times in your life that you enjoy. Warren Zevon once said enjoy every sandwich. If my meal idea sounds like work, get as many friends in the kitchen and start on the wine earlier. Food should be a way to bring us together not a chore.

    And avoid pretentious foodie culture. What I mean is that when you watch these shows about food and cooking, you are given the idea that food somehow is about prestige. Fuck that. If what you cook is ugly and weird and delicious, you win. Presentation is for people that don’t understand food.

    Finally, try those weird vegetables that you wouldn’t normally try.


    Enjoy every sandwich.

    • Matty

      One other thing: Used all of the ingredients!

      Can’t wait for the next mystery pile.

  • neatospiderplant

    Yum! I LOVE basil in ice cream!

    I would make
    -Bacon wrapped chicken breasts stuffed with swiss
    -Shrimp salad with a dill, lemon and wine dressing
    -Tomato, bocconcini and basil salad

    served with baguette slices and high class wine.

    Since I’m left with eggs and want the bonus points, I will use them to make Brownies for dessert!

    As for next mystery pile ingredients, This one was really protein heavy, I think some fun veggies would be good. Squash, sweet potato and cabbage are some that I think could have lots of possibilities. Tomatoes are a staple in my house. There is so much you can do with them from adding them to salads, baking them in half with basil and mozzerella, cooking them in a sauce.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      “high class wine”

      You clearly don’t realize how we roll down here.

      If the wine costs more than $9, it’s too high brow for us.

      • neatospiderplant

        I meant “High class $7 bottle of wine with the twisty cap” but went for brevity. You are right, though, I should have specified.

        • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

          :P *hug*

  • Rachel

    My suggestion for the next mystery food pile: Capers
    (besides being awesome little flavor bombs, they’ve got such a happy name)

  • Makoto

    Sounds like the leftover items could make for some nice personal pizzas to me.

  • Alix

    This is the best idea ever. And since I’m new to my new vegan diet, I am going to do this one day just for the hell of it.

  • Parse

    Here’s what I would have done with the ingredients:
    Drink the wine, then use the bottle to pound flat the chicken. (Does that count as using the wine?)
    Dice the basil and dill, and mix them and another random spice you’ve got in the kitchen (I’m always a fan of chipotle chili powder) with bread crumbs, and use the EGGS to bread and cook the chicken.
    While doing this, fry up the bacon.
    Cut the baguette lengthwise, and make chicken sandwiches with the chicken, bacon, and swiss cheese.

    That uses everything but the shrimp and lemons; if you’re trying to use them all, cook the shrimp on the pan with the bacon grease, and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over them.

    I’m obviously nowhere nearly as talented as Cambridge, as what she made sounds delicious, but I’d at least have had fun trying to make stuff.

    As for my suggestion for the next mystery pile, I’d suggest scrapple. If you’re in an Amish-y part of Ohio, you can find it in any good butcher shop. Failing that, chicken livers.

  • xandrasings

    Lavender, chili powder, gelatin, and nutella come to mind.

  • Sarahface

    Harissa paste, honey, as others have said – vegetables (my personal favourites are anything Mediterranean-y, such as aubergine (eggplant?), courgette (zucchini), capsicum pepper, mushrooms (I quite like chestnut mushrooms, myself, but I don’t know how UK-specific they are or not.)) Maybe more fruits? A good real ale (craft beer? I don’t know what you call these things.)
    (The first two actually go together to make a nice marinade-type thing, but then the challenge is to use everything else.)

    This post brought to you by over-use of brackets.

  • Rebecca Hensler

    Eat the bacon eggs and baguette for breakfast and save the bacon fat.

    Shrimp Seared in Bacon Fat:

    Heat a skillet until it is quite hot. Melt at least a tablespoon of the bacon fat and add the shrimp. Cook about 30 seconds on one side and then turn them all over and cook about 30 seconds on the other, or until they are opaque. Toss with lemon juice and finely shredded basil and serve.

  • Mark W.

    This could easily all be incorporated (sans basil, cheese, eggs, and baguette) into a delicious risotto. Then slice the baguette on the bias, toast with the cheese, and cover with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and basil to make a quirky but delicious bruchetta.

    I can’t argue with the ice cream to use up the eggs, though. Good choice!

    I need to get me back into the kitchen more often.