I almost completely forgot to share my recent entry into the Institute of Culinary Education’s 2018 #CulinaryVoice Scholarship Contest! So here’s the deal:
I’m entering to win a full scholarship (valued at $160,000 dollars) to perfect my cooking skills, learn the business aspects of running a restaurant or catering business and to bring professional cooking classes to group homes like The Mentor Network in Ewing, NJ.
I’ve dreamed of having a restaurant but have been told many times to do something else because most restaurants don’t succeed, and on and on, etc. While that may be true, I have never lost my passion for cooking for others and for learning.
While home visiting my family on the west coast, they always say, ”Dena, you should cook professionally.” Oh sure, I say. This last visit home my father flat out said, “Do what you’re passionate about,” and my daughter Emma said, “Mommy just cook for others, you know you love it.”
So, along comes this contest and here we are. Please vote for me to win a full scholarship to The Institute of Culinary Education. Your vote would mean the world to my kids and I!
Key Lime Cake Batter Photo by Jason Homa Photography
Double the batch
Bay Leaf and Garlic Infusing
Photo by Jason Homa
Infusing the Olive Oil wtih Lemon, Instagram photo taken by Dena Ferreira
Hugs & Kisses wtih Granny Mary
Arroz Con Pollo, Photo by Jason Homa Photography
Kale, Chicken and Lentil Soup
Tasty Kale Salad, Photo by Kevin Twomey
Photo by Jason Homa
Grilled Pork Chops with Rosemary, Garlic, Bay Leaf and Thyme Infused Olive Oil, Photo by Jason Homa Photography
Beef Stew, Photo by Jason Homa
Kevin Twomey Photography
My Grandmother, Leona Mae Berg-Strickland
Beefy Nachos with Guacamole, Photo by Jason Homa
What can you do with all those leftover celery stocks and carrots from your winter soups? Chop a few up and throw them in with a tomato sauce and a pound of ground beef and you’ve got a Bolognese that is simple, warm, comforting and satisfying.
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion chopped
2 large celery stocks finely chopped
2 large or 4 medium carrots finely chopped
3 large cloves of roasted garlic or raw
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
1 cup bone broth or red wine (or both)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon of turmeric – (not traditionally Italian but it is my new obsession to aide with inflammation)
1 bay leaf
1 handful of chopped fresh parsley (flat or curly – I combined them in this recipe)
6 or 7 large basil leaves chopped
Grana Padana cheese grated
1 pound fresh pasta
Heat heavy deep pan on medium, with olive oil and saute onions, celery, and carrots – add salt, pepper, red pepper, and turmeric – until soft, add garlic for another 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add tomato paste until mixed in completely. Deglaze the pan with a bit of bone broth and/or wine until evaporated. Add meat and cook through, breaking up lumps with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining broth/wine and stir for about a minute. Add the tomato sauce and bay leaf. Cook on low or in the oven at about 275 F if using a Dutch Oven for about 1 hour.
Serve over your favorite pasta and top with fresh basil, parsley, and Grana Padana cheese.
Last weekend we visited the Farmer’s Market in Cold Spring, NY and picked up a delicious spinach fettuccini from the Knoll Krest Farm, Hudson Valley Farmhouse. Here’s a little look: I admit it may be my new favorite pasta. It melted in my mouth like butter!
Recipe for Salted Caramel:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine the sugar with 1/4 cup cold water and stir to combine. Cook, without stirring, until the sugar has turned a deep amber hue, approximately 10 to 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, warm the cream in a small saucepan. When the caramel is ready, slowly whisk in the warm cream and continue simmering the mixture until it is smooth, another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, then whisk in the butter, and then the salt, to taste. Serve warm or save for later.
Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Jason and I are off to Fairway to shop for the essentials.
Drizzling Homemade Salted Caramel Over the Sliced Apples
Fresh Salted Caramel by Dena Ferreira