My 2018 #CulinaryVoice Scholarship Competition for ICE

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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!

Please Vote for Me Here!

 

 

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Honey Mustard Ginger Chicken With Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half, lengthwise
3 scallions, chopped (including the dark green stock)
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thin
1 knob ( about 2 inches) of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
Ginger powder
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp honey Dijon mustard
1 cup water or chicken stock

2 small sweet potatoes washed and cubed

Instructions:

Season both sides of chicken with salt pepper garlic powder and ginger powder.

Cover iron skillet or Dutch oven with 2 tablespoons of olive oil get pan nice and hot.

Pan sear chicken for about 3 minutes on both sides. In the last-minute add your garlic and ginger slices. Remove the chicken pieces and set aside.

Mix honey, mustard, two tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 – 1 cup of hot water deglaze your pan with the mixture add chicken and sweet potatoes bring to a simmer and then place in the oven for 40 minutes covered.

Serve chicken with sweet potatoes on the side drizzle with the sauce or if you’re not doing paleo go ahead and serve it over a nice dish of white rice.

Not Your Mom’s Meatloaf Recipe

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Meatloaf was an American staple in my home growing up.  At least twice a month my mom served it alongside a boiled vegetable, an iceberg salad and rice with butter and salt and pepper – It doesn’t get more Americana than that!

Here’s a new recipe turning a classic on its head.  I snagged this recipe from Timothy Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Chef.  More than most dishes, this is one my kids ask for time and again and its perfect if you’re diabetic because instead of using bread crumbs, Ferriss’ recipe comes with baby belle mushrooms.

While visiting my family in Washington this past January, my daughter asked me to make this for everyone.  We enjoyed cooking, laughing and gathering around the table to enjoy this meal and one another’s company; which has become a new and welcomed family tradition at my Aunt’s home whenever I visit.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. fatty ground beef
2 whole eggs
3 scallions chopped
1 large yellow onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
6 medium mushrooms minced
1 large handful of fresh spinach
3 – 4 oz. Chevre goat cheese
2 tbsp. tomato paste
4 shakes of cayenne pepper
3-finger pinch of oregano
2 3-finger pinches of salt
6 coarse grinds of black pepper
1 tsp. turmeric (Not in Ferriss’ recipe but I add to almost every dish now)
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (1 chopped and the other whole for garnish)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 F

Mix meat with eggs. Then add chopped scallion, onions and garlic and mix well. Add minced mushrooms (I mince in a food processor to get them really small) and mix all together with hands and then add the spices.

Lay out about 18″ of plastic wrap on the counter and transfer the meat mixture on the plastic and begin to flatten out.

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Add the spinach and then goat cheese across one side of the loaf, reaching the ends. Then lift one end of the plastic wrap and begin to gently roll up the loaf, pulling back the plastic so it doesn’t roll into the loaf.

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Pull together the sides enclosing all the goodness and transfer to a baking dish. Frost the top of the loaf with the tomato paste and chopped rosemary. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until the middle reaches 150 F with a thermometer.

I take all that juice that is in the bottom of my pan and make a delicious gravy.

Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and serve to those you love the most!

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UPDATE!!

While home visiting my father and his girlfriend in California, I enhanced this recipe by adding a layer of thick, smokey-sweet, peppery bacon to the top.  It took it to the next level for me.  #everyonelovesbacon #baconmakesitbetter #bacon

Post-Holiday Cooking: Here’s a Quick & Easy Sausage & Egg Pie Recipe

wp-1484173950945.jpgFrom stuffing, basting, patting, pricking, roasting and toasting, most of us foodies who refer to the holiday season as the “Olympics of Family Cooking,” have taken a deep sigh of gratitude for the love and joy that was shared amongst our family and friends.

All the gifts have been opened, clothes tried on (and modeled on the living room runway) and Google Home was streaming music at our demand when I noticed that I was starving! But, I was also tired and didn’t have the energy to create breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  But clearly, we all needed to eat.

So, here is a quick go-to recipe I like to use that comes loaded with the right amount of nutrition, salty savoriness, and warmth.  This pie oozes with comfort and cozy post-holiday sit-around-the-house goodness.  I like to think of it as alinner (lunch and dinner) dish or a classic brunch dish too.

– Don’t worry, you’re not required to make your own pie crust, I promise.

Ingredients:

1 Pie Crust (for the inquiring minds, yes, I used the type you buy and roll out).
1 tablespoon of butter
1 good-sized shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4-6 sun-dried tomatoes loosely chopped
8 ounces of Italian sausage or chicken sausage (remove the outer skin and crumble)
1 three-finger pinch of sea salt
1 pinch of oregano or thyme (or both)
3 – 4 handfuls of fresh spinach or kale
2 cups of freshly grated California cheddar cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup of heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat and saute shallots and garlic until translucent. Add salt, oregano and thyme. Add the crumbled sausage, sundried tomatoes, and cook until browned. Add the spinach or kale and cook until the greens wilt and set aside.

In a pie dish roll out the pie crust and pinch the edges.   Add 1 cup of cheese on the bottom and then add the sausage mixture on top of that.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the eggs and heavy cream and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese (you can also use almond milk or any other milk/cream variation).  Season with a pinch of sea salt and mix well.  Pour the egg mixture over the sausage mixture.  Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.  I also added a little extra romano in this pie – I mean, can you blame me?  Take a brush and lightly coat the edge of the pie crust with some of your egg mixture for a crispy finish.  (not too much).

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Place your pie on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

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Special thanks to Mele Cotte for the inspiration of this recipe.  I use it in many reincarnations.

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Here is one I made with Kale