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!
Hugs & Kisses wtih Granny Mary
Kevin Twomey Photography
Kale, Chicken and Lentil Soup
Beef Stew, Photo by Jason Homa
Beefy Nachos with Guacamole, Photo by Jason Homa
Double the batch
Grilled Pork Chops with Rosemary, Garlic, Bay Leaf and Thyme Infused Olive Oil, Photo by Jason Homa Photography
Key Lime Cake Batter Photo by Jason Homa Photography
My Grandmother, Leona Mae Berg-Strickland
Bay Leaf and Garlic Infusing
Photo by Jason Homa
Tasty Kale Salad, Photo by Kevin Twomey
Infusing the Olive Oil wtih Lemon, Instagram photo taken by Dena Ferreira
Photo by Jason Homa
Arroz Con Pollo, Photo by Jason Homa Photography
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
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp honey Dijon mustard
1 cup water or chicken stock
2 small sweet potatoes washed and cubed
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.
Basil Pesto by Dena Ferreira, Photo by Jason Homa Photography
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (I triple wash them first then dry)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts (I often use walnuts or a combination of nuts)
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add a little more than 1/3 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.
Great over pasta dishes, tomatoes, fish, beef, sandwiches, salads and crostinis.
Basil Pesto Preserve by Dena Ferreira, Photo by Jason Homa Photography