CFE International Salt Fish Blogger Recipe Challenge 2017


CFE International Salt Fish Blogger Recipe Challenge 2017

CFE International Salt Fish Recipe Challenge 2017

BacalaRico Pollock Fillets with Grilled Romaine Lettuce, Tomatoes, Tarragon-Dill Buttermilk Dressing and Blue Cheese Crumbles

This summer fresh dish is grilled to perfection utilizing my hybrid smoker/grill, adding a depth of smoky flavor to the flaky texture of the grilled BacalaRico-Pollock Fillets. Once platted, the dish is doused with a creamy-herbed buttermilk dressing, a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar and crumbled blue cheese. The recipe can be served as a side dish in the form of a chopped salad or plated over long slices of grilled romaine lettuce for a more dramatic effect. 

Special thanks to the folks at CFE International for sending me a generous sample of their fine products to test. I was pleasantly surprised at the mild flavor of the salted fish and how well it withstood the heat of cooking. 

BacalaRico Chopped Salad

CFE International carries six varieties of salted and cured fish as well as, on the plank, oven and grill ready entrees. I chose the BacalaRico Alaskan Pollock Fillets for the challenge.

BacalaRico brand salted Pollock products, are exclusively sourced premium Pollock from the cold waters of the North Pacific. These products must meet CFE International’s strict quality standards and the finished product is inspected for quality, moisture and salt content to ensure that product specifications are always being met.

CFE International Salt Fish Blogger Recipe Challenge 2017Rehydrating the salted fillets is easy work but requires 24 hours of water bathing, rinsing, and a final rest in milk. The milk bath isn’t necessary when rehydrating the fillets however, it gives the fish a delicate-sweet flavor and further reduces the saltiness of the preserved fish. 

BacalaRico Pollock Fillets

Rehydrated Pollock Fillets

bacalarico recipe

BalacaRico Pollock Fillets with Grilled Romaine Lettuce, Tomatoes, Tarragon-Dill Buttermilk Dressing and Blue Cheese Crumbles
Serves 4
CFE International Blogger Recipe Challenge 2017
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For the Fillets
  1. 1 package BacalaRico Alaskan Pollock Fillets (package comes with 3 pre-sealed packets, use just one for this recipe)
  2. 2 cups water (just enough to cover fillets)
  3. 2 cups whole milk (just enough to cover fillets)
  4. 1 large shallot, minced
  5. 2 cups mixed cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  6. 1 tablespoons lemon infused olive oil
  7. 1 bunch fresh tarragon, divided
  8. 1 bunch fresh dill, divided
  9. Pepper to taste
For the Vegetables
  1. 2 heads romaine lettuce, sliced in quarters, lengthwise
  2. 1 bunch whole baby carrots, with tops
  3. 1 bunch fresh asparagus (optional)
  4. 1 bunch spring onions, sliced lengthwise
  5. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  6. 2 tablespoons chopped chives (optional)
For The Dressing
  1. 1/2 cup buttermilk
  2. 1/2 cup sour cream
  3. 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
  4. 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  5. 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  6. 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  7. 2 cloves garlic, smashed
For the Fillets
  1. Rehydrate fillets by placing 1 pouch of salted fish into a air tight plastic container. Add just enough tap water to submerge fillets. Rest fish for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. Pour off water and repeat this process 2 times more. For the final rehydration, pour 2 cups whole milk over fillets or just enough to cover the fish. let fillets rest in the milk bath overnight. Before cooking, discard milk and gently rinse fillets. Drain on paper towel.
  2. Season the bottom of a grill style roasting pan with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, 1/2 of the minced shallot, and cracked black pepper. Arrange fillets evenly in the pan. Sprinkle tops with black pepper to taste, remaining minced shallot, cherry tomatoes, and fresh springs of tarragon and dill.
  3. Cut romaine lettuce into fourths lengthwise and place in a large shallow baking dish. Using a vegetables peeler, remove butter skin from carrots and place in the shallow dish with lettuce, spring onions and asparagus. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat vegetables evenly.
  4. Heat grill/smoker to highest heat. Place roasting pan with fillets in the middle of the grill rack. Arrange lettuce, cut side down on grill with remaining vegetables. Close the grill lid and cook lettuce for 3 minutes or until charred but not wilted. This keeps the inner part nice and crisp. Remove lettuce to shallow dish and continue cooking the other vegetables until they are al dente and set in the shallow pan until ready to plate. Continue cooking the fillets until they are hot all the way through and tomatoes are wired (about 7 -10 minutes total)
For the Dressing
  1. Process all 7 ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste
Notes
  1. Garnish dish with
  2. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  3. 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  4. Cracked black pepper
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/
CFE International Salt Fish Blogger Recipe Challenge 2017

For more information about CFE International and their products follow them on social media.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BacalaoCFE/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bacalaoCFE
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/bacalaocfe/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bacalao_cfe/

Find CFE International products at these local groceries: Cardenas, H-Mart, Jetro, North Gate Markets, Safeway




Fried Rice with Black Sesame Pork-EASY RECIPE

Fried Rice with Black Sesame Pork

Fried Rice with Black Sesame Pork is made easy when using leftover cooked pork chops or chicken and store bought stir-fry sauce and rice. This is my go-to recipe when I’m in a hurry to get dinner on the table. Your family will love that this dish looks and tastes like a restaurant quality meal. 

The beautiful clay pot picture above was gifted to me by my sweet friend Chef Ava Marie the Autistic Chef and Owner of Autism Cooks food blog. It’s stunning and the perfect vessel for this satafiying meal. 

Fried Rice with Black Sesame Pork-EASY RECIPE
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
6 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
6 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 1/2 cups cooked rice (from store deli hot foods)
  2. 2 left over cooked pork chops or cooked chicken (I used left over smoked chops from dinner the night before)
  3. 1 cup frozen peas
  4. 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  5. 1/2 cup sweet onion chopped
  6. 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  7. 2 tablespoon sesame oil
  8. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  9. 2 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
  10. 2 eggs, beaten
  11. 1/4 cup stir fry sauce (House of Tsang Classic Stir Fry Sauce)
  12. 1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds
  13. 1/2 cup green onion, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Slice leftover pork into thin strips. Prep all vegetables.
  2. Preheat a large skillet or wok over medium high heat.
  3. Pour sesame oil into pan. Cook sweet onion, carrots, peas, and garlic for 2 minutes stirring frequently. Slide mixture to the side of the pan using a spatula. Add eggs and scramble. Once the eggs are done mix with cooked vegetables. Remove mixture from pan and set aside.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to hot pan. Once the oil is hot add 1/4 cup stir fry sauce and sliced pork. Cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently. Add black sesame and toss. Remove cooked pork from pan and set aside until ready to plate.
  5. Add remaining tablespoon of oil to pan. pour in cooked rice and vegetables, and add soy sauce. Toss to combine and heat through.
  6. Taste for seasoning. Add a drizzle more sesame oil and more stir fry sauce to taste.
  7. To plate the dish, scoop out portion into a clay pot. Add slices of cooked pork to each serving and sprinkle with chopped green onion.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/
Fried Rice with Black Sesame Pork

Fried Rice with Black Sesame Pork




Egg Fu Yung Recipe

Egg Fu Yung with Gravy 

Egg foo Yung is one of my favorite comfort foods and a dish my mother made regularly when I was growing up. I get cravings for this savory meal and because of its versatility and easy preparation, I eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If you’re wondering why the dish doesn’t look like the traditional Chinese style pancake, I’m still recovering from shoulder surgery and it turns out flipping a full size omelet shaped breakfast is more difficult than I expected with the use of only one good arm. The final dish was delicious but looked more like Egg Fu Yung scramble.

I had a few brussels sprouts in the fridge so I threw them in to add a wonderful crunch and delicious brussels sprout flavor.  In my opinion, Egg Fu Yung is not complete without the signature savory gravy! The sumptuous brown gravy has a silky texture and rounds out the flavor profile of this tasty meal.

Egg Fu Yung with Gravy
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 boneless chicken breast (sliced thinly)
  2. 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  3. 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  4. 1 garlic clove (minced)
  5. 1 green onion (white part only)
  6. 2 cups bean sprouts
  7. 1 medium onion (sliced thin)
  8. 2 cups brussel sprout leaves
  9. 6 large eggs
  10. 3 Tablespoon vegetable oil (divided)
  11. 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper (to taste)
  12. 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
FOR THE GRAVY
  1. ¼ cup soy sauce
  2. ¼ cup chicken stock
  3. 2 Tablespoon Oyster sauce
  4. ¼ cup cornstarch
Instructions
  1. Marinate chicken in 1 tablespoon soy sauce, ½ teaspoon sesame oil, 1 garlic clove, and minced green onion, white part only. Rest for 5 minutes in marinade.
  2. Cut the ends off Brussel sprouts and separate leaves.
  3. Slice onion thinly
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs till fluffy. Add to the bowl, bean sprouts and Brussel sprouts, onion. Toss to combine
  5. Heat a wok on medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to wok. Cooked chicken until done. Remove from wok and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Add chicken to vegetable and egg mixture and toss to combine.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon oil to wok. Place a scoop of egg fu yung mixture in the hot wok and cook for 2 minutes on one side. Flip and continue cooking until egg is set, about 2-3 minutes more. Continue until all mixture is made into pancakes.
To Make the Gravy
  1. In a small mixing bowl combine, soy sauce, chicken stock, oyster sauce and ¼ cup cornstarch. Whisk to combine. Pour ingredients into the wok and cook over medium heat until thick. Add salt pepper to taste. If mixture is too thick, add 1 tablespoon water at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Notes
  1. To Serve: Drizzle gravy over Egg Fu Yung. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped green onion tops. Enjoy this meal with steamed rice.
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/
Egg Fu Yung Recipe

 

 

 

 




Red Beet Risotto-Culinary Fight Club Challenge

Photo by Anthony Martorini

It was an honor to be invited to participate in the Culinary Fight Club Black Box Challenge by Cheferee and Fight Club Host, Anthony Martorini. This very prestigious and coveted cooking challenge was held at the Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show last weekend.  The event hosted two Culinary Fight Club Pro Chef Series Mystery Box Challenge’s. Competitors had 45 minutes to cook live in front of an audience and then create 2 perfect plate ups from the supplied box of ingredients plus one infused ingredient for the judges to taste.

Culinary Fight Club is a national organization that hosts live cooking competitions. At each event, attendees watch as contestants from home cooks to executive chefs race for their pantry in 45 seconds. Contestants get to choose from 15 provided ingredients. From there, contestants have 60 minutes to create the most gourmet dish that represents their take on our monthly theme. The audience and judges vote and decide on a winning dish.

Aside from being an incredibly fun event, Culinary Fight Club events exclusively give back to the 501(c) (3) non profit organization Fight2Feed, an organization that partners top restaurants with food trucks to provide service and support to hungry men, women and children in our communities.

Culinary Fight Club 2107

My competitors were professional chefs, Adam Pechal and Richard Pannell. Chef Pannell pulled out the win with only 4 points separating first place from third. Although I didn’t win, I stood up to the pressure of competitive food sport competing along side the pros. Here’s a photo of Chef Pannell’s winning dish Bourbon Chicken. Our esteemed Judge for the event was 2 Time World Burger Champ Chef Wade Fortin and a random guest judge from the audience. Sponsors, Bull Outdoor Grill and Gunter Wilhelm Knives. More Fight Clubs to follow in Los Angles, San Diego, Denver, Dallas and Philly.

Red Beet Risotto

Red Beet Risotto with Goat Cheese and Honey

When faced with a “Black Box Challenge” it’s always good to have a few recipes tucked away. The official rules allowed for 3 secret ingredients of the chefs choice. Thankfully, I’ve been working on a Red Beet Risotto recipe for the Oregon State Fair 2017 where I’ll be featured as a guest and doing a live demo the last day of the fair, September 3, 2017. I decided to use the base recipe as my secret ingredients for the Culinary Fight Club Challenge. My three secret  ingredients: arborio rice, red beets and organic chicken broth.  My strategy was to have a base for my dish then use the Black Box Pantry to complement the dish. Just a few moments into the challenge we were all given a required featured ingredient to use in our dish Thai Srira Srira Smokey Hot Sauce  .  I opted to add a protein to my recipe using chicken breast from the pantry items and to accompany the dish, I served roasted vegetables and candied Srira Srira bacon. 

 

RED BEET RISOTTO
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup arborio rice (do not rinse)
  2. 4 cups hot organic chicken stock
  3. 1 cup white wine (optional)
  4. 2 cups shredded red beets (peeled)
  5. 1/2 cup fine chopped onion or shallot
  6. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  7. 4 tablespoons butter
  8. 1/4 cup heavy cream
  9. 1 small bunch fresh rosemary
  10. 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  11. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Using a medium stock pot, heat pan to medium, add oil, chopped onion and risotto. Stir to coat all of the rice and cook until onions are translucent. Add shredded red beets and 1 tablespoon butter. Stir to combine. Begin making risotto by adding 1/2 cup hot chicken broth. After each addition of hot liquid, stir constantly until stock is almost absorbed by the rice. Continue adding stock until rice is al dente (about 30 min). Remove herbs stems and discard. Stir in remaining butter and heavy cream. Season to taste.
  2. Optional: If using wine add 1 cup to the hot stock before making the risotto.
  3. Candy Bacon: 1/4-pound bacon cooked. Remove bacon from pan leaving about 1 tablespoon bacon fat. Add 1/4 cup Srira Srira Sauce reduce by half. Return bacon to pan and allow to cook until bacon is caramelized (about 5 minutes)
  4. 1 Chicken breast filleted, seasoned both pieces with salt and pepper and sauté in 1 teaspoon oil. Deglazed pan with 1/2 cup chicken stock and 1/4 cup Srira Srira Sauce. Use to dress chicken when platting dish.
  5. Mixed roasted vegetables: sauté in olive oil, 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms, 1/4 cup chopped carrot, 1/4 cup sliced leeks.
Notes
  1. Arrange chicken near or over risotto, add candy bacon and roasted veggies to plate, and serve
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/
 

I was thrilled to have my husband Blake step into the Culinary Fight Club ring as my sous. I’m still in the process of recovering from shoulder surgery so he helped with all the chopping and stirring required. We had an amazing time together. He tells me he a professional sous after helping me win the Food Network’s Clash of the Grandmas!! I think he’s right! 

Blake

My sweet Blake looking fine in his apron!

 

 




2016 World Food Championships Blogger Summit NEWS!

2016 World Food Championships Blogger Summit NEWS!

WFC Blogger Summit 2016

From Left: Kim Banick, Denise Romeo, Suzanne Clark, Debbie Reid, Veronica Callaghan, Lisa Keys, Rebecka Evans

This year at the World Food Championships 2016 Blogger Summit, Bloggers were treated to the WORKS in Orange Beach, Alabama!  

Blogger Summit’s Amy Green, Staff and Mike McCloud owner of MMA Creative, showered fifty Food, Style and Travel Bloggers to luxury accommodations at the TURQUOISE PLACE. Located on some of the most pristine white-sugar, sand beaches in the area. Our accommodations were over-the-top luxury, three bedroom 2400 sq. ft. condominiums, complete with beautiful ocean front views, living room, gourmet kitchen, washer and dryer, outdoor cooking area and hot tub. The master suite was as large as some people’s homes not to mention, the opulent master bath and walk-in closet. Wonderful accommodations, perfect for Family reunions, and holiday travel, left us all feeling very pampered!

Turquoise Place

Blogger Summit 2016

Sand, Sun and a whole lot of fun!!

DAY ONE

Intensive training with Kay Maghan, Public Relations Manager, Gulf Shore, Orange Beach Tourism, Dr. Bill Walton (“Dr. Oyster”) Auburn University Shellfish Lab as well as, Hydrogen Power Project, renewable energy study with President Ted Wampler, Jr. Wampler’s Farm Sausage. We were also treated to a stellar demo by Hormel Chili’s “BroTorch Boys” cooking two dozen hotdogs with a 50 foot flame thrower in the new food trend “Brotorching!” We all got a chance to fire up the Brotorch which was quite exhilarating. Hormel and the Brotorch Boys gifted all the bloggers with their own blow torch! Thanks Hormel! 

Michael Sewall, renowned UK photographer shared tips for food photography. Our final challenge of the day, create a tailgate sandwich with WFC 2016 Food Sponsors, Saucy Mama and Wickles Pickles then photograph our delicious creations. I made an Orange Habanero Pesto Italiano Wrap, it was a giant sandwich, delicious and well received by my fellow bloggers. 

Orange Habanero Pesto Italiano

My scrumptious Orange Habanero Pesto Italiano

Brotorch Blogger Summt 2016

Brotorch Blogger Summt 2016

Then this happened….Luxury Coffee Break with Chef Brian David Scott and his cup of luxury hand-picked, hand wash, hand roasted coffee. This 5-star cup of coffee cost $1200 per pound. I was quite sure that this coffee was none other than Kopi Luwak aka cat poop coffee however, I was unable to get an answer to the origin of the coffee blend. Needless to say, it was very tasty and a treat but I’d be hard set to pay $1200 per pound to experience it again. Special thanks to Amy Green for this delicious indulgence!!

$1200 per pound coffee

Luxury coffee break-$1200 per pound coffee

Wickles Pickles by Rebecka Evans

My photo shoot of Wickles Pickles

DAY TWO

We had a full day tour of beautiful beautiful Bayou La Batre, Alabama; Murder Point Oyster Farm, the Olympic Shellfish crabmeat processing plant and the Graham Shrimp Company.  That same day we enjoyed some sweet southern hospitality at a Low Country Boil, hosted by Graham Shrimp Company and members of Organized Seafood. We ate piles of fresh oysters, fried and steamed shrimp, potato salad corn and all the fixings, plus homemade banana pudding for dessert. It was some kinda delicious!

Stuffed to the gills, we all rolled back on the bus headed for the Homeport Marina and one of Alabama’s favorite restaurants, LuLu’s. Lucy Buffet is sister to the renowned singer-song writer, Jimmy Buffett and owner of this very popular tourist destination. I honestly didn’t think I could put another bite of food in my mouth after eating that amazing Lowcountry boil but once I tasted the red snapper, I was done for! We learned that the red snapper was the fresh catch of the day and to prove it, all we had to do was check out the FISH TRAX app.

Fish Trax™, an electronic fishery information platform that helps industry, marketers, and fishery managers collect, analyze, and share information that is critical for the success of their fishery.

Developed initially by a collaboration of fishermen and scientists for managing fisheries in near-real time, the Fish Trax™ system has evolved to become an important tool for consumers who want to know more about the seafood they eat –including the origin and harvest area of a particular fish.

Needless to say, we ate some of the freshest fish a restaurant can produce! I’m hoping the idea catches on in other coastal regions.

DAY THREE

Blogger summit was all about World Food Championships 2016. We attended the media kick off in the morning where we met the Mayor and listened to three Experts share their knowledge. Suzanne Clark, owner of Living a Creative Life , award-winning home cook and two-time 10 K winner of the Pasta World Food Championships as well as, TV personality. Suzanne shared insight on what it takes to be a TV personality, and award winning competitive cook. I love that she’s a star and my friend too!! Donna Bennar, owner of SWOON Talent spoke about her agency and shared her tips on how to become a successful blogger and tv personality. We also heard from Darie Loretta O’Connor owner of Try The DisH Radio which airs 9PM CST Saturday’s out of St. Louis on 1380ThePulse!

The Blogger Summit finale was ripe with a food champ judging class and the honor of judging the first round of World Food Championships Dessert category. I’m now a gold card holding E. A. T. certificated judge! EAT™ methodology, the scoring system that allows any WFC entry to be judged consistently using three key criteria: Execution, Appearance and Taste. I’m thrilled to be a certified food judge but I can honestly say that I’d rather be a food competitor than a judge; judging is entirely more stressful! 

At the end of the day, the WFC Blogger Summit 2016 was another wonderful event thanks to Mike McCloud and his staff.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2017. 

Sunset from Orange Beach Alabama

 

 




Garlic Goat Cheese and Bacon Soufflés: WINS Gilroy Garlic CROWN

The Great Gilroy Garlic Cook-off 2016 Winner Rebecka Evans

The Gilroy Garlic Cook-off 2016 Winner-Rebecka Evans Photo by Lisa Keys

PRESS RELEASE:

2016 Great Garlic Cook-Off Winner

30 Jul 2016 by Jason
Rebecka Evans Wins Top Honors in 2016 Great Garlic Cook-Off!

Amateur chef Rebecka Evans from Danville, CA claimed the coveted garlic crown – and a $5,000 cash prize – as winner of the 2016 Great Garlic Cook-Off at the 2016 Gilroy Garlic Festival on Saturday, July 30, in Gilroy, CA.

Gilroy Garlic Cook-off 2016 Winner

Photo by Lisa Keys

Evans beat out seven other finalists from around the country with her original recipe, “Garlic Goat Cheese Bacon Soufflé with Creamy Garlic Mustard Sauce”.

Second place (and a $2,500 prize) was awarded to Veronica Callaghan for her Roasted Garlic Pizza with Spicy Rosemary Caramelized Onions, Figs and Bacon. Third place (and $1,000) was awarded to Kelly Velasco for her Garlic Risotto Stuffed Mussels with Garlic Herb Toast. The remaining contestants each received $100. All contestants prepared their own original recipes containing at least six cloves of garlic. Source: gilroygarlicfestival.com 

 

The Garlic Court

The Queens of Garlic Court and Winners Great Garlic Cook-off 2016 3Rd Place Kelly Velasco, 1St Place Rebecka Evans, 2ND Place Veronica Callaghan Photo by Lisa Keys

Garlic Goat Cheese Bacon Soufflé Rebecka Evans

1St Place Winner: Garlic Goat Cheese Bacon Soufflé Photo Courtesy of Chef Jason Gronlund 

Covering the Great Garlic Cook-off in 2015 (see the article and past winners here) from the perspective of a blog writer was a pleasure but as a food competitor, not so much! I was itching on the insides to be cooking on that stage and knew at that moment, I had to create a winning recipe for the 38th Annual, 2016 Great Garlic Cook-off

This year, I not only garnered a place as one of the top eight finalists with my recipe, I won the coveted Gilroy Garlic Crown! You could have blown me over with a feather when they announced my name! Thank you esteemed judges, Gilroy Garlic Staff and assistants. I’m honored to be added to the list of Great Garlic Cook-Off Winners

The Great Garlic Cook-Off offers the best set-up I’ve ever seen at a food competition stage.

  • A large stadium with covered seating is beautifully decorated and complete with a Jumbotron so guests don’t miss any of the cooking action
  • A working sink (with hot and cold running water) is situated between an awesome four(4) burner gas range with a full size oven
  • Two large prep stations offer ample room to cook with ease 

Gilroy’s generosity goes even further, offering each food competitor their own personal chaperone/sous! This group of talented men and woman can wait several years to be chosen as a Cook-Off chaperone. Each Chaperone is eager to offer their undivided attention and “stay calm” presence to the contestant. They are willing to carry heavy boxes of food and cooking paraphernalia to and from the stage, help with food prep, clean up our mess and other miscellaneous jobs, too numerous to count. They even wash all your dishes when your done!! After seeing them in action, I can attest that they are the backbone of the show!

Gilroy Garlic Festival Barbara Orth

Gilroy Garlic Festival Barbara Orth Photo by Lisa Keys

Special thanks to my “Chaperone” Barbara Orth! She was a rock star behind the scenes, super chill under pressure and a blessing from above! I have a new friend and cooking partner for life! xoxo

Gilroy Garlic Festival

Barbara Orth and Rebecka Evans Photo by Lisa Keys 

Gilroy Garlic Festival Barbara Orth Rebecka Evans Photo by Lisa Keys

Mimosas to start the day off right CHEERS! Photo by Lisa Keys

My favorite aspects of Food Sport (besides winning of course) are making new friends, meeting new people, and competing and visiting with friends from across the country.

Meeting my long time Facebook friend, Veronica Callaghan for the first time and sharing top honors in the cook-off was the delightful! Despite our competitive natures and intent to win, we will be… “forever” friends.

Two longtime Facebook friends were also in attendance: Mary Edwards from Long Beach, CA cooked her dynamite dish for the judges: Lamb Tenderloin with Sweet Pea Risotto and Garlic Demi-Glace and Michaela Mercer Rosenthal, previous Great Garlic Cook-Off finalist. I’m so pleased to finally meet them both!!

Veronica Callaghan

Veronica Callaghan

I met Chef Jason Gronlund, Executive Chef and culinary strategist, Vice President of Culinary for Smokey Bones & Fire Grill and Judge for the Great Garlic Cook-off not to mention, Master of Ceremonies for several Gilroy Food Stage events.

Chef Jason was gracious enough to share his professional insights and advice as well as, offer his friendship to our group. He made fast friends with my husband Blake (pretty sure they are now drinking buddies for life) and offered to share his chef wisdom in the future. Believe me, I will be taking him up on the offer!

Last but not least, Lisa Keys, Owner of Good Grief Cook, Winner of Chopped Mother’s Day Edition and my dear friend, attended the Cook-off with media credentials. She covered the event with expertise and was my personal photographer for the day.  

Gilroy Garlic Festival Chef Gronlund and Friends

Veronica Callaghan, Chef Jason Gronlund, Rebecka Evans, Lisa Keys Photo by Blake Evans

The list of other contenders and their delicious recipes (not in any specific order) 

Andre Alban (Coconut Creek, FL)
Black Butter Skirt Steaks with Herb Garlic Mushrooms and Potatoes

Gloria Bradley (Naperville, IL)
Veggie Eggplant Mushroom Stacks, Green Chili Garlic Adobo & Peppadew Vinaigrette

Mary Edwards (Long Beach, CA)
Lamb Tenderloin with Sweet Pea Risotto and Garlic Demi-Glace

Greg Fontenot (The Woodlands, TX)
Beef Short Ribs in Garlic Balsamic Cherry Sauce

Betty Hass (Sanibel, FL)
Wasabi-Glazed Garlic Stuffed Shrimp with Sweet Garlic Rice Crisps

A resounding thank you to my sweet husband Blake, for supporting me in my Food Sport journey, and to my family and friends, for your love and encouragement and eating my mistakes! 

Finally…my winning recipe!! 

Garlic & Goat Cheese Bacon Soufflés with Creamy Garlic Mustard Sauce and Blistered Garlic Plum Tomatoes
Serves 6
Decedent goat cheese souffles served with creamy garlic mustard sauce and blistered garlic grape tomatoes is satisfying and delicious.
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more for buttering ramekins
  2. 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  4. 3 ounces mild fresh goat cheese
  5. 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  6. 1 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
  7. 1 tablespoon snipped chives
  8. Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  9. ¼ cup bread crumbs (for dusting ramekins)
  10. 4 large eggs, separated
  11. Boiling water
  12. 4 heads garlic (about 35 cloves) peeled and separated
  13. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  14. ½ pound bacon, drippings reserved
  15. 1/2 cups heavy cream
  16. 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  17. 2 tablespoons Bourbon (optional)
  18. 1 tablespoon honey
  19. 1 8-ounce package red and yellow grape tomatoes
  20. Salt and white pepper to taste
  21. 1 bunch Mache or baby greens
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter six 1/2-cup ramekins, dust buttered ramekins with bread crumbs, removing any excess by gently tipping upside down, and set them in a large roasting pan.
  2. Make garlic paste: To a small sauce pan, add about 30 cloves garlic and about 1 tablespoon water. Cook over medium high heat until all water is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and continue to cook until garlic is caramelized/roasted. Transfer garlic to a food processor. Add ½ tablespoon chopped thyme and a pinch of salt. Process until very smooth. Makes about 4 tablespoons paste. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Chop bacon and fry until crisp. Remove bacon from grease and set aside. Turn off the heat and keep pan with reserved bacon grease. Cool bacon slightly and chop fine. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. Thinly slice 4 garlic cloves and set aside until ready to fry. Mince 2 remaining garlic cloves. Set aside until ready to make blistered tomatoes.
For the Soufflés
  1. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat until lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and simmer over low heat, whisking constantly, until the white sauce is thick and has lost its floury taste, about 4 minutes. Mixture will be thick and creamy. Stir in the goat cheese, Parmesan, chives, thyme, 2 tablespoons garlic paste and season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer the sauce to a large bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the egg yolks one at a time.
  2. In another bowl, beat the egg whites at medium speed until firm peaks form. Stir one-fourth of the egg whites into the white sauce to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain. Add about ½ teaspoon crumbled bacon to the bottom of each prepared ramekin. Pour the soufflé mixture into the ramekins, filling them almost to the top. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden and firm. Remove the soufflés from the roasting pan using tongs
For the Sauce and Tomatoes
  1. Re-heat the pan with bacon grease to medium high. Fry the thinly sliced garlic until golden brown. Remove garlic to a small bowl to garnish soufflés leaving bacon grease in pan.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to hot pan. Add tomatoes to hot pan and blister for 1-2 minutes, shaking pan to keep them moving. Add minced garlic and continue to cook for additional 1-2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant but not browned. Remove tomatoes to a bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup hot water. Add 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon honey, 2 tablespoon remaining garlic puree, and whisk until incorporated. If using Bourbon…add 2 tablespoons and flame the liquor. When flame subsides, add 2 tablespoon butter and continue whisking until butter is melted. Pour in ½ cup heavy cream and whisk to combine. Add remaining crumbled bacon and cook for 2-3 minutes, and taste for salt. Add more if necessary. Turn off the heat and keep in the pan until ready to use. If sauce becomes too thick, add 1 tablespoon hot water
To Plate
  1. Run a thin sharp knife around the rims of the ramekins and gently remove soufflés, carefully transfer the soufflés to plates. Pour Garlic Mustard sauce over each soufflé and serve blistered tomatoes alongside the soufflés.
Garnish
  1. Top each soufflé with fried garlic chips and Mache or other mini greens. Serve immediately
Notes
  1. You will need six 1/2-cup ramekins and one large shallow roasting pan.
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