Riunite Bold and Beefy Texas No Bean Chili WINS South Regional Finals


Riunite South Regional Winner Rebecka Evans

Photo by Riunite Wines

Riunite Bold and Beefy Chili

Food and Photo By At Home with Rebecka

My Riunite Bold and Beefy Texas No Bean Chili WINS – South Regional Finals – Houston, Texas 2018

Riunite Bold and Beefy Chili

Rebecka Evans South Regional Finals – Riunite Chili Cook-off Winner with Houston Texans Kevin Walter

About The Wine:

Riunite, America’s #1 and best loved Italian wine for over 4 decades, is the leading source of classic wines from Central Italy’s Emilia Romagna Region, home of prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano and balsamic vinegar. Riunite is most closely identified with the Lambrusco grape, a variety native to central Italy. Lambrusco is said to be one of the oldest grapes in history, one that was first vinified by the Etruscans, dating back to before the first century BC.  When you are drinking Riunite, you are drinking history.

About The Contest:

Create an original chili recipe best paired with Riunite Lambrusco, writing up the recipe in 500 words or less. All ingredients must be readily available and be precisely measured. A photo of your recipe is optional. Five finalists will be selected to participate in a cook-off in Cincinnati, OH, prior to the pro football game on November 11, 2018.
This contest is one of 5 regional contests with the same theme. Each contest is judged separately and there is no national cook-off this year.

5 Regional Finalist Prizes: 2 upper-level end zone tickets to the pro football game in Houston, TX on October 7, 2018 and a $100 pre-paid debit card for required chili ingredients. Finalist will be required to provide their own ground transportation to and from the event and will receive a $200 pre-paid debit card for fuel, toll and parking expenses. Finalist’s guest must be at least 21 years of age. (ARV $500).
Regional Winner Prize: $1,000 check.

Riunite Winner South Regional Finals

Contestants From Left: John Anders, Dan Hill, Mary Janssen, Official Judge: Texans Kevin Walter, Claudia McCarty, and Rebecka Evans – Photo by Riunite

Game On

The folks at Riunite Wines really know how to throw a tailgate chili cook-off.

The South Regional Finals were held in Houston, Texas  at NRG Stadium on  October 7, 2018.

The five South Regional Finalists enjoyed a relaxed chili cook-off; complete with a delicious catered tailgate meal including lot’s of Riunite wine. Former Houston Texans Wide Receiver  Kevin Walter,  was one of the official judges for the event. He was such a charmer as he was eager to pose for photo ops and sign autographs right before the chili cook-off. After I won, he made a point to find me to say he loved my “expensive” chili. 

The event was well thought out and beautifully executed by the entire Riunite staff. Their generosity of gifting each contestant $300.00 for food, gas, and expenses. Each contestant was also given the Coleman stoves you see on the table, along with a cool blue apron with a water chiller pocket and retractable bottle opener. Food sport folks can never have enough cool aprons! 

The contestants brought their “A-Game” with deliciously diverse chili recipes. Listed below are the names of the contestants followed by their creative recipe titles:

John Anders Deep in The Heat Chili

Dan Hill Texas Snakebite Chili 

Mary Janssen Hit Me Chili 

Claudia McCarty Hot Tropical Trail Chili

There was not a bean in sight as these Texans really get the long standing tradition of NO BEAN Texas Chili. Focused and determined to win, they gave me a run for my money. The judges said it was one of the tightest scoring chili cook-offs in Riunite history! I’m honored to be the Riunite South Regional 2018 winner. 

One of the highlights of this contest was meeting my longtime facebook friend and fellow food competitor Claudia McCarty for the very first time. The love of food sport has enriched our friendship through this competition. I’m so proud to know her and call her my friend!

This was also the very first time my youngest son Christopher was able to attend one of my cooking competitions. Chris was a such a great help as he hauled all of my cooking gear and worked as my social media specialist. He also helped me drag my butt off the floor after tripping in a giant hole right before the event. My scraped knee is still healing, but he was there to collect his momma, helping her overcome the adversity and win. Christopher is also the editor of my food blog. Thank goodness for that because I write like I talk! 

There is no better way to end a day than to win the cook-off and to see the Houston Texans beat the Dallas Cowboys in overtime! Enjoy my chili! 

Riunite Bold and Beefy Texas No Bean Chili

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 medium onions, fine chopped

1 1/2 pounds New York Strip Steak

1 1/2 pounds Ribeye Steak

1 1/2 pounds Flat Iron Steak

1/4 cup oil, divided

1/4 cup minced garlic, about 10 cloves

1 8 ounces can tomatoes with chilies

1 28 ounces can crushed tomatoes

1 3 ounces can chopped green chilies

2 teaspoon cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dry Mexican oregano

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 cup Riunite Lambrusco Wine

1 12-ounce bottle of beer (I use Modelo Negro)

5 tablespoon chili powder

1 beef bouillon cube


Fine chop onions, brown in 1 tablespoon oil. Remove onions from pan and keep in a large bowl.

Chop 1 1/2 pounds New York Strip Steak, 1 1/2 pounds Ribeye Steak, 1 1/2 pounds Flat Iron Steak into 1 inch pieces. Cook meat in batches using about 1 teaspoon of oil for each new batch. Brown meat on all sides and remove to the large bowl with the onions. Continue cooking meat until all the meat is browned.

Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan and sauté minced garlic for 1-2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with Riunite Lambrusco wine. Return meat and sautéed onions back to the pot.

Add chilies, cumin, oregano, dry mustard, salt, garlic powder, tomatoes, beer chili powder and bouillon cube. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours.

Garnish with corn chips, sour cream, diced onion, shredded white or cheddar cheeses, and sliced jalapeños.

Riunite Winner South Regional Finals

These cute ladies loved my chili so much they asked to take a photo with me! So sweet – I have fans!


Aussie Grassfed Beef and Lamb Patty Melt with Mushroom and Bacon Gravy

American Fusion Patty Melt

My Aussie Grassfed Beef and Lamb Patty Melt with Mushroom and Bacon Gravy was inspired by one of my favorite recipes EVER, Low Country Bacon Gravy. My parents taught this girl how to love her gravy and I’ve been cooking the recipe ever since. Brown, giblet, milk, mushroom, and onion gravies have all found a home in both my heart and hearth.

The quintessential American food has graced many plates in my lifetime, so I had a hunch that the savory milk gravy would pair beautifully with my True Aussie Beef and Lamb and blended mushroom patty melt. My hunch paid off with a First Place Win at the 2018 Annual Mushroom Festival Amateur Cook-Off held in Kennet Square, Pennsylvania on September 8, 2018.

Lamb and Beef Patty Melt

The Mushroom Festival 2018 WINNING RECIPE: Grassfed True Aussie Beef and Lamb Burger, blended with portabella and white button mushroom, topped off with Low Country Mushroom Bacon Gravy

About The Cook-Off:

The 2018 theme is: Mushrooms Blended with Grassfed Beef or Lamb

Blended mushroom recipes require ground mushrooms to be mixed with a protein. As a trendy meat extender, the mushrooms create a unique, flavorful combination for burgers, meatballs, tacos, stuffing, or even a Bolognese sauce. The 2018 Mushroom Festival Amateur Cook-Off will focus on blending mushrooms with grassfed beef or lamb. At the Cook-off all recipes will be made with the Australian grassfed beef or lamb of our partner True Aussie Beef and Lamb.

About The Competitors & Awards:

This year’s Mushroom Festival Amateur Cook-off theme was Mushrooms Blended with Grassfed Beef and Lamb. The entries that came in were amazing and ranged the gamut from hummus and burgers to potstickers and chili. Cuisines ranged from Chinese, Mexican, Mediterranean, and American. Each recipe was tested and rated by a panel of local food enthusiasts and the following six finalists were chosen:

  1. Rebecka Evans (Me) of Pearland, TX– American Fusion Patty Melt with Low Country Mushroom-Bacon Gravy
  2. Jill Gilber of Philadelphia, PA– Exotic Spiced Beef & Silky Buttered Mushrooms over Hummus
  3. Devon Delaney of Westport, CT – Ginger Snapped Lamb and Mushroom Lettuce Cups with Lemon Mint Yogurt Sauce & Buttered Pistachios
  4. Janine Washle, of Eastview, KY – Hunter’s Style Beef and Wild Mushrooms over Creamy Parmesan Grits
  5. Lynne Laino, of Downingtown, PA – Kennett Square Gyros with Tzatziki and Crispy Shiitakes
  6. Daniel Richeal of Kennett Square, PA – Mushroom Risotto with Savory Mushroom and Lamb Meatballs

Each of the finalists will take home from the Cook-off at least a $100 Cash Prize, a $250 Gift Card and Party Pack from True Aussie Beef and Lamb and a Kitchen Aid 3.5-Cup One-Touch 2-Speed Chopper with Extra Bowl.

The first place winner will receive $1500 cash prize and a Golden Ticket to the World Food Championships to compete in the Burger Category ($1500 value). Second place receives a $300 cash prize and third place receives a $200 cash prize.  There will be a special $250 cash prize for Best Use of Butter with Mushrooms. 

The Official Rules:

  • Charged with the task of blending mushrooms and the choice to use either True Aussie Beef or Lamb, I decided to blend my mushrooms with both proteins. The 80/20 mixture of ground beef and lamb was the perfect bite of deliciousness set against the caramelized onions, domestic Swiss cheese, and mushroom-bacon gravy. I added my favorite bread, marbled rye to make a marriage of flavors that create this blended American Fusion patty melt.
  • Contestants were also asked to use Challenge Butter in their recipes to be judged in a special ancillary contest for a chance to win $250 cash prize for Best Use of Butter with Mushrooms. Jill Gilber (one of my dearest friends and fellow food competitors) won the contest with her Exotic Spiced Beef & Silky Buttered Mushrooms over Hummus. 
  • Finally, the contestants were asked to submit a photo of their recipe for a chance to win and additional $250.00. The photos pictured on my blog were chosen by a panel of judges as the winner. Doubly blessed, I won the First Place Prize of $1500.00 and then another $250.00 for my recipe photos. The cash prize is such a treat but the experience is priceless! 

Fun Facts About Cream Gravy:

  • People throughout this great nation have long made gravy with whatever is stuck to the bottom of the skillet, but Texas deserves a special citation for their love of cream gravy. It’s a simple, perfect meld of leftover fat, flour, milk or cream and—crucially—plenty of black pepper, stirred together over heat until it’s sufficiently thick. Spooned lavishly over a chicken-fried steak, it’s something akin to heaven in liquid form.
  • Texans can’t take all the credit for milk gravy, Low Country Bacon Gravy, and other milk based gravy are the cuisine of the Southern United States developed in the traditionally defined American South; influenced by African, English, Scottish, Irish, French, Spanish, and Native American cuisines. Tidewater, Appalachian, Creole, Lowcountry, and Floribbean are examples of types of Southern cuisine. In recent history, elements of Southern cuisine have spread north, having an effect on the development of other types of American cuisine. wikipedia.com 

Beef and Lamb Patty Melt Recipe

Aussie Grassfed Beef and Lamb Patty Melt with Mushroom and Bacon Gravy

Aussie Grass Feed Beef and Lamb Patty Melt with Mushroom and Bacon Gravy

  • Servings: make 4 burgers
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


15 ounces’ True Aussie Ground beef

3 ounces True Aussie Ground Lamb

2 pounds Mixed Mushrooms (baby portabella, white button) divided

1 1/2 cups Heavy cream

22 slices Bacon, (about 24 ounces) 16 slices cooked whole, 6 cooked and chopped, all bacon fat reserved

2 1/2 teaspoons flour

2 sticks Challenge butter, 1 cup

Marbled Jewish Rye Bread

16 slices Swiss cheese

1 large Sweet Onions

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary

water to thin gravy if necessary

Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Long rosemary sprigs for garnish

Mixed mushroom for garnish


  • Chop and cook remaining 6 slices of bacon. Leave 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in pan, reserve the rest. Drain on a paper towel and set aside. Reserve remaining bacon fat.
  • Slice large sweet onions thinly, sauté in 1 tablespoon bacon drippings and 1 tablespoon Challenge Butter until caramelized. About 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside
  • Chop 1 bunch large green onions (both green and white parts) makes about 2 cups. Set aside

Sliced Mushroom Blend:

  • Slice 2 ½-pounds mushrooms thinly. Heat a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoon bacon drippings and 2 tablespoon Challenge Butter, 1 cup of green onions, 2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary, and sliced mushrooms. Cook until crisp and caramelized, (About 5 minutes)
  • Season with a pinch salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
  • Once mushroom are slightly cooled chop mushrooms in the Kitchen Aid 3.5 Cup One-Touch 2 speed chopper. Set aside half the mixture for blended burgers and half for the for mushroom gravy.

Blended Burger:

  • In a large bowl combine 15 ounces True Aussie Ground Beef, 3 ounces True Aussie Ground Lamb, 1 cup chopped green onion, 2 cups cooled, chopped mushroom blend.
  • Divide blended burger mixture equally into 4 balls. Place the balls on a parchment line baking sheet and shape into 4, 1/4-inch rectangle patties.
  • In a large sauté or grill pan, melt 1 tablespoon Challenge Butter and cook burgers for 3-4 minutes per side or until just cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Reserve drippings

Mushroom Gravy:

  • Add 1 tablespoon bacon drippings, 2 tablespoon Challenge Butter to a large sauce pan. Heat over medium high. Once bacon drippings and butter are melted add 2 ½ teaspoons flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly.
  • Whisk in 1 cups heavy cream. Continue whisking until all the flour mix is incorporated and there are no lumps. Add remaining ½ cup cream and blend well.
  • Reduce heat to low. Add 1 tablespoon Challenge Butter, remaining Mushroom Blend, reserved burger drippings, and chopped bacon. Stir to combine. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and fresh cracked pepper. Keep warm

Making the Patty Melt:

  • Butter 8 slices Marbled Jewish Rye bread with Challenge butter. Using a large sauté or grill pan turn heat to medium and place 4 slices bread, butter side down in the pan
  • Add 2 slices Swiss cheese to each piece of bread, lay two slices bacon on top of 2 of 2 cheese breads and a cooked burger patty on top of 2 of the pieces of bread.
  • Top both burgers with caramelized onions, 2 more slices bacon for each burger, and top with 1-2 tablespoon mushroom gravy.
  • Cover the burger with second slice of bread and cook for 2-3 minutes. Carefully, flip patty melt over and continue cooking until cheese is melted, about 3 more minutes or until heated through.
  • Skewer burgers with rosemary sprigs and serve with additional mushroom-bacon gravy. ENJOY

Special Thanks:

Jennifer Daskevich, Owner @tikihutbrands.com Event MC, Culinary Brand Ambassador, True Aussie Beef and Lamb

Jennifer Basciani, Mushroom Festival Amateur Cook-Off and Culinary Event Coordinator 

John D’Amico J.D. Mushrooms, Inc Senior VP

Challenge Butter

Kitchen Aid Brands


The Mushroom Festival – The Mushroom Festival

Fun Fact About Gravy- My Recipes .com

Lowcountry – Wikipedia 



Cranberry ELOTE (Mexican Street Corn)

ELOTE Mexican Street Corn

My Mexican Cranberry Fiesta is complete with my last entry in the Cape Cod Select Blogger Recipe Challenge. For the side dish category, I created a  Cranberry ELOTE (Mexican street corn).

I was so inspired by the delicious cranberries sent to me by Cape Cod Select that I went all out and created an entire Mexican feast!

 First Entry in the Beverages Category (Alcoholic or Non-Alcoholic): 

Cranberry Margarita’s, 

Cap Cod Cranberry Recipe

These margaritas will whet your appetite as the perfect starter to my cranberry infused meal.

My Second Entry in the Salsa Category: 

Cranberry Queso Blanco Salsa  

Cranberry Queso Blanco Salsa

The salsa is packed with the fresh southwestern flavors, and the ideal dip for your chips. I also used the salsa as a topping for my Main Dish (not a category in this contest but a delicious entree for my Mexican Fiesta Meal).

Cranberry Chipotle Flat Iron Steak Tacos

Cranberry Chipotle Flat Iron Steak Tacos

If you’ve never had fresh-frozen cranberries on your Mexican Street corn, then you’re missing something really special. The sweet-tart flavor of the cranberries create the perfect bite when blended with the traditional flavors of Cotija cheese, fresh jalapeños, cilantro, and freshly roasted sweet corn.

ELOTE Mexican Street Corn

Cranberry ELOTE (Mexican Street Corn)
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
  1. 1/2 cup fresh frozen Cape Cod Select Cranberries, thawed, and rough chopped
  2. 2 cups cotija cheese
  3. 6 ears fresh corn
  4. 1 large jalapeño, seeded, ribs removed and chopped
  5. 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  6. 3 tablespoons butter
  7. 3 tablespoons real mayonnaise
  1. Combine crumbled cotija cheese, chopped jalapeño, cilantro, and chopped cranberries in a bowl. Stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to plate. When corn is cooked, pour the cranberry cheese mixture into a large shallow dish.
  2. Peel corn husks back leaving them attached to the cob like a handle. Some of the husks will fall off. This is ok as you'll use the husks to tie the handle together. Remove corn silks and rinse the corn with cold water. Using one of the fallen husks, tear several long strips lengthwise to create a tie for the corn. Gather the husks together and tie neatly with one of the long strips. Continue this process until all the corn handles are tied.
  3. Wrap the husks in foil leaving the corn exposed
  4. Roast the corn on a 450 degree grill for 20 minutes. Turn corn every 8 minutes to ensure even browning on each side.
  5. When corn is tender and the kernels are charred remove them from the grill and take off the foil.
  6. Butter each ear of corn. Smear 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise over each corn and roll in the cranberry cotija mixture. ENJOY
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/

I’m enjoying this challenge so much because I’ve been given the chance to work with Cape Cod Select Frozen Cranberries. Their product is grown to exceed some of the industries highest standards as they are Non-GMO verified and hold GLOBALG.A.P. Certification (http://globalgap.org/uk_en/for-consumers/).

The Rhodes Family has been growing cranberries on their 800 acre cranberry farm for more than 75 years. It’s worth mentioning that they’re  a small, women-owned family business, dedicated to providing their customers with the highest quality product.

Using Cape Cod’s Frozen Cranberries is like working with fresh cranberries in terms of taste and appearance. Cape Cod Select Frozen Cranberries are individually frozen and perfect once thawed at room temperature. They are also delicious.

Don’t forget to follow Cape Cod Select on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest as they provide regular updates on products, contests, recipes and more. You can also check nearby stores for this great product, or order their frozen cranberries online

Chicken Egg Foo Yung Recipe

Chicken 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.

Chicken Egg Foo Yung

In my opinion, Egg Foo 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. Most recipes call for vinegar in the gravy but I omit it; the flavor is just too strong for my liking. 

Chicken Egg Foo Yung


Chicken Egg Foo Yung
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
  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. 1/4 cup shaved carrot
  7. 2 cups bean sprouts
  8. 1 medium onion (sliced thin)
  9. 1 can water chestnuts, drained and sliced
  10. 6 large eggs
  11. 3 Tablespoon vegetable oil (divided)
  12. 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper (to taste)
  13. 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
  1. ¼ cup soy sauce
  2. ¼ cup chicken stock
  3. 2 Tablespoon Oyster sauce
  4. ¼ cup cornstarch
  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. Slice onion thinly
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs till fluffy. Add to the bowl, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, carrot, onion, drained and sliced water chestnuts, and bean sprouts. Toss to combine
  4. 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.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon oil to wok. Place a scoop of egg foo 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.
To Serve
  1. Drizzle hot gravy over the cooked Egg Foo Yung. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped green onion tops. Enjoy this meal with steamed rice.
Adapted from Anne Stone (my moms recipe)
Adapted from Anne Stone (my moms recipe)
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/

Egg Foo Yung


I posted my recipe for Egg Foo Young with Brussel Sprouts and leftover pork last year. If you’re wondering why the dish doesn’t look like the traditional Chinese style pancakes, I’m was recovering from shoulder surgery. As it turns out, flipping a full size omelet shaped breakfast with the use of only one good arm is more difficult than I expected. The final dish was delicious, but looks more like an Egg Foo Yung scramble.

I had a few Brussels sprouts in the fridge, so I threw them in, adding a wonderful crunch and delicious Brussels sprouts flavor. Some Minced Chicken and Pork Egg Rolls would be delicious served with this meal. 

Minced Chicken and Pork Egg Rolls

Baked Salmon Puffs “Stella”


Salmon Puffs on the Stella Tray

The Oyster Bed STELLA Tray

Salmon Puffs served on a chilled Steak Bed

Salmon Puffs served on a chilled Oyster Bed “Steak” Tray

Salmon Puffs “Stella” Style:

Traditional salmon puffs are routinely fried in hot oil but my recipe gives them a new healthy twist baked in The Oyster Bed “Stella” Tray. The cooked puffs can be served on a chilled Steak Bed as an entrée nestled atop a crisp and fruity salad or served as an appetizer for a crowd. The Sriracha Remoulade is not only a fantastic dipping sauce it makes a wonderful salad dressing; all you need to finish the dish are a few lemon wedges and the company of your mom this Mother’s Day.

As an ambassador for the folks at the Oyster Bed Company I’m eager to create new recipes using their patent pending, multi purpose, multi function cookware. It’s not only beautiful its multi purpose function makes it a stunning vessel for any number of delicious recipes. 

Baked Salmon Puffs with Sriracha Remoulade
Yields 6
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Cook Time
25 min
Cook Time
25 min
For the Topping
  1. 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  2. 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  3. 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
For the Remoulade
  1. 1/2 cup sour cream
  2. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  3. 1 tablespoon mild pepper ring juice
  4. 2 teaspoon sriracha
  5. 1 clove garlic minced
  6. 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  7. 1 teaspoon hot sauce
For the Salmon
  1. 18 ounces wild caught canned salmon, drained liquid reserved
  2. 2 eggs slightly beaten
  3. 1/3 cup flour
  4. 1 teaspoon hot-sauce
  5. 1 teaspoon pepper
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degree F.
  2. Place the Stella Oyster Tray into the oven and heat until ready to make the puffs
For the Topping
  1. In a small bowl combine Panko crumbs, parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Stir to combine set aside.
For the Remoulade
  1. Mix all of the ingredients together and cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve
For the Salmon
  1. Drain salmon liquid into a small bowl and reserve for later
  2. mix salmon, eggs, flour, hot-sauce, salt, pepper together in a medium bowl
  3. Measure 1/3 cup reserved liquid, discard the rest. Add baking powder to the liquid and whip until foamy. Add the foam mixture to the salmon mixture and stir to combine
  4. Use oven mitts to remove heated Stella Oyster Tray from oven and brush olive oil lightly into each oyster shaped depression
  5. Spoon even amounts of the salmon mixture into each depression.
  6. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon topping mix over each and bake in oven for 25 minutes
  1. Serve with Remoulade, mild pickled pepper rings, and lemon wedges
Adapted from Lynette Glass (Longtime Friend)
Adapted from Lynette Glass (Longtime Friend)
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/

Salmon Puffs on the Stella Tray

Baked Salmon Puffs

To learn more about the Oyster Bed Company and their products visit the Waller Brother’s website HERE


Happy Mother’s Day

Pork and Peppers UDON Soup with Sesame Rice Sticks

Pork and Peppers UDON Soup with Sesame Rice SticksPork and Pepper Udon Soup with Sesame Rice Sticks

Here’s my first entry for the Fortune Noodle Company Soup Contest 2017 – Pork and Peppers UDON Soup with Sesame Rice Sticks.

East meets West in this hearty soup recipe with inspiration from of one of my favorite American classics, stuffed pepper soup. Married to Eastern flavors this dish features Fortune Noodle UDON Soup Original Flavor noodles and classic Asian seasonings. 

This easy to make recipe is whipped up in no time for a delicious dinner for two or a hearty BIG bowl for one. The perfect blend of flavors with a mild-slow heat from the jalapeño peppers enhanced by the rich broth while the ground meat brings a hearty bite balanced by sweet red and green peppers. Garnish with cilantro and green onion for a satisfying East meets West UDON soup. 

The rice sticks are the perfect complement and just as easy to prepare using prepackaged cooked rice. Pre-cooked rice can be found in your local grocer near the rice isle. 

Pork and Pepper Udon Soup with Sesame Rice Sticks
Serves 2
Fortune Noodle Soup Contest 2017 - Pork and Pepper Udon Soup with Sesame Rice Sticks
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 1 package Fortune Udon Noodles Original flavor
  2. 1/2 pound ground pork
  3. 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  4. 1/4 teaspoon ground Chinese five spice
  5. 1 package Fortune Noodle seasoning, divided
  6. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  7. 1 cup green bell pepper
  8. 1 cup red bell pepper
  9. 1 medium tomato, chopped with seeds
  10. 2 jalapeño peppers
  11. 1 cup chopped onion
  12. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  13. 4 cups chicken stock
  14. 3 tablespoons gochujang sauce (or sriracha)
  15. 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  16. 1 10.6 ounce package prepared jasmine rice (grocery store rice isle)
  17. 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  18. 1 egg
  19. 1 tablespoon rice flour
  20. 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  21. salt and pepper to taste
  22. 1 bunch Cilantro
  23. 1/2 cup sliced green onion
For the Soup
  1. Place 1/2 pound ground pork in a medium stock pot. Cook over medium high heat stirring frequently to break up meat until browned. Add 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  2. 1/4 teaspoon ground Chinese five spice, 1/2 package Fortune Noodle Original Flavor seasoning packet and stir to combine.
  3. Remove ground meat from stock pot to a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. Remove seeds from 1 jalapeño pepper and chop into small pieces. Slice remaining jalapeño into thin pieces for garnish
  5. Wash and remove seeds and ribs from green and red bell peppers. Chop onions and tomato. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to stock pot then add jalapeño peppers, minced garlic, onion and tomato. Sauté mixture for 2-3 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  6. Return cooked meat to the stock pot.
  7. Add 4 cups chicken stock, gochujang, remaining 1/2 packet Fortune Noodle Original seasoning packet, and soy sauce. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium and Cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Add Fortune Udon Noodles (don't break apart) to the soup and allow them to soften in the hot broth for 3 minutes before stirring. Stir to distribute noodles evenly into soup. Serve with rice sticks
For the Sesame Rice Sticks
  1. Open prepared rice package. Remove cooked rice taking care to keep the block of rice whole. Using a sharp knife, slice rice into 2 inch sticks.
  2. Beat egg in a shallow bowl. Put rice flour and sesame seeds into a shallow bowls for easy dipping. Dip rice sticks into rice flour on both sides, shaking off excess flour then dip each side into egg mixture. Finally, coat each side of rice with sesame seeds and keep on a plate until ready to cook.
  3. Heat sesame oil in a sauté pan until very hot. Place sticks in hot oil and cook for 2-3 minutes on both sides. Remove from pan and drain on paper towel
  1. Garnish with jalapeño slices, cilantro, sliced green onion, and serve with sesame rice sticks
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/

Making Sesame Rice Sticks

Sesame Rice Sticks

You can purchase JSL Foods products at: Albertson, Lucky’s, Von’s, Pavilions, WinCo, Target or buy online. You can also find JSL Foods on Facebook and Twitter. 

JSL Foods Website: http://www.jslfoods.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JSLfoods/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JSL_Foods


Fortune Noodle Soup Recipe


Pork and Pepper Udon Soup with Sesame Rice Sticks

Disclosure: JSL Foods provided me the Fortune Udon Noodles in exchange for a recipe submission using their product. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you to my readers for supporting the brands that keep At Home with Rebecka cooking and shooting.

Three Cheese Quiché Lorraine – WFC 2017-Structure Build

Three Cheese Quiche Lorraine WFC 2017

Three Cheese Quiché Lorraine – WFC 2017-Structure Build

It’s time to share my Bacon World Food Championship Structure Build recipe, Three Cheese Quiché Lorraine.  I was so busy competing this year that I only had the opportunity to get one photo of my completed dish (see below). The photo above was taken of my final practice dish before competing in the Bacon World Championships on November 9, 2017.

Let me first thank my wonderful sponsor Saucy Mama. Suzie Barhyte and her wonderful company allowed me the pleasure to compete on Team Saucy Mama and use their amazing products in my recipes.  Also, Thank you Mary Alice and Collette for your support and love throughout the competition. 

Competing at such a large and prestigious event requires a lot of preparation and planning. One very important element in competing is adhering to the official rules. Below are a few of the details about the official rules for the opening round(s). 

The Structured Build for the Bacon World Championship is “Quiche Lorraine.” Competitors
are not required to use a specific bacon brand. Competitors will need to bring their own
bacon for this build. The Structured Build creates an even “playing field” by requiring all competitors to create the same type of dish. The competitors who set themselves apart from the field will have proven their culinary skills in creativity and execution within this structured requirement.

As defined, a Quiché Lorraine is savory open crust pie, filled with custard flavored with, but not limited to, bacon and cheese. Source: World Food Championships 2017 Competitor Packet

I love that professional chefs have to make the same dishes as home cooks just as much as I love that I have to cook like a professional chef to bring a restaurant worthy dish to win.

Competitors are also instructed to write a brief description that best showcases our recipe for the judges. Here’s mine. 

My Quiché Lorraine recipe is the perfect blend of French Gruyère, Applewood smoked cheddar, and goats milk white cheddar cheeses. The Gruyère satisfies with its traditional nutty and assertive flavors while the fruity, sweet aroma of Applewood smoked cheddar complements the hickory smoked flavors of thick cut bacon. The goats milk cheddar lends a certain and familiar tang; while a mixture of heavy cream and eggs create a creamy custard that rests atop a black and white toasted sesame seed and smoky bacon dust infused pie crust. For added depth of flavor, champagne honey mustard is infused into the filling and the crust receives a light brushing of the mustard before baking. Fresh snipped chives finish the Quiche adding color and mild onion flavor.

Without a doubt this is the best Quiché I’ve ever made or eaten. One of my competitors, Two Smokin Guys, NY (Galuski, Dave) made a perfect rendition of Quiché Lorraine. WOW! I need a slice of that pie!

Rebecka Evans Bacon World Championships 2017

Rebecka Evans Bacon World Championships 2017 First Round-Structure Build Three Cheese Quiché Lorraine

Three Cheese Quiche Lorraine Recipe

Three Cheese Quiché Lorraine Saucy Mama products used: Champagne Honey Mustard 

Three Cheese Quiche Lorraine
Serves 4
Bacon World Food Championships Required Structure Build
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
36 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
36 min
  1. PREHEAT OVEN: 350 F.
  4. 2 EGGS
  3. 4 EGG YOLKS
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/


Place Competitor Structured Build Signature Dish Round 1 Top 10 Final Score
1.    Team Saucy Mama-At Home with Rebecka (Evans, Rebecka) 92.375 91.625 92 93.8889 93.13334
2. farleys (Trumpold, Elizabeth ) 99.625 84.75 92.1875 92.0556 92.10836
3. Bob’s BBQ Emporium (Brumley, Robert) 95.875 87 91.4375 91.4444 91.44164
4. Culinary Assault (Coe, Stephen) 98 90.5 94.25 89.4444 91.36664
5. Maximum Chefort (Hurst, AJ) 93.875 94 93.9375 89.3333 91.17498
6. Blazin’ Blues BBQ (Richard, Dan) 89.625 96.375 93 89.4444 90.86664
7. Two Smokin Guys,NY (Galuski, Dave) 100 94.125 97.0625 86.3889 90.65834
8. Croix Valley Foods (Holter, Lu) 88.75 93.75 91.25 87.5556 89.03336
9. Lowcountry Wild Child (Kohn, Shannon) 96.25 92.375 94.3125 81.2778 86.49168
10. Jonathan (Giovannoni, Jonathan) 92 95 93.5 80.1111 85.46666
11. Sugarfire Smokehouse (Johnson, Mike) 95.875 86.375 91.125
12. pitmasterIQ BBQ (Kennington, John) 89.75 92.125 90.9375
13. Taste Of Wisconsin (Medes, Lorraine) 91.25 90.25 90.75
14. Fork and Company (Little, Chera) 96.25 83.75 90
15. Smokey Treats Bbq (Beranek, Matthew) 87.875 91.625 89.75
16. Cuisine with Colleen (Curley, Colleen) 89.875 89.375 89.625
17. Buzzcatz coffee & sweets (Hendrix, Juanita) 85.625 93.375 89.5
18. Yard Lobster BBQ (Lampkin, Craig) 84.375 94.125 89.25
19. Flora-Bama Ole River Grill (Gibson, Jon) 87.75 90 88.875
20. Fivestar Nacho MKE (Gonzalez, Nichole) 87.125 90.5 88.8125
21. Culinary Cartel (Griffitt, Elisha) 84.375 92.375 88.375
22. The Promo Addict (Bird, Russell) 92.125 84.5 88.3125
23. GastreauxNomica (Rivera, Sean) 87 88.375 87.6875
24. Wind Creek Montgomery Casino &Hotel (Hargroves, Kelly) 90 84.875 87.4375
25. Oink-A-Doodle-Moo 1559 (Bayless, Mark) 91.25 83.125 87.1875
26. Bowers, Jason 83.125 90.625 86.875
27. Sean Streete (Streete, Sean) 82.875 90.5 86.6875
28. Team Spruytte (Spruytte, Lois) 90.875 82.375 86.625
29. STI COLLEGE – Philippines (Montojo, Rhealyn) 91.625 81.5 86.5625
30. Workaholics Services (Talley , Jeremy ) 84.625 88.25 86.4375
31. My-Big-Fat-Greek-Kitchen (Geise, Andreann) 87 85.375 86.1875
32. Spice Your Life Rub Your Meat BBQ (Hogan, Michael ) 86.125 85.75 85.9375
33. Forrest Dilmore (Dilmore, Forrest) 88.625 81.875 85.25
34. the lamb and the wolf (athanasopoulos, michael) 88.75 77.375 83.0625


Team Saucy Mama 2017

First Round Top Ten Front Left: Rebecka Evans Bacon and Kim Banick Seafood with our sponsors Saucy Mama Suzie Barhyte and Mary Alice.


 At Home with Rebecka-Team Saucy Mama

From Left: Lynn Beamer, Rebecka Evans, Renee Robinson

Grilled Cheese Waffle Sandwich with Onion-Fig Jam and Havarti

Grilled Waffle Sandwich Recipe

Savory Grilled Cheese Waffle Sandwich with Onion-Fig Jam and Havarti

This delicious sweet and savory waffle grilled cheese sandwich was entered into a few cooking contest the past two years unfortunately, the recipe didn’t take home any prizes and has sat in my drafts folder since then. I decided my grilled recipe creation is just to yummy not to share so, I’m dusting off the cobwebs and finally publishing it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 


Savory Waffle with Bacon and Fig Jam
Serves 6
The savory waffles burst with flavor prepared with a mixture of fresh herbs, spring onions and garlic paste. The Waffles are cooked to perfection then smeared with caramelized onion-fig jam, thick slices of Havarti cheese, and then loaded with sliced off-the bone ham, tender roast beef and smoked bacon. Served with a spicy mayonnaise, this loaded grilled cheese sandwich will leave you wanting more.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 1/2 lb Havarti Cheese, thick sliced
  2. 1 lb sliced off the bone ham
  3. 1 lb sliced roast beef
  4. 1/2 pound thick cut bacon (about 8 slices)
  5. 2 1/2 cups flour
  6. 4 tablespoons sugar
  7. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 3 Eggs
  10. 2 cups milk
  11. ¼ cup vegetable oil
  12. ¼ tsp thyme
  13. ¼ tsp rosemary
  14. ¼ tsp chives
  15. ½ tablespoon prepared garlic
  16. ½ teaspoon spring onion
  17. 1 medium onion
  18. 5 dried figs
  19. 1 tablespoon Champagne Honey Mustard
  20. ½ cup ketchup
  21. 2 tablespoon mayonnaise
  22. 1 tablespoon Cracked Pepper Marinade (see note in Spicy Mayonnaise below)
  23. ¼ cup butter
  1. Heat Oven 400 degrees F.
  2. Place 8 slices thick cut bacon onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Remove from oven and set aside until ready to build sandwich. Reduce oven to 300 degrees F.
Caramelized Onion-Fig Jam
  1. Slice onions thinly and chop figs
  2. In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until just begin to caramelize, about 10 minutes, add dried figs and continue to cook, stirring regularly until thick and dark brown in color. About 20-25 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water if jam gets dry.
Waffle Batter
  1. In a bowl sift together, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt
  2. In another bowl beat eggs until creamy, add the milk and chopped herbs, spring onion, oil and garlic paste. Whisk until ingredients are well blended, then add the sifted dry ingredients.
  3. Cook waffles until crisp. Set cooked waffles aside until ready to assemble the sandwich
Spicy Mayonnaise
  1. In a small bowl combine, ketchup, mayonnaise and hot pepper sauce. Blend well and set aside until ready to serve sandwiches. (any pepper sauce will do, sriracha, Thai chili, peppercorn paste, etc)
  2. To Assemble Sandwich: begin building the sandwiches by adding thick sliced Havarti cheese, about three slices for each bottom half of waffle sandwich. (makes 4 sandwiches or 8 waffles) then layer a few slices of ham, roast beef and cooked bacon on-top of the cheese. Add a dollop of Onion-Jam and another layer of Havarti cheese. Top sandwich with another waffle.
Once Sandwiches are assembled
  1. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet and cook one sandwich at a time until cheese is melted. Carefully, flip sandwich once during the cooking process. Transfer cooked sandwich to a plate and keep warm in oven. Continue process until all sandwiches are made
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/

If you’re in the mood for more delicious sandwich recipes check out my famous POLISH ZAPIEKANKA

Sandwich Recipe Polish Zapiekanka

Grilled Alaskan Pollock Fillets – CFE International Salt Fish Blogger Recipe Challenge 2017

Alaskan pollock fillets with grilled romaine salad is a delicious, healthy, and easy grilled fish dinner. The perfect summer grilling recipe!

Alaskan pollock fillets with grilled romaine salad is a delicious, healthy, and easy grilled fish dinner. The perfect summer grilling recipe!

CFE International Salt Fish Recipe Challenge 2017

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

This summer fresh fish dish is grilled to perfection utilizing my hybrid smoker/grill, adding a depth of smoky flavor to the flaky texture of the grilled BacalaRico Alaskan Pollock Fillets. Once plated, 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 Alaskan Pollock 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.

BacalaRico Alaskan Pollock FilletsRehydrating 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

Roasted Vegetables with Fresh Dill


I hope you enjoy this Alaskan pollock fillets grilled salad 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
  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/
Grilled Alaskan Pollock Fillets

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

Garlic Goat Cheese Bacon Soufflé WINS Gilroy Garlic CROWN

Garlic Goat Cheese Bacon Soufflé is a delicious brunch recipe, and the recipe that awarded me the coveted Gilroy Garlic crown at the 2016 Gilroy Garlic cook-off!

The Great Gilroy Garlic Cook-off 2016 Winner Rebecka Evans

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


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 for 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 from 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 chef! This group of talented men and women 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, helping me create a delicious Garlic Goat Cheese Bacon Soufflé!

She was 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 for Garlic Goat Cheese Bacon Soufflé!! 

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
  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
  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.
  1. Top each soufflé with fried garlic chips and Mache or other mini greens. Serve immediately
  1. You will need six 1/2-cup ramekins and one large shallow roasting pan.
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/

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Mother’s Day Favorite Recipes: Oyster Stew, Homemade Oyster Crackers and Divinity

Mothers Day is the perfect opportunity for me to share some delicious food memories with you, by recreating three of my mother’s favorite dishes.


Oyster Stew, Homemade Oyster Crackers and Divinity. 

Mother's Day Oyster Stew

Mom, aka Anne, was a masterful home cook. She was always eager to try new and unusual foods, way before they were popular or trendy. Garden to table, her recipes were inventive and delicious. I still remember her fried squash blossoms with a fresh-cut garden salad, sweet hand-picked cherry tomatoes tossed with tender blue sorrel blossoms and spicy chives, all dressed in sweet vinaigrette.

The main dish served with this tasty garden salad was her sumptuous oyster stew. At first, I was a fearful to try the oysters, so I just ate the savory broth with a big helping of oyster crackers. A few years later, I finally master the eating of the slippery bivalve mollusks, floating around in the hot broth; they were delicious.

For dessert, mom made Divinity. I love all that pillowy sweetness and still make them for my family to enjoy. Surprisingly, they are a cinch to make. Generally classified as a candy, fudge and sometimes used in a candy roll, Divinity is similar to nougat, but lighter in texture; a cloud of soft sweetness with a pecan crunch. I guarantee this easy made candy will satisfy your biggest sweet tooth!

Retired from the kitchen, mom has left preparation of holiday and big family meals to me and my three brothers. This is a torch I’m happy to share with future generations.


Happy Mother’s Day! Enjoy these favorite Mother’s Day recipes:


Homemade Oyster Crackers

Oyster Crackers
Yields 12
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Prep Time
35 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
35 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. 1 1/2 cups sifted flour
  2. 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  4. 1 1/2 tablespoons cold butter
  5. 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
  6. 1 tablespoons cold water
  7. 1/4 cup plus 3-4 tablespoons cold milk
  1. Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, salt and cold butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and pulse until well combined. Mixture will look like coarse sand
  3. In a small bowl combine 3 tablespoon milk and 1 tablespoon cold water. Add yeast and stir slightly with a wooden spoon. Rest mixture for 5 minutes.
  4. Add remaining 1/4 cup milk and the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients and blend until dough forms a ball. Allow the dough to rest 15 minutes at room temperature
  5. Roll dough out onto a well floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness, cut rounds using the large pastry tip or other small circular cutter
  6. Cover ungreased cookie sheet with parchment paper, place dough rounds 1/4 - 1/8 inch apart.
  7. Bake crackers for 10-15 minutes checking for doneness at 10 minutes. Gently shake the cookie sheet to flip crackers for even browning, sprinkle with additional sea salt to taste and continue cooking until lightly golden browned.
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/

Oyster Stew

Mom's Oyster Stew
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  1. 2-8 ounce cans premium oysters in water or 1-1/2 dozen fresh oysters
  2. 1/2 cup white onion chopped
  3. 1/2 cup celery chopped
  4. 3 cups half and half
  5. 1/4 cup water
  6. 1/4 cup sherry
  7. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  8. Butter
  9. 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  10. Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a medium heavy bottom sauce pan heat olive oil, add chopped onion and celery and cook until onions are translucent
  2. Add oysters and liqueur to saucepan and cook for 5 minutes
  3. Reduce heat slightly and add half and half, stir to combine
  4. Gently cook stew for 20 minutes
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste
  6. Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle a small amount of sherry over each bowl of stew and garnish with parsley, a dollop of butter
  7. Serve with oyster crackers
  1. Optional: add the oyster liquid, half and half and water to cooked onion and celery, reserve oysters and set aside until ready to use. Cook broth on medium heat to a soft boil. In small batches, purée the liquid and vegetables until smooth. Return liquid to stock pot, add oysters and heat to soft boil.
Adapted from Anne Stone
Adapted from Anne Stone
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/

Finally for dessert; my mother’s favorite…Divinity

Mother's Day Divinity Recipe

Yields 1
Generally classified as a candy, fudge and sometimes used in a candy roll, Divinity is similar to nougat but lighter in texture; a cloud of soft sweetness with a pecan crunch. I guarantee this simply made candy will satisfy your biggest sweet tooth!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 3 cups granulated sugar
  2. 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  3. 2/3 cup warm water
  4. 2 egg whites
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  7. 1 cup chopped pecans or almonds
  1. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and spraying the paper with cooking spray
  2. Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a large heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Cook stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.
  3. Continue cooking without stirring until the mixture reaches 250 degrees on a candy thermometer, firm ball stage.
  4. While sugar mixture is cooking, beat egg whites in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Slowly pour about half of the sugar mixture into the egg whites constantly beating on low spread
  5. Place saucepan back on burner and continue cooking until it reaches 270 degrees, soft crack stage
  6. Stream remaining mixture into egg whites constantly beating on low spread until all the mixture is incorporated.
  7. Scrape sides of bowl and mix on medium for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture holds it's shape
  8. mix in vanilla and almond extracts and nuts until well combined
  9. Use 2 teaspoons, one to push the mixture from the other. Drop teaspoonful onto cookie sheet, let cool
  10. Divinity can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks
  1. Divinity is a bit tricky when attempted in damp condition. Save this recipe for a sunny dry day.
Adapted from Anne Stone
Adapted from Anne Stone
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/
Mom, thank you for teaching me how to eat and cook well and for all you’ve done for our family over the years! Love you♥Happy Mother’s Day!!
Please take a moment and stop by Roti n Rice for my recipes and guest post. Happy Mother’s Day to you and yours!!


Polish Zapiekanka – Saucy Mama’s 2016 Recipe Contest: RECIPE #1

Polish Zapiekanka is an open-face sandwich with sautéed white mushrooms and cheese, toasted until the cheese melts. Served hot with ketchup, it is a popular street food in Poland. 

Polish Zapiekanka-Saucy Mama’s 2016 Recipe Contest: RECIPE #1

Polish Zapiekanka Recipe

Saucy Mama 2016

The Submission Window is now OPEN for the Saucy Mama’s 2016 Recipe Contest. Hosted by Barhyte foods a PREFERRED QUALIFYING EVENT for the World Food Championships.

Pendleton, Ore. (March 3, 2016)- Barhyte Specialty Foods is excited to announce the creation of “Team Saucy Mama”, which will be competing at the 2016 World Food Championships (WFC) in November in Orange Beach, Alabama. The team is made up of some of the most extraordinary home cooks in the US, and each one is striving to compete in the Final Table at WFC, where one person is crowned World Food Champion and receives a $100,000 grand prize.

Saucy Mama has offered three competitor spots on the team. Two of these spots are already claimed, as last year’s WFC Saucy Mama competitors earned their way to the Top 10 round and were prequalified to compete again this year.

Only one spot remains on Team Saucy Mama with 25 of the Sauciest home-cooks are vying for coveted LAST SPOT! 

Thank you TEAM SAUCY MAMA for choosing me as one of the 25 to compete for the LAST SPOT!!!

So what does the Saucy Mama Recipe Contest champion win?

  • A World Food Championship Golden Ticket: WFC registration and entry fees paid for 2016 WFC
  • $1000 Travel Stipend: for WFC expenses (Nov. 8-15)
  • $200 Spending Cash: to have FUN in Orange Beach Alabama

Most importantly…a First Place win with Team Saucy Mama offers home-cooks like myself, the ability to vie for cash prize(s) to offset the cost associated with Food Sport. Thank goodness for Sponsors that offer WFC Preferred Qualifier Contests!!

In addition to competing for a place on Team Saucy MamaTeam Just A Pinch has invited me to return to represent them at the 2016 Bacon World Food Championships, in Orange Beach, AL.  They have offered to pay my entry fees as a result of my 4th place win in last years competition ($300.00). Thank you Just A Pinch!! Since I’m competing in the Bacon Category again this November, you’ll notice a BACON recipe theme throughout all of my WFC Contest recipe submissions. 

Polish Zapiekanka Recipe

My first recipe submission for the coveted LAST SPOT on Team Saucy Mama…

Polish Zapiekanka. Category: bacon

A zapiekanka (Polish pronunciation: [zapʲɛˈkaŋka]; plural: zapiekanki, pronounced [zapʲɛˈkaŋkʲi]) is an open-face sandwich made of half of a baguette or other long roll of bread, topped with sautéed white mushrooms, cheese and sometimes other ingredients, and toasted until the cheese melts. Served hot with ketchup, it is a popular street food in Poland. With its origin dating back to the 1970s, the zapiekanka is associated with the austere times of Poland’s Communist regime, but it has enjoyed renewed demand in the 21st century, which has also brought a wider range of varieties. SOURCE: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This SUPER-SAUCY sandwich showcases two delicious Saucy Mama products and a heap of crispy smoked BACON!  My family loved testing this meal and it’s become a regular on our weekly family menu. The versatility of the dish is what makes it so appealing for family dinners, and parties. Zapiekanka is like pizza in that, the toppings can be adjusted to fit your mood. All veggie Zapiekanka, or all meat style…it’s entirely up to you. 

The Spicy Ketchup made with Saucy Mama’s ALL NATURAL Cracked Pepper Marinade  is fiery and sweet; the cracked black pepper mixed with sweet ketchup and mayonnaise makes the sandwich sing in your mouth! The mushrooms get the “Saucy Mama treatment” too, with a big helping of the Champagne Honey Mustard (my new favorite SM mustard to date).

This delicious and historical Polish street food sandwich, is elevated to restaurant quality meal with the addition of Saucy Mama’s All Natural Mustard’s and Marinades!!

Polish Zapiekanka

Polish Zapiekanka Mushroom Toast
Serves 4
Polish Street Food served the Saucy Mama way!!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. ½ pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
  2. 2 small French baguettes, cut in half lengthwise
  3. 4-6 cups baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced (substitute with any mushroom)
  4. 1 medium shallot, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
  5. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  6. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  8. 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  9. 1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  10. 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  11. 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  12. 2 tablespoons bacon grease
  13. 1/4-1/2 cup hot water
  14. 1/4-1/2 cup wine, white or red
  15. 2 tablespoons Saucy Mama Champagne Honey Mustard
  16. 2 teaspoons cream or milk
  17. 1 teaspoon flour
  18. 8 slices or 2 cups grated gouda or Dutch Edam cheese
  19. Salt and Pepper to taste
  20. 1 cup ketchup
  21. 2 tablespoons Saucy Mama Cracked Pepper Marinade
  22. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
To prepare the mushroom base
  1. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium high
  2. cooked bacon until crisp, remove bacon from pan and crumble.
  3. Set bacon aside until ready to make sandwich
  4. Remove all but 2 tablespoons bacon grease from pan
  5. Add chopped shallots/onions, to hot bacon grease and cook till translucent, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add chopped mushrooms, reducing the heat to medium-low as this process will extract the water content in the mushrooms but not dry them out.
  7. Sauté until mushrooms start feeling tender and drastically decrease in size, about 20 minutes. If mushrooms appear dry, add some of the hot water and continue to sauté.
  8. Once the mushrooms have softened add all the spices and herbs, and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. the chili is optional if you prefer some heat. after the spices have been well absorbed, add the wine, Saucy Mama Champagne Honey Mustard, water and cook for an additional 5 minutes, remembering to add extra hot water if they look dry to create a slight sauce texture.
  9. After the liquid is well absorbed and the mushrooms are fragrant. the mixture should be thick yet still wet. Thicken the sauce by making a paste from flour, cold water, and cream; gradually stir into the mushroom mixture. Cook this mixture for an additional 5 minutes.
To prepare the Zapiekanka
  1. Preheat oven to 400f degrees
  2. On each half baguette pile several spoonsful of the cooked mushrooms, pressing the mixture down with the spoon.
  3. Place the prepared baguettes on a baking dish and top with cheese and crumbled bacon.
  1. This recipe is just a versatile as pizza! Try adding your favorite ingredients to make delicious new combinations of Zapiekanka.
Adapted from Polish Street Food
Adapted from Polish Street Food
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/

Gilroy Garlic Festival 2015 – The Great Garlic Cook-Off

The Great Garlic Cook-Off

The Great Garlic Cook-Off Gilroy Garlic Festival 2015

The Gilroy Garlic Festival just celebrated its 37 year with the third annual Great Garlic Cook-Off.  I had the pleasure of attending the event where I met up with several of my foodie friends for the very first time. It was the most competitive garlic cook off  the event has ever seen.

Eight home cooks vied for the coveted title, Garlic Queen/King, cooking some very impressive dishes for the five celebrity judges; Jason Gronlund, Executive Chef, Smokey Bones BBQ, Jason Lavinsky, Executive Chef, Hyatt at Fisherman’s Wharf, Adam Sanchez – The Milias Restaurant, Bryan Martinez, Executive Chef, Raley’s, and Carl Stewart, Executive Chef, Raley’s. Master of Ceremonies: Dan Green, Kate Callaghan & Wendy Brodie, HAAC, Executive Chef.

Contestants, Jodi Taffel, Lauren Katz, Tresa Hargrove, Merry Graham, Sherri Williams, Gloria Bradley, Loanne Chiu and Margee Berry, wowed the audience and judges with their garlic infused recipes. The outdoor stage was set with two jumbo-trons giving spectators a birds-eye view of all the cooking action. The air was filled with mouthwatering aromas of charred meats and my favorite kitchen staple, garlic.  Once the smoke settled, the judges crowned Jodi Taffel, first place for her stunning breakfast dish, Shashuka with Deep Fried Garlic. Second place went to Lauren Katz with her Glazed Garlic-Buttermilk Fried chicken and Savory Waffled grits. Third Place went to Tresa Hargrove for her, Chipotle Cilantro Chimichurri Steak on Enchiladas with Roasted Salsa Verde.

I became friends with Tresa, Sherri and Merry, five years ago over our shared interest in food competitions, and Facebook groups. What a pleasure for me to finally meet them all in person as well as, the other competitors. Making new friends and sharing this special day with my fellow foodies was a true blessing.

The day was made more enjoyable hanging out with my dear friend Nancy Judd, winner of the 2013 World Food Championships, Dessert category, and contestant on Chopped Grandma’s.  She and I cooked together in my home during the Real Women of Philadelphia-Cooks Across America-Colorado Cooks video promotion. To see more from that event, watch our Youtube video HERE and HERE.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t chosen to compete with my Benedict Florentine with Roasted Garlic Hollandaise and Garlic Basil Oil this year, but I hope to be on stage at next years competition, cooking alongside my friends. 

Gilroy Garlic Festival Eggs Benedict



Gilroy Garlic Festival 2015

Sherri and Nancy

Gilroy Garlic Festival 2015

Sherri Williams, Rebecka Evans, Nancy Judd, Jodi Taffel, Merry Graham and Lauren Katz

Gilroy Garlic Festival 2015

Lady Nann and her man


Gilroy Garlic Festival 2015

THE WINNER! Jodi Taffel

Gilroy Garlic Festival 2015

The top THREE Jodi, Lauren and Tresa

Gilroy Garlic Festival 2015

Waiting for the big announcement

Gilroy Garlic Festival 2015

Selfies with Nancy and Rebecka

Winner Circle

Gilroy Garlic Garlic Festival 2015

Sherri Williams and Merry Graham


Gilroy Garlic Festival 2015

Rebecka Evans, The Garlic Man, Nancy Judd

Radish and Herb Butter Sandwiches

Radish and herb butter sandwiches are not just delightful to eat, they also serve as a trigger food for memories of my childhood. Today’s recipe is homage to my mom, who introduced me to cultivating radishes and then making them into a scrumptious lunch. There are just too many great radish eating moments to share; suffice to say, they were all yummy! 

Radish and Herb Butter Sandwiches

Radish and herb butter sandwiches make an easy appetizer, and are beautiful when plated; perfect for Sunday tea with friends, or simply enjoyed for lunch. Serve with a light and fruity white wine.

I hope you enjoy these radish and herb butter sandwiches as much as I do!


Radish and Herb Butter Sandwiches
Yields 6
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
  1. 1 loaf multigrain bread cut thinly into slices
  2. 1 pound good butter (I used Kerrygold)
  3. 1 large bunch radishes
  4. 1 bunch fresh basil
  5. 1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
  6. 1 small bunch fresh oregano
  7. Sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. Fill clean sink or large bowl with cold water and submerge radishes to loosen sand and dirt. Soak for 2-3 minutes, rinse in cold water and drain on a clean towel
  2. Set butter at room temperature for 5 minutes or until soft enough to blend with herbs
  3. Finely chop herbs
  4. In a medium bowl blend softened butter with herbs, salt and pepper to taste
  5. Slice bread thinly, spread one side of bread with 1-2 teaspoons of herb butter
  6. Slice radishes very thinly and place several slices over buttered bread, serve
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/

Radish and Herb Butter Sandwiches

Other radish recipes to try are pan roasted brown butter radishes and Butter Sea Salt Radishes. Those delicious radishes are a simple summer snack and are perfect for a summer picnic!

Minced Chicken and Pork Egg Rolls with Rice Vermicelli

Pork egg rolls are delicious in their own right, but when minced chicken is added to them and they’re served with rice vermicelli, the chicken and pork egg rolls become a feast!

Chicken and Pork Egg Rolls

Make this delicious chicken and pork egg rolls recipe for an appetizer, or serve with Asian noodles as an entrée. They are best served with Sriracha sauce and homemade sweet and sour sauce

Chicken and Pork Egg Rolls

egg rolls and chips, before frying


Minced Chicken and Pork Egg Rolls with Rice Vermicelli
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
  1. For the Filling
  2. 1/2 pound ground chicken
  3. 1/2 pound ground pork
  4. 1 small carrot (shredded)
  5. 1 stalk scallion (chopped finely)
  6. 1 package egg roll wraps
  7. 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
  8. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  10. 1/2 teaspoon chicken base (concentrate)
  11. 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  12. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  13. 2 tablespoons water
For the Noodles
  1. 1 package Asian Vermicelli, Rice or Bean Thread Noodles
  2. 1 small carrot (shredded)
  3. 1 stalk scallion (chopped finely)
  4. 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  5. 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
  6. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  8. 1/2 cup chicken stock
  9. 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
  10. 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  11. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Brown ground meat in a skillet over medium heat (for a finer ground meat, blend in a food processor)
  2. Add, carrot, chopped scallion, and all the seasoning to the meat mixture and combine well.
  3. On a dry surface, lay out the egg roll wraps.
  4. Place 2 tablespoons meat mixture onto the lower center of the wrap. Leave about 1/2 inch on all sides
  5. Moisten the edges with water using finger
  6. Fold sides into the middle and roll up, sealing the meat inside
  7. In a large stock pot or deep fryer, add enough cooking oil for frying
  8. Once the oil is heated, add the egg rolls in batches until they are golden brown, place in 200 degree F. oven to keep warm
  9. Dish out and serve with sweet or spicy dipping sauce
For the Vermicelli
  1. Cover noodles with boiling water, allow to rest until ready to use
  2. Reheat the same pan the meat was cooked in, add 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
  3. Saute carrots and scallions over medium heat about 2 minutes
  4. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 3 minutes
  5. Add noodles and stir, cook for additional 3-4 minutes to distribute flavors, add more sesame oil if the noodles seem dry
  6. Serve with egg rolls
Adapted from Rasa Malaysia Easy Asian Cusine
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/

More Asian-inspired recipes you might like:
Sweet and Sour Soup Noodle Bowl
Udon Lettuce Cups with Creamy Peanut Dressing

Loose Meat Sandwiches – Simple Food, Delicious Food

Loose Meat Sandwiches are simple food with a powerful flavor profile. This easy sliders recipe reminds me of a fresh-made White Castle hamburger!

Loose Meat Sandwiches

Loose meat sandwiches are not only delicious, they are a snap to make; only 20 minutes from start to finish. YUM!

Not familiar with Loose Meat Sandwiches? They’ve been around since 1924. The original sandwich was created at the Ye Old Tavern on 14th and Jackson Street, in Sioux City, Iowa. The restaurant has changed hands since then, now called Gus’ Family Restaurant. Another Iowan restaurant known for this iconic sandwich is Taylor’s Maid-Rite. If you have the notion, they will ship a box of sandwich fixin’s right to your door.

However, there’s no need to go to the trouble of ordering loose meat sandwiches from out of state when you can recreate the sandwich in your own kitchen.

This recipe is being featured at voiceboks.com , The voice of parenthood!

I think these loose meat sliders would be perfect paired with some homemade potato chips or hasselback potatoes!

Loose Meat Sandwiches
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 1 1/2 pound good quality ground beef (ground round or sirloin)
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil for leaner ground meat, this step can be omitted if using 80/20 ground beef
  3. 1 onion chopped finely
  4. 1 1/2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  5. 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  6. 1 tablespoon sugar
  7. 1 teaspoon dry basil
  8. t1 teaspoon dry parsley
  9. pinch red pepper flakes
  10. enough water to cover browned meat
  11. salt and pepper to taste
  12. 1 package King Hawaiian dinner rolls
  1. In a large skillet, heat oil, salt the bottom of the skillet with 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt, brown ground beef stirring to break up into fine crumble
  2. Add chopped onion, cook until onions are translucent
  3. Drain excess liquid from pan, discard
  4. Add, mustard, vinegar, sugar and spices, cover mixture with water and cover
  5. Cook until water is absorbed into meat
  6. To assemble: slice rolls in half, add meat to cover bread, more mustard can be added
  7. Garnish with dill pickles and melted Velveeta cheese
  8. Serve with chip and potato salad
  1. The flavor profile reminds me of a White Castle Burger...YUM!
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/

Hell-a Nasty Recipe…Not a Good Day in the Kitchen!

Not my best re-creation of a restaurant favorite.

Not my best re-creation of a restaurant favorite.

Poached white fish, drizzled with carrot onion cream, nestled between sweet French lentils and a bed of sautéd purple kale, YUM… sounds delicious, doesn’t it?

If you base your decision solely on the photo, you might think it turned out delicious unfortunately, after all the trouble I went through to prepare and photograph the dish, the recipe was inedible. My re-creation of one of my favorite restaurant meals turned out Hell-a BAD! I had to trash the mess because of one nasty piece of fish! It was not a good day in the kitchen!

When trying to recreate a dish it’s always best to seek out like or same ingredients as the original recipe. I’ve experienced good results in the past using substitutions but I didn’t want to pay $32.00 a pound for fresh Halibut Cheeks so, I substituted Corvina  at the advice of my local fishmonger. The recommendation was a bad idea given the difference in texture and flavor of the two fish. I’m sure Corvina is a lovely tasting fish when freshly caught. Sadly, the piece I purchased was mushy in the middle. What a disappointment!! 

I’ve planned to recreate this dish ever since late summer 2013, when I chaperoned my youngest sons Ultimate Frisbee Tournament, in Corvallis OR.

Even before packing my bags for travel to the beautiful city of Corvallis, I searched the internet to find a special restaurant to experience during my visit; I found Luc.

LUC. 134 Sw 4th St, Corvallis, OR is an American Bistro. The unassuming store front opens to a small but adequate space, dressed with light blue walls, natural wood tables with crisp white linens. I was especially engaged by the old black and white film playing on the wall adjacent to my table, featuring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. A nice touch!

I ordered a glass of rose to begin my meal. I suppose it was the movie playing on the wall that threw me off; I forgot to note the name of my wine selection however, I can tell you the wine was delicious and a perfect pairing to my meal!

My dinner selection: Halibut cheeks with French lentils with light curry cream! Best dish I’ve had in years!! To round out my nights meal, I ordered Halibut Fume with lemongrass and cilantro, Blue Mussels in white wine butter with toasted baguette, and for dessert, rhubarb tart with fresh Oregon berries and French press coffee! A dinner to die for!

The photo below is of the original dish prepared at Luc. Taken with my iPhone the dish is beautifully plated and truly one of the best meals in my dining experience! 

LUC Halibut

I won’t be sharing my recipe here today however, I will share elements of my recreation until I can closely replicate the meal .

I poached the fish in olive oil, water, rosemary, thyme and lemon. During the course of poaching the fish, I taste tested the broth finding the poaching liquid to be pleasant and flavorful. The memory of the restaurant version hung in my mind as well as the light, nutty flesh of the halibut cheeks. I remained hopeful that the Corvina would be a good substitute.

After plating and photographing the dish, I took an eager bite. I spit the entire mouthful back out onto my plate! To make matter worse, I used the poaching liquid to cook my lentils, imparting the fishy flavor into their delicate meat, and after munching down on the unpleasant mushy fish, I just couldn’t stomach the rest. YUCKY! The entire dish was ruined. There’s nothing worse than bad tasting fish! 

A far cry from the result I’d hoped for, I will try again. Damn!! 

Hungry and disappointed, I opened the refrigerator to find something to kill the hell-a bad taste in my mouth. Last nights dinner was the answer to my failed moment in the kitchen and flavorful enough to drown out any aftertaste. Loose Meat Sandwiches and a vanilla yogurt!! Their flavor is reminiscent of a White Castle Burger, really tasty. I reheated the meat, added a squeeze more yellow mustard and went to town! You can find my adapted recipe here next week! 

The definition of Hell-a Nasty/Bad:

Slang term used by California teens to depict something that’s really horrible; conversely used to describe something absolutely amazing ie. Hell-a Good. A term picked up by my teenagers and now being used by me!  

Loose Meat Sandwich

Green Chile Navajo Tacos

Navajo tacos feature tender pulled pork, roasted green chilies and traditional taco toppings, all served on Indian fry bread.

Green Chile Navajo Tacos  - Navajo tacos feature tender pulled pork, roasted green chilies, and traditional taco toppings, all served on Indian fry bread.

Packed with pork flavor, permeated by roasted green chile, these Navajo tacos find their roots in New Mexican cuisine. I shared a similar recipe last year, with a slight variation, I added ranch style beans; Navajo Tacos with Green Chile Stew.  

As a side note:  I’ve been schooled by a recent blog visitor, Michael Chapel about the spelling of Green Chile (Chili).  Setting me straight, he shared that New Mexicans take great offense to the incorrect spelling “Chili”.  As a matter of fact, In 1983, New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici went on record before congress with his official clarification as to the correct spelling of “Chile” [Domenici, P. 1983. The correct way to spell chile. Congressional Record 129 (149) (Nov. 3).]  .  I was born in Albuquerque, NM in 1960, you’d think I have a handle on this one, obviously NOT!  In an effort not to offend my fellow New Mexicans, I’ve made the correction. However, I still need to update my photos with the correct spelling.

Please take into account that, despite my spelling mishap, my recipe rings true with traditional flavors. I find a bit of comfort in Senator Domenici’s congressional statement,  “A naivete exists among native New Mexicans who wrongly assume that everyone spells it with an ‘e.’ ” Yes, that would be me!  Thank you Michael for bringing this to my attention. My sincerest apologies!  

My green chile recipe follows a more traditional path, by sticking to the basics; pork roast, roasted green chiles, oregano, water and a few minor ingredients to round out the dish. No beans!!

As for the Navajo Fry Bread; the recipes are quite similar with one exception, powdered milk.

History/Origin of Navajo Fry bread:

On the heels of several failed treaties, in 1861 military leaders formulated plans to send the Navajo on the Long Walk. Indians from Arizona, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico, were among the tribes forced from their lands. Hundreds of American Indians perished on the 300 mile walk to the Bosque Redondo reservation located near the Pecos River, in eastern New Mexico.  

Once on the reservation, the government supplied lard, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder or yeast, and powdered milk but often times they were rancid. Fry bread came from these few foods provided during the 4 years of captivity. Since that time, it has become common food at PowWows.

To some, Indian Fry Bread is a sacred tradition. It is to be consumed by the people until the earth has again become purified.

Since that time, fry bread recipes have taken on nuisance from different tribes throughout the US. Some use yeast, while others are made entirely without leavening (no baking powder).   I’m happy to eat any style you set in front of me, but I have a kindred connection to the Navajo recipe.  For a more detailed account of my youth and my dear friends, the Concha family click HERE




Green Chile Navajo Tacos
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
5 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
5 hr 30 min
  1. 1 3-4 pound pork shoulder, preferably bone in
  2. 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  3. 4 roasted green chiles
  4. 1/2 medium onion chopped (pureed)
  5. 2 cloves garlic
  6. 1 bay leaf
  7. 4 sprigs fresh oregano
  8. 1 tablespoon medium heat red chile powder
  9. 1 can Rotel can tomatoes
  10. 1-2 tablespoons chicken base
  11. 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  12. 4-7 cups water
  13. 1/4 cup cornstarch,
  14. 3-4 teaspoons cold water
  15. salt and pepper to taste
  1. 3 cups flour
  2. 1/2 cup dry powdered milk (substitute regular milk if you can't find powdered)
  3. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 warm water or milk
  5. enough oil to fry bread, about 1-2 quarts
  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat
  2. Season pork shoulder roast with salt and pepper on all sides area
  3. While roast is browning, use gloves and clean the chiles.
  4. It is absolutely crucial NOT to wash the chiles with water. Washing them removes too much of the chile flavor. Cut or pull the stem end off, turn pepper upside down and gently squeeze seeds out of the chile, peeling the skin off as you go. There will be a few stubborn seeds and a few pieces of skin, don't worry, they add more yummy flavor
  5. Chop chile, set aside
  6. Remove roast from stockpot, place on a large rimmed dish, to catch juices
  7. Add onions to the pot, saute for a few seconds, stirring until translucent
  8. Add garlic, stir to combine, cook only a few seconds, do not burn
  9. Add 1 cup water to deglaze the pan, add chicken base, bay leaf, oregano, garlic salt, red chile powder, chopped green chile, and Rotel
  10. Return roast to stockpot, add enough water to almost cover the roast, bring to a boil stirring occasionally, reduce heat, cover and cook for 3 hours
  11. Test flavor of broth, add more salt and pepper to taste, if roast is tender enough (meat falling off the bone) remove meat from pot, using 2 large forks, pull meat apart and chop into chunks (cook additional 30 mins to 1 hour if the roast is still tough)
  12. Return chopped meat to stock pot, cover, and cook over medium low heat for 1 hour
  13. Mix cornstarch with water until there are no lumps, add to post and stir until sauce is slightly thickened
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl
  2. mix with fork until dough comes together, add more flour if dough is sticky
  3. Knead dough until soft and smooth, do not overwork the dough or it will become tough
  4. Cover bowl with a clean damp cloth and let rest for 30 - 2 hours
  5. When dough has rested, heat the oil in a deep fryer or cast iron pan to 375 degrees
  6. Pull off golf ball size pieces of dough, flatten each piece using hands until round and flat, about 1/4 inch thick
  7. For a puffy taco, dough can also be rolled out thinly on a floured surface
  8. Cook in hot oil until lightly browned on both sides, about 1 minute per side or more if necessary
  9. Drain fry bread on paper towels
  1. Navajo Taco Assembly
  2. Allow one or two pieces of fry bread per person, using a deep plate with a rim to hold chile, ladle hot green chile over the bread, garnish with raw onions, shredded cheese, lettuce or your favorite toppings
  3. Toss in powdered sugar for a delicious dessert treat
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/


Pimento Cheese Sandwiches and Salami Straws

 Pimento cheese sandwiches start with creamy pimento cheese, sandwiched between slices of tender, white bread. A side of low carb salami straws make the perfect lunch pairing.

pimento cheese sandwich


Flash back to the early 1960’s, Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The creamy tart goodness of pimento cheese spread; a perfect mixture of cream cheese and pimento aka, roasted red peppers, or those little red thingies tucked inside green olives!

Such happy food memories come from stalks of celery crammed full of the pale orange concoction. Who knew how simple it would be to please my pre-adolescent pallet?  

Recreating this pimento cheese sandwiches recipe met the mark. With so much flavor, the pimento cheese almost redefined those early years of snack time glory!

I hope you enjoy this easy sandwich recipe, too. Pimento cheese sandwiches are pure comfort food.

Pimento Cheese Spread
Yields 3
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
  1. 1/4 pound block yellow cheese such as sharp cheddar, colby jack or your favorite variety
  2. 2 heaping tablespoons Philadelphia chive flavored cream cheese spread
  3. 1/2-3/4 cups mayonnaise
  4. 1/4 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  5. 1 teaspoon tabasco sauce
  6. 1/2 cup chopped roasted red pepper (sold whole in bulk olive section of grocery)
  7. salt and pepper to taste
  1. Shred or cube cheese
  2. Place first 5 ingredients in a food processor, pulse until well combined, open processor several time scraping down sides
  3. Test consistency, additional mayonnaise may be added to make mixture creamier
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
  5. Remove cheese mixture to a mixing bowl if using a small food processor
  6. Add chopped roasted red pepper and stir to combine
  1. Use immediately for best results, refrigerate remaining cheese in a airtight container for up to three days. Bring to room temperature before spreading
Serving Suggestions
  1. Spread between two pieces of white bread for traditional Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
  2. Spread thin layer of cheese spread over slices of salami, roll into straws
  3. Serve in celery or as a dip for vegetables
  4. Spread over crackers
At Home with Rebecka http://athomewithrebecka.com/
Pimento Cheese Spread


Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with Salami Straws

More sandwich recipes to try:

Grilled Cheese Waffle Sandwich

Radish and Herb Butter Sandwich


Baked Meatballs for the best ever Meatball Sandwiches



Baking meatballs is super easy, creates less mess than pan frying, and does not compromise the deep, beefy flavor of caramelization from pan frying.  In fact, there is no notable difference between the two methods.  


Another key to making a tender and flavorful meatball, is to use a combination of two or more proteins such as, ground beef, veal, chicken and or pork.  

This recipe features ground round and spicy Italian sausage.  The sausage gave the meatballs a tangy punch, perfect for my meatball sandwiches.  


The flavors of the red sauce permeate the meat, giving birth to the yummiest meatballs ever!!