Favorite Chef contest – 2023

There are times in your life that you need to grab for the brass ring, though they aren’t always obvious. I’ve had that happen once or twice – both grabbing for and missing a unique opportunity. The Favorite Chef contest with Carla Hall is a chance at a brass ring, albeit it is about popularity votes and being judged on plating skills instead of someone actually tasting what I fix. As the first round of elimination winds up (it ends 7pm PDT on 6/22) I have to have faith that the wide range of dishes I fix will hold weight down the road.

You see, I love to cook and bake. It doesn’t matter what time of year or what is in season. I can pull random things together to make a delicious meal. As my number one taste tester can vouch, he gets very good food at home. Several times a week he’s eating on china or a fun bowl or plate, while I’m totally over it after plating his and just land my food on an appropriate dish. I work in an office during the day, and cook or bake at night, so being a chef is not my primary job.

I decided to enter the competition to show that home cooks can make as delicious a dish as a trained chef. I have never had an actual cooking class, but I do talk about food with everyone. I would love to win the $25,000, a trip to New York, the two-page article in Taste of Home, and a cooking experience with Carla. I survived three times on stage with Alton Brown, I think I can keep my composure around Carla. Well, after the first few seconds of “is this really happening?!?”. If you follow HFWT on any of the social platforms, I hope that you decide to vote for me. As of the writing of this post, I’ve been moving between 7th-10th place out of around 85 in our group. The next round starts tomorrow night and goes for a week, at which time they cut it down to the top 15 per group. I’m including the link for my entry page, and I hope you vote for me. Let’s help this little food groupie make it to the top on this one.

You can vote once a day for free and purchase additional votes to use on one or more contestants. The tax-deductible donation will go towards helping the James Beard Foundation celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind it. Since 1986, the Foundation has been working to create a more equitable and sustainable future in the restaurant industry through annual awards, industry and community-focused initiatives and programs, advocacy, partnerships, and national events.

Vote for me here.

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad

  • 1/3 cup honey dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tbsp Frank’s RedHot Sauce, or hot sauce of your choice
  • 2 cups thinly sliced vegetables, like green onion, snow peas, cucumber, or bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup cooked spaghetti (lukewarm or cooled)

Combine mustard, chicken broth, peanut butter, teriyaki sauce, and hot sauce in a large bowl; whisk until blended.

Add vegetables and pasta; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

*substitute sunflower seed butter or tahini for peanut butter
*add dried cranberries or slivered almonds
*serve on top of salad greens

Bean & Bulgur Salad

  • 1 15 oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup uncooked bulgur wheat
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger or 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced

Place green beans in medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce to low. Simmer, covered 5-6 minutes. Rinse and drain.

Combine bulgur and water in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce to low. Simmer,
covered, 5-10 minutes or until water is absorbed.

Combine green beans, bulgur, kidney and white beans in a large bowl.

Heat oils in large skillet over medium heat. Add green onions, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir about 3 minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar. Pour oil mixture over bean mixture and fold in well. Cover; refrigerate 2-3 hours.

use garbanzo beans instead of white beans
add yellow or orange peppers

Roasted Vegetable Salad

  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 cup green or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 2 tbsp pitted olives, chopped
  • 2 tsp lemon juice, divided
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 cups stemmed spinach, torn

Preheat oven to 375F. combine mushrooms, carrots, bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, olives, 1 tsp. lemon juice, oil, oregano and black pepper in large bowl; toss until evenly coated. Spread in a single layer on baking sheet.

Roast 20 minutes, stirring once. Remove from oven; stir in remaining lemon juice. Serve warm over spinach.

*add your favorite cheese
*put vegetables on skewers and grill

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