Summer Rolls

My Signature Dish

The NBC cooking competition has finally started filming. I must admit I was really nervous going into it. Once it was underway, I was able to relax and everything just flowed.

The first challenge was “Your Signature Dish.” I decided to go with my famous summer rolls and my simple broiled salmon recipe. Summer rolls are a great unique treat. They can be eaten by hand and dipped into a wide range of sauces. Even better, they are easily gluten free and really healthy too. Let’s hope it’s a winner 🙂

Salmon

4 (4oz) Salmon Cuts

4 TBS Hoisin Sauce (Gluten free) (Asian BBQ Sauce)

2 Tsp Ginger Powder

2 Tsp Garlic Powder

Salt

Pepper

2 TBS EVOO (Olive Oil)

Place fish on an oiled baking tray. Sprinkle all pieces of salmon with equal parts ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. Next, coat each with a thin layer of olive oil. Then, top each piece with a TBS of hoisin and spread it around. Finally, put the tray in the broiler for about 4 minutes. WATCH THE FISH and DON’T LET IT BURN.

This dish also works well with a simple watercress salad. Simply trim the watercress and dress it with vinaigrette of lime, salt, pepper and a touch of EVOO.

Spring Rolls

Ten (4 inch) Rice Papers

2 Cups cooked Rice Noodles

1 Bulb Fennel with top

1 Carrot

1 Piece Celery

1 TBS Rice wine vinegar

1 TBS Brown Sugar

1 tsp Salt

¼ lime

1 C Fresh Basil

1 C Fresh Cilantro

1 C Mint Fresh Leaves

The first step is to prepare the filling. Grate the carrot, celery and fennel bulb into a bowl (I know this is a pain but the effort will pay off). Chop ¼ of the fennel top and add it to the bowl along with the salt, sugar, vinegar and lime. Stir the mixture well and then put it to the side. Next, wash, dry and chop the mint, cilantro and basil and place into a bowl.

Now to assembling. The first thing to do is make sure you have a clean, dry non-stick work space (a clean plate or board is great for this). Spring rolls involve no cooking but the rice paper needs to be re-hydrated in order to roll. It’s important to do one at a time and be patient; it may take a few minutes before you get the hang of it. To re-hydrate the paper, fill a medium bowl or a high sided pot with very warm water. Submerge each paper in the water for about 5 second. Remove paper and lightly dry off access water and lay it on a flat surface. Begin to layer the fillings on one end of the roll starting with a 1/8 cup of rice noodles, then 2 TBS of the fresh herbs and then 3-4 TBS of the fennel and carrot mixture. (Hint: Filling the rolls well and not allowing the paper to become too wet will help the final product hold shape). Roll the filling into the paper just like you would roll a lunch wrap or as many would say a cigarette. Fold in the sides and keep the roll snug as you roll. Place the finished rolls on a plate and allow 10 mins for them to dry and become more firm.

Use your imagination on the filling. Summer rolls can be made to fit any dish. Adding a protein like shrimp, chicken or tofu can really make this dish a great summer meal all on its own.

Dipping Sauce:

2 TBS Peanut Butter

Juice or ½ a Lime

1 TBS Brown sugar

1 TBS Sriracha (Asian Hot Pepper Sauce)

1 TBS Hoisin Sauce (Gluten Free) (Asian BBQ Sauce)

1 TBS Soy Sauce (Gluten Free)

1 TBS warm water

Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Adjust ingredients depending on how spicy you like.

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Tamale

Mexican food is always a great way to please a crowd. I must admit my bf is a Tex-mex master so I have to be careful to do it just right.
Tamales became a favorite of mine after living in Guatemala.
My love for these wonderful stemmed creations is relived every week in the Italian market. Every Saturday, without fail, in the market sits a lady and her baby. She sits on her big pot and sells amazing pork tamales and sauce for $1. I had to try recreating these wonderful steamed packets of love.

I fill mine with chicken and beans but feel free to get creative. Cheese, pork or beef would be great.

1 cup cone meal
5 corn on the cob
2 chicken thigh
1 cup refrained fat free refried bean
Tsp salt
3 tbs water
*Salsa and guacamole to serve

Peel the husk of the corn very carefully. You want to keep the pieces as wide as possible. Reserve all the husks. Small scraps can be used to help tie the packets together at the end.
Boil the peeled corn for about 8 minutes. Remove fomr pot, let cool and then remove the kernels from the cob.
In a food processor blend two cups of kernels, corn meal, salt and water till a fine paste forms.
In another pot boil the chicken thighs till they are cooked and easy to shred. Place chicken in a bowl to use for filling later.

Assemble- Place a wide husk on the counter and add about 3 tbs of the mixture and form a square patty. Place a a spoon of beans in the middle and a small piece of the chicken. Cover the mixture with a little more filling. Wrap the filling with the husk. It may take 1-3 pieces to fully cover the filling. Tie the packets together with a this piece of husk or you can use kitchen string. Repeat the process to make about 8 tamales.
Steam tamales for 45 min and serve.

* This is a great dish to make in advance. Steamed tamales can be stores in the fridge and steamed for ten minutes to re- heat.

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Waffle

Sweet stuff in the morning is hard to pass up. The base recipe is easy to follow and whip up in less then 10 minutes.
I recommended adding a spin to it. Sometimes I add some pumpkin, coco powder or even corn meal to the recipe to change it up.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup quick oatmeal
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 – 1/4 almond milk
* Optional – 2 teaspoon sugar or Splenda ( I don’t like things very sweet, if I am topping it with syrup or something sweet then I normally leave out the sweet stuff)
* Optional add-in-
1/4 cup pumpkin is always a great fall time addition, a tsp of coco power is a great treat when you need a chocolate fix, a tbsp of corn meal fills it out and adds a nice crunchy twist or tbsp of flour either rice or regular ( for those that are not Gf) fills it out and great to make it look extra pretty.

Heat waffle maker. Mix all Ingredients well and let stand for 3 minutes. Put mixture in waffle maker and cook for 4 min. When it’s done carefully place on plate and top with just about anything. My fav is sugar free syrup and fresh berries. Get creative with jelly or fruit compote. Add a scoop of fat free frozen yogurt and some sugar free chocolate syrup for a fancy sweet treat.

If you don’t have a waffle maker then just heat pan with some not fat cooking spray and make four pancakes out of the mixture.

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I Got Chosen!

I want to share some exciting news as my first post!

About a week ago, I heard about a local competition that NBC10 was
holding called “Next Local TV Chef”. It was a video contest that
required you to show what your cooking is all about and if chosen, allow you to compete in a contest that will be aired on The 10! Show Creating the video was a blast and I did not expect much to come from it.

Monday morning I received a call and was told that my submission had been selected. I am one of the top 5 chefs that were chosen to compete in a chef competition that will start next week and air on NBC10!. Every week, one person will be eliminated by a different challenge. The first show they have asked me to prepare my signature dish with a $25 budget. I am still working on what I want to make and I promise to share the details. Regardless of the outcome I am honored to even have a chance to compete!