I’m not one for new year’s resolutions since they never seem to last. I don’t make promises to myself that I will start a new diet on the 1st of January and then end up with a mouthful of Oreos by the 6th. Instead, I like to start the new year by doing something new that I didn’t do the year before. For 2015, starting a blog about myself and my passion for creating delicious meals came in number 1 on my list of things to try for the new year.
Why should you read this blog you might ask? Well, to put it simply, I know food! I’ve been in the restaurant business all my life. My family opened our first restaurant when I was just 2 years old and I’ve loved the food business for as long as I can remember. My family lives to cook and coming up with new creations is a family past time. I learned the bulk of my food knowledge from my dad who is a self-trained chef in the first 20 years of my life. I then attended culinary school to refine my skills and learn more. And for the past 7 years I’ve learned even more by owning and running my own restaurant in Chandler, Arizona.
For 2014, my new thing to try was competitive cooking and I discovered a new passion. During last year I put my 33 years of food knowledge to the test and was talented enough to achieve several wins in various food competitions, including the Arizona Taco Festival, My Nana’s Salsa Challenge, Taste of Chandler, Scottsdale Spice, and most recently, the World Food Championship.
One of the winning recipes that is easy and one of my favorites is the “Chees-y, Potato-y, Beer-y Soup” that helped me win 2nd place in the Recipe Division of the World Food Championship this past November. Here is the way I like to make it, with a few pictures from my kitchen at home.
- 3 Large Potatoes
- 1/3 cup Dubliner Irish Cheese
- 1/3 cup Queso fresca
- 1/3 cup English Cheddar
- 1 Quart Heavy cream
- 12 oz beer
- 1 cup Chicken stock
- 2 Jalapeños
- 2 Tomatoes
- 1 Zucchini
- 1 Bell Pepper
- 2 Yellow hots
- 1 Onion
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 1/4 cup Diced canned green chiles
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
1. Bake potatoes at 425 degrees for 45-60 minutes, until fork tender. Once cooled, remove skin leaving only the potato flesh.
2. If using the optional Carnitas, place all ingredients for the Carnitas in a pressure cooker and cook on high for 45 minutes. After meat is cooked and the pressure cooker is opened, remove pieces of meat only (no other ingredients) and carmelize meat on hot griddle for extra flavor (approx. 1 minute per side).
3. Grill jalapeños, tomatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, and yellow hots until cooked (approx. 10 minutes). Remove tops and charred skin. In a separate pan, saute the onion and garlic in oil and 1 tbsp of the butter until the onion is translucent.
4. Simmer heavy cream stirring occasionally until cream is reduced by half. In a separate pot simmer beer until reduced by half.
5. Mash potatoes with 1 tbsp of the butter. Add to cream and wisk in thoroughly.
6. Add the reduced beer, chicken stock, canned green chiles, grilled jalapeños, tomatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, and yellow hots. Blend with an emergent blender until smooth.
7. Add cheeses and blend with an emergent blender until smooth.