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Foster Farms People’s Choice Award goes to Karen Bernards of McMinnville, Ore.
Merry Graham takes the top prize while two Oregonians are in the top six who competed
October 08, 2012
Merry Graham of Newhall, Calif., won the Third Annual Foster Farms Fresh Chicken Cooking Contest held at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in California’s Napa Valley. Competing against five other finalists from California, Oregon, and Washington, Graham’s Lemon-Hoisin Glazed Chicken on Roasted Asparagus and Cherry Sesame Rice beat out nearly 1,200 West Coast recipes to win the $10,000 grand prize and a one-year supply of Foster Farms fresh chicken.* In the spirit of the contest’s focus on fresh, local ingredients, Graham’s recipe featured locally grown ingredients including lemons, asparagus and Foster Farms fresh chicken.
The six finalists prepared and presented their fresh chicken dishes to an esteemed panel of professional chefs and food savvy media judges comprised of John Ash, chef, cookbook author and host of KSRO-AM “The Good Food Hour”; Lynne Char Bennett, food writer and test kitchen director, San Francisco Chronicle; Ken Frank, chef and owner of Napa’s La Toque restaurant; Carolyn Jung, author of the Food Gal blog; and Liam Mayclem, host and producer of CBS 5 TV’s Eye on The Bay. Judges made decisions based on taste, use of fresh, local ingredients, appearance and appeal, simplicity and ease of making, and originality.
A “People’s Choice” award was presented to Karen Bernards from McMinnville, Ore., for her Hoisin Chicken Thighs dish. She was awarded a one-year supply of Foster Farms fresh chicken and a $1,000 shopping spree at the Spice Islands® Marketplace at Greystone.
“It was an honor to be a part of the contest and sample the finalist recipes competing,” said Ken Frank, chef/owner of Napa’s La Toque. “On behalf of all the judges, we were equally impressed with the creativity, use of local ingredients, and variety of fresh chicken dishes created, especially given the wide range of talents and experience among the finalists. It was a difficult decision, ultimately resulting in a win for Merry Graham’s Lemon-Hoisin Glazed Chicken on Roasted Asparagus and Cherry Sesame Rice dish because of her use of local ingredients, taste and presentation.”
“We’ve seen the caliber of recipes rise to a higher level of quality and creativity each year through unique pairings of Foster Farms fresh chicken with the rich agricultural bounty from California, Oregon and Washington,” said Ira Brill, director of marketing for Foster Farms. “We placed extra emphasis on using fresh, local ingredients in the judging criteria as Foster Farms is committed to delivering locally grown fresh chicken to the store in 48 hours or less.”
Graham was delighted to win the Third Annual Foster Farms Fresh Chicken Cooking Contest. “This recipe started out as something my family loved and I kept working on it until I felt it best represented the flavor and integrity of the fresh ingredients,” said Graham. “I’ve always been a fan of Foster Farms and will continue to be.”
As far as trend indicators, many of the recipes submitted this year were health-focused. Grains and legumes, such as quinoa, barley and lentils, were widely used to complement the fresh chicken. Many recipes also included rubs, several of which incorporated coffee or tea.
The six finalists each won $1,000 in Regional Competitions held in Portland, San Diego, and Seattle, in the weeks leading up to the final competition. The finalists competed with the following recipes:
Merry Graham, Newhall, Calif. – Lemon-Hoisin Glazed Chicken on Roasted Asparagus and Cherry Sesame Rice
A frequent cooking contest entrant, Merry Graham, was “super jazzed” to be chosen as a Regional Semifinalist this year with her Lemon-Hoisin Glazed Chicken on Roasted Asparagus and Cherry Sesame Rice recipe.
Foster Farms has a special place in Merry’s heart. When she and her husband were married 36 years ago, Merry admits that she didn’t know her way around the kitchen and relied on Foster Farms fresh chicken to develop some of her very first recipes. She loves sharing her creations with her community and has worked at a local church to prepare meals for those in need. To create these meals, local food vendors would donate day-old produce and she had to quickly develop a meal using only the ingredients that were available.
Karen Bernards, McMinnville, Ore. – Hoisin Chicken Thighs
Karen Bernards finds inspiration for her recipes when she gets on flavor “kicks.” Her recipe for Hoisin Chicken Thighs helped secure her a spot as a semifinalist and features her latest taste craze: Asian cuisine. Karen, a wife and mother of two somewhat picky teenage boys, says she chooses to be her own taste tester when it comes to cooking contests since she likes to be creative and try unique recipes. A seasoned cooking contestant, she was chosen as the winner of the Build a Better Burger Contest in 2007, which landed her a featured segment on the “Today” show with Al Roker. Karen credits Betty Crocker’s cookbooks for teaching her how to cook. She loves being inventive and is constantly looking for inspiration.
She and her husband, who recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, enjoy trying new restaurants and cuisine and Karen is often inspired to run to the store and recreate the dish herself!
Judith Berman Yamada, Portland, Ore. – Cumin Chicken Paillards with Grape Tomatoes, Scallions and Wine
Sandra Gray, Seattle, Wash. – Cherry and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Merlot Scented Lentils
Jackie Dodd, Los Angeles, Calif. – Spice Rubbed Chicken Thighs with Chipotle Béarnaise over Avocado Lime Quinoa Salad
Rebecca Cameron, Bonney Lake, Wash. – Tea Rubbed Chicken with Apple Spinach Salad and Spicy Nuts
For complete recipes and upcoming information on the 2013 contest, visit: www.fosterfarms.com/cookingcontest.
Cumin Chicken Paillards with Grape Tomatoes, Scallions and Wine
Judi Berman-Yamada, Portland, Ore.
6 Foster Farms fresh chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 medium scallions, coarsely chopped
½ cup dry white wine, such as an Oregon Sauvignon Blanc
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
Place chicken between two layers of wax paper. Pound with meat mallet to thickness of ½ inch. Drizzle lime juice over both sides of chicken pieces.
In small bowl, combine salt, cumin, paprika, chili powder and black pepper. Rub seasoning onto both sides of chicken pieces. In large skillet over medium high heat, warm oil and butter. Place chicken, top side down, into the heated pan and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Turn and continue cooking until chicken is cooked throughout, about 4 to 5 minutes longer. Remove chicken pieces to serving platter and keep warm.
Reduce heat to medium. Add tomatoes and scallions to pan. Cook over medium heat for one minute. Add wine, scraping bottom of pan to deglaze. Bring mixture to a boil for 1 minute. Pour hot tomato mixture over chicken pieces; top with cilantro before serving.
Lemon-Hoisin Glazed Chicken on Roasted Asparagus
and Cherry Sesame Rice
Merry Graham, Newhall, Calif.
6 Foster Farms chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into 1” chunks
2 ¼ teaspoons salt, divided
1 tablespoon minced ginger root
4 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
6 green onions, chopped, with whites and greens divided
1 1/2 cups jasmine rice, rinse well and drained
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup lemon juice, divided
2/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons honey, divided
1 large lemon or two small, finely grate zest
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1/3 cup roasted salted almonds, roughly chopped
Mix chicken, one teaspoon salt, ginger, and half of the garlic. Set aside.
In medium saucepan over medium heat, warm one tablespoon peanut oil. Stir in onion whites, remaining garlic, and jasmine rice. Cook, stirring frequently, for 8 minutes or until beginning to toast. Add broth, half of the lemon juice and one teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff with fork, stir in dried cherries, sesame oil, and remaining green onions. Set aside.
In large frying pan over medium high heat, warm one tablespoon peanut oil. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently, for 6 minutes or until no longer pink on the outside.
In small bowl, stir together vinegar, Hoisin, one tablespoon honey, remaining lemon juice, half of the lemon zest and 1/4-teaspoon red pepper flakes. Add sauce to chicken in pan and continue cooking for 10 additional minutes on medium. Raise heat to high and cook for 2-4 minutes until sauce on chicken is dark and has thickened. Sprinkle chicken with black sesame seeds. Remove pan from heat, set aside and keep warm.
In second large frying pan, warm remaining peanut oil over high heat. Add asparagus, remaining honey, red pepper and remaining salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2-4 minutes, or until asparagus is tender.
To serve, plate rice on serving platter. Top with half of the cilantro, almonds, and roasted asparagus, Top with chicken pieces. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro and lemon zest.
Hoisin Chicken Thighs
Karen Bernards, McMinnville, Ore.
8 Foster Farms fresh chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
½ cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups cooked jasmine rice
1 mango, peeled and diced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced (green part only)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Spray baking sheet with cooking pan spray. Set aside.
In small sauce pan over medium heat, combine hoisin sauce, honey and ginger. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to simmer. Cook until thickened, about 7 minutes, stirring as needed. If mixture gets too thick, add one tablespoon water. Reserve half of hoisin sauce in separate bowl.
Place chicken on prepared pan; sprinkle with salt. Place chicken in oven and cook 15 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and brush with hoisin sauce from sauce pan. Return chicken to oven and continue cooking until cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and brush with sauce from second bowl.
While chicken is cooking, mixed diced mango and cilantro into cooked rice. Place rice on serving platter; top with chicken. Sprinkle scallions and sesame seeds on top.
1 can (15 1/4 ounces) corn, drained
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzos), drained and rinsed
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) cut green beans, drained
2 cups (1 pint basket) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup bagged, matchstick-cut carrots
1/2 cup bottled, reduced-fat Italian dressing
3 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled
Place corn, chickpeas, green beans, tomatoes and carrots in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss until well coated. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Separate egg yolks and whites and chop coarsely. Add egg whites to salad and toss to blend. Place salad in a serving bowl and crumble egg yolks over top of salad. Serve cold. Makes eight servings.