Thursday, February 3, 2011

My TV Debut! So Fun!!! Tailgating Vegan Style

This week I was fortunate enough to realize one of my long time dreams - to cook on TV! SQUEEEEEEEE!!! What a blast. I was invited by Tram Mai and the producers of local show the Valley Dish to be a contestant on their show. The contest was to make the Best Tailgate Dish for a panel of 3 judges. We had 10 minutes too cook everything live. I had made my queso dip plenty of times before, but never in under 10 minutes before this week. I had practiced at home and did it in 9:40 seconds without any talking or interruptions, so I was really not sure I could pull it off in 10 minutes on the show. Adrenaline was on my side and I finished my dish in record time with almost a minute to spare! This was such a positive and incredible experience. Everyone was so gracious, nice and fun. I hope I have the opportunity to visit again!

Sorry - the links only worked for a limited time :(

The dish I entered was a favorite from 2009 - Tequila Scented Queso. I personally think queso is one of the quintessential tailgaiting foods along with a kick booty salsa. That's how I selected it for the challenge. It is also pretty easy to put together on an outdoor burner for the true tailgating experience. I have to shout out to my lovely and talented friend Daphne Azzi. With literally two day's notice she designed and fired custom made plates and bowls that are just beautiful. Make sure you check them out in the clips. You can also see them in the photo below. Check out this link to her website, Daphne Azzi Ceramics, to see her other unique and beautiful creations.

I'm reposting the recipe here with a few edits. I've decided I want to kick up the spices a bit, cuz I like a big boost of flavor. The only thing I was a bit bummed about is that my hot hatch chiles (that I froze from September's hatch chile take) were mild and not hot. I like it spicy, so that was a bummer. You just never know what you're going to get with those. I'll take out one bag and they will make me cry and I'll take out another one and they are almost sweet, but the show must go on!

Tequila Scented Queso with Hatch Green Chiles

1 Tablespoon canola oil

1 medium red onion diced small

1 large heirloom tomato diced small

2 hatch green chiles, roasted, peeled, and diced (seeds left intact if you like the heat)* (about 1/4 cup)

2 Tablespoons of your favorite tequila

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1/3 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

1 Tablespoon Earth Balance or other vegan butter

1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves

Heat oil in saute pan. Add onions and saute until just soft. Add tomatoes and chilies and saute for about 5 more minutes. Deglaze with tequila. Cook down until mixture is slightly sticky. Turn off heat and let cool while preparing the rest of the queso.In a medium sauce pan whisk dry ingredients into water. Turn heat to med-low and cook while whisking frequently. Don't leave the pan unattended or you will end up with a glop of yuk. Once it has thickened turn off heat. Add Earth Balance and stir until melted. Add tomato mixture. Finely chop cilantro and stir into queso.

Serve warm with chips.

*If you don't have access to fresh roasted chilies, you can use canned.
I hope some of you make the dip for Sunday's game!

Goofing on the set with producer Cassie Rathbun.


  1. Great job, Kim! I couldn't handle the pressure myself. I'm a mess in the kitchen when I have any kind of deadline, never mind being on TV too! :)

  2. Also, where were the women judges?

  3. Great job! I thought you were sweet and funny. I'm impressed that you could interact with the hostess & still get your cooking finished. I love that all three judges said, "I couldn't tell it was vegan," and that you got to share that we don't eat only twigs & sticks. Next stop...OPRAH!

  4. Thanks chicas! I noticed the lack of estrogen on the judges panel too. It was exciting to be able to share that vegan food is really awesome and not boring.

  5. That is so cool, Kim! It must have been nerve racking to be there and you handled it so beautifully! Hats down to you - great presence and a fabulous way to get vegan out there. ...and the dip looks devine, too :)

  6. that was awesome! you did an amazing job and i loved how tough you were. way to go kim!

  7. Thanks so much. It was such a great experience. I am hoping to be invited back again soon!