Thank you to the 60+ UCI faculty, staff, and students who created dishes for Chopped, a virtual cooking challenge! Chopped live judging occurred on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 (Week 7). To qualify for judging, all submissions had to include 4 key ingredients:
- scallions (green onions)
The criteria that the Chopped judges used to evaluate the dishes were:
- Perceived taste
Judges selected one winner for each of the three participant groups (faculty, staff, and students). Chopped winners each received a $75 Amazon gift card.
Meet our Chopped winners:
Student group: Salla Kim
Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering
Pasta in a dairy-free tofu “ricotta”-based sauce
Description of creation:
* Cinnamon-paprika roasted sweet potatoes
* Pasta in a dairy free tofu “ricotta”-based sauce (made by blending tofu with other ingredients, seasonings, and spices)
* Scallions marinated in a coconut aminos-based marinade
* topped with a fried egg, flaked salt, sesame seeds, and more scallions
Staff group: Adeeva Myers
Counselor/Coordinator, Gateway Initiatives, Student Success Initiatives, Division of Undergraduate Education
Description of creation:
Cinnamon Spiced Tofu Tacos
I incorporated the cinnamon into a spice blend I created with cumin, chili powder, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, and seasoning salt. I added maple syrup, soy sauce, and olive oil to the spice blend to create a paste to marinate/season the crumbled tofu. The taste is somewhat reminiscent of a mole sauce if you can imagine a dry rub mole. I then baked the tofu in the oven until it took on a meat-like consistency. For toppings, I added fresh diced tomato, cilantro, green onion, avocado, and a cilantro-lime sauce. The tacos are in pan-fried corn tortillas!
Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad
I cooked bow tie pasta until it was al dente. I roasted the corn on a cast-iron skillet to give it the char of roasted street corn. I added chopped green onion, cilantro, chopped fresh jalapeno, black beans, roasted corn, and the pasta to a mixing bowl. I then made a sriracha mayo dressing with sriracha, mayo, fresh lime juice, paprika, garlic powder, and salt. I tossed all the ingredients with the sriracha mayo and then served and topped with extra lime, green onion, and crumbled cotija cheese!
As a native of Los Angeles, I absolutely love tacos and hope you can imagine the amazing taste of this unique take on a traditional Mexican dish.
Faculty group: Dr. Jonathan Alexandar
Chancellor’s Professor of English and Informatics, School of Humanities
Faculty, UCI Connected Learning Lab
Associate Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education
Researcher, The Wayfinding Project https://thewayfindingproject.com/
Core Faculty, Program in Culture & Theory
Cinnamon-dusted tofu in peanut sauce with scallions served over edamame pasta.
Jonathan Alexander, executive chef at Edith’s on Wharton in University Hills, is delighted to share this plant-powered protein-packed dish that combines the savory richness of peanuts and ginger with a dash of cinnamon sweetness. Served over edamame noodles and with a side of chili paste, this dish is perfect for those who want a full-bodied Asian taste without a heavy carb load.
- Were you at Chopped? Please take a moment to complete an evaluation of this event.
- Kudos to Dr. Sei Lee, ISEP Counselor/Coordinator, for creating and hosting Chopped. “I appreciate the community we created tonight over food.” – Sei
- Thanks also to our three Chopped judges: Dr. Yong Chen (Professor of History), Chef Jessica VanRoo (Assistant Director, Culinary Recreation & Experiential Programs, and Stefani Tran (Program Coordinator, International Peer Group Scholars Program)
Chopped was hosted by International Student Excellence Programs (ISEP) and UCI Illuminations.