Imperial Tri-Tip Cook Off Inspirations

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I love Valley BBQ’s: Tri-Tip, cheesy potatoes, salad, and green beans! My mouth is already watering just thinking about a plateful of this goodness. There was no better place to be this past weekend, than the Valley to experience these juicy and tender flavors as Imperial hosted its annual Tri-Tip cook off on Saturday.

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Teams from across the valley prepped for weeks getting that perfect rub or sauce together. They tried different techniques cooking the meat, all to try and win the coveted prize of Best Tri-Tip.

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The meat might have been the main event of Saturday, but I am a firm believer that the sides have to perfectly compliment the meat, to make a complete meal. That’s why my go to sides are always cheesy potatoes and a salad. But, with every classic, there is always room for improvement or a way to spice it up and try something new. And since the cook-off is a Valley tradition to help kick off the fair, I thought I would try using some valley ingredients to spice up my sides.

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This week I have chosen to highlight Kale and Cauliflower. I know that we visited Cauliflower a few weeks back, but the versatility of this vegetable is great and I couldn’t resist using it again. Now, remember those classic sides I was talking about earlier? Well, welcome to the healthier and improved version of the Cheesy Potatoes: Cheesy Cauliflower.

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I want to preface this by saying that sharing this recipe hurt just a little bit because it meant I was turning my back on one of my all time favorite dishes. I’m serious! I love cheesy potatoes! I love them so much that I usually have to make myself a separate pan when my brother is visiting so that he doesn’t eat them all! But with all of our favorite guilty dishes, sometimes you just have to come up with a lighter, healthier version.

Onto the recipe:
1 head cauliflower
6 oz. Bullion solution
1 small onion
2 tsp. minced garlic
1-2 tsp Italian seasoning
12 oz. greek yogurt
¼- ½ cup skim milk
1 ½ cup Shredded Chedder Cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1). Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2). Cut Cauliflower heads off the stem and chop up in food processor. Steam the cauliflower in the microwave for about 3-4 minutes
3). Meanwhile, sauté chopped onion and minced garlic in skillet until onions are translucent in color.
4).When the cauliflower has been steamed and is cooled, drain all excess water. Add sautéed onions/garlic, and all the other ingredients.
5). Mix until well incorporated.
6). Place in a 9×13 pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until bubbly.

The next valley ingredient I decided to use was Kale. I don’t know about down in the Valley, but in west Los Angeles Kale has become a “trend.” To be honest, the trend is starting to fade and is a bit overrated which is why I was apprehensive at first; but, with this recipe I found it gave new life not only to Kale, but to a traditional salad. In fact it is the perfect salad to go with a meal like tri-tip. I present to you, BBQ Kale Salad

Ingredients:
1 bunch of Kale
1 small sourdough loaf
½ cup Parmesan Cheese flakes
2 Tblsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic; minced
1 clove garlic; whole
4 Tblsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1). Remove Kale leaves from center stem and place in a large bowl.
2). Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over Kale and dress until evenly covered
3). Slice 3-4 pieces of bread off loaf; drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over both sides of the pieces
4). Rub the whole piece of garlic on each side of the bread.
5). Combine remaining olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Mix well and let chill; this will be your dressing
6). Place the grill burner on low and place kale leaves and bread on grill. Grill kale about 1-2 minute on each side or until it starts to get char marks. Grill bread about 3-4 minutes on each side.
7). Once bread and kale are cool enough to handle, chop them up into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl. Toss with parmesan cheese and dressing.

Sadly I wasn’t able to make it down this weekend to partake in the festivities, but congratulations to all the competitors and I hope all the spectators enjoyed the feast!

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