Fulfilled in Food

By Gloria Vaquera, Photography by Jesse Ramirez

Bobby Herrera is well known within gastronomical circles in this region. He is an Anthony kid with a deep love for food. His cooking aspirations started as a young boy when he would assist at matanzas that his grandfather hosted. Bobby recalls that watching as they prepared the morcilla and chicharrones was always more interesting than playing with the other kids.  

Logically, his higher education was geared toward comestibles. After graduation from Gadsden High School in 1981 (where he also took classes in cooking), he enrolled in the culinary arts program at David L. Carrasco Job Corps Center in El Paso, TX. He is also a graduate of Texas State Technical Institute and The Educational Institute of the American Culinary Federation at Doña Ana Branch Community College. So too, have all his jobs been related to food including as Assistant Chef, Food Service Instructor, Certified Executive Chef, Food and Beverage Manager and Food Service Manager as well as owner of a catering business. It’s a career that has spanned 35 years and counting.

He fell in love with the industry while working at Meson de Mesilla where he assisted in opening the restaurant and served as the Executive Chef for 9 years. Bobby recalls that these were some of the best and most rewarding times of his career. Another proud moment is coming full circle and serving at the very place where it all began for him. He has held the position of Executive Chef, instructor and mentor, at the Job Corps Center for the past 22 years. Bobby admits that he feels very fulfilled and appreciative of the opportunity to make a difference inspiring young chefs. Job Corps is a no-cost education and vocational training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor that helps young people ages 16 through 24 improve the quality of their lives through vocational and academic training. 

He was recognized for his service in 1996 when he was inducted into the National Job Corps Hall of Fame by the United States Department of Labor. Some of his other major accomplishments include various awards in multiple competitions as well as the title of Chef of the Year by the Paso Del Norte Chapter Chef’s Association in 1994. 

It is undeniable that Job Corps has played an integral part of Bobby’s culinary career. However, he has also brought all his passion and talent to bear in BobBea’s Catering and Rolling Grill which specialize in fine dining with a Southwest flare.  For the past 24 years, he and his wife Bea have owned and operated the catering business for all types of events including weddings, quinceañeras, private and corporate functions, sporting events, and festivals. In 2016, they took the kitchen mobile and began to offer his unique flavors from BobBea’s Rolling Grill. 

Bobby claims that his family has been some of his biggest fans as well as his most discriminating taste-testers. And although they’ve learned a lot from him, their two adult children, Bobby Brooke and Brandi, are young professionals outside of the culinary field but they both enjoy the kitchen. “They’ve been great and they’ve always helped out; from Bea to our kids and even my in-laws,” explains Bobby. “I really would like to thank them for their support with the catering business throughout the years; especially my father-in-law, Herman Facio, who has been a key asset to the company and has played an integral part with public relations of the business.” 

We are honored to feature Bobby and thrilled that he agreed to share some of his most popular recipes including a brisket bursting with enticing flavors that, combined with the side dishes, creates a satisfying and elegant meal. 

Savory Beef Brisket

Ingredients:

9-12 lbs. beef brisket, trim fat ¼ inch all around
Rub with your favorite wet rub

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°

  2.  Place brisket in the center of a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil that is 3 times the size of the brisket.

  3. Spread ½ of the wet rub all over brisket and turn over, fat side up and spread the remaining wet rub.

  4. Bring the left and right sides of the foil to the center and roll in together top side of foil. Do the same with the bottom side of foil. Make sure top and bottom of foil is rolled and crunched together tightly.

  5. Place foiled brisket into a roasting pan and place oven.

  6. Roast for 4 to 4.5 hours or until an internal temperature of 180° is reached.

  7. Remove brisket from oven and cut top of foil open. Allow to cool for 30 minutes in the same pan.

  8. Remove brisket from foil and place on a serving platter.

  9. Take liquid from the roasting pan and remove the excess fat from it. Pour into a medium saucepan and cook on medium-heat for 5 minutes or until it reduces and thickens.

  10. Slice brisket across the grain or shed it.

  11. Pour liquid over brisket and serve.


Veggie Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

1 lb pasta, preferably Rigatoni or Tri-Color Rigatoni

1 tsp salt

1 dash olive oil

1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced and cut into halves

1 (5.75 oz.) can of whole pitted black olives, sliced

¼ cup shredded carrots

2 cups spinach

¼ cup grated Parmesan

1 cup Italian dressing

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Bring four quarts of water, salt and olive oil to a boil.

  2. Stir in pasta and continue to boil for 12 minutes.

  3. Drain well and add remaining ingredients, tossing until all ingredients are evenly mixed.

  4. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with Parmesan.


Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients:

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 ea red, green and yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil

Spicy Marinade

Ingredients:

½ cup olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

½ tsp Dijon mustard

½ tsp honey

1 tbsp kosher salt

¼ tsp black pepper

1 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tbsp shallots, minced

2 tbsp Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

Instructions:

  1. Combine and mix all marinade ingredients in a large bowl.

  2. Add the chicken and coat evenly with the marinade.

  3. Marinade the chicken overnight or for at least 6 hours.

  4. Grill the chicken over medium heat until thoroughly cooked through.

  5. While chicken is grilling, sauté the pepper and onions in a large skillet with olive oil.

  6. When chicken is done, slice and place on a large serving platter and top with peppers, onion and avocado.


Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Potatoes

Ingredients:

3 lbs. potatoes, cut in thick chunks

¼ cup olive oil

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp chives, chopped

¼ cup grated Parmesan

¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.

  2. Bring four quarts of water and salt to a boil.

  3. Add potatoes and cook until fork tender. Do not overcook.

  4. Drain well and place potatoes into a sheet pan.

  5. Toss potatoes with remaining ingredients and spread evenly on pan.

  6. Roast potatoes, uncovered, for 30 minutes until brown and crisp.

  7. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese.


Hawaiian Banana Nut Bread

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour

¾ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup mashed ripe bananas

1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained

2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.

  2. Combine first five (5) ingredients; stir in pecans.

  3. Combine remaining ingredients and then add to flour mixture. Stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

  4. Spoon batter into greased muffin pans or mini loaf pans.

  5. Bake for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

  6. Cool in pans 10 minutes.

  7. Remove from pans and let cool on wire racks. 


Apples, Pecans & Sour Cream Salad

Ingredients:

3 medium green apples, cored, sliced and cut into quarter pieces

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 cup sour cream

½ cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ medium lemon, zest and juice

Instructions:

  1. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl, chill and serve.


Strawberry & Pecan Yogurt Delight

Ingredients:

2 pints strawberries, hulled and cut in half

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 cup greek yogurt

½ cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ medium lemon, zest and juice

Instructions:

  1. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl, chill and serve.
Spring 2017

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