Off the Hill with Tricia Swenson: Local student named finalist in national cooking competition | VailDaily.com

Off the Hill with Tricia Swenson: Local student named finalist in national cooking competition

Most competitions at our local schools focus on ski racing, soccer playoffs and football rivalries, but this cooking competition could garner more than a trophy and bragging rights. The winner receives a check for $30,000.

Uncle Ben's, the company made famous for its rice, hosts a nationwide cooking competition each year for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The winner will receive a check for $30,000 to be used toward cafeteria improvements at their school.

Local sixth-grader Nicholas Hornbostel has been cooking up some delicious creations using Uncle Ben's rice to attract the attention of the judges, but he has some pretty stiff competition. The contest attracts hundreds of students. Hornbostel was chosen as one of the 25 finalists with his Korean Pork with Rice Cube and Pickled Carrots.

The contest is part of Ben's Beginners, which aims to encourage families to cook together. The program also helps students discover that learning how to cook is as important as learning how to read and write. It also inspires kids to eat healthier meals.

Cooking together is what the Hornbostel family loves to do. In fact, Nicholas' sister, Chloe Hornbostel, won this contest and $30,000 for Edwards Elementary School two years ago.

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HOW YOU CAN HELP

Although the kids will be judged on things like creativity and presentation, they also need your votes. Between now and Nov. 13 you can vote once per day for Nicholas Hornbostel and in turn, help Berry Creek Middle School get money for a cafeteria makeover.

To vote, go to bit.ly/ricenow and it will send you directly to his page. Five grand prize winners will be announced on Dec. 5.

Korean Pork with Rice Cube and Pickled Carrots Recipe

-One 2-inch thick ham steak (or a whole ham cut into one thick slice)

– 1/2 cup brown sugar

– 5 cloves garlic crushed

– 1 inch ginger root grated

– 2 TB soy sauce

-1 cup matchstick cut carrots

-1 cup English cucumber cut in matchsticks

-2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-Cilantro

-Green onions

-Sriracha sauce

Marinade pork night before with garlic and ginger and leave in fridge. The next morning, press brown sugar onto its sides and place in crockpot for six-seven hours with soy sauce.

When your back from skiing, the meat should be falling off the bone. Pull it off with a fork and let cook another 10-20 minutes while you cook the Uncle Ben’s rice according to box instructions. Meanwhile, mix salt and vinegar and then add cucumbers and carrots.

Serve rice by pressing it in a mold and flipping it over, plate with the shredded pork and pickled veggies, chopped cilantro and green onions. Add hot sauce to taste.