Barnard loves to share meals with others

Barnard loves to share meals with others

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Dan Barnard spends a lot of his time commuting from Meridian to his job in Philadelphia as the executive director of the Marty Stuart Congress of Country Music, but he also loves to cook for himself and his family.

“I was single for a long time, and I like to eat, so I learned how to cook through necessity and through my mother,” Barnard said. “I’ve been cooking regularly since I was in college. My mom was always a good cook, and we never used a lot of processed food for meals.”

Barnard grew up in Texas and recently moved to Meridian in 2019. In May of this year, he took the job of executive director of the Marty Stuart Congress of Country Music and now makes a commute from Meridian to Philadelphia every day.

“During our very first board meeting, I made chocolate croissants for everyone,” Barnard said. “Those were of course a hit.”

Barnard said he has learned over the years to make many various dishes such as guacamole, fajitas, and chocolate chip cookies that he claims will make you cry because of how good they are.

“I’ve also learned how to make gravy with a lot of failed attempts before I got it right,” Barnard said. “The chocolate croissants are good too, but they take around a day and a half to make them since I have to let the dough rise.”

He said getting to eat his creations is his favorite part of cooking, but he also enjoys sharing his dishes with family and friends and hopes they are satisfied with the food.

Barnard cooks for his family a lot and there have been several occasions where he has been the primary cook for a long period of time.

“Having to come up with something new every day to make is a different kind of challenge I like a lot,” Barnard said. “We have taco Tuesdays, homemade pizza on Friday, and then make dishes based on what was on sale at the store frequently. I love cooking in the fall as well, since there’s all kinds of different produce to use.”

CHICKEN FAJITAS

4-6 boneless, skinned chicken breasts

2 green bell peppers

2 red bell peppers

2 medium onions, cut into wedges

24 flour tortillas, warmed in the oven

8 ounces of Monterey jack cheese, grated

8 ounces of sour cream

MARINADE:

1 cup vegetable oil

¼ cup honey

1 jalapeno, minced

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons Oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Juice of two limes

¾ cup vinegar

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon soy sauce

In a large bowl, combine marinade ingredients and mix with a wire whisk. Cut off the top and bottom of each bell pepper, leaving it in a cylinder shape. Slice down one side and unroll the pepper and remove the seeds. Add the peppers and chicken to the marinade and refrigerate for at least three hours.

Cook the chicken and peppers on a hot grill, turning and basting with the marinade. Cook the peppers skin-side down first. Before serving, slice the chicken against the grain into thin strips, and slice the peppers in a similar manner. Assemble the fajitas by placing a dollop of sour cream on the tortillas, followed by two or three strips of chicken, peppers, onions, cheese, and guacamole to taste. Fold the bottom of the tortilla first, then the sides.

GUACAMOLE

2 ripe avocados

1 medium onion

2-3 green onions, chopped

1 small tomato, chopped

1 jalapeno, de-seeded and minced

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 or 3 fresh cilantro, chopped

2 teaspoons chili powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Peel avocados, remove the seeds, and dice. Place into a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until the individual pieces begin to break down but are not smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. If not serving immediately, sprinkle the top with a little lime juice and seal plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole.





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