Everyone has that special food that zaps us back to our childhood. Maybe it’s a warm chicken soup or buttery biscuits so flaky they practically dissolve in your mouth. For Clarissa Contreras, it’s beef koobideh. This hearty Persian meat entree is traditionally made of lamb and has its origins in Iran. It’s served atop a steaming bed of rice and grilled vegetables for a filling, family-style dinner. Growing up, Clarissa, who is of Iranian and Mexican descent, would often gather with family friends where koobideh was at the heart of the celebration.
“I just remember the parties, everybody dancing to the music, everybody eating,” she said. “That’s my favorite.”
These days, Clarissa is taking her love of home-cooked meals from her kitchen to yours via her new chef service, Dinner for Four. Clarissa, a self-taught chef, prepares weekly weekend meals that customers can pick up at her commercial kitchen. Clarissa often draws from her cultural heritage for inspiration. Cheesy enchiladas and koobideh are some of her favorite meals to prepare. Curry chicken with basmati rice, carne guisada, and chicken and gravy with garlic mashed potatoes are other likely menu choices. Clarissa’s menu rotates each week. Her service offers hungry families the chance to pick up hot, made-from-scratch meals and save time in the kitchen.
“Nothing makes me happier than people eating food – my food in particular – and having a happy stomach,” she says. “I would like them to taste what I like and get a glimpse of my background and things that I enjoy.”
-Cooks international and Mexican-style foods
-Lifelong foodie and self-taught home cook
-Trained graphic artist
-Enjoys singing while cooking
“Nothing makes me happier than people eating food – my food in particular – and having a happy stomach.”
3 lbs. Ground Beef
3/4 cup Parsley finely chopped
3/4 cup Cilantro finely chopped
1/3 cup Onion finely chopped
2 tsp. Minced Garlic
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1 tbsp. Curry Powder
Combine all ingredients and mix well with hands. Divide mixture into seven equal portions (about 7 oz each). Roll out each portion into a log and flatten. Cook on a hot grill until the internal temperature is 145 degrees. Serve over a bed of white basmati rice. This dish pairs well with grilled onion, zucchini, and fresh whole tomatoes. Slice the onion and zucchini in half and lightly coat them in an oil of your choice. Coat the whole tomato in oil. Place each on the grill and cook to your desired tenderness. Season the veggies after you grill to avoid burn.