Coast Monthly sits down with local cooks and food lovers for a chat.
Born and raised in Arlington, Texas, Dustin Henry attended Arlington High School, graduating in 2000. He went on to attend the University of Texas at Arlington, and later worked for the city of Arlington. Visits to Galveston before Hurricane Ike struck in 2008 inspired Henry to move to the island in 2010. He began working in the city’s planning department. After a short stint with the University of Texas Medical Branch, he returned to the city as part of the Coastal Resources Management Program.
Henry’s interest in food began as a child during his years in the Boy Scouts. He considers himself an improvisational cook who does a lot of grilling and campground cooking, a talent he passes on through his long affiliation with Gulf Coast Big Brothers Big Sisters.
My signature dish is … cast-iron queso from scratch.
My favorite kitchen gadget is … Nomex gloves.
My guilty pleasure is … grilled cheese sandwich — American cheese, sourdough bread and mayo.
Sweet or savory … savory.
I’m addicted to … cheese.
My favorite restaurant is … Jinya Ramen Bar.
My favorite food memory … swapping cooking techniques with my German friends.
Red or white? Red.
The dish I can’t live without … store-bought mac and cheese.
Olive oil or butter? Butter.
Celebrity I would most like to cook for … the late great David Bowie.
My biggest food pet peeve … restaurants that serve prepackaged products.
My biggest food failure … making my grandmother’s pecan pie recipe for Thanksgiving for the first time and then dropping them on the way out the door.
One thing I’d never eat … balut, which is a popular street vendor food in the Philippines.
My favorite ingredient to work with is … mayonnaise.
My favorite condiment is … barbecue sauce.
My last meal on Earth would be … surf and turf — Kobe beef steak and grilled shrimp.
Henry shares this recipe:
Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef and Roasted Broccoli
For the Mongolian beef:
1 ½ pounds beef short ribs
¼ cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 teaspoon chili flake
¾ cup soy sauce
¾ cup water
¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 cups carrot, grated
Garnishes: Green onions, sliced diagonally and toasted sesame seeds
For the roasted broccoli:
1 pound broccoli florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Cut the short ribs to separate into individual ribs. Put the meat into a food storage container or plastic bag with cornstarch and shake to coat.
Combine the olive oil, garlic, ginger, chili flake, soy sauce, water and brown sugar in a slow cooker. Add the short ribs and coat with the sauce. Cover with a lid and cook on high for 2-3 hours, on low 4-5 hours or until the meat is cooked through and tender.
About 30 minutes before the beef is done, stir in the grated carrots and prepare the roasted broccoli.
Preheat oven to 450 F.
In a mixing bowl, toss broccoli florets in olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread out the broccoli on a baking sheet and place in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the broccoli is crispy on the edges.
Add the roasted broccoli to the slow cooker and stir. Let continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
Before serving, remove the rib bones that will have separated from the rib meat.
Serve over rice or oven-roasted spaghetti squash. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.