A manager at Bank of America in Jericho, Dearr lives in South Hempstead with his girlfriend, Amy Kolasky. He has a son in college.
What was your culinary background, growing up?
I grew up in Miami. My mom was all about comfort foods. We always had the Friday night meal — a stew, or roast beef or chicken. My mom could bake the pants off anybody.
So what inspired you to start cooking?
I was the youngest of four children of a single mother. We all had to learn to do things ourselves. My brothers moved out when I was a teenager. So I started cooking.
Where do you get your recipes?
Mainly I'm not a recipe follower. I almost always cook by ear and by taste. I enjoy making soups and stews. I'm also good on the grill and like to make roasts.
What are some of your top hits?
One is my ribs. I mix pepper, brown sugar and garlic powder and a couple of other spices and do a dry rub and let that stand overnight. If not, at least a couple of hours. I slow-roast the ribs about an hour or more. Then, I mix together a number of different sauces — molasses, garlic, more brown sugar and ketchup, and when the ribs come out of the oven, I let them cool, give them a coating of barbecue sauce and grill them. As I tell my son, it's a matter of standing, slathering and flipping.
Anything else that's big in your repertoire?
Two soups I make that my girlfriend really loves are lentil soup and pea soup. I have an aunt to thank for the real kicker in that soup, which is cardamom.
If you could invite anyone to dinner, whom would you ask and what would you make?
It would probably be the president. I'd serve him my ribs. But I'd also do roasted potatoes with sauteed onions and red peppers. I might make a Caesar salad as well. And a chocolate mousse, although I might ask him to bring dessert.
CREAMY COMFORT SPLIT PEA SOUP
1 to 1¼ pound flanken (beef chuck short ribs)
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon ground cardamom, divided
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 16-ounce package green split peas
8 cups chicken stock
Croutons for garnish, optional
1. Season meat with salt and pepper to taste.
2. In a large soup pot, heat canola oil over medium-high. Sear meat until brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pot and set aside.
3. Add diced onion to pot, sprinkling with ¼ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ¼ teaspoon cardamom. Saute, stirring until onions are translucent. Then, add diced carrots, stirring. Cook about 2 minutes, or until carrots start to soften.
4. Add split peas to pot and stir for about 1 minute.
5. Add chicken stock and bring entire mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add remaining cardamom. Salt and pepper to taste.
6. Return seared meat to pot. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
7. Remove meat from pot and set aside.
8. Turn off heat. Using an electric immersion blender, blend soup in pot until smooth. Or pour into blender, in batches, and blend until smooth, returning to pot.
9. Return meat to pot; cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
10. Remove meat from pot and either cut off the bone and use in soup or reserve for another use. Garnish with croutons, if desired. Makes 10 to 12 servings.