Sunday, July 26, 2009


This is where I hold forth on the state of restaurants (or lack thereof) in my city (which I love dearly but...). I felt compelled to share because of a dinner I had last night. It was a Swordfish Piccata...I have been told it is sublime, the stuff that legends are made of. Well, not in my fairy tale! It was a thinly sliced but very large piece of breaded and fried fish swimming in a gallon of sauce that had never seen a caper and not too much lemon over a giant bed of spaghetti that was not al dente and definitely was not housemade and...I was in what we call an Italian restaurant.

In Tulsa, we have a number of talented chefs who either own restaurants or are Executive Chefs. There is one, in particular, who shall remain nameless for fear of hurting anyone's feelings. I have known this fellow for over 10 years and he has cooked all over the world. He probably has the finest, most refined palate of anyone I know. He is amazingly talented and is a partner in what is basically a sports bar where he cooks seven days a week. We have had many conversations about cooking in Tulsa. I would love for Tulsa to be a "food" town. I would love it to be among those hidden treasures of the food world reviewed and touted as some place to visit if you're off on a quest for the next greatest trend or ingredient. But, as he and I have discussed many times...ain't happenin' here. He totally "gets" what Tulsans like to eat and it has nothing to do with any of the latest food trends or any of the wonderous dishes that I know he can create. Yes, there are some of us who lament the lack of sophistication and yearn for the foods we travel the world for and we hold out hope that one among us will be successful in staying alive long enough to cook that inspirational food for this wonderful city.

But if you're going to stay and be successful in the food business in Tulsa...take note because here is what Tulsans like and you better give it to them: burgers and fries, fried fries and more fries, and chicken wings and barbecue; they like TexMex flavors with lots and lots of cheese, they like heavy Italian-like red sauce over mounds and mounds of pasta, they want in your face bar food and you better give them lots and lots of it! Forget nuances and delicate flavors such as the truth behind a real Italian involtini, the shadings of spice expressed in a true mole, or the fragrance of a great Spanish olive oil.

Tulsa is a young, beautiful is a pleasure to live here. It has been chosen as one of the places to live...the city is developing a young, creative professional population and I can only hope that they will start looking for something different to eat! I will be poised and ready...Bring it on!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kabobs on July 9

This is a perfect example of time flies when you're having fun (or not)! I have had very good intentions for the last several days to write an update and have finally found the time to do it...whew! Another class has come and gone...All Kinds of Kabobs and I'm happy to say that I have had many reports from those of you who have tried and succeeded with flying colors! That is truly the whole point of teaching! Take everything I give you and use it! Awesome! I hope you will share a little of your experiences with everyone else...please!

To catch you up...we made beef kabobs and shrimp kabobs...we also made all kinds of vegetables (onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, nothing too exotic) and finished with Grilled Romaine Hearts. Everything was super easy...very little, if any, marinade...mainly, salt, pepper and olive oil. So the real flavors of the food sang out!

The title of the next class is My Favorite Tools and last Thursday's participants asked that I make three of my favorite things...I am happy to do that (fun for me) but I would like to hear what YOU want! I've had lots of requests for dessert so I will do at least one but what else?! Let me's another chance to participate!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Here come the fireworks!!

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July and I felt compelled to share one last favorite picnic-y recipe before I move on to my next cooking class...which this coming Thursday, July 9th at 5:30...more shameless advertising, I know!
Anyway, this is an Asian slaw recipe that is a spinoff of that infamous one made with Ramen noodles and the flavor packet that comes with it. Of course, you know that the packet only contains about a million grams of sodium! No wonder it tastes so great! But before you have a stroke, I mean, come on, that's a lot of sodium...not to mention the swelling and water weight and no one needs that! I devised an even better dressing and salad making method that will make your heart sing and your blood pressure drop! This is a terrific side for all your grilled favorites AND is wonderful on a pulled pork sandwich!
So...take a look at my Asian slaw and I think you'll's a great, better alternative!

Asian Slaw

Serves 8

1 head napa (Chinese) cabbage, shredded
1 small English cucumber, half round cuts
5 green onions, sliced on the bias
½ red bell pepper, julienned
1 cup almonds, toasted
Salt and pepper, to taste

1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar, unseasoned
½ cup canola oil (scant)

Pepper, to taste

Combine slaw ingredients (except salt and pepper) in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine ginger, garlic and brown sugar. Stir with a small spoon to blend then add soy sauce and sesame oil. Add vinegar and canola oil and shake until well blended…you should have an emulsion.
Taste for seasoning and add pepper as needed.
Pour half of the dressing over the slaw and toss. Add additional dressing as needed but salad should not be over-dressed.
Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.