Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Cornucopia Project

Just before Thanksgiving, I was approached (by email) by a young San Francisco couple who have a blog called The Guerrilla Gourmet to participate in a very ambitious project.  They wanted to reach out to bloggers all across the US to share their whatever form that took.  I felt quite special to be included in this request as the world is FULL of bloggers and I was happy to represent Oklahoma.  If you read my recent post about Ree Drummond in the Bobby Flay Thanksgiving Feast Throwdown, I think you know how much I love our state.  Anywho...I was lucky enough to be chosen and included in their blog as part of the Cornucopia Project.  I encourage you to visit their blog by clicking on the badge to the left of this post.  It is a fun and interesting read.  See if you recognize the teenager behind the Brussels sprout stalk from Oklahoma...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What in the World is...? Food Cetera from November, 2010

From the Urban Kitchen website (
What in the world is...a parsnip?
Indeed! What is this new darling of the food world? You hear about it everywhere now but new? Not really...the parsnip has been around for hundreds of years when the Europeans brought it to the US in the early 1600s! For some reason, this creamy-white root has never become an American favorite...until now! Chefs across the country have taken up this overlooked little gem and are putting it into everything from cakes to mashed potatoes (actually using it INSTEAD of mashers).
Parsnips look a lot like carrots except, yes...they're white. They have a pleasantly sweet yet spicy flavor that goes well with many foods and enriches the flavor profiles of vegetable soups and stock as well as roasted meats, especially birds. No need to peel them because most of the flavor lies just beneath the skin so just give them a good scrub. Because of the sugar content, parsnips will caramelize nicely when roasted or baked but are good boiled or steamed and then mashed with butter and cream...yum!
Parsnips are available year-round but are best now and into winter. Choose small to medium, well-shaped roots that are not limp. They will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. fearless! Try slicing parsnips into your next potato gratin, add them to your Thanksgiving mash, or just roast them in the oven with a little olive oil, butter, salt and pepper...and the rest of your winter vegetables.
Embrace the humble but lovely parsnip

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I love Ree but....

I know, I know...I'm being a spoiled sport to not just enjoy Ree Drummond's (aka The Pioneer Woman) win over Bobby Flay in Food Network's Thanksgiving Feast Throwdown BUT...did anyone else find it at the very least annoying that once more...Oklahoma is portrayed as the domain of Laurey, Curly, Jud Fry and Aunt Eller?  I mean, I LOVE our state but, for God's sakes...we do have a few more things besides horses and cowboys in the prairie.  Why does this always happen?  Is there anyone out there who would like to be known for something besides The Dust Bowl, Grapes of Wrath, and wide open spaces?  Wouldn't it be nice if we finally got some even treatment? 
I thought the images were beautiful of the Drummond ranch that spreads out as far as the eye can see in Osage County, I thought Ree was just as charming as she always is, I thought her food looked great and, frankly, their "ranch house" was pretty close to what could be called a mansion.  And, I'm not trying to compare our fine cities to the big cities of say, New York, LA, Chicago, or even Dallas...well, maybe Dallas, but we finally get Food Network to come to Oklahoma for something pretty big and they show, what else? The wilds of Pawhuska!  Really!? We don't all live on a working cattle ranch...Bobby opens his visit to our fair state with "in Northeast Oklahoma, cattle is king".  Really?!  Last time I checked, Tulsa was part of Northeast Oklahoma.  Where are the cows in Downtown Tulsa?  Next to the BOK Center or, no...maybe housed out in the middle of our new ONEOK Stadium...yeah, I can definitely see Drillers' owner, Chuck Lamson rounding up some cattle out there.
The state of Oklahoma is a melting pot just like every other state.  We, of course, are much younger and we don't have the diversity but we are not all living out in the middle of nowhere not able to get a portabello mushroom.  Don't get me wrong, I love the country.  My boyfriend lives outside of Muskogee on a lovely acreage and I always enjoy going out there.  But I am a city girl through and through (just ask him) and I was born and bred in Oklahoma and there are a whole bunch of us who have never roped, ridden or come closer to a horse than to bet on them at Blue Ribbon Downs.  It is just frustrating that the only thing that people want to recognize Oklahoma for is our "country-ness". 
Yes, I love Ree, Carrie, Garth and Trisha but, puh-leez, could we be known for Tulsa Ballet or Philbrook or the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra or even the Hard Rock Cafe?  Oklahoma City (although not nearly as beautiful as Tulsa, sorry, OKC, I am a Tulsan, after all) has certainly come into its own in the last decade or more and should be recognized for much more than the Oklahoma City Bombing.  It has the Oklahoma City Museum of Art with the amazing Dale Chiluly glass collection (among others) and its Ford Center is second to none for great events.  Even Bricktown has become a place on the map.  And, what about Bartlesville's OK Mozart Festival and the Price Tower?   I could note many other examples but I think my point has been made. 
Do we have any Michelin guide restaurants?  Ummmm, no, and unlikely that we ever will, but we have plenty of fine dining, casual dining and everything in between and there are a few of us who seek out the unusual, exotic and sophisticated and, believe it or not, it can be found in just have to look for it.  So I guess what I'm trying to say is...we are not a one note state...there is more to us than country and I would like someone on the East or West Coast to recognize it.  I suppose it doesn't really matter...we know who we are...just don't like being stuck in that same old box especially in the 21st Century.
So...Ree, girl, we are super proud of you!  Great job!!  But next time could we send Food Network to, oh, I don't know, Caz's Chowhouse?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Great news on a number of fronts...

First of all...I did not progress in the Next Food Blog Star challenge but it sure was fun to participate!
Next...the kitchen is coming together in spite of all of the crazy things that have happened from the vent hood installers cannibalizing my hood fans to figuring out the new heat sensor requirements to...well, I'm sure there's something else but I can't think of what it is.  Here is a picture of the kitchen...not the same one as on Facebook so a little variety coming atcha...
On the food front...I just read that legendary Chef Alain Ducasse has expressed himself on the subject of complicated food and he's too damn complicated!  YAY!! Thank you so much!!  In fact, he is completely reworking his menu and is going so far as to limit all items to three ingredients.  That just speaks to my heart after all this silly, self-absorbed, overly complex cooking that's going on out there! I have always said, delicious, honest food, completely identifiable that you can be passionate about.
We will start being passionate about the food we cook very shortly at Urban Kitchen on Cherry Street...can't wait to share with everyone...I will be scheduling cooking classes in November!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Project Food Blog...This is so fun!

Wow!  Little did I know when I started this adventure that food blogging (blogging, in general?) was sooo popular.  At first, I really tried the everyday thing and then once a week but I just don't adhere to schedules very well especially when I have SO MUCH going on in my little cooking life.  But who doesn't love a little healthy competition so how could I resist entering into the Next Food Blog Star challenge?  What better way to connect with new people and, bonus! hone my blogging skills.  And, who knows, maybe win?!  In any's going to be great fun.  Best of luck to everyone!  Back to my little culinary space...I am trying to get my catering kitchen open...this has been no mean feat...did I spell all of that right?!  Between city permits and the vent hood workers...I am just about to call it a day.  I can't though, love it too much and it's a super cool space with a great vibe...I've got events scheduled, chairs coming in, furniture assembled, etc., etc., etc....
What really keeps me going is teaching as many people as possible about cooking.  I can't wait to get that kitchen open so that I can do some hands-on classes and there are lots of my students (from previous classes) who are chomping at the bit!!  In the meantime, I have been sharing recipes, techniques, restaurant reviews (especially when I feel passionately about how well or how badly someone is doing something!), personal opinions (of which I have many) and anything else I can think of...having to do with food! 
When I am teaching, my favorite thing to tell my students is "I have no secrets and my intention is to put myself out of business so that you go home and cook, have an absolutely lovely time and you don't NEED me anymore!"  I don't get these chefs who leave details or ingredients out of their recipes or their tips.  What is the point?  I want people to have as much fun cooking as I do.  Just take a look at this group at one of my classes.  So I don't want my students to need me...I want them to come to the classes for fun and inspiration because they WANT to come and learn about everything from making mozzarella to frenching a rack of lamb to anything skewered on the grill.  We do it all!
When I can't teach a class, my blog has become my connection with my current students and, hopefully, has interested lots and lots of people.  If I can show the beauty of food and express the excitement I feel when I'm cooking so that others experience it then I have accomplished my task.  I want people to be as excited about it as I am...take it all home and then "cook without a parachute".  That means, you don't have to have a recipe to do something delicious in your kitchen.  Here is another example...pesto!  Love it, love it, love it.  I published this photo a month or so ago when I was so excited to be making pesto with the basil I just picked from my boyfriend's incredible vegetable garden.  Here it is again...this is in the food processor, right before the basil, the parm and the nuts came together and made pesto love...can you believe how huge those leaves are?  And, I don't feel compelled to use pine nuts all the time.  In this recipe, I used walnuts.  When the pecans are falling off the trees all over Oklahoma, I use our rich, sweet Native pecans.  I like to say that if you know your ingredients...throw the rules out the window and go with what speaks to you.  That is what I do and that is what I encourage everyone to do. 
Have a great time. 
Just go for it! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Still working on the kitchen...

I hate to be gripey but is this kitchen going to ever be finished!!??!!  ARRGGHHHHHH!!
We've been working on it for a year.  I have been paying as I go and trying to do as much as possible without disturbing the structure so I will have no debt when I open...notice I said "when"...I'm being positive.  Consquently, things have been going slowly but we have new floors, new paint, new faux exposed brick, a spotless range (thanks to a whole bunch of elbow grease and grill cleaner!), worktop reach-ins that have a clean bill of health, a new air conditioner (ouch), a beautiful six-foot deli case, and a new venthood that is hanging in my kitchen but has not been further installed. 
Now...I cannot operate without a venthood so needless to say, even my planning for it to take a little longer to install (I mean, it IS construction afterall) than they originally said...I am now more than a month behind.  I expected to be open sometime this month (this month being August) but it WILL be September because I must be ready for the holiday season.
So, my friends, if my posts have been somewhat few and far between in recent months, please indulge me, in that, my mind has mostly been in this awesome kitchen space that I have every belief will have the venthood finished and installed by the end of the week before I go to NYC to see my daughter (and attend the casting call for The Next Food Network Star...)  And, if you believe that, I also have some land in Florida you might be interested in...;-)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Just a short update and I'm off....

In case you don't keep up with The Girl on Facebook...I am dangerously close to getting my kitchen space open.  The vent hood will be in and installed in about three weeks...everything else, we're buttoning up so stay tuned!  I've got a few sharing those in the next post very soon!

Monday, June 7, 2010

It's almost pesto...

Just had to share this beautiful "before processing" photo...that's all for now!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wow! Has it really been that long!

Sorry, guys!  Life has certainly gotten in the way of my blogging...
I will fill you in very soon but for now, I am making this offering.  My new found friend, Korky, requested that I post my hummus recipe.  I have been making a lot of it recently and it is the time of year for it. 
Ummm...when ISN'T it the time for hummus?  That's what I'd like to know. it is.

1 - 16 oz. can garbanzo beans (I use Bush's), drained and rinsed well
1 tbsp ground cumin
pinch of cayenne (I use more, closer to 1/4 tsp)
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/8 cup tahini (be sure it is well stirred) thoroughly mixed with 2 tbsp olive oil

In a food processor, place garbanzo beans, garlic and spices.  Puree and then scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add lemon juice and process again, scraping down after.  With processor running, slowly pour tahini and olive oil mixture through the feeder tube and process until the mixture is smooth without lumps.
The hummus is ready to eat but it is better if you let the flavors meld for a few hours in the refrigerator.  When ready to serve, take hummus out of the fridge for at least 1/2 hour so it is not really cold.
Serve with fresh vegetables (I love it with red bell peppers and grape tomatoes) and crostini.
My recipe is heavy on the seasoning because I like it that way.  Feel free to cut back on the spices.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!
Be back soon!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Back on the cooking segment...

So yesterday, I returned to the Noon News on KOTV.  The cooking segment was always fun with Glenda Silvey but let's face it...there are few anchors who are able to interview the way Glenda can.  Such was the case on Friday but it was a fun and simple segment as you will see because I have included the link.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed doing it.  :-)
OH! And, if you would like the recipe for the profiteroles (not sure they made it onto the website)...just let me know...they're super easy and yummy!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ceviche...not just Mexican anymore!

I love ceviche!  The traditional Mexican made with tomatoes, red onions, jalapenos, lime juice (sometimes with lemon), avocados, cilantro and the secret ingredient...good, ol' garden variety tomato ketchup!  Yep, it's just sweet enough to balance the tartness of everything else.  I allow my seafood to "cook" in the stays very tender and succulent that way.  If you pre-cook it, even for a minute (and to that I ask...why?), it changes the texture.  So, please trust me...the seafood/fish really does cook in the worries.
I also love Thai fact, most all Asian I was delighted when I found this recipe in the latest Food and Wine.  I have changed it a little (surprise) and made it last night (we had a giant snowstorm, okay it is Oklahoma but we did get 7 inches of snow on top of ice, in the last couple of days so did a lot of recipe testing).  This version is really flavorful and just different enough from the Mexican version that I think it's worth adding to your repertoire.  I think it also gives you some jumping off ideas for other versions of ceviche...maybe Italian use swordfish with olives and lemon, or French bistro...rouget with some artichoke hearts and garlic cloves...who knows where it could lead you and your favorite flavors...?!

Thai Inspired Ceviche
You can use a combination of seafood or fish whatever you like, really.  I use scallops and shrimp but you could use squid (bodies and/or tentacles), snapper, any combination or just use's up to you!

3/4 lb of seafood, total
1/2 cup plain coconut water (not milk! and easily found at Whole Foods in the water section)
1 tsp grated lime zest
1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 small red onion, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 to 1 whole jalapeno, minced and seeded
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 - 3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp golden brown sugar, packed
1 heaping tsp Sriracha chile sauce
1/2 cup cucumber, diced (peeled if it's not an English cucumber)
1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut, dried or fresh (be sure it's unsweetened!)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup Thai basil, chiffonade (if you can't find Thai basil, use ordinary basil)

Cut all seafood into medium dice so that each morsel is a small bite. Set aside.
Combine next ten ingredients in a large plastic resealable bag (or a bowl) and mix until sugar dissolves.
Add seafood.
Refrigerate for at least two hours (this is when the fish/seafood "cooks").  Turning the bag occasionally so the cooking is even. You want the seafood to be firm and still tender.  Do not allow it to overprocess or it will become mushy (the acid breaks down the proteins).
Before serving, add the cucumber and coconut to the ceviche and mix.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour into a bowl and garnish the top with shredded basil.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tuna for my friend, Tracey

My good friend, Tracey, is experiencing one of those rites of passage...not a rite for everyone but certainly for many of us.  She has found herself (at fifty-wonderful) on her unmarried woman.  So to everyone who is going through similar circumstances, I share my therapy of cooking...doing it, talking about it and blogging about it.  Certainly, not everyday (obviously) but when there is a time to say something I do and this is one of those times! 
Also, be sure to wander by Tracey's blog - and say "hello". 
Now, on to the recipe...this is a "do something nice for yourself" meal.
It is a wonderfully easy and delicious recipe for grilled it's super healthy!! 
The tuna needs to be very fresh, preferably sushi-grade but stay away from all of those endangered bluefin, big eye, etc.  The pesto and salsa are good with lots of different things so make the whole recipe and save it.  You can freeze pesto, you know...get some of those old-fashioned ice cube trays, divide the pesto so you have some in each cube-ical, cover with foil or some wrap that won't come off easily and slip it in the freezer.  You then have individual servings of pesto whenever you want it.  Just pop it out of the tray and let it come to room temperature in a small container or plate on your counter.  It will keep for months in the freezer!  The salsa is so'll want to put it on everything so it won't last long.

Grilled Tuna with Pesto and Mediterranean Tomato Salsa (for An Unmarried Woman)
You need to make the salsa and pesto before you grill the only want to sear it.
2 lbs. tomatoes, ½ inch dice
6 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cups loosely packed Italian parsley
½ cup loosely packed mint
1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp. olive oil (get a nice fruity one)
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
On a cutting board, pile up the tomatoes, onions, herbs and chile. Using a large knife, chop all ingredients together until they become salsa consistency...chopping is a great stress reliever. Transfer to a medium sized bowl and add lemon and lime juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
3 large garlic cloves
½ cup nuts (pecans, walnuts, pinenuts or any other nut you like)
2/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, coarsely grated
3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
With food processor running, drop in garlic and finely chop. Stop motor and add nuts, cheese, salt, pepper, and basil, then process until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil, blending until incorporated.
One 6-ounce tuna steak, ¾ inch thick
Olive oil for brushing
Kosher salt and pepper
Light a grill (indoor or out). Brush the tuna steak with the olive oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper.
Grill tuna over moderately high heat until cooked to desired doneness. 1 minute per side for rare to medium rare; 2 minutes per side for medium.
Spoon salsa on plate, place tuna on salsa and top with a spoonful of pesto.
Pour yourself a glass of wine (Pinot Noir is great with tuna and these earthy flavors) and enjoy!