Category Archives: Foodie Page

All Good Things: 116 Farmstead Market & Table Softly Opens

One glimpse of her yellow, brown and button-accented apron encasing the junior waitstaffer and I was smitten – dually smitten with the wearer, as well as the space within which she was ringing up a coffee for me and a “Dublin Dr. Pepper” for my husband.

We were standing at the counter of 116 Farmstead Market & Table on soft open day.  Nestled between several historical downtown Luther, Okla. structures, the new business was populated with the owners, their children, the store manager, and several walk-ins who had come with well-wishes to “see what they’ve done with the place.”

116 Farmstead Market and Table
Entrance: Downtown Luther, OK main street approach. May 7th, 2016.

As someone who has had a fairly rigorous education of the disappearing downtowns across Oklahoma, I’m especially glad to see any lifegiving effort begin to turn that trend around.  And knowing this particular project was generated by those I knew to be thoughtful and conscientious about their plans, and how they can go about adding good to their world, I asked Matthew Winton for a few thoughts at the end of their first day.

Q: When you stand in 116 Farmstead Market & Table, sun shining, breezes blowing through the new store, what goes through your mind?

It’s difficult to quantify what it means to see my wife, kids, Angela, friends and family gathered together at 116.  Sometimes it diminishes things to define them.  I’ll try [to quantify]:

I saw people serving one another literally and figuratively. I saw neighbors treating others as they want to be treated – kindness, sharing, love. I heard the stories of people who had lived in Luther all their lives trying their best in 15 minutes to sum up what it meant for them to grow up in that place.

 For us, it isn’t so much a philosophical proposition as it is a spiritual one. The purpose of 116 is to nourish soul through body.  You likely experience this as an educator with your students, although your experience is nourishment of soul through mind.  It’s the same thing in my thinking. I experience it in my law practice, parents experience it in parenting their children, and on.  This may be getting too esoteric, but it really is the purpose behind 116.  We seek to [meet] a community need, which is a place to eat and buy groceries, but the purpose is simply to create a space for people to intersect and share their stories.  If we are ambassadors, then 116 is our embassy.

Inside shot of the “table” area looking toward the service counter. May 7, 2016.

Q: I understand you’re open Tuesday through Saturday, and your grand opening is coming up soon.  What information would you like others to know about your store or what to expect?

The full open for 116 will be Saturday, June 4.  Store hours will be: Tues-Fri, 7-3 and Sat., 8-5.  We will modify these as we learn the needs of the community.  Angela Hilliard is the manager (there is a great story behind how our paths crossed and other cool intricacies to how she joined us, but I’ll save that for the first Luther Speaks event).

The goal is to provide locally grown or produced meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables.  Of course, there are a number of items not produced locally, such as coffee and tea, so we use local roasters and wholesalers for these items.  We want to tell the story of the farms and farmers/ranchers who produce these items.

As producers of all natural beef, we never get tired of sharing what is a daily work with those for whom we produce food.  We believe we were created from dirt, are tasked with caring for the dirt, and want to share that story with others.  The 116 is our attempt to provide a beautiful space for that story to be told.

Wendell Berry once said that ‘eating is an agricultural act;’ he called it an ‘annual drama.’  The 116 Farmstead Market and Table is a stage for that drama to be shown and told, from the Market where producers’ products and stories are shared, to “Luther Speaks” nights, which are opportunities (think: Moth Radio Hour but Luther style) to tell stories about the land, the people, and what they produce together.

The Table is a chance to enjoy a seasonal menu of breakfast and lunch items made from what is sold in the Market.

It seems culture tells us we can have everything all the time, which we know can’t be true.  It is true, though, that we are all tied by place.  Today was a great experience of that truth – from the Luther High Class of 1960 to those who had never been to Luther before…everyone has a story to tell and the 116 is a place to slow down and share those stories.

Social media is great for information, but connection really happens over a cup  of coffee or sharing a meal face to face, spilling drinks, seeing people’s kids run around without pants on, looking at beautiful works of art, slowing down for a moment.  This isn’t pretending life is all okay; it is reconnecting if but for a moment to place, and toil, and dirt.

Americana-style fiber art rendering of the U.S. flag. May 7, 2016.


Please plan a trip down highway 66 to visit the 116 Farmstead Market & Table. Please take the time to sit, connect and enjoy your time with the good folks who are creating this shared community story with their new business; spend time looking through all the elements on the mural hanging over their door.  Make sure to ask about their 2nd floor space, and event areas. Read much more information than I can share by visiting their website. And by all means, find out when the first “Luther Speaks” event will take place so we can all attend and listen.

But more than anything, take moments to “nourish your soul and your body,” when visiting 116, and every day.  I’m pretty sure we all want that for you.

Very much.

Every Point OK Food: Ya-Ya’s in Carney, Oklahoma

_DSC0015Julie Kennedy was wearing an orange and white Chevron print apron her grandmother had made her when she took our order for breakfast.  She welcomed us warmly, accommodated all our special requests, chatted about the restaurant and quickly went about her business.  It was Saturday morning, and Ya-Ya’s Place in Carney, Oklahoma was filling up fast.

It wasn’t long before our order came, and I must say, the food rivaled any breakfast cafe around the area.  The décor was managed with a sense of humor  The kitchen was clean, as was the bathroom.  And, we were checked on during our meal not too many times, and not too few.


Julie’s husband and child were in one of the booths enjoying their own breakfast.  Her mother-in-law owns the business, and her sister-in-law was cooking that morning.  I think it’s safe to say the entire family is invested in making Ya-Ya’s succeed.  The locals appeared comfortable and were all cleaning their plates as the morning progressed. Continue reading Every Point OK Food: Ya-Ya’s in Carney, Oklahoma

Christmas Music To My Tastebuds: “Woody Candy Co. Is OPEN”

This sign has magical powers. It makes my taste buds sing Christmas tunes.

Note – we published this post on Dec. 11 last year.  I believe it’s so important that I’m re-publishing it this year…11 days earlier! ~ RDK  This little neon sign holds a special power over me every year. The moment the “on” switch is finally flipped by a mysterious candy maker, an invisible beacon begins to sound across the prairie…over the north side of OKC and across Edmond…until it reaches my taste buds. It’s like Christmas Music, only in my mouth! What is so powerful, so unique and so delicious as to send me swooning around this time of year? It’s Woody Candy Company (Oklahoma’s Oldest & Finest Family Owned Candy Company), going strong since 1927. Their full array of special candy recipes are offered every year to the public ~ from Thanksgiving weekend through Valentine’s Day. After that? Closed again…until the next year.

Find where the origin of the powerful beacon at 922 N.W. 70th, Oklahoma City, OK.

Claude and Lucille Woody set out 93 years ago to do one thing very well: “To make the best candy in the world.”  In MY world, there is no doubt that they succeeded.  I personally think there must be something very special about the name Lucille. I may have to change my super-hero persona to a cowgirl who rides horses, shoots targets with precision accuracy AND makes “the best candy in the world!”

I want to take you there, but I can’t take all of you. There’s not enough room in my car.  So instead, I will take you there with a few photos I “shot” today with my six-shooter (my Canon PowerShot SD970IS).  I hope you can go on your own.  And if you do, tell them Red Dirt Kelly sent you.  This message will confuse them since they have no idea who I am.  But it will be fun for me!  I’ve gone to this store for eight years in a row.  I was introduced to this magical place by my friend Joanne, and now I’m introducing you in case you don’t know about this special secret.

And one more thing…comment on this blog, and I will enter you into a drawing (to be given away next Friday) for your choice of either: 1) A box of Toffle; 2) A box of their version of what you know as Aunt Bill’s candy; or, 3) A box of their delectable “Turtle” candies – caramel, chocolate and Oklahoma pecans. The average price ranges from $15 to $30 per box.  If you’ve never had Toffle, you might not understand what it’s like to have a glimpse of heaven on earth.  Toffee, sweet, salty, crunchy with HUGE pecans…it’s a dream…

Continue reading Christmas Music To My Tastebuds: “Woody Candy Co. Is OPEN”

Waste Not, Want Not: Sunday Night Quiche Tradition-Building

Last week I started a tradition I think I’m going to like.

We generally go grocery shopping every Sunday afternoon to prepare for the upcoming work week.  But then…there’s the refrigerator clean-out process that comes along with the stocking task.  And invariably, I find forgotten food tucked in the deep corners of our fridge that is generally still good but needs to be used ASAP.

Hence, the birth of my Sunday Night “Empty the Fridge” Quiche.  Last week, it consisted of: broccoli, about 1/3 of an onion, a small piece of smoked cheddar block I had to “de-mold” prior to grating, a bit of buttermilk, and 1/3 container of cottage cheese.  Oh, and eggs.

This week, I found half an old bag of frozen chopped spinach, I had some bacon that needed to be cooked, and I had local pullet eggs going out of date in three days.  I threw in about one cup of good shredded cheddar and I must say, it’s delicious (see the top featured photo above).

So, should you wish to follow suit and have breakfast ready to heat up every work day morning the following week, here is all you need:

1) Use your favorite pie crust recipe.  Make only enough for one crust. Continue reading Waste Not, Want Not: Sunday Night Quiche Tradition-Building

Five Thanksgiving Menu Solutions for Unexpected Surprises

Being thrown for a loop during a meal or party preparation is never awesome, but it happens. If there are people involved, and cooking food for those people is also involved, unexpected surprises are almost guaranteed.

Twists or turns for a meal on Thanksgiving are especially tricky because the grocery stores are closed, and you find out about these surprises many times right before meal time.

If a few extra people show up, the solution could be as easy as opening an extra can of corn.

Sidebar: Every time I hear, “Can o’ corn” I think about this scene in The Longest Yard:

However, most Thanksgiving meals are so large a few extra people isn’t usually the problem. But other possibilities DO exist. So, I’ve developed a “crisis management” list for you to handle many of the possible, random or even probable surprises lurking in the wings for the upcoming holiday. Here we go…

1. A few days, or even hours prior to your meal, you get this message: “Okay, truth, no one in our family likes dressing. Can we PLEASE forego the dressing?” Great. It’s your turn to cook. You even called for your aunt’s dressing recipe because that’s what has always been served, and no one likes it? Here’s a great substitute that’s easy, it uses your cornbread mix, the big foil pan you had prepped for the dressing, and (in my opinion) tastes better:

Jalapeno Cornbread

In a large bowl combine four packets of cornbread mix (not corn muffin mix). Quickly clean/core 20 jalapeno peppers and shred them in a food processor. Add the peppers, a small bag of frozen corn [thawed], one extra egg over what the mixes call for, two bags of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (16 total oz.), and use buttermilk for the mix rather than regular milk. Please use about 10% extra buttermilk over what the mix calls for as it’s a little thicker. Mix thoroughly (don’t overmix; just until all the ingredients are wet and well blended), transfer to your large foil pan you had prepped for dressing (make sure and coat with non-stick spray prior to filling), and bake in a 390F oven for about 35-40 minutes. Check at 30 minutes. The edges should be nicely brown and pulling from the pan, and a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. This recipe feeds 25 people easily, takes less than an hour from beginning to end, costs about $8.25, and is about .34 cents or less per serving. One other thing – it’s delicious.

Continue reading Five Thanksgiving Menu Solutions for Unexpected Surprises

Simple Ideas: Apple Cider with a Breath of Rosemary

A serene view helps the cider be that much better.

This morning’s walk to the Intellegentsia coffee house was interrupted by the Chicago marathon.  Everywhere we tried to walk, our path was blocked with thousands of runners being cheered on my a supportive crowd, offering an endless supply of water cups.  Dance music filled the air to add another layer of, “You can DO it!” attitude to the environment.

So we made a contingency plan, and I’m so glad we did.  Our detour led us to one of the first locations my children had tried during our vacation:  GrahamWich, a Graham Elliot restaurant that offered a light breakfast menu and was right around the corner.  The quiche with Swiss cheese was delightful, and the crust especially flaky and tender.

But the apple cider was amazing.  I took a second sip.  Again, the tangy freshness sat with my taste buds but I couldn’t really distinguish any special notes. “Must be the apples,” I thought.  No, the third sip revealed the secret.  On the back of my palate, right before I was tempted with another bit of quiche I found it: rosemary.  Notes of rosemary danced across my tongue, and I smiled. Continue reading Simple Ideas: Apple Cider with a Breath of Rosemary

Healing my Secondary Friend-Drama-Trauma by Canning Peach Preserves

*Originally written in 2012; re-running due to a stellar Oklahoma peach season — RDK

During the past twelve months I’ve supervised three therapists who have staffed a variety of cases in session, some of which were clients who began treatment because of extramarital affairs.  I keep a caseload of only two or three couples per week, but generally one of the three is an “affair” case.  I’ve had three friends who have experienced family and marital turmoil this past year because of affairs, and two friends whose marriages suffered a great deal because one of them within the marriage was involved in an “online affair.”

I realized in June of this year that the secondary and tertiary trauma of all these affairs was getting to me.  I came to this realization as I stood: bare feet on our hard Terracotta tile kitchen floor, knife in my hand, covered in juice up to my elbows, peach peelings piling high…with peach pits, boiling water, mixing bowls and sparkling glass jars on every side of me.

I was right in the middle of putting up the early crop of peaches my husband had so eagerly given me earlier that day.  He knew I am a sucker for fresh Oklahoma grown peaches and had schemed with our next door neighbor to get me a box when he was out in Eastern Oklahoma on a business trip.  Some women get flowers.  I get a crate of peaches. But believe me, the scent of preserves or pies made from the frozen fruit I put away “blooms” all year long.

My friend Cathy has a saying that she uses when telling me stories.  She says, “So there I was, see, (fill in with the story of the day).”  I had one of those moments right in the middle of making peach preserves.  So there I was, see, going through the process of preparing the fruit.  You have to perform this task quickly while keeping the peaches bright and unoxidized before putting them into the sugar mixture.  Allow me to provide a guided tour…

First you gently drop three or four peaches into a vat of boiling water.  Within approximately 15 seconds they need to be scooped out with a slotted spoon and dumped into a vat of ice water.  They can rest there for a few minutes until you’re either ready to slip off the peach skins or put more fruit into the boiling water.  Boil, ice, skin…then I cut the peach in half, take out the pit, quickly cube up the fruit into bite sized pieces and repeat the process.  All the way to the bottom of the box.

So there I was, see, about a third of the way down through the box of those heavenly smelling peaches when my body sort of went into “automatic peach prepping mode” and my mind began to wander.  It took a left turn and began to dwell on something that I wasn’t really in the mood to think about, but obviously needed to because it had popped into my head.  I was hurting for my friends who were experiencing an affair.

After all the affairs I had heard about, treated, staffed or consulted over this year I had finally reached my limit.  On a cognitive level I knew that almost every couple goes through the same cycle of shock, disbelief, paranoia, feelings of abandonment and fear that it will happen again, rejection…I knew this.  I know what to tell couples to expect and that people can get through these situations.  I know that they don’t believe they will ever be able to touch each other or be intimate again.  I know that there is pain where children are involved, pain with employers if they get involved and pain with anyone who is involved in any close way.

I know this.  I know this, and I KNEW this as I tossed three more peaches into the boiling water and thought, “That’s what hearing about an affair feels like.  And that’s what telling a spouse that you’ve had an affair is like.  It’s like being scalded.”

I lifted up the peaches and put them into the cold water and thought, “That’s what they experience, what their family experiences.  It’s like shock…like an ice-cold shock to their lives.”

I pulled the peaches out of the water, taking the skins off and thought about this scene in C.S. Lewis’ book “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”  Aslan, the lion, walks up to Eustace who had turned into a dragon (his knobbly skinned appearance resembled his dark leathery heart).  Aslan lifts his sharp claw and slits open the boy’s skin all the way to the ground and his knobbly, dark self falls away.  It stung Eustace, but his brand new self – clean and fresh – was revealed.  I knew that peeling off the layers of hurt, wounding, lies, harmful behaviors…layer by layer…would sting, but there would also be the hope of a new marriage or life underneath for those couples who could get through the process.

Then I split open the peaches revealing the pit.  The core.  Some were clean, easy to pull out, ready to reshape into a new product for my family.  Others had cores that were dark.  I knew that some of the couples I was carrying in my head would have to work extremely hard and get right down to the core.  Right down to the very essence of everything they were together.  They might have to redo things.  They might have to rebuild their lives completely.  But if they allowed themselves to go all the way to the core it was possible.

There I was, see, standing there on the hard tile floor and I was crying.

I was sick of affairs.  I hated that couples had to experience them.  I hated that I knew all the steps every couple would have to take yet it was brand new and horrible to every single one of them.  I was thinking words like “hated, mad, horrible” and I realized that none of what I was thinking was happening to me.  It was only my clients, or the clients of my supervisees.  Or my friends.  But it didn’t matter.  Secondary trauma is real.  Tertiary trauma is real.  The impact of an affair travels past the two involved, through any children that exist, through any extended family or workplaces that are involved and through any friends who care about those dear souls who are hurting…through their heads and hearts and it comes right out into the peaches they are putting up in June.

I felt tired.  I worked a long time, probably longer than it would have taken me normally, to finish preparing my peaches.  I thought, “And couples have to work really hard, and be persistent, and get right down to the very last peach that needs to be skinned before they’re ready to make something new.”  The breaking down process is tedious work.  The building trust process is tedious and time-consuming.  It takes patience on the part of everyone involved.  I put my peaches into a large kettle, measured the sugar and began making the preserves.

As the mixture began to bubble and the sugar began to melt a warm, sweet, peachy, fresh smell filled the kitchen.  I was re-energized by this beautiful aroma and began lining up my jars for filling.  Once the preserves are ready, the process goes very quickly.  I called Mick in to help me.  Fill, wipe, put the lid on, put the ring on.  Repeat.  Again.  And again.

Nineteen jars.  Done.

I turned off the gas flames and sat down to drink a glass of iced tea.

So there I was, see, sitting in my armchair drinking my tea when I heard a metallic “ping!”  Then two more.  The jars were beginning to seal.  They were officially preparing themselves for the long haul.  They were a new product that could be used for all kinds of purposes.  A beautiful product – golden, sweet and ready for their new lives: to be used for fresh bread, to top someone’s ice cream, to stir into someone’s yogurt, to be the “jelly” in a PBJ.  Nineteen jars would last a long time, or go a long way for gifts to friends.

So there I was see, listening to the jars seal one after another, and I thought to myself, “Maybe I should write this down and give a jar of peach preserves to my friends for encouragement.”  That was in June.  I wasn’t ready to write my thoughts then, but now I am.  It’s time to begin giving my preserves away.  I had to take time to make sure that I was okay, and that my family was okay, before I began to give things away again.  We had to eat some of our own preserves…or, perhaps we needed (and I needed) to store up my emotional reserves.

We did.  I am.  It’s time.

So there’ll I’ll be, see, bringing a jar to my friends or to my supervisees…with a copy of this essay, letting them know that sometimes tearing everything down is the only chance to build something brand new again.  And when they do, the very best thing they can do is share their renewal with others who will need it from them someday…passing along the peaches.

So there they’ll be, see, passing along the hope.

At least, that is my hope.

Crazy-Good Baby Calzones: Final Red Gold Recipe Contest Entry

Calzones are so much more fun to eat if they fit in your hand.

Downsizing the standard size helps with dunking them into a ramekin filled with “Meaty Marinara” AND, by making multiple calzones you can try multiple varieties of stuffing.


To create this recipe, you’ll need to a) make the dough; b) cook your marinara sauce; c)  set up your building area;  then, d) bake off the calzones.

Make your dough first so you can work on the rest of the process while the dough is doing its thing.  I make mine in our bread maker on the “dough” setting.

This recipe is from the 1987 (don’t laugh) West Bend bread maker book and is our family standard.

  1. Add 1.5 cups water (warm but not hot) and 4 T. olive oil to the bread pan.
  2. Add 4 cups flour, 1 tsp. sugar and 1 tsp salt to the pan. Make a slight well in the center of the dry ingredients and add 4 tsp yeast.
  3. Place bread pan into oven chamber, lock into place, and press the “dough” setting.  Most bread makers complete the dough process in about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  4. Notes:  We usually add 2 tsps of Italian Seasoning and 1 tsp of ground black pepper to the dough to give the crust a great flavor. It’s also appealing because of the green flecks that show throughout the crust.

If you don’t have a bread maker, it’s not a problem.  Simply mix all the ingredients listed above together, knead until you achieve a nice elasticity in your dough, cover and let raise for one hour or until doubled in size.

Next, it’s time to make the meaty marinara sauce.  You’ll need these ingredients:

1 can Red Gold tomato sauce and 1 can of Red Gold crushed tomatoes

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

Freshly grated Parmesan (1/3rd cup; set aside some extra for garnish for later)

Approximately 30 leaves of fresh basil, slivered

15 slices of pepperoni, diced Continue reading Crazy-Good Baby Calzones: Final Red Gold Recipe Contest Entry

Red Gold Contest Super Bowl Spread: “Quarterback Wraps!”

Here’s an idea that takes your normal Caprese salad and turns it inside out.  A perfect twist for a Super Bowl Sunday spread.  And, it’s almost as easy as it is delicious.  We should know.  Our neighbors came to sample the final product and all I have left is  plate full of emptiness. Here’s what you’ll need:


2 cans Red Gold Diced tomatoes

2 packages of fresh mozzarella bite sized “pearls” (or one pound cut into small pieces)

A head of Bib (Butter) Lettuce

A bunch of basil (about 30 leaves or so)

And a completed recipe of special dressing (includes garlic, fresh Parmesan, brown mustard, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and pepper)

Build your filling and wrap spread:

The first thing you’ll need to do is make the dressing. All you need is: 1 c. olive oil, 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar, 1 T. grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 T. Dijon mustard, 1 tsp. sea salt, ground black pepper, and 3 smaller or two larger cloves of garlic – peeled and cut up a bit.  Put all these ingredients into the blender (tr these if you enjoy smoothie bowls) and blend until the dressing is emulsified and the color of light mud.  Yup – you’re gonna eat something that looks like mud.  The mustard and cheese help the emulsification process and help hold this together so it doesn’t separate. See this link for photos capturing the dressing making process.

Next, you’ll layer.  First, the fresh mozzarella. Put a fine dusting of ground black pepper on the cheese.  Then drain the tomatoes well (save the juice!), and cover the cheese.  Next, put the dressing in a baggie, cut a very small hole in one corner and use this like a pastry bag to drizzle the dressing evenly over the top of the tomatoes.  Finally, cover the top with finely sliced fresh basil, garnish…and you’re done!  Here are a few photos of the process…

Continue reading Red Gold Contest Super Bowl Spread: “Quarterback Wraps!”

It’s Football Bowl Season! How About Some Tacos Burachos?

If you’d like to serve up a platter full of awesome during Bowl season, why not try something different to fill your taco shells?

This recipe will create approximately 14 good sized tacos with a completely new flavor.  The pork roast marinade is fraught with tequila and lime added to a base of tomatoes, garlic, onions and a special smoky chipotle finish.  And, Red Gold Chipotle diced tomatoes does half the work for you!

Okay, don’t drool yet. We’ve got some work to do…here’s what you’ll need:


2.5 pounds pork roast                                                            1 cup tequila

2 cans Red Gold Chipotle diced tomatoes             2 medium limes

¼ c. olive oil                                                                        ½ Tablespoon sea salt; 1 Tablespoon ground cumin

2 cups instant brown rice                                              1 bunch cilantro w/ stems removed, chopped

1 ripe avocado                                                                   ½ cup sour cream


Cut pork roast into four equal pieces.  Place pork in a bowl then pour in the ¼ cup olive oil.  Make sure all pieces of pork are completely covered in the oil, and then dump oil and meat into a large sauté pan.  Cook on medium to medium high heat, browning pork on all sides (approximately 6-8 minutes).

Once meat is browned, remove pan from heat.  Remove the meat from pan, pour off any remaining oil but don’t clean pan.  Put the pan back on the burner and add two cans of Red Gold Chipotle diced tomatoes, the juice of two limes, 1 cup of tequila, the sea salt and the cumin.

Bring the liquid mixture to a medium simmer, ensuring all ingredients are mixed well, then add the pork, cover and braise meat in the liquid for 1.5 hours.  As soon as the liquid is simmering after the meat is added, cover and turn heat to medium low to keep a constant simmer going, but not a rapid boil. Continue reading It’s Football Bowl Season! How About Some Tacos Burachos?

Native Oklahoma Persimmons 101

Persimmons are beautiful simply served on a dish by themselves. Photo by Rylee Roberts

(Originally published Fall, 2010) While sitting at the breakfast table as a young girl, I could look out the window this time of year and watch the squirrels scamper like mad up and down the trees just across the fence line along our garden.  They were scrambling to see who could harvest and store the highest number of Oklahoma native persimmons, the bright orange to dark amber fruits tempting them to work extra hard. Even by squirrel standards.  Occasionally, I would wander outside, cross the fence and collect a few of the fruits I knew for sure were ripe, but at that age it was a guessing game for me.

Persimmon tree during autumn.

Sometimes I would choose them at a stage too firm and orange (green) and suffer the consequences of a horrible experience – something like all the moisture being sucked out of my mouth, with no way to quench the thirst!  But the ripe persimmons…ah, those were nice.  And still are.

My father brought some to our Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and luckily not all of them got eaten.  I have them now and I thought I would share a few basic pieces of information in case you are outside and see them in a tree somewhere.  They are worth your harvesting time.

Continue reading Native Oklahoma Persimmons 101

Little Victory Garden “Extra” – A Visual Guide to Making Red Sumac Lemonade

I’m sitting here drinking my second glass of “Indian Lemonade” (aka Sumac Lemonade), taking sips between each photo I upload.  I have a history with trying to make sumac recipes and it’s not pretty.  The reasons were all the same: I was making hot drinks with the beautiful red berries and they just weren’t as good as the cold drinks.

I keep thinking one day I’ll learn to love hot sumac lemonade, but that’s a very low priority on my gastronomical intake list. Cold is good.  Cold is ESPECIALLY good in July when it’s so hot outside. And, I don’t need to keep rewriting the instructions when others have done such a nice job.  What I CAN do is provide you something I needed before I made mine this morning – visual aids!

I like to see how things work, and I couldn’t find a recipe with step by step photo guides.  So, I made you one.  Simply follow the recipe from the link I provided, and if you have questions you can check out these photos below.  I used a leftover juice carton and filled it with cold water so when we de-stemmed the berries a bit we could fill it up, then “shake, shake, shake” the carton until the vitamin C-laden red powder had infused the water.

The basic steps are simple. Gather the sumac, get rid of any bugs (I had to throw one away because there was a web woven all around the berries), de-stem and/or de-berry the sumac, place the berries in cold water, agitate the mixture like crazy, strain through a cheesecloth or clean tea towel, add sugar…enjoy. That was a long sentence for such “simple” steps. But really, the process is easy and kind of fun. My youngest daughter and her boyfriend helped me this morning with the project. Continue reading Little Victory Garden “Extra” – A Visual Guide to Making Red Sumac Lemonade

My Little Victory Garden: Ratatouille’s Ratatouille For Two-ie

You know the scene, right?  The rat’s cooking has turned a failing restaurant around and garnered enough raves to entice a visit from the most revered food critic in Paris.  So, did the staff serve him truffles, pate’, or something lovely drenched in butter?  No, Remy (the infamous rat chef) served the food critic a peasant dish: ratatouille.  As the first bite was analyzed, memories of childhood and a mother’s love flooded through the critic’s brain.  The corners of his mouth turned upward, and the rest was…well, if you haven’t seen the movie, then perhaps you should.

As I rummaged around in my garden this week, I had a light bulb moment. Continue reading My Little Victory Garden: Ratatouille’s Ratatouille For Two-ie

The Pizza Song

The Bings may be somewhat described as Puritans, but never with a Puritanical attitude, mind you. That is true for major life choices, and for the seemingly simple things as well. Every day things, like choices in music. We mostly listen to Christian music, but enjoy a classic 80’s rock tune every now and then. One of our favorites is affectionately referred to by the family as “the pizza song,” for said pure reasons:

We love simple things, like pizza, and we love us some Hideaway.

First off, a bit of historical context is in order. Little Frau and I met one another in the hinterlands south of the Red River, and our second date was in one of those classic double-decker Pizza Huts that were all the rage back in the day. And, for such a tiny young lady, she could down half a large pepperoni and multiple glasses of Dr. Pepper with the best of them. As a college student, she could eat that way, oh, every night.

Hold on, for the story changes from here. Fast forward to the era of the 2000’s, and 4 out of the 5 Bings have turned out to be exclusive Gluten-free (GF) diners out of medical necessity. Said diagnosis and lifestyle was was not deemed necessary until the love of pizza by all Bings was deep and strong. And in Oklahoma, this pizza yearning has been like being thirsty in the middle of the ocean. Water everywhere, but none that won’t kill you if consumed.

It has been quite a Journey. You see, More cosmopolitan or “urbane” locales like Colorado, Kansas City, or even the hinterlands surrounding Austin, Texas have been blessed with multiple GF pizza options for quite some time. But, not Oklahoma. Not till now. Continue reading The Pizza Song

You May Be “The Grillmaster,” But Have You Grilled…PIZZA?

Summer is here and if you are like me you don’t want to heat up your kitchen from cooking.  (The idea SOUNDS good, anyway!)

Have you ever considered cooking a pizza on the BBQ grill?  I had no idea that pizza could be cooked on the grill until I picked up a Pampered Chef catalogue and saw a recipe for Grilled Pizza with Tomatoes and Olives.  I read through the recipe and decided it was within my skill level of cooking and I liked all the ingredients (my main requirement for picking a recipe) required so I decided to give it a try.  My family and I really enjoyed the recipe.  I hope you will give it a try I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Grilled Pizza with Tomatoes and Olives
2 oz. mozzarella cheese  (about 1/2 cup grated)

1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, drained

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves, pressed Continue reading You May Be “The Grillmaster,” But Have You Grilled…PIZZA?

Sometimes I Share Secrets: Steak & Ale Hawaiian Chicken Marinade…Yup!

Image from Thanks, Tara!

I’ve done a search on recipe sites and there are several “Steak & Ale Hawaiian Chicken” (and Kensington Club – same thing…) marinade recipes.  I’m aware they exist.  However, there are a few that sound downright weird, and a few that sound just about right.  In 1984 I got this from a cook at Steak & Ale who swore me to secrecy.  So I swore.  Then, even after they went out of business in Oklahoma I didn’t share the recipe.  I kept thinking…”I swore.  I swore I wouldn’t share it.”

However, it is now 2011. I think that after 28 or 29 years, it’s time to share the secret recipe.  And, it’s time to be grilling outdoors.  After all, all the BTUs you fire up in outdoor grilling will be that many you won’t have to cool down with your air conditioner inside, right?

So here it is.  It’s simple, it works, it’s delicious, and we use it on both chicken AND pineapple.  Any cut of chicken will work.  Just please remember to avoid mixing the bag of chicken marinade with your pineapple marinade unless you can swear you brought the pineapple temperature up high enough to kill any bacteria.  Swear?  Okay. Then here it is.  Enjoy.

1 1/6 c. unsweetened pineapple juice; 1/4 c. granulated sugar; just under 1/2 c. cooking sherry or wine; 1/3 c. soy sauce; 1/6 c. red wine vinegar; 1/3 t. granulated garlic. (1/6 c. = 2 2/3 T.) That’s it.  Allow fresh meat to marinate at least 3-6 hours. We put ours in a Ziploc bag.  Please enjoy – I know we do.



Pint Night Reviews: Flying Dog, from Maryland

“There is an ancient, Celtic axiom that says ‘Good people drink good beer.’  Which is true, then as now. Just look around you in any public barroom, and you will quickly see: Bad people drink bad beer. Think about it.” ~ Hunter S. Thompson

So last week’s pint night was a non event.  Most likely because The Abner was closed for Memorial Day.  But this week was a hoot. I got to see some friends I don’t always get to see, and I got cake.

There is a guy that comes in every Monday night while we’re there and he is a City of Noble police officer.  He knows about the law and he also claims to know about cake.  Two weeks ago he made a promise to Cale (our favorite bartender) and I to bring us cake: me, lemon and Cale, chocolate with buttercream icing.  And, he of his OWN volition said that if he didn’t bring us cake then we could slap him across the face.  He said he was sure it would be fun to tell a story where we slapped a cop in a bar.

So anyhow – he gets to the bar, had forgotten the cake, looked crestfallen, turned back around, and returned 20 minutes later with cake for Cale and myself. Continue reading Pint Night Reviews: Flying Dog, from Maryland

Yukon, OK v. Los Angeles, CA: A Bona Fide Pork Rind Throw Down

This evening I stopped by my favorite quick stop, Covell Corner.  Okay, it’s my ONLY area quick stop but they’re really great.  I could write an entire post about the family who started that business, how nice their employees are which were hired through automating recruiting process, and how their deli pizza is scrump-deli-icious… but that’s not what I want to share with you.  I wanted to let you know that I was in the store, wandering aimlessly because I couldn’t find Perrier or club soda, when I saw a full rack of El Sabroso Pork Cracklins beckoning me.

No, I don’t like pork rinds.  Not really.  But when I was a little girl, my mother would buy them as a special snack because SHE liked them.  So a few weeks ago I purchased a local pork rind microwavable product at the Farmer’s Market because the owner of the company was a friend…AND I thought, “Give them to mom, she might like them.”  My mother has made a lifetime habit of seeing some piece of clothing or other product while she’s out shopping, then thinking I might like it – purchases it and brings it to me at the next family get-together.  It’s about time I turned the tables on her, don’t you think? Continue reading Yukon, OK v. Los Angeles, CA: A Bona Fide Pork Rind Throw Down

Pint Night: From McNellie’s The Abner in Norman

So, every Monday night at McNellie’s The Abner in Norman is Pint Night. Good golly gosh, I love Pint Night.  The deal is, you go and buy the featured beer of the night, and you get to keep the glass that is made for that beer.

This first picture is of our kitchen cabinet:

The middle cabinet that is stacked and packed full of glasses is our beer glass shelf…and every single one of those glasses came from pint night.  The next picture is a high up shelf where we keep the too-tall pint glasses, or the extra fancy ones that are more fragile (like a Warsteiner Dunkel special edition Christmas glass with a hand blown glass ornament at the bottom):

Continue reading Pint Night: From McNellie’s The Abner in Norman

Stockyards City Cookbook Cook-Through: No sun? Warm up with some cheesy soup!

Its that time of year. Do you put the space heaters and electric blankets up yet or wait until June?! My friends and I say all the time “Only in Oklahoma…” will you have the air and heat on all in the same day. I’m quite sure there are more places that have the same issues, but its something to laugh about!

I have to admit I have not been cooking much lately. Its hard to have motivation some days to cook for just one after being on your feet all day at work. I justify my microwave “cooking” by saying that one day I will not be able to eat Lean Cuisines and cereal every night. The Stockyards City Cookbook definitely has plenty of amazing recipes to cure the cereal kick!

Since it was dreary and cool today I decided to go with the Cheesy Chicken Soup. This soup is hearty and easy to make.


Cheesy Chicken Soup
By Kim Stewart

2 cans lowfat cream of chicken soup
1 can lowfat cream of mushroom soup
2 chicken breasts cooked & shredded (I boiled mine)
2-3 cans water (2 was enough)
1 can Rotel (I used Spicy, it was yummy)
2-lb. block of light Velveeta cheese
1 chicken bouillon cube

Mix all ingredients. Soften Velveeta in microwave-add to mixture. Heat and serve with or over tortilla chips. (see photo) Continue reading Stockyards City Cookbook Cook-Through: No sun? Warm up with some cheesy soup!