Category Archives: Oklahoma Cooking

My Kitchen Utensils Deserve a Service Award

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This past weekend I was preparing pan fried okra.  I gently lifted one of my range fed eggs from its nest in the carton. My left hand opened the refrigerator, grabbed the milk, and closed the door in one fluid sequence. My fingers slid over the smooth chrome edge as I choose the proper sized mixing bowl.  I instinctively pivoted and opened my kitchen utensil drawer and lowered my hand to grab my Kitchen Aid medium sized whisk.  You can buy some decorative kitchen items here, which can also add an asthetic to your home improvement. The muscle memory in my hand was already preparing for the size of its handle and the weight distribution of its shape.

And then my brain jolted.  I stopped my “cooking dance” and pulled the drawer open further.  Where was my whisk?  I searched back, back, back…and…oh.  We had a potluck dinner at work and I had taken it with me to prep the Caprese salad dressing right before serving time.

Bummer.

I poked around in the drawer here and there, dissatisfied.  But then I spied my mother’s old spiral, or spring, whisk.  She had given it to Rylee, and it was back in my drawer now that Ry was living with us for a while.

My best guess was that my mother had received it as a wedding shower gift.  It had certainly been in the family for as long as I could remember.

“Okay,” I thought.  “I’ll give it a whirl.” And then I giggled because I had just made a pun.

About eight seconds later I was looking at a perfectly mixed egg and milk batter with beautiful, frothy bubbles floating on top.

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“Wow! So much for my whining,” I thought to myself.  “Good for you, old spiral whisk.  You’ve still got it in you.”

It’s possible that whisk is fifty years old.  How may meals has it served our family?  How many meals have we served because the whisk served its purpose for us?

I finished my okra, then respectfully washed the whisk and picked up a tea towel to finish the job.  Walking back to my utensil drawer, I decided that the whisk needed a more respectful place and so I rearranged just a bit before closing the drawer again.

Yeah, I’ll give a whirl again.  Very soon.

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Oklahoma Cooking: Cheesy Spring Green Grits

Across Oklahoma today, the wind is preparing to sweep across the plain. Big time.

I planted my peppers and tomatoes last Saturday, and Mick promptly dug them up and stored them in our garage last night! Why? Evidently storms are coming: thunder, lightening, rain, hail, possible tornadoes and ice? Yes!

While outside surveying what plants we were willing to gamble on this upcoming craziness, I pulled/cut four ingredients for the kitchen:  chives, green garlic, cilantro and asparagus.  I just turned them into a truly dandy meal I’ll call “Cheesy Spring Green Grits.”  Prep time, five minutes.  Cook time, 5-8 minutes.  Eating time, [you fill in the blank].

Bring 2 1/4 cups of water to a boil.  Then…
Add 1.5 Tablespoons minced chives, two medium spears of asparagus chopped into bite-sized pieces, 1 tsp. ground pepper, one clove green minced garlic head (this is just new garlic, use regular dried bulbs if you don’t have any) and 1/2 cup quick grits.  Stir occasionally so that it doesn’t boil over.  While this is cooking, wrap 1 or 2 slices of bacon in a paper towel and microwave for 1.5 minutes.

Once the grits are done to your preferential thickness texture, turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

Spoon into ramekins or other serving bowls, and top with crumbled bacon and chopped cilantro.

I ate mine while I was typing this post.  Bon apetit!

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A Sweet Secret for your Sweet Potato Fries

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I’m an Oklahoma local cook through and through.  Tonight I made locally grown sweet potato fries to go with our teriyaki grilled beef and cucumber salad.  I roast them by brushing the pan with olive oil, then brushing the thinly cut fries lightly with olive oil once they’re “single-layered.”  I roast them for about 15 minutes, then turn them and sprinkle them with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  When they’re nicely toasted (about 25-30 minutes at 425 degrees), I pull them from the oven.

Then I usually eat about five of them.  And so does Mick.

So I THEN sprinkle the remaining fries, made for our DINNER, with a light dusting of maple sugar.

The sugar sprinkle is a perfect complement to the savory salt/pepper flair they already possess.  In fact, the sprinkle will make your eyes twinkle when you eat them…probably really fast. Like, I’m talking SCARFING them down because they’re that good.

Like I said.  I’m an Oklahoma local cook through and through, but I’m incredibly glad Vermont gives us maple sugar.

Thank you, Vermont.

Oklahoma Cooking: Persimmon Cheesecake…Perfection

While I love to create my own dishes, I think just acknowledging that things are “just fine the way they are” is also important.  Such is the case with this “Persimmon Cheesecake” recipe I found on AllRecipes.Com.

Our Oklahoma native persimmons are in perfect form right now, and if you are in the mood to go picking, then I’m in the mood to offer you an absolutely delectible way to prepare them: in cheesecake. In “close-your-eyes-and-dream-of-lovely-things when taking your first bite” cheesecake.

I won’t be redundant…the recipe tells you exactly how to prepare the dessert.  However, I’m going to offer you a few tips.

1) It takes quite a while to de-seed and pulp 2 cups of persimmons.  Make sure you pick enough so you won’t have to go out to the trees a second time. (I mentioned here the quantity you’re most likely to glean from one individual persimmon.) Continue reading Oklahoma Cooking: Persimmon Cheesecake…Perfection

Oklahoma Cooking: Roasted Red and Green Tomatoes With Fresh Herb Dip

This morning, the farmer’s market offered a surprise.  There were a few late peaches out of Porter, and still a good many Jonathan apples fresh off the tree.  However, I was especially happy to see a bowl of freshly ripened small tomatoes from the gentleman who opened Granny Had One in Guthrie years ago.  He said, “I just picked them last night.”  So, I bought three pounds, and went on my way…straight to my kitchen.  Later, I gathered a few peppers and some okra from my own garden and had to cut back several large tomato vines as they were growing out across my lawn.

About 100 small green tomatoes got sacrificed in the process.  Green tomatoes are actually quite versatile.  I knew I could make a small batch of relish, quarter them and put them into a casserole, create another ratatouille with them, or…of course, fry them.  But I wanted to create something simple to go with Sunday lunch or to eat while watching the football game.  So, I decided to try roasting the two ripeness levels of tomatoes together, and creating an herb dip to go with them.  I’m really glad I did, because the recipe worked very nicely.

The dish would stand alone for a vegetarian, serve as a great side to any center of the plate, or be a nice complement to a “dressed up” OR “dressed down” buffet.  Prep time is 10 minutes.  Cooking time is 25 minutes. And, the dip prep time is also ten minutes but can be made while the dish is cooking.  Here we go! First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Next… Continue reading Oklahoma Cooking: Roasted Red and Green Tomatoes With Fresh Herb Dip