Salt and Limes

The Dancing Chef and His Table

If you like 90's rap and want one of the most simultaneously entertaining and delicious meals in Tulsa, look no further. Chef Ben Alexander of The Tavern, located in the Tulsa Arts District, will custom design a menu just for you and up to 6 people. You will be seated in the kitchen directly adjacent to the chef and all of the associated action. The Chef will not only cook but likely dance and possibly even light things on fire with torches. Although I have multiple videos of him dancing, if you want to see it, you'll have to book a reservation at the Chef's table.

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Oren- A Star is Born on Brookside

Seven years ago, when we made the decision to spend our lives in Tulsa, we knew it had potential. However, the restaurant scene was subpar, downtown was more like a ghost town, the Riverwalk was in foreclosure and Brookside had Leon's and In the Raw Sushi but not much else. Fast forward to the current setting and you will find a thriving downtown, a re-developed Riverwalk with several great restaurants and a transformed Brookside. The cherry on top is a restaurant named Oren. Chef Matt Amberg, a Tulsa native, has a constantly evolving menu of progressive, locally sourced, American cuisine with a touch of Israeli influence inspired by his wife, Yara, an Israeli native.


The Living Kitchen Farm and Dairy

We passed through the town of Bristow, just about 45 minutes southwest of Tulsa, and drove another 15 minutes west through the dense forest. After turning onto a red dirt road and a few twists and turns, we arrived at The Living Kitchen Farm and Dairy in Depew, Oklahoma, population 481. The farm is 400 acres of gently sloped land, blanketed in lush green grass and dotted with small ponds. It is owned by the amazingly talented duo of Lisa Becklund (chef) and Linda Ford (farmer). Lisa is from Seattle but left her home and successful restaurant in 2005 for an old farm in Oklahoma. She had a dream and desire to grow and raise her own food from the ground up. Linda is from the Kansas City area and grew up on farms in southwest Missouri. After many years working in large cities, she was drawn back to the farm life. She volunteered at the Living Kitchen for 2 years before making the farm house her permanent residence in 2009. Their parallel desires led to the creation of what is now one of the top restaurants in Oklahoma.


The Reserve at Grogg's Green Barn

It was not my first time at Grogg's Green Barn, I have been a customer for years. In fact, I think I spent about $500 on dirt this spring for my raised garden beds. When I initially heard their plan for a private dining restaurant in the former hydroponic room, I was skeptical. When they told me they owned the land behind the garden center (literally their Grandma's old house) and they were turning it into more gardens and an orchard for the restaurant, I was intrigued. When they told me they hired Matt Owens, formerly of Canebrake and Torero, as their Executive Chef, I was excited. When I arrived and saw the transformation into an elegant, open, bright dining room with a hand crafted countertop and grand bouquets of fresh flowers, I was amazed. It was kind of like if you owned a barn but you were a rich farmer and super classy but still liked to party.

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The Complexity of Olive Oil

After recently having an amazing garden salad, I asked the waitress what was in the dressing. She told me it was only Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. I quickly realized I needed to buy better raw ingredients for use at home. Before buying anything, I did some research. I quickly realized that Olive oil is much more complex than I had previously thought.



The Enemy of Alcohol- Ink Cap Mushrooms

Alternate names: Inky Cap, Alcohol Inky Cap and Common Inky Cap.

Ink Cap Mushrooms have a distinctive black ink rim which is created when the cap and gills begin digesting themselves from the bottom edge upward. They are edible but can be toxic if paired with alcohol (full story below).


How to Create a Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie, pronounced shar-ku-ta-ree, is translated to mean pork butcher or cooked meat. It is an art of preserving and presenting meats. Although technically it should be only pork products, it is common for it to include other types of meat. It is most often served with a variety of cheeses, fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and herbs.

See below for ingredients and more pictures.


Tallgrass Prairie Table

Farm-to-table has become a generic term used by every restaurant that has any of the following on their menu- grilled asparagus, heirloom tomatoes or a fresh egg on top of a burger.

However, Tallgrass Prairie Table has a completely different and much more respectable definition for this term. They source nearly all of their ingredients not only from farms, but predominantly from small, family-owned, sustainable, organic, Oklahoma farms. They have actually partnered with some of these farms in order to mutually benefit each other and simultaneously gain input into which crops are grown, which chickens are raised and how they are raised. The farmers deliver food multiple times per week, depending on what is in season. The farmers also pick up organic waste from the restaurant and return it to their farms as food for the animals which in turn creates fertilizer. The circle of life people, it’s the circle of life.


The Tavern

The Tavern is a prohibition era style restaurant with some of the best food in downtown Tulsa. They are known for the Tavern Burger and for making amazing cocktails. Despite being known for a burger, this is a high end joint which even has valet parking. Almost everything is made in house from scratch, including their bread. I would suggest making a reservation for a window table because it is a very popular place.


Muscles and Meat

Pop quiz-

Do you know what part of the pig bacon comes from?

Do you know which muscle your favorite steak is made of?

Here is a list of some common cuts of meat and their anatomic correlations.

Bacon or Belly is composed of anterior abdominal wall subcutaneous fat and three muscles-

Transversus abdominus (deepest layer)
Internal oblique (middle layer)
External oblique (superficial layer)

Bacon is differentiated from Belly by the typical absence of overlying skin or dermal layer.



Microwaves, No Flavor but Totally Safe

There are two broad categories of radiation- ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation.

Ionizing radiation is radiation that carries enough energy to liberate electrons (ionize) from other molecules and therefore can alter or mutate DNA and increase the risk of cancer.

Examples of ionizing radiation- Ultraviolet rays from the sun, x-rays and CT scans.

Non-ionizing radiation is electromagnetic radiation that does not carry enough energy to liberate electrons (ionize) from other molecules and therefore cannot alter or mutate DNA. It carries no increased risk of cancer.

Examples of non-ionizing radiation- MRI scans, AM and FM Radio waves, Cell phones, Power lines, Computers and Microwave ovens.

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Spicy Dry Rub

This is a very versatile recipe for our favorite dry rub. It can be used on any type of meat but our favorites are grilled shrimp, prime rib, baby back ribs and chicken.

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Poppyseed Bread

If you make this recipe, there is a good chance that you will eat it all in one sitting. It is perfectly sweet with a soft center and a crunchy glaze on the outside. It can be made into small loafs or into a bundt cake and is perfect for breakfast, brunch or even dessert.

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Corn Smut the New Truffle

Corn smut, also known as Huitlacoche is a fungus that infects corn and replaces the normal kernels with large distorted fungal tumors similar to mushrooms. The origin of the name is debated but probably means either sleeping excrement or raven’s excrement. Sounds tasty right?

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Spicy Asian Marinade

This is one of the most versatile marinades I’ve ever had. It goes well with chicken, beef, salmon and pork.

It has all of the elements of a perfect marinade. The spiciness from the Sriracha chili sauce, wasabi paste and fresh grated ginger. The saltiness of the soy sauce. The tartness of fresh squeezed lemon juice and rice wine vinegar. The sweetness of brown sugar.

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Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

The science behind bread is very interesting. In order to make bread rise you need bubbles. To create these bubbles and make a soft light bread, there are two options.

First, you can use yeast which ferments the natural sugars in flour into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This will also create a unique flavor which in the case of biscuits is undesirable.

The second option, which we will use in this recipe, is a leavening agent called baking powder. Baking powder is a combination of acid (sodium aluminum sulfate and mono calcium phosphate) and a base or alkaline chemical (sodium bicarbonate AKA-baking soda). When the acid and base react with the liquid in the biscuit mix, they create carbon dioxide bubbles which will make the dough rise.

I have been working on perfecting the biscuit recipe for years. I have finally figured it out. It is not a technically difficult recipe and only requires basic ingredients. You will not be disappointed!

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Spicy Serrano Turkey Burgers

This is the spicy and healthy relative of the hamburger. Turkey alone can be bland but this lack of intrinsic flavor allows the other ingredients to stand out.

Often, the downfall of entertaining is spending the entire night cooking which leaves no time to enjoy the company of your guests. This is an easy recipe that can even be made the day before. In fact, I suggest making it the day before in order to let the spices diffuse into the ground turkey.


Cheddar Cheese Stuffed Popovers

Popovers are basically the American version of Yorkshire pudding. They are hollow rolls made from batter, similar to that which you would make for crepes or pancakes (although no sugar is added in this case). They are very easy to make and require only a few ingredients. I decided to stuff them with cheddar but you could use any type of cheese you prefer as long as it melts well.

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Sriracha from Scratch

After growing a Thai Chili plant this last summer, I had hundreds of these extremely spicy peppers left over. I wanted to preserve them so I used my food dehydrator to dry them. You can also buy them already dried and very cheap at most grocery stores. Granted, it is probably much easier to just buy a bottle of Sriracha Sauce but I promise you that the “made from scratch” version is much better.

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Valkyrie is Making Serious Drinks

Valkyrie is making serious drinks in the Brady district of downtown Tulsa. It is rather small and depending on the night may even have a line outside to get in. They serve a few snacks but this is definitely more of a cocktail bar than a restaurant.

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The Perfect Brine and the Science behind it

When it comes to brining, there are multiple theories about how it works. First, I will attempt to logically disprove some common myths about brining. Then, I will use my background in chemistry, anatomy and physiology to construct an accurate theory.

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Colorado Spicy Green Chili

Spicy Green Chili Stew is found at nearly all Mexican restaurants throughout New Mexico and Colorado. It can be eaten like soup or used to “smother” a burrito, tamale, hash browns or even a hamburger. The only essential ingredient is roasted Hatch Green Chiles. If you can’t find them fresh, you can surely find them in the frozen section at your local grocery store. Every family has their secret recipe and variation. Some add pinto beans, some add diced potatoes, some use chicken instead of pork. This is my family’s recipe that we have perfected over the years. Enjoy!


The Summit Restaurant at Shangri La

Located about an hour and a half northeast of Tulsa on Monkey Island - Grand Lake, The Summit Restaurant at Shangri La is well worth the drive. It is located on the top floor of the newly designed clubhouse for the Shangri La Resort and Golf Club, which I’m told is one of the nicest golf clubs in the state. It has a warm, rustic, mountain lodge-like charm with dark, rich wooden beams traversing the ceiling. Tables, surrounded by large, over-stuffed leather chairs situated beneath beautiful chandeliers greet you at the top of the tall stair case.

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How to make Tabasco sauce


The worlds most famous hot sauce can easily be made at home. It only takes 3 months to grow the peppers and 6 months to ferment them. Or... you can go buy a bottle for $5, but that’s not nearly as much fun! Read More...