MUNCH WINTER 2014 - ISSUE 4
- SCRAPPLE - CONGEE - RISOTTO - CHEESECAKE - STEAK -
Erin Cox Ms. Cox helped get our asses into gear for this issue with her amazingly tasty goat cheese cheesecake. Her brilliant mind bakes up tasty delights in the Crestwood Neighborhood where she lives with two adorable pups. - checkout the cheesecake party on page 38 -
Jennifer Denise Lynch Jennifer Denise Lynch is an all around badass. She’s working on her Masters Degree in Museum Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma. She’s written an essay on her recent “fall from grace” into the land of meats for this issue. When she’s not writing or studying she plays bass guitar and sings for local Oklahoma City shoegazing favorite Power Pyramid. - relish in her burger adventures on page 20 -
Taylor Hale Joining Jennifer’s story on Breaking Veg is an illustration by the multi-talanted Mr. Hale. We hope that there are more graphics to come from him. When he’s not serving up designs, he dishes foods at the Mule in the Plaza District. He also plays guitar for a bitchin’ band, Sumi-E, that will soon have a new single from dusthousestudio.com - our new favorite bovine artwork is on page 19 -
Thanks to: Hal Moncrief, Tim “Soup” Smith, Andon & Jeremy, Austin Tackett, Lucas Dunn, Atlee Hickerson, Taylor Desjarlais, The Truong Family, Glenn Forester of Strong Tonic, and our loyal #MUNCHMAG participants
CONTRIBUTORS 2 - MUNCH FALL 2013
FEATURES P 10 COOK SOUP - advice from the line P12 DIM SUM WITH MOMan essay on growing up Chinese in Oklahoma. P20 BREAKING VEG - woman eats meats P24 CHEEZ IT - one manâ€™s love affair with a sandwich P 26 FROM HEAD TO PLATE the tale of one dish P32 CHEWING THE FAT - a chat with Taylor
RECIPES P6 scrapple P8 chess pie P 18 congee P 22 steak P 30 risotto P 36 sangria P38 cheesecake
C O N T E N T S
EDITORS Kimberly Hickerson designer/editor
Lacey Elaine Tackett photographer/editor
I recently read Mark Kurlansky’s Birdseye: The Adventure of a Curious Man, which relates the life story of Clarence Birdseye, father of the frozen food industry. Kurlansky is one of my favorite food writers, but even without the benefit of his story-telling prowess it was a riveting read. Birdseye was an adventurous biologist and nature enthusiast whose diary entries document his dream to bring “fresh” frozen meats and vegetables to the world. Birdseye writes glowingly of the extra nutrition that could be provided, and at a price that made high-quality greens an option for even the lowest classes and barest regions. In the 1920s it was incomprehensible to break into a box of peas in the vegetable-poor winter. It’s a story of foresight and man’s ability to imagine life outside the box. Step forward to the modern era, in which food is so plentiful that much of it goes to waste. As a culture we attempt to curb our appetite for instant gratification with new ideals: Slow Food, Seasonal, Sustainable. Now we are beginning to realize that more food does not equal a healthier nation. It strikes me that despite the changing tides of ethical eating, our habits are more influenced by our own personal perspectives and emotions. Cooking is not solely about what ingredients are available and at what price. Cooking conveys the immaterial, the philosophical, and the visionary. Creativity will never be preserved and bottled nor available in every grocery for the cook to use at leisure. This issue marks a full year of Munch, and both Kimberly and I are inspired by the stories we’ve featured and the fine cooks we’ve met. I hope that no matter what your food convictions lead you to create, that you are roused by tales of what and how the rest of the world eats. Looking out at the fresh year in front of us, I see a lot of changes in store for the magazine. As always, we look to the past and the future, and I can’t think of a better way to ring in the new year.
4 - MUNCH FALL 2013
SEASONAL FRUITS & VEGETABLES Beets
Parsnips Pears Persimmons Potatoes Radishes Shallots Sweet Potatoes Turnips Winter Squash
SCRAPPLE by Lacey Elaine Tackett
I remember few flavors more poignantly than my Grandpa’s Scrapple. I couldn’t tell you his authentic recipe. I only know I longed for it’s flavor, the crusty exterior yet tender bite, the magic of blending corn, pork, and a bit of flour. It has a balance of flavorful protein and filling starch. It’s a dish that joins the meat-centric and the economical, rooted in the culinary history of my German predecessors and the Great Depression-frugality of my grandparents. Chess Pie is the perfect counter-point and makes a similar statement, using only staple-worthy ingredients. This old-school Southern dessert has persevered from the Colonial Era to the days of Paula Dean; refrigeration be damned. Between the two, there’s a pivot in flavor, savory versus sweet. Both offer enough contrast to invigorate the palate. Chess Pie didn’t run in my family, but it’s a pie I would bake for my Grandpa if I could. He had a notorious sweet-tooth. Scrapple and Chess Pie are surprisingly old recipes, presented here, and condensed down to their max simplicity. Both are appreciated by history buffs and homecooks alike. Both are intensely delicious. My hope is that these dishes bring you closer to those that you love and also pull you deeper into the history of American cooking; making the most of what you have, your culinary influences, and your roots. Borrow from the past and eat well.
1 lb. pork sausage 2 cups chicken broth 1 tablespoon dried sage 1 cup fine cornmeal seasoned flour for frying In a large, high-sided sauce pan, cook the sausage until done. Break up the sausage as much as possible using a heavy spoon or two forks. Add the chicken broth and dried sage and bring to a boil. Quickly mix in the cornmeal, whipping the mixture with a fork to prevent lumps. Drop heat to low and cook until cornmeal is tender and the mixture becomes a thick paste of deliciousness. Oil a standard sized loaf-pan and pour the scrapple mixture in, leaving it on the counter to cool. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. When ready to cook your scrapple, turn the loaf out onto a cutting board. Using a very sharp knife, and a gliding motion, cut as many 1/2” slices as you can eat. Season a half cup of flour with a good amount of salt, pepper, and smoked paprika (one of my favorites) and lightly bread each slice before frying it in a very hot non-stick pan with some butter. Serve golden brown with maple syrup or honey. 7 - MUNCH FALL 2013
For the crust: 2 1/2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour 1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon salt 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled ice water Make your pie crust ahead of the filling so that it has time to rest before rolling. In a food processor add all dry ingredients to the mixing bowl. Pulse to mix. Dice very cold butter to 1/2â€? square pieces. Add half of the butter to the mixing bowl and pulse three to four times to cut the butter into the flour. Do not over mix, and only pulse briefly to avoid heating the mixture. Add the remainder of the butter and pulse another three to four times. The butter should be broken into pea size pieces and evenly distributed. Slowly drizzle a tablespoon of ice water into the mix, pulsing two or three times to blend. Repeat, adding a tablespoon of water
at a time, until the mixture begins to climb the sides of the bowl. Around 8 tablespoons seems good. Immediately stop pulsing once you reach this point and dump the mix out on a large clean surface. Separate the mix into two halves. It will be crumbly, but the moisture in the dough will allow you to bring it together with your hands, pressing firmly to form it into two rounds. This recipe makes two crusts, so set aside one round for another day, wrapping well to refridgerate. Rest the second round to on the counter in a kitchen towel for thirty minutes before rolling to 1/8â€? and placing in a buttered pie dish.
For the filling: 4 ounces unsalted butter, melted 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed 1 cup granulated sugar 3 eggs 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons bourbon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon fine cornmeal 8 - MUNCH FALL 2013
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix the melted butter with the sugar. Next add the rest of the ingredients and stir until just blended. Fill your pie crusts and bake for one hour or until the top of the pie is golden.
A COOK NAMED SOUP
TIPS FROM THE LINE Advice From Tim “Soup” Smith
Soup works at The Mantel, an award winning fine dining restuarant in downtown Oklahoma City. He was happy to share a few tips he has discoverd a a line cook that home cooks might find helpful.
Don’t grab a hot pan with a moist towel. You’ll get a nice steam burn. Cook bacon in the oven on a parchment paper lined sheet pan. Afterward, place a couple folded towels under one end, and allow the grease to drain to one side. If you make a soup too salty, drop a whole potato into it to absorb the sodium. Use a serrated blade to cut tomatoes. The acidity in tomato juice will dull a straight blade.
Place a wet towel under a cutting board to avoid sliding.
When you are making pesto, add an ice cube. The heat from the blades of the mixer will make your basil leaves wilt and brown. Using cold water to thaw frozen meat is safest.
â€œWhen poaching eggs, instead of adding vinegar add three slices of pickle to the water and you'll have the perfect amount.â€?
11 - MUNCH FALL 2013
DIM SUM & DIANNA TRUONG
MOM by Kimberly Hickerson
There are people that teach us to cook, and just as importantly, there are people that teach us to eat. One of the most memorable meals of my life was the Hot Pot at Golden Phoenix. Cooking delicate meats and seafood at the table, though exhilarating, seemed intimidating to me. Metaphorically, and sometimes literally, holding my hand through the experience was my friend, and Asian food navigator, Dianna Truong.
13 - MUNCH FALL 2013
I love the way Dianna eats. She loves pork belly with preserved vegetables, black bean sauce with mussels, crab legs, burgers, chicken fried steak, beef jerky and biscuits. My heart literally warms when I eat with her. Dianna is one of the people who teaches me to eat and her Mom, Nguyet Van Truong, is that person for Dianna. I am sitting down for Dim Sum with Dianna, her older sister Sandy, and Ms. Truong. They usually meet here, Fung’s Kitchen, once a week for Dim Sum. Fung’s is a classic Chinese restaurant in the Asian district of Oklahoma City, which serves up Dim Sum every Sunday. I can’t wait to try the chicken feet. I’ve heard Fung’s does them well and they have long been on my list of foods to try. Although not on the list, the pork stomach, century egg and pickled mustard greens were also firsts for me.
Dianna and Sandy are first generation Americans. Their mother immigrated here from Vietnam on a boat with another 91 passengers in 1979. Nguyet, was born in Vietnam, after her family escaped from China. She speaks three Chinese dialects as well as Vietnamese and English. Upon reaching America, she first lived in Dallas, but moved to California before Sandy and Dianna were born. The family then moved to Stillwater in 1994 where Nguyet and her husband ran one of the first Chinese restaurants in the area, Hong Kong Inn. The family ran the restaurant mostly by themselves with a few staff members and a little help from Sandy and Dianna. They prided themselves on serving up soup dishes that even other Chinese restaurant owners stopped by to enjoy.
“eating noodles for breakfast, and bread with butter and sugar sprinkled on top.”
15 - MUNCH FALL 2013
Hong Kong Inn had two menus, an Americanized version and a traditional Chinese one, as Fung’s Kitchen does to this day. That conepts seems outdated to me. She reminds me that up until about 5 years ago, chilled spring rolls made with rice paper seemed exotic and strange to most Oklahoma natives. I ask Dianna how it felt growing up Chinese in Oklahoma. She replies, “I’m very appreciative of how I grew up. I feel like Oklahomans are the pickiest eaters, though.”
Steamed buns, prawn dumplings, spare ribs, phoenix claws (chicken feet), congee porridge, and turnip cakes are just a sampling of the dishes rolling past our table on metal carts. Lighter dishes like steamed veggies and dumplings reach the table, followed by fried foods. These days some restaurants serving Dim Sum simply do a check off the menu system, but it takes some of the charm and excitement out of being able to eat with your eyes first. I love to plan out elaborate meals for myself, reviewing hundreds of restaurant
options before choosing where to go on vacation, but the truth is I’m just as satisfied by the spontaneity of “Oh, what’s that?... Yes, let’s try it.”
for breakfast, and bread with butter and sugar sprinkled on top.” Her mother, Nguyet, recalls her first meal in Dallas, “cup noodles with picante salsa.”
Sampling new dishes and sharing with friends is part of the wonderful-ness of Dim Sum. I can tell Dianna’s mom is suspicious of my gusto as I pick up a chicken foot to eat, but after that along with a few bites of stomach, she’s passing me turnip cakes and peppers stuffed with prawns and reminding me to try the preserved egg in the Congee.
Dianna takes a plate of pork stomach from the cart. The only thing I’ve told myself I don’t want to eat is tripe. I’ve never been a fan, but she encourages me by admitting that she’s not a tripe fan either, but pork stomach is more tender than tripe. I put a piece in my mouth and am surprised to find it has more of a calamari texture, not mushy-chewy but bouncy-chewy, with a little spring back, which I love. It’s been cooked in a delicious sauce. The dish I was about to pass on turns out to be one of my favorites.
We start talking about Congee, which brings up a three way debate between mother and sisters. The debate is not so much about how the dish is made, but about which garnishes are best with which versions of Congee: preserved eggs, shredded pork, tofu, pickled greens. The similarities between Dianna and her mother are as apparent as their affinity for fashionable and eyecatching sweaters. They both push new dishes at me with excitement. Where they differ in regards to Dim Sum is in the jalapeño. Dianna loves intense flavors, but doesn’t have the same love of heat that her mother does. I reach across the table and grab one of the jalapeños stuffed with shrimp. The flavors remind me of a more luscious version of the cream cheese, bacon and jalapeno appetizers that grace the tables of so many holiday parties. I asked Dianna what her Mom would think about her predilection for Chicken Fried Steak. “It’s too fried and salty.” She also remembers “eating noodles
This is why I’m so appreciative of Dianna and her Mom. People here take for granted that Oklahoma City is considered to be an “Asian oasis in the South-Central U.S”, where authentic Vietnamese and Chinese dishes can be found easily, and done really well at that. Sometimes new cultural experiences can be uncomfortable and a bit unnerving, like eating your first century egg, but we should be openminded to all possibilities, because sometimes these cultural differences are preserved vegetables with pork belly, waiting to be savored, loved and cherished. What I mean to say is that you should never be scared to ask for the second menu. 17 - MUNCH FALL 2013
10 cups water 4 chicken thighs 1 cup short or medium grain white rice (we used Kokuho Rose) green onions, finely sliced for garnish fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish fresh ginger, finely sliced for garnish
Place the chicken thighs in 10 cups of water in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Bring to a rolling boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium for 20 minutes. Check chicken for doneness and remove from the pot of fresh unseasoned stock when finished. Set chicken aside to cool. Add rice to unseasoned stock and bring to a boil. Cover and drop heat to medium-low or whatever level is appropriate for a low simmer on your burner. You should stir the congee occasionally to prevent the bottom from sticking or burning, and also to check the progress. 18 - MUNCH FALL 2013
Our congee cooked for one and a half hours before beginning to lose individual grain and around three hours before reaching a consistency we liked. The goal is to continue cooking until the rice falls completely apart, creating a smooth porridge. You may need to add extra water during the cooking process. Try adding a cup a cup at a time if you feel that your congee is getting too thick. Serve with a bit of shredded chicken thigh, lots of green onion, cilantro, and ginger to your individual taste. We salted ours individually to taste.
COMFORT FOOD: CONGEE adapted from The Truong Family recipe
20 - MUNCH FALL 2013
BREAKING VEG by Jennifer Denise Lynch
As I sit here writing this I am eating a number two combo from McDonald's. Most of us know what that entails, so I will not elaborate. The last time I had McDonald's was in 2003. I am worlds apart from where I was as a wide-eyed idealistic nineteen yearold who decided to give up eating meat. Now, I am a jaded and emotionally-dead thirty year-old. Nineteen year-old me probably would have made a stencil in response to my life decisions and called myself a fascist or a cog. I felt that my meal choice for tonight was appropriate because it represents the gap in my life spent being vegetarian and sporadically vegan. I had the realization that in my decade long hiatus from Mickey D's, that nothing had changed: A number two was still a number two and it tasted exactly the way I knew it would. Mostly because it's engineered that way, but today it has an existential significance. I stopped eating meat mostly because I only had “workout more” and “be positive” on my list of resolutions for that year and my best friend had made the resolution to try out vegetarianism. Basically, I copied her. My first action was to dial-up the ol’ laptop and do some research to motivate myself. I joined PETA and read as much as I could about animal rights. I quickly decided to become vegan based on my discoveries. This was problematic when I found out I was anemic and apparently the worst vegan ever. So from 2004 to 2011 I remained vegetarian until trying veganism again. I once again failed
when left to my own cooking. I felt reliant on artificial meat and dairy replacements, because it turns out I never really got over those items. Always in the back of my mind I knew that the first thing I would eat when I gave up vegetarianism would be a bacon cheeseburger. Always. But it was just something I would ramble on about when I had a drink or two in my system. I’m going through my existence eating cheese sandwiches and bean burritos, when after a breakup and a Sunday afternoon spent drinking off my sorrows, I was easily convinced to eat a bacon cheeseburger. It was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I hear it and I don’t care. Now I’m back. I realized that my main deterrent for the past few years had been the concern about getting sick. When I was told on that miraculous day that it didn’t necessarily happen with everyone, I was totally willing to chance it. This was all a few months ago. Since then I have had more bacon than I’m willing to admit. When it all comes down to it though, there are some things that I’m hung up on. For example, I have yet to purchase any meat at the grocery store. I am still dependent on my Chik’n Patties and Soyrizo. I also have problems with mental imagery while I am in the middle of meals, often forcing me to scarf down my food before I let the graphic sink in. I stick to a few basic meat dishes, I haven’t branched out much yet. Give it some time. But when it’s all said and done, I’m glad that I drunkenly ate a bacon cheeseburger that one fine day. It feels good to be back.
by Atlee Hickerson
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO COOK YOUR STEAK?
Phase 1 PREP: Set covered New York Strip steak out and let them come to room temperature about 10-20 minutes. Then season the steaks with olive oil, salt & pepper
22 - MUNCH SPRING 2013
GRILL: Set your pan over high heat, coat with olive oil once hot (but not burning) sear each side of the steak on the pan for a couple of minutes then throw the pan in the broiler on high and cook each side for another couple of minutes.
CHILL: Pull the grill pan out (with a glove) put it back on top the oven over no heat whatsoever. Add a pad of butter on top of each one and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Let your steaks rest for 5 minutes and then serve. Time to eat!
23 - MUNCH SPRING 2013
CHEEZ IT by Lucas Dunn
Many people with a passion for cooking grow into the hobby as a child, with winters spent mixing cookie dough with grandma in the kitchen, or helping to make the batter for dad’s pancakes on the weekend. I never enjoyed any of this stuff as a kid, and never felt comfortable with a whisk or spatula in my hand. I didn’t come into learning how to cook until I was much older. But everyone must learn a few dishes for simple sustenance, and childhood summers spent at home with my brother and sister when we were old enough to be left alone without a sitter was the time to do just that. I was fortunate to grow up in a household where there was never a shortage of food, even if I was too lazy to learn how to utilize most of it aside from frozen pizzas or breakfast cereal. The one thing I learned to do at an early age, and do well, was making grilled cheese sandwiches.
good in the world, you must follow this rule. You can make a good grilled cheese sandwich with less butter, and you can even use other fats, but it won’t be great. Also, don’t spread the butter on the bread before grilling it. Trust me on this one. For each side of the sandwich, use at least half a tablespoon of butter and melt it in your non-stick skillet. When the butter is frothing and golden, add the sandwich. Give it a quick swirl in the pan to soak up as much of this delicious, rich fat as possible. When it is time to flip the sandwich (when the bread has lightly browned), lift it out with your spatula, melt more butter, then put the uncooked side on the pan. You can be appalled or disgusted by the amount of butter all you like, but I promise you it will taste better to do it this way. We’re not making kale smoothies here, it’s comfort food, damnit.
There were many long summer afternoons when I would make simple grilled cheeses for my younger sister, and it wasn’t long before when she wanted one, she’d ask for me to make it, even if our mother was around. She wasn’t the greatest cook (sorry mom!), but I knew it meant something when I was the one to be asked to prepare this for my extremely picky little sis. The grilled cheese of my youth was the classic white bread with American cheese, and for all its simplicity and processed-foodickiness, it still remains a cherished favorite.
Patience is also a requisite in making the grilled cheese turn out great. Let the thing brown up. Use a lower heat so it doesn’t burn all the butter in your skillet and leave you with a charred, gooey mess. Let it develop color and caramelize and you will be rewarded with crisp bread that is rich in flavor with a hot, melty filling. Flip it a few times, if you need to. I will usually flip the sandwich around four or five times just to get it perfectly even and golden brown to my liking.
Later in my life, in the extended adolescence of my early-20’s dude-house-living bachelor squalor, I was cast into the precarious situation of having to provide food for myself with no culinary knowledge. I started to learn a few things and pick up some very simple rudiments, but the grilled cheese was where I could experiment and develop skills at understanding my palette. Anything can go into a grilled cheese, and I mean damned near ANYTHING, in the right context. A satisfying sandwich can be made with whatever ingredients you have laying around, and that sandwich is gonna taste a lot better after you fry it up in butter. On that note, my number one tip to make a great grilled cheese is DON’T SKIMP ON THE BUTTER. Carve it in stone, give it to Moses on the mountaintop, but for the love of all that is
Quality ingredients improve your sandwich, but it is not make-or-break. Getting a perfect buttery crust rules all, in my book, but using a nice blend of good things inside can take it to the next level. I prefer to use soft, whole-wheat sandwich bread because of the way it cooks and absorbs the butter, but any bread can work. Use cheeses that melt well. I’m generally happy with using sliced sandwich cheeses for the uniformity and even-coverage they provide once melted. Mild cheddar and Swiss may sound boring, but it’s classic. Two cheeses are great, just stick with ones that complement each other. Pick out one that is extra sharp or funky or bold, like a nice bleu or feta, and have a second cheese that is more creamy and satisfying to your inner second-grader. I also always include bitter greens, such as arugula or spinach. They give a little extra something to the flavor and texture, and you can fool yourself into being healthy by sneaking in your greens.
26 - MUNCH SPRING 2013
FROM HEAD TO PLATE the evolution of a dish by Andon Whitehorn
It’s not easy to write a good song. Speaking from my own experience, you need a driving rhythm, a catchy melody, an infectious hook, and - should you be so daring - perhaps a few sincere words to go along with it all.
research. We look at what’s in season. Which ingredients are hitting their peaks in the middle of winter? What’s the best way to procure them, prepare them, and present them?
Jeremy and I are working with squid, potato, onion, and truffle, but still there’s no hook, nothing to anchor itself into your head and haunt you with its irresistable allure.
How do we know that these ingredients will play well together? Do they have similar flavor profiles, share a volatile aromatic compound, or do they inhabit the same environment? Experience is an important factor; having a working knowledge of how each ingredient tastes, smells, feels, looks, and behaves will take you far, but just as important is knowing what other people know. A quick look in the Flavor Bible or a simple Google search will yield a wealth of information, or a nod in the right direction. We do this with each set of ingredients until we’ve established a network between components. Grant Achatz of Chicago’s famed restaurant Alinea calls this process “flavor bouncing,” and it’s done in much the same way in kitchens around the world.
It starts with the choice of ingredients. Much like writing music, deciding on each component requires learned instinct and
Next we look at how to best elevate the individual components. It’s one thing to cook up some squid, potatoes, and onions
Writing a great song is even more difficult, to take those aforementioned parts and manipulate them so that they work together, and sit apart from - and above - every other song. It’s tedious, it’s tiring, and you’re usually sick of it by the time it’s all said and done. But the song is better off for it, and so are you. Making a great plate of food is much the same.
in a pan, dress them with some truffle oil, and throw it all on a plate, but how do we get the very best out of each ingredient? Sautéd squid has a nice bite, but tempura frying gives us a tender, juicier protein. Why not both? Potatoes make for great sauces, especially if we add the right amount of authentic truffle oil, but they also make delightfully crisp chips. Again, why not both? What if we use two varieties of potato to add variety? Even better! Onions are lovely sautéed until sweet and aromatic, but we can achieve a similar taste with a better texture if we quarter the onions, slice them thinly, candy them with an off-the-boil simple syrup, and either fry or dehydrate them. Candied onion chips? They’re easier, and more delicious, than you’d think. All of our ingredients share a common element. There is an inherent earthiness that ties squid and potato, sea and land, together into a harmonious dish. Scientifically speaking, this is due to the organic compound geosmin, which is responsible for the dirt-like taste of beets and various other root vegetables and greens. We take this one step further and add pine - a wintery, fresh aroma - to the plate by first infusing apple cider vinegar with pine needles using an iSi charged whipper, and then combining the resulting mixture with sugar to make a gastrique. It should also be noted that another factor we considered when selecting pine as an aromatic was that truffles tend to grow around the roots of pine trees, giving us yet another link in our network of ingredients. Kim and Lacey were gracious enough to host us for a trial service. Most of the prep is done in our work kitchen, after which we pack half the back seat of my land yacht and cruise down the road to the Hickerson residence. Once
there, we unload our mise en place and supplies, and get to work. Jeremy fries off the candied onion and tempura squid tentacles, while I slowly stew the squid mantles in the truffled potato reduction and clean micro henbit and chickweed. Jeremy and I plate the dish. We all taste it together. And we’re back where this story started. The dish is good, but it’s not great. Like I said, it’s missing that hook. Over the next few weeks, after this initial tasting, I think about what issues I had with our offering. The plating wasn’t that great; we’ll try something else. The pine didn’t come through as much as I would have liked. We’ll heat the vinegar before adding it to the pine needles and let it infuse longer. The truffled potato sauce was too thick, and it lacked depth. That first part is easily fixed by aiming to make the sauce more like to a soup rather than a reduction. Giving the sauce depth, however, took a little thought, but by steeping fresh basil and sage in the hot mixture, and pulling out the essential oils and aromatics in the process, we were able to take what was at first a so-so component and transform it into something wonderfully complex. With these alterations in place, I then invited Kim and Lacey to try the dish again, this time in our work kitchen. We’d served this dish as a brunch special earlier in the day. The sautéed squid mantle was cooked more quickly this time, resulting in a chewier bite, and the tempura squid tentacles are re-fired in our convection oven. Nevertheless, everyone agrees that the simple changes we’ve implemented have made this a much better dish. So, is this a great song, yet? Not quite, but it’s damn good.
29 - MUNCH FALL 2013
One Pot: Butternut Squash Risotto by Kimberly Hickerson
2 cups butternut squash, cubed 3 tablespoons butter 1 shallot, minced 1 teaspoon Berbere Spice 1 cup Arborio ric 1/3 cup bourbon 4 cups chicken stock Garnish: 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated 1/4 cup mascarpone 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped salt and ground black pepper to taste Toss squared squash cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Pop them into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes util tender but not falling apart. Mash in a bowl with a fork and set aside. Melt butter in a stockpot over medium heat. Add diced shallot, Berbere spice and cook for a couple of minutes until soft. Then stir in the Arborio rice and coat with the butter-shallot mixture, stirring for 5 minutes until everything is well
incorporated. The onion should brown, but be careful to keep stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn. Pour in the bourbon; cook, stirring continuously until it has all been absorbed and evaporated. Then stir in the mashed roasted butternut squash and a 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Keep stirring until the stock is absorbed by the rice, 5-10 minutes. By this point my arm usually feels a bit sore, I’ll add a cup of broth stir it way less frequently and wait for the rice to absorb all of the liquid again before adding the last 1 1/2 cups of broth. As the risotto takes on a creamy consistency, I’ll take a taste to test the texture and maybe add a little salt and pepper. Be aware that the cheese added below will also add saltiness. Once the rice is al dente take it off the heat and stir in some fresh grated Parmesan. Then, for good measure, add some healthy dollops of mascarpone and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve immediately. 31 - MUNCH FALL 2013
CHEWING THE FAT Kimberly Hickerson & Lacey Elaine Tackett talk with Cook Taylor Desjarlais
32 - MUNCH FALL 2013
Taylor Desjarlais is a young up-and-coming cook from Lawton, Oklahoma who is currently working at The Lobby Cafe & Bar in the Western Avenue district of Oklahoma City. It is clear that he takes his work seriously and very much loves what he does. He was kind enough to take some time out of his busy weekend to sit down a talk with us about his experiences as a cook. K: So how many pop-up dinners have you done? T: Three total. You came to the last one. They were under the name Amicable, and I’m looking forward to doing more this year. K: How did you get started? T: I started working in a Lone Star as a server at sixteen in Lawton, OK. That sucked. I didn’t make any money so I basically started prepping. I got paid $5.15 instead of $2.15 plus the zero tips I had been making. I baked off pre-made bread, peeled potatoes, chopped onions; I’ve done other things but I’ve always had a job in a kitchen since then. K: It beats waiting tables ... T: Yeah, there have been times that the kitchen wasn’t even my primary job. But I stuck with it and got serious about four or five years ago. K: Did you move from Lawton straight to Oklahoma City? T: Right after I graduated. K: Were you looking for a kitchen to work in? T: Well I went to a semester of college; didn’t do well, didn’t want to be there.
So I just moved. I got a job working at a Starbucks at the mall. I’d been working there in Lawton and that was my ticket here. I transferred. I started working mornings on the line at Shartel Cafe a few weeks later. I actually worked at Shartel Cafe on and off for the first five years I was in Oklahoma City. Patrick was the first chef I worked under. It’s where I learned how to cut a pineapple properly and hold a knife. L: Was it the environment or something specific about Shartel Cafe that inspired you to get more serious about cooking? T: It was the line. In corporate restaurants it isn’t a traditional line; you aren’t responsible for your own dishes. Shartel Cafe really taught me to take pride in my plates; you do all the prep, if you go down it’s your fault. The food was simple but it was busy. We did 200 omelets a morning. It taught me how to short order cook. K: So where did you go from there? T: Through a connection with a friend, I ended up running the Ichiban Sushi Station in the mall, and from there went to The Sushi Bar in Edmond. It was cool. That’s where I learned to filet fish. Everywhere I go I pick stuff up. That’s really the end goal.
K: Do you have a preference on what type of cuisine you like? Do you have an over-all direction in your cooking? T: I enjoy cooking in general. What I’m doing in my apprenticeship is hammering in old- school french technique, the proper way. I don’t know if that’s my favorite thing to do either, but I like the structure. At the same time I love Japanese technique. You wouldn’t learn that in a traditional culinary program. It’s a whole new world.
Issue 3 of Munch Magazine) as guys who are all about that. Do you ever think about moving to a bigger market or a different city? Or is Oklahoma City your home? T: That’s been the question of the hour for a while! I have no idea. I still have a year and a half in my
memoirs and four TV shows. Nine times out of ten, they’ve gone from one awesome chef to the next in their careers, but I don’t think it’s like that for most chefs. I don’t have one chef that I model myself after. I’ve learned something from every single chef I worked under. Knowledge is the name of the game. My chef at Shartel Cafe was awesome. Matt, at Lobby Bar, and I did a tasting menu every Friday night last summer and that gave me a chance to work with elevated food. My apprenticeship is a great experience.
“We do our own ham and bacon and charcuterie. We process whole animals. Very few restaurants are doing that kind of start-to-finish cooking.”
K: What’s special about The Lobby Cafe and Bar, where your working now? T: They do everything from scratch. I think it’s the next level. We do our own ham and bacon and charcuterie. We process whole animals. Very few restaurants in Oklahoma City are doing that kind of start-to-finish cooking. L: Oklahoma City is a pretty young market. There aren’t that many places here doing that, through I think of Kaiteki Ramen (featured in
apprenticeship and my taste could change or what I want to do could change. I don’t know where I’ll be then. If I really want to take it to a higher level, I’d have to go to a bigger city. But if I go to say, Chicago, I’ll be starting with an apprenticeship again for three years. But that’s how it is. K: Do you have chefs you admire or model yourself after? T: I look at chefs like the Gordon Ramseys of the world, who have all these
L: Is it weird to go from creative input at The Lobby Bar to a more structured position in your apprenticeship? T: The Lobby Bar gives me the time to tweak things I make all the time, and then I’ll take that into my training. L: So what inspires you? T: Well I never think, “I’d like to make Chinese food today” but things stand out to me. If I see something
I’ve never done before, like a new technique, I try to incorporate it. At Lobby Bar I wanted to try sugar pulling for a dessert so I just sat there and banged out a hundred pieces of pulled sugar. I also ended up using it in a foie gras dish recently - sugar-spiked hazelnuts. I just force myself to do things. K: Do you pull from seasonal ingredients or is your work at Lobby Bar more technique centered? T: Well it’s totally seasonal, and we change the menu every Friday, but it’s hard because it’s not just seasonal either. It’s faster than seasonal- it’s weekly, so we bring in both things that are in-season but also just fresh ingredients to the menu. That way you aren’t seeing parsnips every week. K: When you aren’t cooking professionally, where do you go to eat? If you had the time where would you go? T: I love Gurnsey Park. The little things they do, and how meticulous they are really shows.
K: Do you have any memorable meals? Did you cook with your mom as a kid? T: We were very meat and potatoes. I remember the first time I had a good steak, something so simple. The first really good meal I had was probably in California, six years ago or so. We ate at a hoity-toity French restaurant and I couldn’t read the menu. I ate something really oldschool, Coq au Vin I think, because I recognized chicken. But it was food done right! L: So was it weird when you realized you’d grown up in a food wasteland? I know, that’s terrible to say, but growing up in small-town Oklahoma ... T: If my family goes out to eat for a good steak, they go to Outback. I was very much raised in that mindset, but food in Lawton should be better! I just talked to a buddy of mine about doing something there. I feel this connection to go back and cook. I don’t even want to go back and say, “Look what I can do!” I’d
like to do a pop-up and just feed people soup .. that’s why I remember the Coq au Vin, which is hearty and simple. When you do things right the taste is different. It’s not just, “Here’s your sauce from a bag.” The fact that someone gave a shit makes it taste so much better. That Coq au Vin I ate wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t chicken turned into liquid and shot into a fryer. L: Chicken fries! That idea is changing in Oklahoma. It’s not that if you give a shit about food you’re a snob. I think you should go to Lawton and cook great food. T: I don’t think it’s snobby, I just don’t know why I’m so compelled to do it. If I can make someone realize that they care about food, and get passionate about it, that’s awesome. Why shouldn’t you give a shit about what you put in your mouth? Eating is one of the most basic instincts. What you put in your body is important, and I also think it should be a pleasure, not something that makes you feel like shit.
Winter Sangria by Glenn Forester
2 cups chopped winter fruits (any combination of apples, pears, oranges, lemons, peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums) 1 bottle of Strong Tonic 1 bottle dry red wine 1/2 cup of bourbon Mix all ingredients in a two quart pitcher. Itâ€™s best to make ahead and refrigerate for a couple hours, or even better, overnight to blend and macerate. Fill pitcher with ice just before enjoying and serve in ice-filled tumblers or wine glasses. Optionally, top each glass with a splash of club soda or sparkling water.
Goat Cheese Cheesecake by Erin Cox
1/4 cup pepitas
16 ounces of goat cheese, softened
1/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of walnuts, also smashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milled flax
8 eggs yolks (keep whites)
1/2 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of flour
6 tablespoons of butter, melted but not yet lava-like
Preheat oven to 325째 Grind pepitas, almonds and walnuts to a flour-like consistency, then mix in milled flax, sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a springform pan and bake 10-15 minutes at 325째 Let cool and drizzle with honey.
And honey. Wonderful honey. 2 tablespoons
Reduce the oven temperature to 300째. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites just until firm and then beat in 3/4 of cheese, vanilla, and sugar mixture until well blended. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time and beat well after each one. Add the flour and a super low speed until blended. Gently fold in the last 1/4 of cheese mixture and pour into crust. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan with crust and bake for about 30 minutes in a water bath or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let it cool, and then refrigerate it for at least 4 hours. Drizzle with honey and a light sprinkling of walnuts before serving.
38 - MUNCH FALL 2013
CALL FOR ENTRIES Munch Magazine is a quarterly, independent, online food magazine produced in Oklahoma City. Our magazine features recipes, essays on foodstuffs, and local Oklahoma restaurants and cooks. We are seeking like-minded individuals to be involved, so if you're interested in submitting a piece or recipe, please let us know. We hope to foster a sense of community for local food lovers and would love to hear your ideas and feedback!
WHAT'S NEXT: Issue 5 - Spring Submission Deadline - March 1st Publication scheduled for mid-April
Published on Jan 17, 2014
Munch Magazine is a quarterly, independent, online food magazine produced in Oklahoma City. Our magazine features recipes, essays on foodstu...