Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Last week I was at a Kiwanis meeting with some great folks from Stillwater - and a lovely lady shared these great recipes with me - I thought you might enjoy them!

Grilling Pork Chops
4-6 pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick
liquid smoke
'Mrs. Dash' Original Blend seasoning

Lay the chops on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle 2-4 drops of Liquid smoke on each. Sprinkle the Original seasoning on as heavily or lightly as you wish. Sprinkle with salt, as the Mrs. Dash does not have salt in it. Let stand for 20-30 minutes for the seasonings to 'soak' onto the meat. Grill about 6 minutes on each side. No need to season the other side of the meat, unless you want to do so.

Teriyaki Pork Chops
4 Pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick
soy sauce
brown sugar
minced garlic
black pepper, optional

Mix 1/4 cup of soy sauce and 1/4 cup of brown sugar together. Add 1 tablespoon of garlic and mix again. Put pork in a plastic bag, then pour mixture over the pork. Allow the sauce to marinate on the pork for about 30 minutes. Grill, turning once. You may sprinkle pepper on one or both sides if you like.

Thanks, Arlene, for sharing these great recipes!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Just a bit of grilling

Today I was at the new Crest Foods store on the south side of Oklahoma City giving away coupons and free pork chop sandwiches - but more importantly... I was learning how to COOK pork chop sandwiches!

Thanks to the boss man - I think I'll be able to grill them on my own from now on. Look at that set up - it's the calm before the storm.

We were cooking pork chops that were cut about 1" thick and then ran through the tenderizer machine. The tenderizer gives the meat a textured look & does what it says - tenderizes the meat. (Also, those are not my hairy arms - I'm the one behind the camera in this picture)

Because we were cooking a large quantity the meat department did this part for us. If you're only cooking a few at home you can use that hammer your grandma keeps in the drawer by the stove. You know, the square one. :-)

We used Dales Marinade, which can be purchased at your local grocery store - or a marinade of your choice is fine. We let the meat soak in the marinade for about 15 minutes total.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in charcoal or preheat gas grill to medium high. Pat chops dry and grill over a medium-hot fire, turning once, until just done, about 8 to 11 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F.

Just look at those chops! You're hungry now aren't you?

We gave away 450 sandwiches to very hungry customers - all who walked away with coupons to purchase their own Hormel pork chops.

We had a few fine folks stop by today.

These guys took a whole bag of chops back to the fire station!

Here's the recipe recap:
1. Tenderize your pork chops. Either at home, or at the meat counter when your purchase your pork.
2. Marinate pork chops in a marinade of your choosing.
3. Grill over a medium - high heat for 8 - 11 minutes, or until internal temperature is 155 degrees F.
4. Put between 2 slices of bread.
5. Enjoy

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I'm buying a crock-pot

Raise your hand if you gained the sophomore 10, found your first "big kid" job and gained 5 more... and then joined the gym?

Oh, just me? Liars.

Unfortunately, that statement is true. I ran my hiney off in highschool, gained a little bit in college, discovered every local establishment in the downtown Oklahoma City area - and now I'm a proud member of the local gym.

However, it must be stated that even though I go to the gym 4-5 times a week, if you're not eating healthy, you're in a lose-lose situation.

So I'm assembling a grocery list. Healthy items. Fresh Produce. Pork.

I'm buying a crock-pot.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Basics.

Three hundred four emails, 14 phone messages and a lot of paper work later - I finally get to share with you the most basic cooking experience of my life. So you should note, we were sleep deprived, hot, and excited to be in Nicaragua. Here's the scenario, we had about 2 minutes to come up with 3 recipes. all using goat meat.

First. We washed our hands. As primary as this concept sounds, it's just as important to cook in sanitary conditions in rural Nicaragua as it is to cook in sanitary conditions in your own kitchen.

Also, you can disinfect your cutting board with a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water. Although, in the states most plastic cutting boards are dishwasher safe.

Back to the cooking. We picked fresh limes from a tree right outside of the agricultural center. [This center served as an agricultural extension office for demonstrations and classes for the community.] The meat was allowed to marinate in the freshly squeezed lime juice for a few hours.

Look at Kyla working so hard - while I'm taking a picture of a lime. Ha! Bet she wanted to kick me out of the kitchen!

For those of you (all 4 of you who publicly follow this blog, as well as the others who would rather send an email or text message to comment) who know how limited my cooking skills are right now, this may seem bazaar. I knew I was going to grill the meat; but I really wanted them [the lovely guinea pigs who didn't know I wasn't a cooking expert] to like it.

So - I made a rub. From scratch. From the limited ingredients our interpreter bought at the market.

Salt, chili powder, garlic powder, and something..... greenish. (there wasn't a label) I really wish there was more to it, but there wasn't, it was simply basic.

And this is the only picture you get to see of the sweaty, makeupless, sanitized hands, Goat-Meat-Grilling-Fool. But, just look at that rub! I guess my time watching the grillers during tailgating season is paying off!

The meat was then slowly cooked using an open fire. The idea was to imitate living conditions outside of the ag center so that the participants would know these dishes could be made in their own home using limited resources.

I understand you're probably not going to harvest your own goat and grill over an open fire anytime soon; however, if you take one thing away from this post [and no, it's not that point-and-shoot cameras are horrible for food photography] I hope it's that you don't have to prepare fancy dishes with crazy ingredients to make delicious foods everyone will enjoy.

Oh, and have fun. And take pictures.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back from Hiatus.

I'm back in the office. To conclude my Master's program in International Agriculture, I spent a week in Nicaragua.
I was a part of a 10 person agricultural team from Oklahoma State University, which was a part of a bigger team with Builders for Children: A project of Feed the Children. Our mini-team had the opportunity to work with small agricultural communities and their agricultural projects, while the others in our team [shout out to Arkansas, South Carolina, & Hawaii] helped build relationships with the people living in the community, by providing arts and crafts projects, vacation Bible school, and participating in Leadership Conferences.

The OSU team during a pit stop at the Pacific Ocean.

How does this fit into a Basics with Brooke post? Let me just skip right to it.
In rural Nicaragua, the need for sustainable agriculture is important, and the need to feed your family is even more important. We saw an opportunity to help the local communities in the latter by recognizing the availability of goats and their limited use of them.

We taught them how to make goat cheese, as well as, how to harvest "cabra" [goat] and cook 3 dishes with the meat. My job: grilling. Not only did they eat it - they asked for seconds!

During the cheese-making class, our interpreter skipped class.
So, we translated the class ourselves. This was team work at it's finest.

Don't get too excited - I've only been back in the office for 4 hours - I'll get that post up asap, though. Promise.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Backyard Barbecue.

Dominated the Backyard Barbecue. Freddie's brought the most amazing pork chops I've ever sampled - ever.

This was my last one for the year - the Emporess will be representing OPC next week while I'm in Nicaragua.

Also - I lost my phone today. And then I had a flat tire. Did I mention I lost my cell phone.

At least I had great barbecue. :-)

Monday, June 28, 2010

My gravy is better than your gravy.

If you’re looking for a fool-proof way to know – for sure – that it’s summertime, you came to the right place.

Here's the test: If you stumble upon a weekend that includes [but is not limited to] sunburns, fried chicken, fried okra… and gravy – it is officially [one hundred percent, is-orange-sold-in-Stillwater] summertime.

The goal of summer is to learn the basics – and lose 15 pounds [ha – jokes on me, right?]. But, it’s also my firm responsibility to act my age. So I don’t regret missing out on the How-to of fried chicken – driving those Western Oklahoma roads were sure worth it.

BUT. [read as: extremely excited] We did get back in time for gravy – making.

So here's how it works.

First, you make fried chicken. (Or in this case, your manfriend's mom makes delicious fried chicken.)

Then, you remove the chicken from pan and firmly threaten all standbyers that if they don't wait until dinner time and if they even think about touching the chicken before seated at the table - they'll be waiting for scraps with the dogs.

::Laughing:: Donna didn't say that - but she should have.

Ok, seriously. After you remove the chicken from the pan - leave the heat on medium-ish. You save just a little bit of grease (Maybe 3 or 4 tablespoons). Don't worry about the crumbs - they add flavor and texture to the gravy!

Next, add flour. I can't give you percise measurments. You just add until it's not soupy looking. Add salt and pepper. (Maybe I'm vanilla in this aspect - but I never add salt or pepper unless I've tasted it - you can always add more later.)

Then, add milk. The milk/flour combo allows the gravy to thicken - just like your grandma made it. So the more milk, the thinner the gravy.

Then. It's like magic. But - don't forget to stir the WHOLE time or then it will burn, and no one appreaciates a house smelling like friend chicken and burnt gravy.

I've decided cooking isn't hard. It just requires you to put your A.D.D. on the back burner, follow directions and go with your gut.

But here's the thing. I spent that last 19 years of my life in a classroom following directions and keeping my Abstract-Randomness at bay. Maybe they should have added "going with your gut" to the mix a little more.

::UPDATE:: They Boss's Boss (aka Melissa) sent over a Blogging Present! Check it out!

So a little note from the Cooking basics section:
"Cutting Boards: stock up on two. Reserve one soley for raw meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish and the other for ready-to-eat foods."

Did anyone else just wonder when they were ever going be cutting up shellfish?

P.S. My apologies on the picture quality - I was so excited and the iphone was the closest camera.