Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Panko-Crusted Chicken with Lemon-Caper Beurre Blanc

When Elizabeth read this post by Adam Roberts (The Amateur Gourmet) during "Sauce Week," she immediately wanted to try it at home. She and her daughter had so much fun making it that she offered to present it to a storefront class.  Rich, buttery beurre blanc sauce lends itself well to herbs and seasonings, making it the perfect vehicle for tangy lemon and capers. This dish is delightful with a side of roasted asparagus.


6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
¼ cup olive oil
2-3 tbsp butter
Panko bread crumbs
1 egg mixed with a little water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper

In a large oven-safe skillet, combine olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Put the panko, flour, and egg/water into three separate shallow bowls. Dredge the breasts in flour first, then egg, then panko. Sautee the breasts in the hot oil/butter until they are golden brown and crispy. You’re shooting for a nice crisp coating, not cooking them all the way through.

Place all of the breasts on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven. Cook until done all the way through (165 degrees). Cover and keep warm while you make the sauce.


1 shallot, chopped
1 cup white wine
1-2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ cup whipping cream
2 sticks butter
2 tablespoons capers
Fresh parsley for garnish

Put the shallot, wine, thyme, and lemon juice in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil until it’s reduced by half. Add the whipping cream and boil again until it’s reduced by half. Turn the heat to very low and whisk cubes of the butter in 2-3 at a time until it’s all melted. “If it boils, it breaks.” Keep whisking!

Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl or double boiler. Add the capers. Keep the sauce warm until ready to serve.


Trim the asparagus by snapping off the tough end. Spread asparagus spears on a jelly roll pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste over all. Bake at 350 until the asparagus is tender.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Pasole Verde, Avocado Crema, and Raw Cashew "Sour Cream"

This Pasole Verde is so fresh and unexpected, we just can't resist making a big batch to share with the entire staff. It's a quick and easy dinner for a relaxed evening with friends, or summer lunch for a crowd.

8 Tomatillos (rinsed)
1 White onion (quartered)
4 Garlic Cloves
2 Jalepeno peppers
2 Poblano peppers
1 Bunch cilantro
3 Cans white hominy (rinsed)
2 Cans black beans (rinsed)
40 ounces water, vegetable, or chicken broth
4 ears of fresh corn, cut from the cobs

Begin bringing 40oz of water or stock to a boil on the stove in a large stock pot. Shuck and cut the corn kernels from the ears of corn on a jelly roll pan to keep the corn from flying around the kitchen. Distribute the corn kernels evenly on the pan and place under the broiler to brown. Watch carefully or they will burn. Rub the corn cobs with the back of your knife over the stock pot to get all the sugary goodness out of the cob. Throw the cob into the pot and let it cook.

Put tomatillos, onion, garlic, and peppers to a baking sheet and put them under the broiler. Allow all ingredients to char and turn each item one time. Once charred, put it all into a blender. Add a bunch of cilantro and blend until smooth.

Remove the corn cobs from the stock pot. Pour your blended mixture into the stock pot and taste. Adjust salt.

Rinse the hominy and black beans and add them to the pot. Cook the soup for 10 minutes, then add the roasted corn. Allow to cook for a few more minutes. Serve the soup piping hot and garnish with avocado, green onions, cilantro, and lime. Serve with warm corn tortillas.


2 Avocados
Juice of 1 lime
Small bunch of cilantro
3 green onions
1 Jalepeno

Place all ingredients into the blender and blend until very smooth. Use as a condiment on tacos, tostadas, or soups.


1 Cup raw cashews
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. Lemon
1/4 Cup water
1/4 t. salt

Place all ingredients into the blender and process until smooth and creamy like sour cream.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Calzones Class

One of the new favorite classes in the storefront kitchen is Calzones and Stromboli. With homemade dough and fresh ingredients, everyone gets to make their own according to their taste. Rolling and shaping the dough is a fun hands-on activity, and using a pizza peel and baking stone helps make them perfectly crisp.

A few pointers: make sure to use plenty of corn meal on the pizza peel so the calzone doesn't stick and will slide onto the pizza stone easily. For an even crispier, more flavorful crust, brush the top with garlic-infused olive oil.

Pizza Dough

¾ cup warm water
1 envelope or 1 tsp active dry yeast
1 T. sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t. salt

Add the warm water to stand mixer bowl and add the yeast and sugar. Stir with the dough hook to dissolve the yeast into the water. Once dissolved, add the flour and salt and mix with the dough hook until the dough comes away from the sides of the mixing bowl and forms a ball on the dough hook. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead a few times. Put the dough into a greased bowl and cover with saran wrap or a damp towel. Allow to double in size, then punch down and place in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Tomato Sauce

1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
28 ounce can tomato puree
1 t dried basil
1 t dried marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste
1 t sugar, if too acidic tasting

Place all ingredients in a sauce pan; cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, lower heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

Spinach/Ricotta filling

2 T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag frozen spinach, thawed, and as much liquid as possible squeezed out
Salt & pepper to taste
16 oz container ricotta cheese

Heat olive oil in large sautee pan. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion starts to soften. Add spinach and sautee until warmed through and fragrant. Set aside and allow to cool; mix with ricotta and use for filling in calzones or manicotti.

Strawberry Cheesecake Calzone filling

½ pint strawberries, hulled and cut up
1 8-oz package cream cheese
2-3 T powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

Mix all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Use as filling for a calzone; brush the top with a little oil or melted butter, and dust with cinnamon and sugar before baking as usual.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spinach and Mushroom "Pesto"

I made up this vegan pasta dish hoping the kids would eat it. They loved it. You must have a food processor or blender to make the "pesto." This dish also is oil free. The olives and bullion cube bring a lot of saltiness. You should not need more.

1 lb whole wheat pasta

1 pint mushrooms

A large handful of fresh spinach

3 cloves of garlic

1 Vegetable bullion cube

12 green olives

Cook the pasta per the package directions. Add all ingredients to a food processor and process the heck it of it. Once the mixture is the consistency of pesto add the mixture to a pan heated to medium heat. Heat through, add to the cooked pasta and toss until the pasta is well coated.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Oil-Free Cilantro Hummus

This version of hummus has a bright and tangy flavor provided by lemon and fresh cilantro. This recipe creates a light-green hummus that is super-healthy and has very little fat because there is no tahini and no oil in it. You might think that you will miss all that fat, but you won't! I keep this hummus in the fridge at all times.

I have heard people say that a plant-based diet is too expensive, inaccessible, or too cumbersome.  I disagree.  This hummus costs less than $7 to make and it will feed two people for quite a while or give 4 people a full meal. All ingredients for this hummus were found in my local, small-town grocery store. Also, if you have a blender or food processor, any hummus is easy and quick to make.

Marcus' Green Cilantro Hummus
2 cans chickpeas (1 can drained the other with liquid)
2 green onions
Handful of fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon juiced
1 T ground cumin
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until the consistency you want is achieved. If the hummus is dry, add more lemon juice or a little water. Serve with whole grain toasted pita bread; use as a sandwich spread, as a condiment for brown rice, or as a dip for raw vegetables. This hummus is full of flavor!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Plant-Based Black Bean Burgers

There is a small, but growing movement in our community to educate people about how a 100% plant-based diet can reverse heart disease, lower cancer rates, and improve quality of life. I do not know the stats right off hand, but our Oklahoma county ranks among the highest in the state for cardiovascular disease, cancer and obesity.

The catalysts for this movement include a handful of doctors and our local hospital, who are following one of the hospital's missions to prevent disease in our area. They have been spurred on by the research of Cleveland Clinic Cardiologist, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., who has found that eating a plant-based diet can reverse heart disease.

My personal involvement in this is for a number of reasons. The first, and most important to me, is that I am getting older and need to take better care of myself for my family. I have been moving in the plant-based diet direction for about a year now. My wife introduced me to the writings of Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Campbell, author of The China Study. Also, the documentary "Forks Over Knives" (available on Netflix instant play) pushed me along this path to plant-based nutrition.

Don't get me wrong. I love (loved) to eat meat, eggs, milk, cheese and seafood. I like all of it, but I knew that I was eating too much of it. Weight gain, rising cholesterol, acid reflux, my dad's prostate cancer and heart problems pushed me to re-evaluate what I was putting into my body. With the growing library of nutritional information in my head along with other external factors I decided to make a change. As a matter of fact, it was irrational, in my mind, to continue on the path that I was taking.

Needless to say, living in an area with lots of cattle, steakhouses, and burger joints, the Esselstyn program may be slow to catch on. Hopefully with the healthy and delicious recipes I will share here, all of us southern Oklahoma carnivores can at least try this plant-based eating and lifestyle change that will lower our cholesterol levels, reverse heart disease, and lower cancer risks. (Please know that all recipes previously posted in this blog were written before I made this change.)

Black Bean Burgers (Vegetarian and Vegan Burgers)
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1 can of diced tomatoes with chiles drained (Rotel)
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
2 cloves of garlic peeled
2 green onions with tops chopped
1 cup of carrots chopped
1 cup brown rice (cooked)
1 cup quick oats
Salt, soy sauce or Bragg's Aminos to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put the green onions, cilantro, carrots, and garlic cloves in a blender or food processor and process until pieces are finely minced to the size of lentils or smaller. Once a fine mince is achieved, add the rinsed beans and tomatoes with chiles until a paste (which is really more like a hummus) is formed.

Pour the paste into a bowl and add one cup of brown rice and 1 cup of quick oats and stir. (I like the brown rice because in makes the veggie burgers a little more moist.) Taste your mixture and add seasoning as needed. Form the mixture into patties and place on a lined baking sheet. This mixture should yield about 8 patties.

Place into the oven and cook for 12 minutes and then finish under the boiler of 2-3 minutes. All you want to do is brown the patties a little.

Assemble your burgers on whole wheat hamburger buns. Use a turner to pick up the patties from the baking pan and place a patty on the bun. I substitute mashed avocados for mayo as my spread, and loaded the sandwich with dill pickles, mustard, greens, tomatoes and onions. This "hamburger" is very satisfying and super-healthy. With recipes like these, some meat-eaters might be convinced to give this diet a chance!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Roasted Garlic Hummus Recipe compliments of Jamie Whitten

  • 1 can garbanzo beans aka chickpeas
  • 1 head garlic, roasted and squeezed out
  • 1/3 cup Tahini
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • Several dashes cayenne pepper
  • 4 Tbls olive oil
  • ½ tsp. cumin (or more to taste)


    To roast garlic: Do not peel the head of garlic; instead, leave the entire head together, but cut off the top. Drizzle with olive oil and put in a garlic baker or custard cup covered with foil. Bake at 225 degrees for an hour or until soft.  Let cool and squeeze the pulp out of each clove. 

    Rinse beans in strainer and place in a food processor. Process a few pulses.  Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth.  Adjust seasonings if needed.  A nice presentation is to serve the hummus in a flat bowl, sprinkled with paprika and drizzled with olive oil.  Some assorted olives are a nice addition to the plate.