Boil cubed potatoes until they are tender. Drain and cool. In a large bowl add onion and pickles. Add the salad dressing, yellow mustard, pickle juice and sugar. Stir well. Sprinkle with paprika. Let the potato salad chill in the refrigerator for 2 1/2 hours or overnight.
On Valentine’s Day, I had the extreme pleasure of cooking a romantic, fun menu for 5 lovely couples. The dinner party was hosted by Ginger and Jared Andresen in Broken Arrow. I met the Andresen’s on New Year’s Eve, when mutual friends, Steve and Shellye Jaggers had recommended my services for their dinner party that evening.
A few weeks prior to Valentine’s Day, my friend and helper, Chef Bill Harris (who happens to be a mutual friend of the BOOYAHS also) and I sat down to create a “themed” menu. Being that it was Valentine’s Day, we wanted the menu to include bright colors and include traditional reds and pinks. A bottle of wine and a few “tweeks” and we were ready to impress. The menu was approved by the hosts and three meat choices were offered for the guests..
Hearts began to flutter from the taste of Salmon Mousse served with homemade, heart-shaped Lemon and Dill Crackers. Salmon Mousse is a fan favorite.
Their mouths began to water for what I call a “BLT” tart. A flaky pastry filled with Tomato Mousse and Bacon Jam topped with a slice of fresh grape tomato and a fried Basil leaf. I do believe that was a highlight of the evening and I quickly made this my new signature appetizer.
As with any good date, things can get a little “hot” and the Roasted Red Pepper Soup, served beside Ginger Carrot Soup certainly turned up the heat. The soup was garnished with a sour cream heart and fresh chopped parsley. Steamy Garlic and Cheddar Focaccia and hot buns of Olive Oil and Rosemary went well with this starter.
Next was the main course. Some chose the sweet, juicy Cornish Game Hen covered in a Spiced Dried Cherry Sauce. Others chose Grilled Swordfish with a Caribbean Chutney, while some went for it all and had Rack of Lamb with Blood Orange Glaze. Each were served with Potatoes au Gratin made with thinly sliced potatoes, gooey Gruyere Cheese and sweet cream and garnished with fresh parsley. Beside that was roasted sweet potato, sauteed broccolini, red bell peppers, red onion and sliced asparagus.
When they didn’t think they could take any more, a classic Cheesecake served with sticky chocolate sauce and hot raspberry syrup topped with homemade whipped cream ended the night on a good note.
As always, I think everyone had a good time and really enjoyed the meal. I can’t wait to do it again. Hope the rest of you had a good Valentine’s Day as well.
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved from 1 can
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
6 tablespoons lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons liquid from the chickpeas
3 tablespoons roasted rep peppers
8-10 dashes hot sauce
Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it’s minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning, and serve at room temperature with fresh vegetables or warm Naan.
chile-garlic sauce (optional, but highly recommended)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place beef bones on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 1 hour. Place bones, onion, garlic, ginger, salt, star anise, cinnamon stick and fish sauce in a large stockpot and cover with 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer on low for 4 to 6 hours. Strain the broth into a saucepan and set aside.
Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Bring stock to a small boil. Divide noodles among 4 serving bowls; top with pork belly and shrimp. Pour hot broth over the top.
Serve with bean sprouts, Thai basil, cilantro, green onion, jalapeno, lime wedges, hoisin sauce, and chile-garlic sauce on the side.
“Preston prepared a spectacular New Year’s Eve dinner for our dinner party!! From the appetizers to dessert, the food was delectable! Preston was delightful and before dinner was over we had him booked for another dinner party!!” – Ginger A.
I hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve. I know I sure did. This year, I was asked to make dinner for 10 people at a private residence in Broken Arrow. I love this type of dinner party because it gives me a chance to talk to the clients and get to know them better. Not to mention they usually love to watch me cook and gives them a chance to ask questions about the food I am preparing. The children, who had already ordered a pizza, enjoyed the time as much as the adults.
To start the night, I selected a savory Coeur a la Creme, topped with Mango Chutney and served with fresh made Rosemary Crackers. A Coeur a la Creme is so good and easy to make. Basically, it is cream cheese, cream and lemon whipped together. Let that sit over night and serve chilled. Most people don’t even know they can make their own crackers. Just mix flour, oil, salt and some fresh herbs together to make a dough, roll it out on a sheet pan and bake. It’s that easy.
One of my favorite appetizers to make is a caramelized Sweet Onion Tart. Make a simple pie crust, caramelize some onions, mix together some sour cream and chives and you have a delicious, easy appetizer to serve. The guests really liked them also.
I had planned to make a Shrimp Salad and serve it over a bed of fresh greens dressed with a lemon-dill vinaigrette, but I forgot the shrimp in my freezer at home. Yes, it does happen sometimes, but thankfully I had some extra chicken breasts I brought with me…just in case. After frantically searching through the clients refrigerator, I decided to make a Waldorf Salad instead. I cooked the chicken breasts and diced them up, mixed them with a little mayonnaise, chopped green onion, pecans, celery, apples and grapes. Secretly, I think this was the biggest hit of the night. The host loved it so much, he asked for the recipe.
Each guest chose either fish, chicken or beef for their entree course. As ordinary as it may sound, you can never go wrong with offering grilled salmon, chicken or a thick, juicy filet. I then offered the guests a choice of Garlic Mashed Potatoes or Wild Rice Pilaf made with chicken stock, chopped pecans, yellow raisins and a little green onion and sautéed fresh Swiss Chard with onion, garlic and yellow bell peppers for the vegetable. Not only is Swiss Chard healthy for you, it is beautiful on a plate! Rounding out the dinner were some Honey Wheat Rolls.
Of course, no dinner is complete without a dessert. While looking through Pinterest, I found a recipe for a White Chocolate Cake. After reading the numerous, positive reviews, I knew I had found my cake. The cake had a Raspberry filling and covered with Orange Butter Cream Frosting. I finished the cake with fresh raspberries and shaved white chocolate. I had never made it before, but it sounded so good I had to try it.
The men made it quite clear the only dessert they wanted was their adult beverage of the evening. They retired to the living room to watch the OKC Thunder game and the women ate their dessert gathered around the dining room table. Those four adorable children were patiently sitting at the kitchen island, waiting for that delicious cake. The youngest child took a bite of the cake. Her eyes widened as if she were surprised (it may have been the sugar rush) then she looked at me, smile and said “I love raspberries!” That’s what it’s all about.
I want to thank them again for their generous hospitality. They made the evening so much fun and I am looking forward to the Valentine’s Day Dinner Party I am cooking for them and their friends.
The Holiday Season has quickly snuck up on most of us again. This time of year is always busy with shopping, family and friends, and of course cooking. I love cooking and baking during Christmas and throwing a cocktail party during this time is so much fun. As a Christmas gift for his parents, a gentleman purchased a night of music, fun and food from an All Souls Unitarian Church silent auction.
His parents invited several guest to their home in Midtown Tulsa, to hear the church choir sing Christmas Carols at the piano, share in the Holiday Spirit and to eat; and eat we did. The magnificent table served as a buffet for the beautiful silver platters filled with goodness. A Smoked Salmon was garnished with mustard leaves, purple kale, lemons and capers. I mixed up a quick Salmon Mousse and made Chive and Rosemary Crackers.
I served sweet Lobster and Baby Shrimp Salad, mixed with a Lemon-Dill Aioli, on a fresh French Roll. What else pairs well with rich seafood? Beef of course! I cut cubes of Beef Tenderloin and skewered them with Pearl Onions that had been sauteed in a little butter.
If you have never eaten a fresh Polenta Cake with a drizzle of Pesto on top, you are missing out. It is easy to make and tastes wonderful. To round out the table were showcased fresh fruits, vegetables and some very nice figs and dates. As elegant as it looked, the truth was in the taste. Thank you for your hospitality and Merry Christmas to you all!
On November 29, 2014, I had the extreme pleasure of making dinner for a very fun couple, who were celebrating their 49th Wedding Anniversary. As they sat at the table and watched me cook in their gorgeous kitchen, they told me stories of how they met, how they actually had two anniversary dates, sharing their lives together and making work for that many years. I really enjoyed listening to them, hearing the 60’sXM station in the back-ground, play “their” music and cooking them an unforgettable meal.
The menu was hand-picked by them, starting with fresh Dungeness Crab Cakes with a spicy chipotle sauce. Next I served a baby spinach and strawberry salad tossed with a light strawberry vinaigrette and topped with pecans and blue cheese. The main course of Surf and Turf, a six ounce filet and a six ounce grilled lobster tail, came with portions of garlic mashed potatoes and wild rice, broccoli and cheddar casserole.
One of the couples best memories of their travels, took them to New Orleans, where they tried (for the first time) Bananas Foster. She loved how the pan lit up with the flaming rum. So, as you can guess, that was dessert that night. As I finished up the dishes, I watched her open her gift. She really had so much fun and so did I. Thank you again!
What a great time of the year for a wedding. The air is crisp and the colors are bright. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. The colors always make happy. So when asked to cater this event, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa,Oklahoma, I was excited.
The couple chose from a personalized menu, made just for them. They started off with a nice fall vegetable tray served with a creamy dill sauce in a purple cabbage. Next were spicy polenta cakes served with pesto; Thai chicken skewers served with a peanut sauce for dipping. Then came the sliced beef sliders with fall lettuce and a creamy horseradish sauce; coconut chicken bites with a spicy “firecracker” sauce, (one of my favorites! And shout out to Bill Harris for that recipe).
There were also Caprese Salad skewers. For dessert, individual pecan and apple tarts topped with whipped cream were definitely a favorite. For the finale, a four tier Italian Creme Cake was requested by the lovely couple. Every guest sampled the cake, which happens to be one of my signature desserts. Thanks so much. It’s always fun!
“Preston is the consummate professional. During the melee of hosting an event (snacks and lunch for an all day symposium-250 attendees), it was a reassurance to have him in charge of service. He anticipated the needs of both host and guests.
The knowledge that a competent caterer was handling the details made hosting much easier.Preston and crew received one of two standing ovations by our audience for the quality and deliciousness of the food they prepared.”
October 21, 2014, the Tulsa Food Security Council hosted the Oklahoma Food Security Summit at the Greenwood Cultural Center. National, State, Tribal and Local Food Policy Experts met to discuss food policy updates, healthy eating, economics of sustainability, school nutrition, the aging population, traditional tribal foods and community gardens.
2 cups very thinly sliced Vidalia onion (about 2 onions)
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons water
3/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie shell (from a 15-ounce package)
3 tablespoons crème fraîche (or sour cream) at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
Special equipment: a 2 1/4-inch round cookie cutter; a mini-muffin pan with 12 (1/8-cup) muffin cups
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.
Cook onion, butter, water, salt, and pepper, covered, in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, 10 minutes. Remove lid and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is deep golden brown and very tender, about 25 minutes.
While onion cooks, roll out dough to slightly less than 1/8 inch thick. Cut out 12 rounds with cutter and lightly press each into a mini-muffin cup. Bake until pale golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove tartlet shells from muffin pan.
Stir together crème fraîche or sour cream and chives and divide among shells, then top with caramelized onions.