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Chopped kale salad with sesame dressing
I’m spending all my free time outside this month.
I’ll start with drinks and falafel at Laffa during the First Friday Art Crawl in the Brady Arts District, and will sprinkle in dinners on my favorite restaurant patios, like Café Ole in Brookside. But I’ll also put in a lot of time in my backyard, pulling herbs and lettuce from my little garden to make salads, and grilling late summer dinners to eat outside.
Ahhh, June in Tulsa. Take in this magical month with dinners out or in. This recipe, courtesy Shannon Smith, is a tangy, fresh take on the trendy kale salad.
Chopped Kale Salad with Sesame Dressing
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
1 bunch kale, chopped to make 6 cups (stems and tough center veins removed)
½ cup toasted cashews
1 orange, peeled and segmented
2 scallions, chopped
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
For the dressing, put all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the kale, cashews, orange segments, scallions and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the salad, gently toss and serve. You may prefer not to use all the dressing. If so, refrigerate it for another time.
Q&A: Shannon Smith
Shannon Smith is a jewelry artist, world traveler and cooking instructor. She has taught cooking in Tulsa for 16 years, and travels the world teaching and learning different cuisines. She documents many of her travels and shares recipes and classes on her website, beadsandbasil.com.
Upcoming classes, which she will hold in her own kitchen, include “Spanish Paella and Sangria” on June 15, “Vegetarian Around the Globe” on June 22, “Southern Italian” on July 6 and “Tapas and Chocolate” on July 11.
Why did you begin teaching cooking classes internationally?
My husband and I have supported many micro-finance programs, which have helped people in poor countries start and grow their businesses. In 2016, I was asked to go to the Dominican Republic to teach cooking lessons to women in several villages so they could learn new recipes. I was very inspired and encouraged on that trip, so I returned this year. I’ve also traveled to Rwanda twice since last summer, and taught women who cook at a school in a remote area. Chicken and dumplings was a favorite dish they learned in Rwanda!
Has cooking in unique circumstances made you a better cook?
In 2001 I was teaching kids after school in a low-income apartment complex in Tulsa. That’s when I learned to be very flexible. There were days we didn’t have electricity, so we made salads, fruit kabobs and veggie dips. In the Dominican Republic, we had no electricity or running water. If there was no propane cooktop, we used an open fire over concrete blocks with an iron pot to cook meatballs, potato pancakes and tomato fritters. I’ve learned to be creative and work with whatever opportunity I’m given.
What kinds of classes do you teach locally?
Because of my travels, I love to teach regional cooking from other countries. Indian food is one of my favorites, and I even have a tandoor oven at my house. I also teach northern and southern Italian, Greek, Turkish, Moroccan and Santa Fe cuisines. I’ve taught many college students how to make Crock-Pot meals and healthy foods, but I always manage to incorporate recipes I’ve learned in my travels.
What’s in your fridge?
I actually have many refrigerators, which is a little embarrassing. Because I entertain and teach so much, I require a lot of storage. One fridge is full of nuts, spices and condiments I collect from traveling. I have an entire drawer of different sun-dried tomatoes I buy in Rome. I also collect mustards, hot sauce and jams. I have a cheese drawer filled with cheeses I brought vacuum-packed from the Amsterdam airport when I had a stopover from Rwanda.
If you could cook for anyone, who would it be?
I would cook for my grandmother Nina. She was an adventurous and artistic woman who inspired me to be independent and explore the world. She instilled confidence in me to do whatever I love, and share it with others. Although she didn’t enjoy cooking, she loved to eat healthy food. I would make her a beautiful salad with olive oil from Puglia, Italy; Merken spice from Chile; and Manchego cheese from Spain. And after our meal she would remind me I need to put on some lipstick.
Mr. Nice Guys takes over Guthrie Green cafe
A favorite of the Food Truck Wednesdays scene at Guthrie Green, Mr. Nice Guys has taken up residence in the former Lucky’s on the Green on-site café. The brick-and-mortar version has all the same food Tulsans have grown to love from the truck, including the popular jerk chicken tacos with corn and black bean pico, cilantro and lime. Also beloved is the spicy pork mac and cheese with black bean and corn pico, diced onion and cilantro. Sides like chips with salsa, guac or queso are great snacks for an afternoon or evening spent at the Green. Daily specials will be a part of the menu, too. The crew also has stocked the beverage menu with ice cold Mexican and seasonal beers perfect for a summer meal on the patio while listening to the tunes on Guthre Green.
Mr. Nice Guys will be open the entire Guthrie Green season, with hours posted on-site and facebook.com/mrniceguystulsa.
Growler USA — a microbrew pub — has its first Oklahoma location at Tulsa Hills.
The Tulsa location pours all American-made crafts brews, including drafts from local brewers Hanson Brothers, COOP Ale Works, Elk Valley, Marshalls, Dead Armadillo, Iron Monk and Prairie Artisan Ales.
Along with microbrew, the pub serves hard cider and kombucha, which is fermented and sweetened green or black tea.
Growler USA also features a beer-inspired food menu, including a popular Nitro BBQ Cheddar Burger and a Pilsner Chicken Avocado Club.
The pub, 8115 S. Olympia Ave., is open 11 a.m.-midnight, Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-2 a.m., Friday-Saturday.