For the Love of Culinary!
Three local foodies are stirring up some food and fun in the kitchen. We talked summer salads; we talked wild game; we talked (and drooled over) peanut butter bars. What these three all have in common is a love for fare, but what sets them apart is the inspiration behind their culinary creations.
Richard Emory McGary
A lawyer by day and chef by night, Richard Emory McGary makes a strong case for loving all things culinary. In three years, he’s received 850,000 hits on his cooking blog, REMCooks.com, where he shares well over 200 recipes. What’s his motive? Traveling, Saturday morning PBS cooking shows, a hefty collection of cookbooks and, of course, family and friends whom he loves to entertain.
McGary started cooking as a fry cook at 18. After a stint in culinary school and running a few local restaurants, he went to law school and became a lawyer in 1985. He is now of counsel to Scheef & Stone LLP and does what he loves best—cooking and entertaining with his wife, Elia.
Of the 850,000 hits on his blog, 440,000 belong to a vegetable side dish: Roasted Cauliflower with Red Chile, Cilantro and Lime. "It’s the most popular dish on the blog,” says McGary.
Another favorite is Mexican-Style Grilled Corn on the Cob, or “street corn.” (It’s sold at fiestas and on street corners in Mexico.) “It is the best thing in the world,” says McGary. "You pull the husk back and tie it with twine to use as a holder. The corn is lightly oiled, seasoned with salt and grilled for a roasty-toasty, caramelized flavor. Slather it with mayonnaise, Mexican crema, butter or sour cream; sprinkle with cotija cheese, red chile powder and cilantro; and drizzle it with lime.”
For a summer salad, McGary recommends his Shrimp and Squash Ribbon Salad with Citrus Basil Pesto and Grape Tomatoes. “It is delicious and very easy to make,” he says.
He also favors the Stacked Caprese Salad with Asparagus, layers of sliced tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and blanched asparagus, topped with a few capers, olive oil and vinegar. "It’s an incredibly tasty lunch."
McGary loves creating layers with his dishes. Take the Smoked Salmon Napoleon. He calls it “one of the best appetizers you could ever serve at a dinner party.” It’s three layers of salmon, a yogurt-based cream and homemade potato chips. “It has the best homemade potato chips in the world,” McGary affirms. “They’re done in the microwave of all things!” •
Find all of McGary’s recipes at REMCooks.com, and you be the judge.
There are few things in life that Jesse Morris would rather be doing than to "hunt up a good meal," his motto on killerchefs.com. The "eat what you kill" movement is nothing new to this avid hunter and chef of 20 years.
Morris’ wild game recipes have been featured in Cooking Wild and Texas Parks and Wildlife magazines. For him, hunting has always been about hustling for your grub—shooting, retrieving and eating your game.
Morris’ black lab, Cash, is the perfect partner for retrieving. “He goes on most of my trips and helps … I’m not swimming in the water!” Morris says and laughs.
"It’s a very honest thing to go from hunting to eating what you kill,” he says. “I grew up in Oklahoma and we lived off an old dirt road in the country and I had vast amounts of land to run on. I was really into fishing. My grandfather was a fisherman and we had a pond behind the house and I would get off the school bus and head straight to the pond.”
He continues, "It was a little bit later that I got into hunting. Birds are my main hunt … ducks, geese, dove and turkey.”"
Morris recalls the hunt that inspired his Specklebelly and Tomato Pea Ragu recipe: “Specklebelly goose is one of the best tasting game meats out there. The reason I like it is we don’t have a lot in our area, so it’s a special treat. I wrote that recipe after going to Alberta, Canada. A friend and I went hunting in a pea field. It’s big Mennonite community, and they had a pork product that was ground super fine … so I use minced bacon in my recipe. The tomatoes were brought to us from a Mennonite woman who traded them for goose meat … so it was one of those dishes where each element came together from the entire experience.” Morris adds, “I’ve learned that if it’s growing around you and the locals are eating it, it works well together.”
"That dish you can make with venison … or duck … I don’t hold people to the fire with recipes," he says. "I like to give ideas.”
On killerchefs.com, Morris shows you how to make duck sushi. But don’t be mistaken. Just because Morris hunts wild duck and eats duck sushi doesn’t mean he won’t stop traffic on Coit Road and use his cap to scoot a family of ducklings across the street to safety! Yes, this really happened. •
For more of Morris’ wild game recipes, visit killerchefs.com.
"Perfect and delicious…”
"A resounding success with my family!”
"Everyone wanted to know where we
GoodiesByJenn.com—that’s where! These are just a few reviews for Jennifer Browning’s celebration cakes, pies, decorated cookies and cupcakes. What began as a hobby two years ago is now a booming home business where she sells “goodies baked with a pinch of love.”
You may have already tasted Browning’s cake—the heavenly chunks of deliciousness in Sweet Firefly’s birthday cake ice cream. Sweet Firefly was Browning’s first client and ever since, she’s been baking up a (sweet) storm. “All of my business has come through word of mouth and social media, and I am almost completely booked every weekend,” says Browning. “In the last year-and-a-half, it’s grown exponentially.”
Last November, Browning stopped working full time to be a part-time stay-at-home mom, part-time pastry chef. “I worked in the music and education industry for awhile and I still sing, but now that I have a family and kids, I really see this as my career.” She adds, “At one point, I’d like to do some culinary training.”
Her confection confession: “I took a class at Cake Carousel and I was awful at it. I can’t believe I make money doing it, now!” she laughs. “But it’s always a learning process. That’s what I love about it. I watch You Tube videos and there are a lot of cake groups on Facebook and we help each other out … that’s another way social media has been helpful.”
Browning uses some of her grandmother’s recipes, too. She recalls fond memories baking in the kitchen with her. "I was always in the kitchen with her, especially in my teen years … but I had to really pay attention as she got older ’cause she didn’t write things down!"
What are some goodies by grandma that Browning loved? "Her banana pudding and lemon meringue pie. I follow them to a T when I make them … but I’m sorry, I can’t give away those recipes!"
Browning did however indulge us with her no-bake Peanut Butter Bars, one in which she recently made for a 200-person catered event. •
Enjoy and find more delectable treats at GoodiesbyJenn.com.