In The Kitchen With Shannon Smith From Beads & Basil/Along With Her Red And Green Shakshuka Recipes
I have been following the lovely Shannon from Beads & Basil for a few months and was so intrigued by her food, and travels so when she reached out inviting me to her kitchen to make one of my favorite dishes, well of course I said OUI! I was eager to get a closer look at her personal and professional life. A jewelry designer, a chef, a teacher, and a wife and mother on top of it all, Shannon does a little bit of everything. She has a meticulous yet laid back approach to life, which comes across in the work she creates and in the way she speaks about it all.
She is a wonderful human and such a fantastic chef to boot, (and here I though I was a decent cook) and her Shakshuka’s are out of this world delicious! I had no idea how simple it could be to create my own so I am so thankful to have learned with Shannon. I knew we were going to make a red Shakshuka but when I learned that we would make a red AND a green…well pitter patter went my heart! Two is always better than one, no?
I even learned how to chop an onion properly and I am not quite sure how I went so many years not knowing this. And she taught me how to make an omelette—because after so many failed attempts and mine turning into brekkie scrambles—-well, it’s just time to master this!
Enjoy getting to know this lovely new friend of mine in this Q & A. We have some great collabs planned with one another this year and we just know you will really enjoy them, especially if you live in Tulsa and have plans of traveling here.
And if you are here for the recipes scroll down to the very bottom of the post!
-Tell us about yourself. How did you get to where you are today? How did you become a chef?
I got a bachelors degree in Home Economics with the hopes of becoming a home economics teacher. My student teaching experience was so bad, I decided I couldn’t be a teacher so I started a career sewing. I made custom clothing, mostly prom and bridesmaid dresses for 8 years. Then I opened a drapery workroom and sewed for interior designers for 6 years. I got really burned out, so I got a job teaching cooking to underprivileged kids and unwed mothers in Tulsa. At the same time, I was taking professional chef courses at The Savory Chef. I took classes for three years, and eventually started teaching at the school at night. My husband and I traveled a lot, and I decided to start learning how to cook in the different countries we visited. I’ve been to 44 countries, and often travel alone or with friends who share my same passion for cooking and learning.
-Favorite ingredients to cook with?
Good olive oil, Kosher salt, lemons, and garlic
-Kitchen tool you can't live without?
Chefs knife and my Galley Sink
-Secret weapon spice/ingredient/technique?
I love all spices, but I use a lot of different chiles, especially Merken from Patagonia, Chile.
-Favorite dish to cook at home?
Garlic Curry Shrimp. It takes 15 minutes to make, and is packed with flavor.
-What’s the most unique local ingredient you’ve worked with?
I love to support local farmers, and they often bring me their newest products like homemade ricotta, specialty sausages, and micro greens. I’ve really gotten into using micro-greens!
Where is your favorite place to buy seasonal ingredients?
Tulsa Farmers Market!
-What summer ingredient do you most look forward to incorporating into your dishes?
Baby zucchini. There are so many things to do with them.
-Do you have any hobbies when you’re not cooking or teaching others how to cook?
I’ve been making jewelry for 20 years! It started when I was going through a divorce, and beading jewelry really helped me take my mind off negative things. I now collect beads all over the world and incorporate them into my jewelry.
-Where do you eat in Tulsa ?!
My favorites are Oren, Amelia’s, The Tropical, The Rub Food Truck, and China Garden
-Any tips for the beginning chef? What are some key tools to have always in the kitchen?
Don’t be afraid to screw up! Watch YouTube videos, come to my classes, and start with simple recipes. Learn basic knife skills and practice, practice, practice.
Tools to always have in kitchen: sharp knives, cutting board, food processor, a non-stick skillet, sauce pans, silicone spatulas
-How are you finding inspiration on your travels ?!
When I read cookbooks with food from other countries it makes me want to go there and learn hands-on. I also like to travel in the southern hemisphere during our winters.
-What are some of the most interesting and exciting flavor combinations you have experienced and how have your travels presented you with these new experiences?
Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines to cook, and I love using all the spices, which I toast and grind myself. I’ve been to India three times, and I’ve learned new spice combinations on every trip. I also love middle eastern cuisine, particularly the food scene in Tel Aviv, Israel. I went twice last year and worked with food guides and chefs learning about ingredients in the markets that are imported from all the surrounding countries. I bring a lot of them home to cook with.
-What were your fave experiences during your time in Israel?
I’ve been to Israel twice for the Christian pilgrimage tours, and they were great. But my last two trips were only to Tel Aviv where chefs are making some great dishes and becoming world-famous. I spent two days with a celebrity food guide, Gil Hovav who introduced me to some wonderful new friends who love food as much as I do. I’m actually going back to Tel Aviv in May to learn more.
-If you could prepare a meal for anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I would prepare a meal for my high school home economics teacher, Miss Craig. She taught me for four years, and I thought she was the best cook in the world. Maybe someday I’ll get that opportunity.
-Do you have a fast food guilty pleasure?
Fried chicken tenders. I love them all!
(OMFG-she is the very girl after my own heart)
-You are learning how to cook Chinese food next? What are you most excited to learn?
I’m going to NYC next week to learn Chinese cooking from Kian Lam Kho, author of Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees. He’s going to teach me 6 different cooing methods using Chinese ingredients that I can get in Tulsa and eventually teach. I told him I didn’t want to learn anything too strange that I couldn’t teach the “home cook”.
-Fave recipe books when not fixing your own original recipes? And why ?
Anything by YotamOttolenghi. He’s Israeli and has restaurants in London. His recipes are all incredibly fresh, using all the spices and ingredients I love to cook with.
The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is probably my favorite book for learning techniques and science behind cooking. Every cook should read his book.
I also love the Donna Hay magazine from Australia. It’s expensive to subscribe and get the issues in the U.S., and it’s worth it.
-Tell us about your special olive oil that you sell?
I was in Puglia, Italy three years ago and met a family who runs a very small olive oil farm. Only the wife spoke English and when I visited their farm I bought 60 pounds of olive oil to take home because they didn’t know how to ship it to the U.S. A year later they wrote me and told me they had found a company that could ship it called “Fed Ex”! I’ve ordered at least 80 bottles from them over the past two years and I sell out after every order. This family is so thankful for the opportunity to share their oil in the United States. I’m getting a new shipment in February.
-And because I love fashion?! And have seen your closet ..
Tell me about three fave pieces that you own!
I love my Murano glass jewelry from Murano, Italy. I also love this felted scarf made by my friend in Australia. She made it to represent my favorite beach in Australia, Noosa. I also love these hats from Stockholm, Cuba, and Outback, Australia. I adore these shoes from Italy and of course these handbags…the one on the left is a kangaroo bag from Australia. The center bag is a custom bag from Florence, Italy and the handbag on the left is a gorgeous piece from Chile.
-Beads and Basil ? What’s next ???!
I’m working on a cookbook that will have some of my travel stories and the recipes I learned to make around the world. It’s going to take a couple years to complete, and I have a few more countries in Asia I want to visit before I complete the book.
And now for the divine recipes!!!!
Green Shakshuka Recipe From Beads & Basil
Ingredients (serves 4):
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (packed)
1 cup fresh parsley leaves (packed)
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
juice of two limes, divided into 2 bowls
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 cup olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
2 bunches Swiss chard, washed and dried
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
Method: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, put the cilantro leaves, parsley leaves, mint leaves, garlic, juice of one lime, cumin, coriander, and 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt. Pulse a few times, and slowly add the 1/2 cup of olive oil. You may need to add more oil until mixture becomes a loose sauce (not too thick). It should be coarsely processed, not puréed. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.
Cut out the stems from the Swiss chard. Chop the stems and coarsely and tear the leaves. In a 10” heavy skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chard stems, celery, and onion, and cook until just soft. Add the jalapeño, chard leaves, reserved herb sauce, 1/2 cup water, and cook until leaves are just wilted. Using a spoon, make four “wells” in the sauce to hold the eggs. Break each egg and carefully place into the wells. Sprinkle a little salt onto each egg and do not stir. Let eggs cook for one minute over medium high heat, then put skillet into preheated oven to allow eggs to finish cooking, about 7 minutes. Make sure egg whites are cooked through, but yolks are still runny. Remove from oven and serve immediately with crusty bread.
And for her Red Shakshuka recipe, head to Beads & Basil to grab it here. Also look around at all of her delicious recipes and photography!!! You will be so inspired. And hungry.
If you are in Tulsa join us on Feb 12th! This evening promises to be a great way to celebrate delicious food from France during the loveliest week of the year! She has designed the menu from dishes she has cooked or eaten at vineyards, cafes, and bistros in Paris and the countryside. Dinner and cooking demonstration will be held in the Community Space upstairs at Lululemon. Each course will be carefully paired with French wine.
Date: Feb 12th 2019
Time: 6:00-6:30pm Lululemon VIP shop
6:30-8:30pm Demonstration Dinner
Location: Lululemon @ 3506 S Peoria Ave, Tulsa, OK 74105
Sun-dried Tomato and Herb Palmiers
Creamy Chicken Crepes
Endive With Fromage Blanc, Honey and Walnuts
Onion and Mushroom Tart
Pork Tenderloins with Apples and Calvados
Potatoes Gratin with Duck Fat
Bread From Saint Amon Baking Company
Chocolate Tarts with Chantilly Cream
And if you are local to Tulsa, head to my Instagram for a giveaway too!!!!!!