By: Shannon Smith | Category: Restaurants | Issue: July 2020
I can’t believe we’ve already made it through half of 2020! Summer made its debut quickly, after one of the most beautiful spring seasons we’ve ever seen. Realistically, I probably just noticed it more this year because I’ve been home instead of traveling. Nevertheless, I did my spring cleaning, wrote an e-book cookbook, and created a podcast where I chat about my travels and love for food.
My best friend, Andrea, is my frequent co-host on the podcast. We met 18 years ago at a tennis drill when she walked on the court wearing her walkman headphones and Ray-ban sunglasses. She had long legs and a great backhand. I thought she was the coolest person I’d ever seen. A few months later, our team went to “tennis camp” in south Texas, and Andrea was assigned as my roommate. She brought a six-pack of beer and a German travel guide. She was planning a trip with her mother to Germany that summer, which gave us something to talk about. I had been to Germany a couple of times, and when I started making suggestions for her trip, I slowly gained some credibility. I recall very little about the tennis training we did at camp, but our evenings were the most memorable. Our tennis coaches served us dinner and cranked up the music with karaoke microphones. Once again, Andrea was the star. She knew the words to every 70s and 80s song on the playlist, and she had the moves to go with them. Since we were roommates, she was kind enough to share the spotlight by letting me sing with her. It was the beginning of our friendship.
Since that first trip, we have traveled together at least once a year, usually with our friend, Kim. We plan every meal as if it’s our last, and we never miss an opportunity to put a few dollars in the slot machine, promising to share the winnings, which rarely happens. As we’ve gotten older, we go to bed earlier despite our intentions to stay out late. We spend at least an hour deciding on a movie to rent in our hotel room, and inevitably, Andrea and I are asleep 30 minutes into it, while Kim watches until the end.
On my podcast, Dish It Out With Shannon Smith, Andrea and I talk about our friendship, family vacations and adventures around the world. I describe the food I’ve learned in my travels, and sometimes I cook special dishes for Andrea to try before we start recording. Find my podcast on Spotify, Google Play and Apple Podcast. And to make it more enjoyable, make my tarragon lemonade while you’re listening. Andrea and I think it makes everything more enjoyable!
Sparkling Lemonade with Gin and Tarragon - Makes 4-6 Servings
This is one of the most refreshing drinks for the summer! Lemons and tarragon are a great combination, and they pair beautifully with the gin and elderflower liqueur. I’ve made this cocktail in batches to serve at brunch and pool parties. If you want to keep it in the fridge, leave out the club soda until you’re ready to serve.
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a low simmer and stir until sugar is melted. Let cool. Meanwhile, put the tarragon, lemons slices, gin, St. Germain, and lemon juice into a pitcher. Stir in the sugar syrup and club soda. Serve with a lemon slice.
I’m Chef Shannon Smith, creator of chefshannon.com, a website where I share my travel adventures, cooking experiences, jewelry creations, life stories, world travels, recipes, cooking classes, and jewelry art. In the past ten years, I’ve traveled to 52 countries, and I hope to add at least that many more over the next ten years. In every country, I am blessed to meet interesting people, learn new cultures, and try all kinds of delicious food. I take cooking classes, join food tours, meet with chefs, and often dine with people in their homes or restaurant kitchens. I’ve lived in Tulsa for over 30 years, and I love teaching people how to cook, especially dishes learned while traveling around the world. Some of my favorite cuisines are Indian, Moroccan, Turkish, Israeli, and Italian, although Indian is the cuisine that makes me the happiest. I’ve collected numerous recipes and methods for making delicious food, and I share those recipes on beadsandbasil.com. I teach classes several times a month when my travels allow. Those classes are advertised on the website but are almost always filled within hours after posting, so I also occasionally teach cooking classes to private groups. My readers and viewers get to learn about my cooking adventures, utensils and appliances. At last count, I have eight grills, two tagines, 22 knives, and ninety-four thousand serving dishes - at least according to my husband. My refrigerators are filled with nuts, cheese, and dried fruits I’ve brought from other countries. And my spice cabinets contain a menagerie of exotic and odiferous seeds, pods, and dried herbs that I use so many ways. Jewelry art is my other favorite activity. I create jewelry from beads and trinkets collected on my travels, including amber from Russia and Estonia, glass from Murano, Italy, paper beads from Rwanda, and old Yemen prayer capsules from Israel. I have an Indian friend who has some of the most beautiful semi-precious stones that he cuts into beautiful shapes. Several times a year, I attend national bead and jewelry shows where I search for unusual items to complete my creations. Many more adventures are planned for the future, and I’m excited to share them with you in my monthly column in Values Magazine, including recipes, cooking tips, interviews with my favorite Tulsa area chefs, cookbook recommendations, travel stories, my favorite local food trucks, and ways we can give our time and talents to our fantastic community of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Connect with me on Facebook and Instagram at Chef Shannon.
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