Dinner with Baby D

Recently, I visited my friends Dillon and Ashley Hargrave at their home in Tulsa, to experiment with some recipes using their line of locally-made  hot sauces called Baby D's Bee Sting, which I've written about before

I wanted each course of our meal to feature a different sauce. Here are some pics, and a couple of recipes using Sweet Stang, Yellow Jacket, Jallahellño, Original, and Okie Sunset. 


Baby D's Sweet Stang - l'Arpege Egg (Hot and Cold Soft-boiled Egg)

Sweet Stang Egg

This little gem from l'Arpege in Paris, has been a favorite appetizer of mine since I saw Alain Passard make it on Great Chefs of the World (recipe in external link) back when I was in college. In this version, I swapped out the maple syrup for Baby D's Sweet Stang. It gave it just a little kick, and may be my new go-to version. 

There are many styles of     egg-toppers. I don't personally care for the "scissor" variety, because they tend to leave a rough mess on the edges. I like this version from Rösle ($20).

Egg Topper.jpg


Baby D's Yellow Jacket - Salad with pistachio and goat's milk cheese


Though I love the entire Baby D's lineup, Yellow Jacket takes the top spot for me. This salad combines the flavorful kick from the habanero, with tangy goat's cheese, pistachios, preserved lemon, and fresh greens. In my original version, I used a fresh chèvre. When I used this recipe for a chef event in Stillwater, I opted for a beautiful slice of Bermuda Triangle from Cypress Grove Chèvre in Arcata, CA.




4 Cups Mixed Greens

1/2 Cup Shelled Pistachios

1/4 cup Preserved Lemon, diced

4 slices Bermuda Triangle, or 4oz crumbled fresh goat's milk cheese


4oz Olive Oil

1/4 Cup White Balsamic Vinegar

1.5 teaspoon Baby D's Yellow Jacket

Salt and freshly cracked Pepper, to taste



Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients, an adjust seasoning according to taste.

To assemble the salads, divide greens onto 4 plates. Garnish with pistachios and preserved lemon. Drizzle with vinaigrette, and top each with a slice of Bermuda Triangle, or crumbled goat's cheese.




Baby D's Jallahellño - Braised Short Rib Tacos

Short Rib Tacos

I love braised meat, and I love tacos. The combo seemed perfect for the clean and mild flavor of Baby D's Jallahellño.

Since I was running a bit short on time before it was time to head to Tulsa, I decided to cook the meat in my Instant Pot pressure cooker, rather than a traditional slow-braise on the stovetop or in the oven. In order to let the sauce stand out, I kept the seasoning on the meat simple. 




3.5# Beef Short Ribs

2 Tablespoons oil

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 carrot, sliced

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 Bay Leaf

1 teaspoon mixed Peppercorns

1/2 tomato, skin, seeds, and all

Beef stock (or water) to cover

Sea Salt  



Baby D's Jallahellño

Corn Tortillas (warmed)

Cheese of your choice, suck as Queso Fresco, Cotija, or a basic Farmer's Cheese*


Lime wedges

Shaved Carrots

Quick-pickled Red Onion (RECIPE BELOW)

Pepitas, lightly toasted



Season the meat with sea salt.

Use the sauté setting on the Instant Pot to soften the onion, carrot, and garlic in the oil before adding in the meat to brown. When you've got some nice color, add the bay leaf, peppercorns, and tomato. I covered the meat about half way with some beef stock I'd made a couple of days before. 

Set the pressure to high, for 30 minutes.

While the meat is cooking, prepare these quick pickled red onions.

You'll need:

1 red onion, thinly sliced, in a glass jar

1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

2 Teaspoon Allspice Berries

1 teaspoon Black Peppercorns

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

Gently heat the vinegar with the salt, sugar, peppercorns, and allspice. Whisk to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from heat, and pour over the onions. Allow to sit at least one hour. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks. 

When the meat has cooked, gently release the pressure. Remove the meat to a cutting board, and shred. 

Build your tacos on warmed corn, with the shredded meat, cheese, shaved carrot, pickled red onion, pepitas, cilantro, and a couple of droppers of Jallahellño. Serve with lime wedges.

*Farmer's Cheese is a soft, fresh cheese made by coagulating fresh milk. I happened to have some Lomah milk in the fridge, so I made my own. All it takes is milk (not Ultra-Pasteurized), lemon juice or vinegar, salt, and cheesecloth.




If you strain the cooking liquid and remove the excess fat, leftover taco ingredients make a great soup amuse.



Baby D's Original - Roasted Chicken Thighs

Baby D's Original Chicken Thighs

One of my favorite quick and easy weeknight meals is a roasted chicken thigh (or 3). Of course, I am talking about the bone-in and skin-on variety. They cook up relatively quickly, can be seasoned so many ways, and oh that crispy skin! 


6 Bone-in Chicken Thighs (with the skin on)

2 Tbsp. Olive or Grapeseed Oil

Sea Salt

1/2 stick butter, softened

1 Tbsp. Baby D's Original




For this dish, I actually prefer not to marinate the meat before roasting. There will be plenty of heat at the end. Just a bit of oil and some salt is all the thighs need before going into a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the thighs.

While the thighs are in the oven, stir the Baby D's Original into the softened butter (adjust the amount of sauce according to taste). 

Remove from oven, and baste with the Baby D's Original Butter. Roast an additional 10 minutes, or until skin is crispy.


Baby D's Okie Sunset - Balsamic Strawberries

BeeSting DESSERT.jpg

Speaking of quick and easy, balsamic macerated strawberries are one of the simplest desserts to throw together in a hurry. The sweetness from the strawberries and balsamic (especially if you use a good one) is perfect with the medium-hot kick from the Okie Sunset, which is a cross between the Yellow Jacket and Original. Served on top of some vanilla gelato, I could eat this for breakfast. 


1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and either halved, quartered, or sliced. Keep in mind that the smaller the cut, the quicker the berries will become soft in the vinegar.

3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

1 teaspoon Baby D's Okie Sunset

2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar

fleur de sel, for garnish

Vanilla Gelato for serving*

*(If you are in Tulsa, check out one of the Andolini's/Gelateria STG locations for a delicious pint to go).



Place the vinegar and Okie Sunset in a medium sized non-reactive bowl, and whisk to combine.  Add the berries and sprinkle with the sugar. Toss to coat. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes, more for larger cut berries. 

Serve over gelato, and drizzle a bit of the balsamic mixture over the top. Finish with a pinch of fleur de sel.


What's with the weird one-eyed strawberry looking at my dessert? It is Jester King Brewey's Omniscience & Proselytism and it was a great pairing. Cheers!

Okie Sunset.png

A Sweet Sign of Summer

Celebrating the arrival of Porter peaches each year is an Oklahoma summertime tradition.


Located about 40 miles Southeast of Tulsa in Wagoner County, Porter Oklahoma has been dubbed "The Peach Capital of the World." Though the town is small, with fewer than 600 residents as of 2015, their reputation for growing summer's favorite fruit is known statewide. The annual Porter Peach Festival, now in its 51st year, is a 3-day celebration of all things peachy. Arts & crafts, music, a parade, car show, 5k run, and peaches and ice cream attract peach lovers from all over the state. This year's festival will be held July 13th-15th.

Since I was a kid, trips to Porter to pick apples and peaches straight from the tree at Livesay Orchards were highlights of the summer and fall. I still enjoy trips out to pick my own fruit, almost as much as I love creating delicious dishes, both sweet and savory when I get home.

Here are some simple favorites.

Peach & Ricotta Salad

When July arrives, I will be using vine-ripened local tomatoes to make all of the Caprese salad I can eat. Until then, my easy go-to early summer salad uses fresh peaches, ricotta cheese, and basil.

This one is so simple, it doesn't even need a "recipe". A high quality olive oil (fruity over spicy - try an Arbequena from Spain) and a good aged balsamic make a lovely vinaigrette to drizzle over the sliced peaches and spoonfuls of rich whole-milk ricotta. We even have a couple of local cheesemakers who sell their ricotta at area Farmer's Market, or you can easily make it at home using local milk from Lomah Dairy or Swan Bros Dairy. Finish the dish with coarse salt, cracked pepper, and a chiffonade of fresh basil.


You can use yellow or white peaches to make this simple summer salad

You can use yellow or white peaches to make this simple summer salad

Roasted Tomato and Peach Salsa

  • 1# mixed cherry tomatoes
  • 6 ripe, but slightly firm peaches, peeled & sliced
  • 2 tsp minced shallot
  • 1/4 C Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Champagne Vinegar
  • Sea Salt & cracked Pepper
  • Oil for roasting
  • Fresh herbs, such as basil, cilantro, or thyme (optional)


Roasted cherry tomatoes add a savory note to fresh summer peaches

For a simple, versatile topping for meats and fish, this oven-roasted "salsa" can be put together in just a few simple steps. When oven-roasting tomatoes to toss on salad greens, or adding to a pasta dish, I cut them in half and roast them until they begin to caramelize and lost most of their moisture. For this dish, I leave them whole, and remove them from the oven while still plump and juicy.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees, and line a sheet pan with foil. Toss the tomatoes and peaches in a little oil, just to coat. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until tomatoes swell and begin to color and peaches are soft.

Transfer the tomatoes and peaches to one bowl, and the juices to another. Whisk olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, shallot, and herbs (if desired) into the juices, and then toss with the tomatoes & peaches.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Try the salsa on Pork, Chicken, or even Halibut. Here I've added some fried sage leaves for a delicious, crispy garnish.

Try the salsa on Pork, Chicken, or even Halibut. Here I've added some fried sage leaves for a delicious, crispy garnish.

Maple Bourbon Peach Crumble (with candied bacon...of course)

Sweet & Savory is one those combos that divides palates. Some love it, some don't. I'm definitely in the "pro" camp. This easy-to-make dessert mixes ripe peaches, with the warmth and richness of bourbon and maple syrup. Candied bacon adds a sweet & savory crunch.

For the Filling:

  • 2 pounds fresh Porter peaches, cut into thick slices
  • 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp Bourbon
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp sea salt

To prepare filling:

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl, and allow to macerate while you prepare the topping.

For the Topping:

  • 6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pea-sized bits
  • 1/4 C light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour  
  • ¼  C sliced almonds
  • ¼  C rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp softened butter, for greasing baking dish
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving
  • Candied bacon (recipe below), crumbled, for garnish
Candied Bacon
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • 1/3 C light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
To Prepare:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon. Dredge each bacon slice on both sides through the sugar mixture.
Place the bacon on a foil-lined sheet pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, (cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the bacon). Once crisp, place on a paper towel to drain. Once cooled, chop or hand crumble and set aside.
Combine the cold butter, brown sugar, flour, almonds, and oats in a bowl. Work quickly to blend together, rubbing the butter & dry ingredients between your fingertips until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

To assemble the crumble, use the softened butter to grease an 8x8 baking dish. Pour in the filling, and top with the crumble mixture. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes, until filling is bubbling and crust is golden. If needed, tent loosely with foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent over-browning of the crust.

Serve topped with vanilla ice cream and candied bacon crumbles.



Maple Bacon Peach Crumble Single.jpg