A Happy Valentine’s Day Present

Yes, I made dip for The Hubs for Valentine’s Day.   And, yes although I hate to admit it, we had ruffled potato chips and dip for dinner on Valentine’s night.   Yep, I pretty much suck as a food blogger and wife.

Especially if you consider what he gave me for an early V-Day present.


He took me to a live taping of OK Foodie.   We have long been listeners of this radio event and big fans of Michael Fusco (loved his Flavor and Riverside Grill restaurants—long ago closed), so he was quick to get tickets to this Valentine’s Day dinner.

It was a total surprise. All he told me was to keep February 11 clear on the calendar. Luckily there were no ballgames or other school events that needed my attention. He is such a trickster that he first had me convinced he was trying to score VIP tickets for a dress rehearsal for Cinderella that Tulsa Ballet was doing for V-Day. Then, when he realized that I already had tickets to attend that weekend with The BFF and Goddaughter, he acted crushed. As the event venue was near a local comedy club, he let me believe that was where we were going. It wasn’t until we were actually walking into Kitchen Concepts that I realized what he had up his sleeve. He is great!

I was so shocked and awed that I didn’t even take any pictures and few notes, but luckily the entire event was posted on line.

Here was the menu:

  • Oyster Stew (We are not big seafood fans, but this was outrageously delicious.)
  • Saffron Chicken (I loved how this chicken came out—crispy goodness.)
  • Chocolate Dipped Strawberries (Nothing needs to be said about these—perfect Valentine’s Day dessert.)

Can you pick up on the aphrodisiacal theme?

First Course:   Oyster Stew (based on Chef Fusco’s mother’s recipe)  served with a Reisling

Michael Fusco’s Oyster Stew (as best I can remember)
Yields:  30 servings

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 stalk celery, finely diced (Do not use the leaves.)
1 onion, finely diced (brunoise or tiny cubes)
2 qts. fresh oysters with liqueur (Chef used Gulf Oysters.)
4 qts. half & half
2 dashes of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
dash of celery salt

In a large pot, melt butter.   Add celery and onion and slowly saute until vegetables are soft.

With a slotted spoon, drain oysters reserving liqueur for later.   Poach oysters slowly in melted butter and veggie mixture.    (Be careful not to add too much of the liqueur at this stage.  Chef stated that there is enough protein in the liqueur that it will denature and be sort of like scrambled eggs.)  Poach “with patience” about 15-20 minutes.

While oysters are poaching, slowly heat half & half in another pot to bring it up to temperature (to about 165 degrees F).   Never boil any part of this stew.   The oysters will get rubbery and the half & half will separate.

Before serving, add liqueur.  Then slowly ladle in the warmed half & half to the oyster stew to temper it. Slowly stir to incorporate.  After stew is tempered, you may pour in the rest of the warmed half & half.

If Chef had found O.T.C. Crackers, he would have served them up but they were not to be had in Oklahoma.  We ate this with a few saltines.

Second Course: Saffron Chicken with an un-oaked Chardonnay

Third Course: Chocolate Dipped Strawberries with a Gruet sparkling wine

There may have been a bit of a learning curve for the OK Foodie staff as this was the first class at a new venue and to be streamed live.   All in all, it was a great experience and event.

Chef Fusco is currently the “District Chef” for Union Public Schools in Tulsa.   How cool is that?   I am envious and jealous and could get on a huge soap box concerning child nutrition programs and typical school cafeteria food.   But, I will leave well enough alone and will refrain. I hope those Union students know how lucky they are!


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