It’s been 10 years since Remmi Smith cooked her first meal — “Meatloaf,” she said, “but then, I was 8 at the time” — and ever since, she has worked to get people her age into the kitchen.
That is the focus of her most recent projects — her second cookbook, “The Healthy Teen Cookbook: Around the World in 80 Fantastic Recipes,” and a meal-delivery service called Chef Club Box.
“I’m just wanting kids to get out of their comfort zones a little bit,” Smith said. “I want them to see that it’s fun to try out new things.”
Smith started hosting an online cooking show that has grown into a miniature food empire, complete with a popular website (cooktimewithremmi.com) that features instructional videos and recipes geared around her “C.H.E.F.” motto of “Cook Healthy, Exercise Frequently.”
She appears regularly doing cooking segments for local TV stations and appeared on the Food Network’s popular “Chopped” series.
It was her stint on “Chopped” that led to her new book.
“The publishing company (Mango Publishing) approached me after the show, saying they were really interested in helping me write another cookbook,” Smith said. “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity.”
Like her first book, “Global Cooking for Kids,” Smith’s new book features dishes from around the world.
“There are 80 recipes representing 50 different countries,” Smith said. “It’s sort of like going on a world tour because we include a lot of facts about each of the countries represented.”
Smith worked with a nutritionist to adapt the recipes, so that they use ingredients that are readily available and fit in with her healthy eating philosophy.
“Some of the recipes are complex, while others aren’t so difficult,” she said. “I wanted there to be things that all kids could do, regardless of their cooking skill level.”
Smith’s Chef Club Box idea began as a way of delivering healthy snacks to local families and earned Smith a $10,000 prize through the “Get Started Tulsa” initiative.
“I wanted to get more proactive about getting kids into the kitchen, so we expanded into a complete meal service,” she said. “People who subscribe will receive a box each week that contains everything you need to cook two meals for a family of four. You get the entree, side dishes, seasonings, the works.
“We also work with local farms and suppliers so that things like the produce is locally sourced. People will know where these ingredients come from.”
Smith will also post videos of her cooking some of the meals included in the Chef Club Box.
“The videos are a very important element for me,” she said. “I want to help foster a community of young cooks, and these videos are a way to make those connections.”
A week’s subscription to Chef Club Box is $70 if one picks up the meals at Kitchen 66, 907 S. Detroit Ave. Home delivery adds an additional $5 to the price.
One of the current dishes included in the Chef Club Box is this version of a South American favorite
Peruvian Beef and Rice Timbale
2 cups uncooked jasmine or basmati rice
4 cups water
1 cup frozen peas
2 Tablespoon olive oil (divided)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into medium dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup diced onion
1 pound ground beef
1 4-oz can Hatch chiles
1 4-oz can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ cup parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Prepare rice according to package instructions. Add frozen peas to the rice 5 minutes before the rice is finished cooking.
3. Spread diced sweet potato onto a baking sheet and drizzle with1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until tender.
4. In medium pan, sauté the onion and garlic in the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the ground beef and sauté until no longer pink. Drain any grease from the beef. Add chiles, tomatoes, paprika, cumin, 2 tablespoons of parsley and roasted sweet potato. Simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Spray a 6- to 8-ounce bowl with cooking spray. Fill 1/3 of the bowl with rice followed by a layer of eggs, meat and then another layer of rice. Press the mixture firmly in the mold. Turn bowl upside down on serving plate. Prepare additional servings on separate plates. Garnish with the remaining parsley.
One of Chef Remmi Smith’s favorite recipes in her new book, “The Healthy Teen Cookbook: Around the World In 80 Fantastic Recipes,” is this Nigerian-inspired dish.
Jollof Rice with Chicken
1 ½ pounds chicken legs (can substitute with chicken thighs)
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon onion powder
1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
For the rice:
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups long grain rice
1 cup tomato sauce puree
3 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 cup vegetables, such as carrots and cauliflower, sliced in bite-size pieces
1. Wash chicken legs thoroughly, and pat dry with paper towel. In a small bowl mix spices together and dust each chicken piece with the spice.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet. Brown chicken over medium-high heat, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Once chicken is golden, remove from the pan and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cover rice with cold water and stir to wash. Pour out water and repeat until the water becomes clear.
4. Remove excess fat from skillet and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Over medium-high heat, sauté onion and garlic until soft, about 2 minutes.
5. Stir in rice and sauté for an additional minute. Add tomato sauce, chicken stock, and remaining spices. Gently stir to combine. Add chicken and bring to a boil.
6. Place a lid on the pan and place in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Add the vegetables on top of chicken and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until rice is fully cooked. (Note: If rice gets too dry, add a little chicken stock.)
— Recipes courtesy Chef Remmi Smith. Adapted from “The Healthy Teen Cookbook: Around the World in 80 Fantastic Recipes,” published by Mango Publishing Group.