Saturdays at 5 p.m., Repeats Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
"Cook With Brooks" is a weekly series dedicated to telling the whole story of food in Arkansas -- where it's from, how to make it and who shares it. The program airs each Saturday at 5 p.m. and repeats Sundays at 10:30 a.m..
Chef Steven Brooks is the host of "Cook With Brooks," and he knows food! With more than 10 years of experience as an executive chef for various Arkansas restaurants and country clubs, he has mastered the art of cooking. In his current executive chef position, he works on a daily basis with farms across Arkansas and connects them with the restaurants that want local, sustainable food. He is passionate about representing farmers, chefs and restaurants - and giving their stories a voice.
For the Love of Farming The final episode of season 1 takes viewers on a journey to the Arnold Family Farm in Alma, Arkansas. Randy Arnold shows all the reasons he loves farming. He started with chickens, then decided to get into the niche of growing strawberries. Plus, he raises cattle to help fill the shelves at his general store on old Highway 71. Brooks helps pick strawberries for his pie while learning all this farm is doing for the community around it.
Hub of Food This episode features a visit to the new Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food in Bentonville, Arkansas. Glenn Mack explains how this school breaks the mold by focusing on the larger food system, culinary skills, wellness and strengthening local food networks to change the paradigm of culinary education. Chef Brooks takes viewers into his classroom, where he teaches part-time. Featured in the kitchen is Dream Kasestatad of Pranom Pop Up, in town for the Bentonville Film Festival.
Edible and Incredible For over 20 years, Jay Fulbright of Arkansas Natural Produce has been producing high quality, fresh produce in Hot Spring County, Arkansas. All the crops– gourmet spring mix, microgreens, edible flowers, fresh herbs and peppers – are grown using organic practices. Brooks returns to the kitchen with ingredients for chicken salad with fennel.
Feeding the Soul This episode features the Fayetteville Roots Festival, which showcases what makes this region of the Ozarks unique. In addition to the festivities, it also supports locally sourced food and restaurants. Brooks enjoys the VIP kick-off party, helps judge in the great Chef Cook-off and does a cooking demo with fresh baby eggplants, squash, herbs and pears from the farmers market.
Pigs Are Big Pork is indisputably big in Southern cuisine, and Arkansas boasts some excellent pigs that make you realize why!
Hail to Kale This episode visits Ozark Alternatives Farm in Lowell, Arkansas. Owner Paul Chapracki shares how he and his family have been growing food for over eight years. Chapracki has found a niche working directly with restaurants and businesses to make local food available. Local business Native Nectar does something a little different with the farm's fresh greens - juicing. In the kitchen, Brooks creates a Kale and Bacon Frittata.
Going A Different Whey Take a trip to the farm to learn about White River Creamery in Elkins, Arkansas. This family worked together after moving from the Los Angeles area to start a dairy farm and a new way of life. Together, they are now making some of the best cheese in Northwest Arkansas. Brooks goes back to the kitchen to create a chicken slider recipe using their Triple Pepper Halloumi Cheese and other local ingredients.
Art and Soul (Food) Tour Crystal Bridge's Eleven restaurant in Bentonville, Arkansas. In the kitchen, Chef William Lyle creates a quick Coq au Vin while explaining where the food comes from and how he is inspired by the art around him. Brooks shares the meal with food and beverage director Case Dighero, who elaborates on the term "High South Cuisine."
Country Pumpkins "Country Pumpkins," makes a visit to McGarrah Farms in Pea Ridge, Arkansas, to learn how pumpkins can bring a lot of kids to the country. Brooks joins Dennis "Farmer" McGarrah for a hayride and trip to the pumpkin patch. The pumpkin pie pumpkins lead Brooks to the kitchen to make a dessert the whole family will enjoy.
From Farm to Oven "From Farm to Oven," starts with a visit to Wood Stone Craft Pizza in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to talk with owner and chef Jerrmy Gawthrop. He cooks up a pork chop and belly with braised kale and butternut squash puree with goat cheese that highlights seven different local ingredients. Brooks sits down with Clayton Suttle, Wood Stone Craft Pizza co-owner, to learn more about the business and the farm-to-table movement in Northwest Arkansas.
Roots Run Deep Take a trip to the Vanzant Fruit Farms in Lowell, Arkansas. Steve Vanzant shares the history of this family fruit farm that has been in operation since 1949. He explains how the farm keeps a constant supply of fruit by growing several varieties of apples, peaches and grapes. Then, he takes Brooks to their market on Highway 264 to get ingredients for a honey mustard chicken and apple dish.
Brewing Change A look at the first and only cider brewer in Arkansas, Black Apple Crossing, in downtown Springdale. Brooks discusses the important role the brewery is playing in the revitalization of downtown Springdale, as well as the history of apples and chickens in the area. In the kitchen, Brooks makes Cider Pork Tacos inspired by the Princess Peach cider and the Taqueria across the street.
Growing Community Through Soil A visit to Tri Cycle Farms, a community garden on two acres of land in the heart of Fayetteville. Founder Don Bennett discusses his passion for growing community through soil, creating food awareness, combating community hunger, educating the community and empowering those around him to make a difference. The episode also concludes at Greenhouse Grille in Fayetteville to see how local chefs came together to help raise money for Tri Cycle Farms at the Ozark Beer Dinner.
Some Sample Recipes
Sweet Tater Pie
2 lbs Sweet Potatoes
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 cups Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
½ lb Butter, softened
1 tsp Nutmeg
2 Pie shells
Cook potatoes in oven until soft
Peel them quickly and drain them of all water
Place in stand mixer and beat with paddle attachment
Add sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, butter and eggs
Mix until smooth, and pour into pie shells
Bake for about 45 min in 325° convection oven or until skewer inserted comes out clean
Chocolate Pecan Pie
4 c Pecan halves
4 c Chocolate chips
12 Eggs, beaten
¼ lb Butter, melted
5 c Maple syrup
2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 c Super-fine sugar
4 tbsp AP flour
4 pie shells
Share chocolate and pecans equally among the pie shells
Combine eggs and butter
Add syrup and vanilla
Sift the flour and sugar over mixture and combine well to remove lumps
Pour mixture over chocolate and pecans and let stand until pecans and chocolate start to float
Bake for 30 min at 350° or until the pies have no more movement when shaken