Green Country Grown-Ups: Judy Allen
Sharing her love of food & family.
Although many of you might be familiar with her numerous Restaurant and Retail Reviews in TulsaPeople Magazine, Judy Allen’s latest adventure is serving as the Creative Director for Green Country’s newest bi-monthly Food Magazine, Edible Tulsa. Visiting with Judy over coffee was like visiting with a friend. She was easy to talk with, and her passion for family and food was evident. As a mom, she knows how difficult it can be to get dinner on the table on busy nights. I asked Judy to share a tip to help ease stress of nightly dinner preparation, how she includes her son in the kitchen and about Edible Tulsa.
TK: Regarding your career, you are very accomplished, from graduating in Design at OSU, to attending culinary school in New York City followed by working for Martha Stewart. Now you’re back in your home state, writing for national magazines, blogging, and are currently Creative Director for a new magazine. What other goals are you looking toward?
Judy: I would like to post to my blog on a more regular basis (TenThousandSnacks.com). My goal is to include shorter recipes that don’t take a lot of time. I just want to get people in the kitchen with whatever time they have.
TK: Do you subscribe to Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine?
Judy: Yes, I subscribe. I like it as a whole; it’s inspiring. I enjoy looking at the crafts, décor and photography in the magazine.
TK: What are a couple of things you learned from working for Martha Stewart Omnimedia?
Judy: I enjoyed working for her (upon graduating from culinary school in New York) and learned a lot during my six years there, from styling a table to collecting dishes and props to display food in for photographs. A perk of working for Martha was getting to work in a beautiful kitchen that included the best appliances. While working there, I traveled a lot and really enjoyed meeting the people that she featured in the magazine.
TK: What is your favorite recipe to make?
Judy: I don’t really have a favorite. I enjoy trying new recipes. I also subscribe to numerous magazines where I am constantly finding new recipes that I clip out and save.
TK: When cooking, do you like to use any kitchen gadgets?
Judy: I have very few gadgets. I rely on my knives the most. Just about anything I need to do, I can use a knife. I do have a large collection of them.
TK: What are some of your favorite local restaurants? Places to grocery shop?
Judy: As a family, we enjoy Hideaway Pizza, Fat Guys Burgers and various Tex-Mex places. If it’s just my husband and I, we like Juniper, Tallgrass, and sushi. The grocery store I visit the most is Whole Foods South, but also go other places.
TK: Do you have a favorite quote? If so, what is it?
Judy: Yes, “Life itself is the proper binge.” – Julia Child
TK: What’s your guilty food pleasure?
Judy: I have more of a salty than sweet tooth. Corn dogs, which I usually have once a year at the fair, and cheeseburgers are among my favorites.
TK: Your enthusiasm for cooking comes through in your blog. What else are you passionate about?
Judy: Preparing and eating foods that are seasonal. Also, knowing where my food comes from. I am on the board for the Tulsa Farmer’s Market, and I think it’s important to support our local farmers who respect the environment where they raise their food and those farmers who are humanely raising their animals.
TK: How does your son like to help you in the kitchen?
Judy: My son, Liam, is 5 years old. At this point, he likes to help me measure. He also helps me make homemade pizza; he enjoys playing with the dough and spreading toppings.
TK: What will you make for dinner on Valentine’s Day?
Judy: I will be making broiled salmon with pepper (my son’s favorite dinner) for my family. My son likes going with me to the grocery store to help me pick out the fish. He now understands that what we buy is what we will be eating.
TK: Do you have a “go-to” family dinner recipe during a typical week?
Judy: Tacos, specifically steak soft tacos. It’s an easy and quick meal. When I do have more time to cook, I tend to make extra and freeze it so I have another meal that I can pull out on a busy night. Some other easy meals that I make and freeze extra include pasta sauce, chili and lasagna.
TK: Being a busy mom, how do you determine what you make for dinner every night?
Judy: Both of my parents were good at improvising in the kitchen. I tend to keep a stocked pantry, which helps when thinking about putting a dinner together. I typically always have basics on hand like rice, pasta, tortillas and cheese. By adding a few fresh ingredients, along with something I pull out of the freezer, my meal can be ready in minutes.
TK: What do you think about when you are planning a personal dinner party in your home?
Judy: Incorporating seasonal ingredients into what I am making. My last party was an impromptu gathering that was a result of a photo shoot where I created and photographed several dishes. Once I was done, I called some girlfriends over and we all ate together.
TK: When you’re not working, what does your family like to do together around Tulsa?
Judy: We like to eat out, trying different places around Tulsa. Also, my son loves to go to the park and play. We like to visit the Aquarium in Jenks and the Tulsa Zoo. (The morning I met with Judy for this interview, she was planning on visiting the Tulsa Children’s Museum later that day with her son, sister and niece).
TK: As Creative Director of Edible Tulsa, what does your job entail?
Judy: We are interested in discovering people who are doing things locally and are passionate about what they do. We will also include those who have something to teach and our readers can learn from. For example, one story might be about how to get your garden ready for spring planting.
TK: What projects are on the horizon for Edible Tulsa?
Judy: We are looking to expand our reach to all of Green Country, will be offering contests on Social Media, and featuring tons of great people.
In addition to being the Creative Director for Edible Tulsa (www.edibletulsa.com), Judy continues to serve as a Contributing Food Editor for TulsaPeople Magazine where she writes restaurant and retail reviews three times a year.