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Made In Oklahoma program to be celebrated throughout April

Sherrel Jones celebrates the start of Made in Oklahoma month.
BY SHERREL JONES Modified: April 2, 2013 at 3:50 pm •  Published: April 3, 2013

April is officially Made in Oklahoma month, and we will be celebrating the great foods that are grown and produced right here in our state. We have plenty to celebrate as restaurants and consumers are realizing the importance of buying local for quality and freshness but also to boost the economy of our state. We'll take you behind the scenes with producers and share recipes you will want to bring to your Oklahoma table.

We visited with Kerry Barrick, Made in Oklahoma Coalition coordinator, who shared some of the impressive statistics from the organization. An enthusiastic proponent of Oklahoma agriculture-based foods, Barrick is excited about the future of this growing organization of restaurants, producers and retailers who carry made in Oklahoma foods. By pooling their resources for advertising and promotions the sales of Oklahoma produced foods continue to grow.

It is easy to confuse the Made in Oklahoma Coalition focused on food with the Made in Oklahoma Program, which is designed to help Oklahoma businesses grow and develop.

If you have a product or an idea for a product, the MIO Program can help get it established in the market. The coalition and the program work together under the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

If you have a local agriculture-based food product that is already established, the Made in Oklahoma Coalition can help you grow and promote your product in and outside the state. If you want to be a farmers market vendor, check out the markets listed in the Made in Oklahoma program. Both the MIO Coalition and the MIO Program have websites worth checking out.

If you have a recipe you love made with an Oklahoma food, you'll be interested in this year's MIO Recipe Contest. There are $500 cash prizes in four categories and a $1,000 overall winner so that should inspire your creativity. The categories include: Blue Ribbon Dinners, Party Time Appetizers, Delectable Desserts and Small Bites (Kids' Cooking). Check out the MIO Coalition website for more details.

Keep in mind the recipes must be new, created by the contestant and use at least two MIO products. The recipes must be unpublished and cannot have previously won any award or prize. We have some creative Oklahoma cooks who will love getting paid for their creations so check out all those Oklahoma products and where to find them at miocoalition.com.

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Springtime Oklahoma Spoon Bread

I created this spring version of spoon bread to incorporate the first spring onions or chives from the garden. Their fresh aroma wafts up from this steamy soft-serve bread. It is the perfect accompaniment for roast chicken, pork, ham or lamb.

1 tablespoon softened butter for preparing baking dish

1 cup cornmeal, Stone Stack Mill or Shawnee's Best

½ teaspoon salt

3 to 4 green onions sliced including stalks

1 ½ cups boiling water

3 eggs separated, Twisted Feather Farms, Fletcher's

2 tablespoons melted butter, Braum's, Highland or Wagon Creek

1 cup buttermilk, Braum's or Hiland

½ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat baking dish with softened butter. Prepare, measure and assemble ingredients. Separate egg yolks. Melt remaining butter.

Mix cornmeal, salt and sliced onions. Bring water to boil and pour over mixture stirring well. Using a whisk, quickly blend in egg yolks, butter and buttermilk.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add soda to batter, then fold in beaten egg whites. Pour into a prepared deep 2 1/2 quart baking or souffle dish.

Bake in 325-degree oven and spoon it up right away while it is still soft and steamy.

Sherrel's cooking notes: Other additions such as a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh herbs or even up to 1/3 cup raisins or chopped prunes can be added in lieu of the onions, but we love the simplicity of including only one ingredient. Any leftover spoon bread can be sliced and sauteed in a little olive oil.

Field's German Chocolate Pie Brownies

Kerry Barrick and Caryn Ross came by to visit at the NewsOK studios to share MIO news and a sweet, easy way to turn a Field's pie into a brownie. Here's that recipe, which is a great way to have your pie, cake and brownies, too, if you're a German Chocolate Cake fan.

1 (2-pound) Field's German Chocolate Pie, thawed and cubed

½ cup butter, Highland or Braum's

1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature Braum's or Fletcher's

1 cup Braum's half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour from Shawnee Mills

1 teaspoon baking powder

Vegetable cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a metal 9 x 13 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Take the thawed pie and cut it into small squares and set aside.

Melt the butter and chocolate chunks in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir until fully melted.

In a large bowl beat the sugar and eggs with a whisk until creamy. Using an electric hand mixer, beat in the chocolate and butter mixture, half and half, and half of the pie pieces. Add vanilla and beat until everything is well blended.

Mix dry ingredients together then stir into the chocolate mixture a little at a time.

Only mix until combined. Too much mixing makes for a less chewy brownie. Stir in the rest of the pie pieces to coat and incorporate.

Pour the brownie batter into the prepared 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Cool and then cut.

Source: MIO spokeswoman Caryn Ross

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