Our Iowa magazine

Cooking with Karen

For the past eight years I’ve been writing a cooking tips column for Our Iowa magazine. It’s been a great experience and allows me to hear from readers across the state and around the world who share my love for Iowa. Here is a photo of my recent column (below). If you want to learn more about subscribing, follow this link to the Our Iowa magazine web site.

Tribute to my Grandma Javerne

For the June/July 2015 issue of the magazine, I wrote a tribute to my Grandma Javerne Kalsem. Read about my grandma by following this link to details and photos. 

IMG_2310To give you a “taste” of what my column is like, here is a copy of the first one (below). If you have a cooking tip you’d like to share, please feel free to contact me. You never know; it may appear in an upcoming issue of the magazine.

My first column from 2008

IT ISN’T EVERY DAY that an Iowa farmer’s daughter receives an e-mail from a magazine publisher, asking whether I would be interested in sharing “a few cooking tips” for each issue.

That’s why I looked twice when I saw the message from Roy Reiman and Jerry Wiebel, the “Two men and a magazine” who have launched Our Iowa.  Like them, I’m a fellow graduate of Iowa State and already a big fan of the new magazine.

So would I be interested in writing a food column? I’d be thrilled. Wow, what a fun opportunity! I’m still pinching myself.  So, to begin with, here’s a bit of my background:

I’m Karen Davis. My husband, Scott, and I live in west central Iowa. If you’ve ever driven through our small town, you likely noticed the sign as you enter: “Home of 1,700 good eggs…and a few stinkers”. I hope we’re a couple of the good eggs! In fact, eggs are what brought us together.

After I graduated from ISU with a degree in Home Economics Education, I took a job promoting eggs for the Iowa Egg Council. One of my first events was an omelet breakfast hosted by the co-op where Scott worked in Buckeye (near Iowa Falls). That’s where we met. I made him an omelet that morning and, as they say, the rest is history.

After hanging up my apron as an egg lady, I promoted pork for the National Pork Producers, and later worked in the cooking appliance division at Maytag. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, and I love working with Iowa foods.

Six years ago, I launched my own food consulting business. I develop and test recipes, conduct cooking demonstrations, and write food-related articles.

With that introduction, I look forward to sharing a few cooking tips – and hopefully receiving new ideas from you. So, please send in your kitchen time savers and cooking hints. I know Iowa has some wonderful cooks!

  • Before measuring a sticky ingredient–such as honey or corn syrup–coat the measuring cup or spoon with nonstick cooking spray. It releases quickly and easily.
  • Use a plastic storage freezer bag as a handy (and inexpensive) pastry bag. It’s perfect for piping things like frosting or deviled egg filling. Simply fill the bag with the desired mixture, snip the tip off one corner and pipe.
  • Make your ice cube trays do double duty. First remove frozen cubes and toss in a freezer bag. Fill the trays with leftover chicken broth and freeze. Then pull out the cubes, as needed, for sauces, gravies and soups.
  • In a hurry and need softened cream cheese for a recipe? Microwave the unwrapped block of chilled cream cheese on high for about 15 seconds.
  • Place raw meat in the freezer for about 20 minutes before slicing into strips for stir-fry or cubes for kabobs. Once slightly frozen, the meat becomes firmer and easier to cut.