Suzi's Blog

Chef Daniel O’Rourke’s 45 Minute Strawberry Banana Smoothie


My twin grandsons are mirror twins. That’s like being a SUPERTWIN. They look alike, but they “mirror” certain things. One is right handed, and his mirror brother is left-handed. One is artsy, and one is analytical. One is destined to be a chef and the other will be his lawyer.

That’s Chef Daniel in the picture. His brother, Reid, is on the sofa to the right, out of sight. Reid is watching TV. Actually, so is Daniel, which helps explain why this smoothie took 45 minutes to make.

Reid had asked his mother, Michele, for a smoothie. She made him one. Reid, who may turn out to be a food critic and a lawyer, said he did not like it.

“I’ll do it,” said Daniel. That’s when the clock started. Like his father, Daniel is a natural cook but a very meticulous one. He did not use a cookbook here, he did survey every shelf in the refrigerator and freezer and pantry for ingredients, and he was taste testing along the way.

He created the smoothie below. Because Daniel is already preparing his own private collection of recipes, I cannot reveal here the exact proportions of ingredients, but Daniel did agree to share the ingredient list. With Suzen, we have guestimated the ingredient amounts shown below. Daniel may, in the future, choose to share some of his other recipes. Suzen and I will strive for full disclosure.

Oh, Reid tasted this new smoothie and still was a tad dissatisfied. “Too cold,” he commented.

These guys may be mirror twins, but they do share one characteristic: they are total perfectionists. Twenty years from now, you really will be astonished at the food in Daniel’s restaurant while you sit with Reid going over every detail of the contract he has drawn up for you.

As their grandfather, all I can do is hope for a discount.


Daniel’s 45 Minute Banana Strawberry Smoothie

Yield: 1 drink


  • 1 banana, peeled of course
  • 1 cup of fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 small container of strawberry yogurt
  • 1 cup of ice



Place the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Adjust the ice as necessary to attain the texture you desire. Add more yogurt to increase fluidity.

Source: Chef Daniel Scott O’Rourke, Austin, Texas

Strawberry-Habanero Marinade for Spareribs [the ones that come from pigs and not cows]

“Oh, careful,” I said. “Your hair is going into the sauce. What’s wrong?’

We were at a local barbeque spot and for some reason Suzen was dipping her head right into her food.

“What’s wrong?” I repeated.

“You can be so embarrassing,” Suzen expressed herself.

“What did I do?”

“When the waiter brought your spareribs,” she pointed with her fork towards my plate, “you asked him if they were beef or pork.”

“What’s wrong with that?” I asked.

“Brian,” Suzen’s voice was low, “spareribs only come from pigs. No cows. No little lambs. Pigs! My God, why can’t you get that straight?”

Today, I slunk into my local bookstore and found The Great Ribs Book by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison, whose The Great Wings Book I reviewed last week. This tidy volume begins with a survey of what ribs are:

  • Spareribs coming from pigs appearing either Kansas City-style or St. Louis-style.
  • Pork Baby Back Ribs: the Rolls-Royce of ribs offering more meat and less fat
  • Country-Style Spareribs: cut from the pork loin and featuring lots of meat and just a little bone
  • Beef Back Ribs: offering lots of bone and not much meat
  • Beef Short Ribs: a combination of meat and bone that is best cooked slowly with smoke to avoid toughness
  • Lamb Ribs: fatty and low in meat, these ribs are best smoked or grilled or roasted, but cannot be braised.

The Great Ribs Book continues with discussions about:

  • Fresh versus frozen [go fresh!]
  • Preliminary boiling of ribs before grilling or smoking [no, no, no]
  • How to remove that white membrane
  • How to marinate, baste, cut, grill, smoke, roast or braise

In short, you have a complete primer on ribs! And then, the recipes unfold in chapters devoted to:

  • Asian style ribs
  • American style
  • Mexican and Southwester ribs
  • Mediterranean and Caribbean ribs
  • Fruit-based glazes and marinades
  • Braised ribs

I particularly love those fruit-based glazes and this book offers a combination that I would never have imagined: strawberry, soy, habanero and mint. To use this marinade, make it and coat the ribs evenly on both sides. Marinate the ribs, refrigerated, for at least 15 minutes but up to 8 hours for the very best flavor. If you have extra marinade, baste the ribs as they cook.

Strawberry-Habanero Marinade

Yield: about 1 ¼ cups or enough for 2 full sides of spareribs


  • ½ cup strawberry jam
  • Zest of 2 limes
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • ¼ cup thin soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons habanero hot sauce
  • ¼ cup finely minced ginger
  • ¼ cup minced mint leaves


Combine all the ingredients and whisk or stir well to create a uniform mixture. No cooking is necessary.

Source: The Great Ribs Book by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison