Friday, December 31, 2010

re: moving from 2010 to 2011

Happy New Year! Hope everyone has a fantastic 2011. Peace and Love

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Re: food and the bond it creates

When a cook is locked in a kitchen for Holidays doing lots of food turnout for the hungry masses there is surprisingly some time to think about things. Things such as the people who are ordering food items, what does the Holiday time mean and I can't wait to get my feet up! After cranking out 50 pies + and smoking turkeys plus churning out the regular bakery items...and the take out menu, I had a Thanksgiving day of chicken soup and sleep. In reflection it puts a smile on cooks face to think somewhere a pie is being enjoyed, a fresh loaf of sourdough is being devoured, or a turkey is being carved with a great food memory being etched. A single bond between enemies, between lovers, between old friends, between new friends, and within a family can be ignited or rekindled with a fine slice. My hope is this Holiday somewhere a awesome food memory was saved in the bank of a mind. Peace, love and big sky food from cowgirl

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Re: Ed Todd's lovely writing

Thank you Ed for this wonderful piece on a little ole freckled face cowgirl from dust
West Texas. You captured a spirit in writing.


Posted: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 8:00 pm | Updated: 9:48 pm, Wed Nov 17, 2010.
Ed Todd
Midland Reporter-Telegram | 0 comments
Though decades and an ocean apart, the fastidious West Texas cowgirl-chef Nicole Davenport and the unconventional Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw are in strict accord with Shaw's tribute-to-food adage in his 1903 play "Man and Superman":
"There is no love sincerer than the love of food."
Davenport, the adventuresome chef and barbecue pitmaster who welcomes adventure, seeks perfection in flavor, texture and nourishment at the grill and in the kitchen indoors or outdoors.
Like Shaw, whose works she read along with other classics and the encyclopedia on her parents' ranch, near Sheffield, 112 miles south of Midland, Davenport is a person of wit, fervor for life and individualism.
Without benefit or luxury of radio and television, the Davenport children grew up reading books and listening to their parents' tales and readings.
"And that's how we ended our day," recalls Davenport, who passes that gift to her Midland niece and nephew, Mattye, 9, and Hayden, 7.
Her witty, smart, straight-shooting and no-nonsense mother, Freida Davenport, an environmentalist and birder who oversees the ranch's "Ranch for the Birds" bird-watching aspect, maintains her 6-foot-2 stature, which is as slender as the cartoon character Olive Oyl, girlfriend of Popeye, the sailor.
"She's tough. My mom is a tough, tough lady" of Dutch heritage and was born into the legendary Herbert Noelke family of ranchers.
Her father, the 5-foot-10 Jerry Davenport who is as rotund as comedian Jackie Gleason, is the perfect complement.
"Everybody loves him," says the daughter, who took on her father's height but not his girth. "He stops and listens and talks to everybody."
Her triumphs in barbecuing are well-established Stateside and abroad. And growing up in a goat-and-sheep ranching family, she learned the ranch life as a cowgirl by working roundups with her father and brothers and by cooking from scratch with her mother, a "great baker" while her father is "a baker."
And, as the amiable captain of her kitchen and her Cowgirl Catering barbecue pit, she is ever-honing her cooking and baking skills.
Right now, as the "Organic Cowgirl" at Midland's Flat Belly Organics, she is perfecting her organic sourdough and whole-grain breads, muffins and cookies, soups and sandwiches, and other specialties.
With pleasure and glee, she beholds herself as "chef and hired gun."
Tall and lean, Shaw enjoyed robust health, which she nurtures at age 40.
Shaw, who lived just past 94 years, was a vegetarian, teetotaler, cyclist, walker and swimmer and had rather not put up with folly. He shunned tobacco, tea and coffee; preferred fact over fancy; and held deep respect for that which and for whom he found endearing.
Though their lifestyles don't exactly parallel, there is a kinship. Davenport is neither vegetarian nor teetotaler, for she savors the wholesome gifts of food and drink across the board. And like Shaw was, she is athletic, an avid cyclist who on a recent Saturday pedaled the 112 miles from Midland to the ranch in a land canyons and rustic beauty between the Pecos River and the Rio Grande. On a clear day, the view from the ranch takes in the Davis Mountains and Texas-Mexico mountains along the border.
In her yesteryears, growing up to a 5-foot-10 frame, she was a champion runner and basketball player who, on full-scholarship, played point guard and wing for Angelo State University basketball.
"She was an athlete extraordinaire," attests her older brother, J.E. "Jed" Davenport, a hearty 6-footer who is director of Midland Judicial District's Community Supervision and Corrections Department and who is former mayor of Sonora. Their younger brother, 6-foot-6 Jason Davenport, is an Oklahoma rancher.
Armed with an academic background in art and theater, Nichole Davenport fled West Texas in 1993 to find adventure in California and beyond.
"I couldn't wait to get out of here," she says on reflection. "There's a whole world to see. I've been stuck on this ranch, and I've got to go see some stuff. So I burned up the world. I went to as many places as I could go. My goal before I was 25 was to see all 50 states. I almost got it." Alaska awaits her.
For five years, she worked for Paramount Pictures. "My very first job (as a production assistant) was delivering coffee on a movie set." From there, her roles took in that of set decorator for the movie "Three Cigarettes."
In her travels, she became a llama cowgirl for two years in North Carolina by training llamas to be golf caddies.
She worked on documentary films in New York, where she lived for 10 years.
As a producer, her "biggest and favorite" was "My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story" featuring 20 celebrities, including the "amazing" British actress Lynn Redgrave, and their dogs.
Davenport's nurturing pet is Cricket, a Jack Russell terrier.
About five years ago when she turned 35, she became homesick. She was reading The New York Times while overlooking Times Square. "Then, all of a sudden, there was a big article about Marfa" in her old home, West Texas. "And I got homesick for the first time."
She worked her way back home.
"I don't think a cowgirl can ever make it (New York) home," she surmises. "I can always go back and be there for months at a time, because the culture is so great. I get smarter when I go to New York."
West Texas is home. "I just miss the people out here."
A prime example of her attraction to West Texans is in her fellow cyclists.
"People just reach around and help you out. They ride with you. They give up a little bit of themselves to make you feel special. I love cycling because it takes you outside of yourself. You're pedaling, and you're moving. It is an adventure on wheels. You're getting to see some countryside. And it is really just a nice way to think about life."
West Texas is "where I belong. This is where I wear my hat."
And her chocolate-hued cowgirl hat which, by the way, she figures will outlast her, is custom-made in Alpine by old-fashioned hatter Jim Spradley. It is a Montana-styled headwear suggestive of the Western hat worn by Tom Mix, the straight-shooting cowboy actor.
Her flair, her career focus, is cooking for others. It is in her mind and heart as surely as is West Texas.
She fired up her barbecue pit in Central Texas and won first place in the World Championship Wagyu Brisket-Steak Cook-off. Wagyu beef, derived from the Japanese Kobe rice cattle, is an "over-prime" beef delicacy with distinctive marbling and flavor.
She barbecued goat at Marathon's historic Gage Hotel.
Barbecuing with oak, she prepared a feast of "puredee Texas" beef brisket and Alabama pulled pork for Permian Basin Bicycle Association (PBBA) cyclists to benefit Livestrong, the Lance Armstrong Foundation that supports cancer survivors.
And she was featured in The Learning Channel's BBQ Pitmasters Show, which is produced by John Markus, a "great writer" and pitmaster.
So far, the seminal event in her barbecuing career was volunteering for the United Service Organizations (USO) in joining other pitmasters, including Markus, in cooking beef brisket and chicken on Missouri-made Ole Hickory pits for thousands of troops at Camp Buehring, a staging post for American troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Camp Arifjan, a forward logistics base, in Kuwait.
Wearing her Alpine-made Montana cowgirl hat, Davenport told the USO that she was honored to cook barbecue "for the men and women in uniform fighting for freedom everyday over here." She expressed gratitude for "their hard work and hope that the home-cooking is comforting for them."
The troops cheered to her "Howdy, Y'all," Texas greeting with the tip of her hat.
And at Camp Arifjan on her 40th birthday in September, 3,000 soldiers sang "Happy Birthday" to her.
"I just melted," she says. "I said I wasn't going to cry. I was like a pond."
Now that she has made that long, circular route in "coming back home," she is able to "redefine who you, and you come back a different person. And you hope people accept who you are. I struggled for a long time, coming back, trying to be the rancher's daughter. At some point, you have to carve out your own niche."
Among foremost quests on her Bucket List is earning the right to call herself, Freida, her first name, for she is named after her mother and generations of grandmothers. She would be Freida V as the fifth generation bearing the Freida name, which stands for peace or peaceful.
"I think you've got to be able to ride, shoot, rope and look like Barbara Stanwyck before you can be called Freida," says Freida Nicole Davenport.
Her mother is a definite Freida.
"You've got to put your own stamp on what you love to do," the daughter said. "And I love cooking. And if I can make a living at what I love doing, I'm happy."
Somewhat akin to the George Bernard Shaw adage about the love of food is the Russian proverb that surely appeals to the Freida V in Nicole Davenport and which surely would get Shaw's nod: "It's not the horse that draws the cart, but the oats."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

re: thinking about life and cooking

Just recently I ran into an amazing older writer who I am totally fascinated with and he seems to capture all I love in a poetic literature sense. What is fascinating is that through a relationship through food he has taught me some things about life. I bake great bread and he brings me the most fascinating literature. I think this is what life is about! Sharing your talents and gifts with someone who in turn can give your life great meaning. Food is very in the moment, but the memory can stay with us until death. For example in my brief moment of purchasing a phone from the AT&T dude two days ago I had the absolute best food memory story ever told...spumoni cake at a bakery in San Francisco and I was almost in the bakery tasting it from the story. I know nothing about this fascinating Italian cake, but I am now on quest or journey to test this cake out. What is your journey?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kuwait wrap up

Rick Smith rocks

I have been following Ricks stuff since I was in HS. He rocks and should write a book someday! Hats off to his many years of writing some good stuff.

Rick Smith rocks

I have been following Ricks stuff since I was in HS. He rocks and should write a book someday! Hats off to his many years of writing some good stuff.

Cowgirl Catering for Livestrong Foundation Grass Roots

Great to turn some of the publicity from show into a good cause! I was up 24 hours cooking for no mula for this event but it was incredibly rewarding.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cooking on KEYE Ch 42 in Austin today

Look for me today on KEYE's Austin Live at 4:00 pm in Austin. Thanks to Marbleous Beef Company for providing the Wagyu and the Lone Oak Winery for providing the wine. Here's one photo from the USO tour in Kuwait. See more on my Facebook page. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kuwait BBQ Album on FB

I have pictures from Kuwait USO BBQ tour to share with everyone.  Working on my webpage and menus for catering-coming soon.  If you can please check out my FB to view Kuwait BBQ album.  More soon and will post a link on my blog of the trip. Departing for Kansas today to shout out to a few BBQ Teams at the American Royal.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cooking for the troops in Kuwait!

Follow Nicole's adventures from or

From the USO: (see full USO release below)
Photos are available online at:
Twitter: USO:

Recent Media:

- San Angelo Standard-Times - West Texan Cowgirl Shoots for Reality Show Prize

Texan Nicole Davenport takes BBQ skills on USO tour

Hamilton, Texas - Texas cowgirl Nicole Davenport celebrates her fortieth birthday Saturday by cooking barbecue for U.S. Troops in Kuwait on the USO "Kings of BBQ" Tour.

She has a lot to celebrate. Fresh from her national television debut on The Learning Channel's "BBQ PitMasters," Davenport won the World Wagyu Brisket and Steak Cookoff at the Hamilton County Dove Festival on Labor Day weekend. The cook-off was covered by the Rural Fee Delivery (RFD-TV) network for the show "American Rancher with Pam Minick."

"I'm really happy to have my first grand championship," Davenport says. "I'm using part of the prize money on a gift of Cuisinart knives for the troops, so they can continue cooking after we're gone."

A fourth-generation Texas ranching daughter, Davenport began cooking barbecue with her father at age five on his homemade barbecue pit. Based in Sheffield, Texas, her company, Cowgirl Caterin', utilizes the farm-to-table philosophy of fresh food she grew up on at events on both coasts. She believes barbecue is an art requiring patience and good judgment to use smoke and fire.

She competes on Big Bob Gibson's team at the 31st American Royal BBQ on September 30 - October 3 in Kansas City, Kansas.
# # #
Nicole Davenport in Kuwait on USO Kings of BBQ Tour

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nicole Davenport wins World Wagyu Brisket and Steak Cook-off

News release: September 7, 2010

Hamilton, Texas - Fresh from her national television debut on The Learning Channel's "PitMasters," Nicole Davenport of Sheffield, Texas, won the World Wagyu Brisket and Steak Cookoff at the Hamilton County Dove Festival on Labor Day weekend. The cook-off was covered by the Rural Fee Delivery (RFD-TV) network for the show "American Rancher with Pam Minick."

"I'm really happy to have my first grand championship," Davenport says. "I'm using part of the prize money on a gift of Cuisinart knives for the troops, so they can continue cooking after we're gone."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Reality TV

Well now that the cat is out of the bag and everyone knows I got my tail kicked it is time dish dirt.  Reality TV is not something I would go way out of my way to do again, but when a situation like cooking for $100,000 presents itself  I think most would go for it.   The Vegas attraction to do shows with a hook like the BBQ Pitmasters is alluring and can be fun if the right attitude towards TV is acquired.  

I found myself super frustrated at the time it took in real time for the TV crew to get CAMERA READY.  For example:  on the pork turn in I was chosen first to present to the judges that night, which is a plus, but my plated pork sat out in 50 degree weather congealing.  Not good if you want to get a high score!!!  I do agree with the show in the fact I should not have cooked smoked catfish even though it was cooked perfectly and tasty.  Hard to believe I lost to slaw, but everything counts and this was one thing I should have focused on a little bit more.  It did not compare to a lump crab dish nor a corn salsa side dish.  My fried catfish was overlooked even though it was raved about in REAL time!!  I naively thought the show was judging us on the items they gave us and did not realize until end of the show that a whole PLATE of extra sides weighed so heavily into being a winner.  It should have been called Southern BBQ Plate contest!!!!

I am appreciative to the TLC folks who got the humor in my audition tape which required me holding guns and talking Texas Trash. All this is still a little fresh and licking my wounds as well as checking my pocketbook for money out the window to do the show, but I think it will be a good memory in a month or so.

If I made the audience laugh or inspired them to grill until it gets cold then I have done well.    Thank you for watching.

A big thanks to Spradley Hats in Alpine TX for making a beautiful hat and the Gage Hotel White Buffalo Bar Rockmount shirt for helping to look stylish.  Thanks to my new friend Holly Jivin for cooking with me and being an awesome team mate.  Also thank you to Chris Lilly who taught me some things about BBQ as well as Paul Kirk, Myron Mixon, and my dad.  It helps to have great mentors and people who care about food.

Keep on cookin'


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Newspaper columnist Rick smith

Publicity or recognition in any form is scary, burly favorite columnist Rick Smith interviewed me and the link below is column today. Thank you Rick for making me laugh and writing about characters.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

HS reunion and a Tribute to Lucky>

Who is betting on this episode?


TLC premieres all-new season with BBQ’s biggest prize ever - $100,000

Los Angeles, CA – A hot new season of BBQ PITMASTERS has been cooked up and will be served starting August 12 at 10pm, following the all new AMERICAN CHOPPER: Senior vs. Junior. Featuring a brand new format – TLC has created its own BBQ competition – the season’s first five episodes have a winner move to the finale, where one will walk away with the largest prize ever awarded in competitive barbecue: $100,000.

Featuring the previously-announced panel of judges – celebrity chef Art Smith, BBQ champion Myron Mixon, and Superbowl winner Warren Sapp, and hosted by chef Kevin Roberts, each episode brings together four BBQ teams to face off in a series of challenges that reveal who has the best mastery of meat, with a twist: While the episodes focus on a popular protein – from ribs to brisket – the contestants will also face a “Pit Fire Challenge,” a more exotic meat (alligator, rattlesnake, etc.) that will test their culinary skills and will send one team home early.

From cooking non-stop for 10+ hours to facing unexpected challenges, all with the goal of satisfying the picky palates of the judging panel and taking home the $100,000 prize, these cooks are facing the biggest competition of their lives in the new season of BBQ PITMASTERS.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pulled Pork Sliders in Midland Tx

Prepping bone in pork butts at 3am tonight to serve tomorrow at Peyton's bike shop in Midland Tx.  Look for white tent and one of my favorite smokers by KLOSE called Elwood. 
I will be promoting the show and serving Pulled pork sliders for $4.00 for "THE TESTER" and if you want the full slider lunch you can go for more!
Huge fan of the Peyton's bike shop and since I ride my Cannondale just so I can eat more BBQ it is the perfect place to be on a Monday.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cowgirl Cooks

BBQ Pitmastsers on TLC August 12th 9PM EST

Watch a very stylish cowgirl in her custom Spradley Hat and Gage Buffalo shirt this upcoming week cook on TV show!  T'aint the Sauce team joins the world of reality TV in hopes of winning $100,000.