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Oct 23, 2016
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Just Five: Spicy Orange Chicken Bites

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016



I sometimes whine about how difficult it can be to execute authentic Asian cuisine with just five ingredients (just ask my editors!). But sometimes recipes have a way of working out. This dish is embarrassingly simple and so versatile. Serve it with rice and veggies or in lettuce cups with fresh herbs. Swap the meat for ground chicken, turkey or even pork. Increase or reduce the red pepper flake to your taste – as it is, this might be a bit too spicy for less adventurous taste buds!


Spicy Orange Chicken Bites
3 to 4 servings

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 to 3 Tbsp. chopped garlic
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
Zest and juice of 1 large orange
⅓ cup soy sauce
1 lb. chicken tenders, cut into bite-size chunks

• In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant.
• Add the orange zest and chicken and saute 2 minutes, then add the orange juice and soy sauce. Increase the heat to high and stir-fry until the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce starts to thicken, about 3 minutes.

Just Five: Shrimp and Scallion Noodles

Thursday, September 29th, 2016



I will not be bested by an Asian noodle recipe with a list of 16 ingredients – not I! Ginger? Bah! Garlic? No need! A little soy sauce or tamari goes a long way toward delicious in this dish. A word of advice: grab the low-sodium soy sauce unless you want a salt bomb for dinner. Take it to the next level (and break the Just 5 rules) with a quick pickle: Mix thinly sliced cucumber and red onion with rice vinegar and pinch of salt. Let it rest while you prepare the noodles and sauce, then serve alongside the dish to complement the flavor and texture.

Shrimp and Scallion Noodles
2 servings as a entree, 4 to 6 servings as a side

8 oz. udon noodles
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 bunches green onions, chopped into 2-inch pieces (green parts only)
½ cup tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
½ lb. small shrimp, peeled and deveined

•In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the udon noodles until tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.
• In a medium nonstick skillet, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and saute 2 to 3 minutes, until they start to brown and caramelize. Add the tamari and brown sugar and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until they are cooked through. Add the noodles and toss to combine.


Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine and regularly pens Make This.

Just Five: Chocolate-Tahini Milkshake

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016


Remember that jar of tahini that you bought six months ago to make hummus? The one from which you used a whopping 2 tablespoons, then shoved in the back of your fridge? Roll up your sleeves and find it.

This treat was inspired after a sweet treat at Layla in The Grove. As lovers of all things chocolate and peanut butter, we gave Layla’s Chocolate Tahini Shake a try. Not only was I delighted, I immediately made a beeline to the bar and demanded to know how many ingredients it included. As I suspected, this was in my wheelhouse. Tahini is not as sweet or salty as peanut butter, so I added a touch of salt, as well as dark chocolate shavings for extra depth. Be a pal, double the recipe and share with a friend.

Chocolate-Tahini Milkshake
Inspired by a recipe from Layla
1 serving

4 tennis ball-sized scoops vanilla ice cream
1 cup whole or 2-percent milk
3 Tbsp. chocolate syrup
2 Tbsp. tahini
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. dark or semisweet chocolate shavings

• Add the ice cream, milk, chocolate syrup, tahini and salt to the pitcher of a blender and mix on high speed 10 seconds. Add the chocolate shavings and pulse, then pour into a large glass. Serve with a straw and long-handled spoon.

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine and regularly pens Make This.

Just Five: Simple Summer Gazpacho

Thursday, September 1st, 2016



This recipe couldn’t be simpler. Go to a farmers market – any farmers market – and buy the following: tomatoes, cucumber, garlic and a bagel (yes, a bagel). Go home, throw this stuff in a blender and you’re pretty much done. If you can’t find a bagel, swap in whatever bread you want – about ½ cup of toasted or stale bread cubes should do it. Don’t get too hung up on measurements, either. Add a pepper for spice, chop up more cucumber, or toss in a handful of basil from your backyard. Have fun and savor all the amazing local produce you can right now.

Simple Summer Gazpacho
4 servings

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 cups chopped tomatoes, chopped
½ everything bagel, toasted and torn into pieces
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
1 cup water, plus more as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Olive oil for serving

• Put the cucumber, bagel pieces, tomatoes, garlic and vinegar into a blender and puree. With the blender running on high speed, pour in the water, plus more to achieve desired consistency.
• Season to taste with salt, pepper and vinegar. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Just Five: Grilled Pound Cake and Apricots

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016



This recipe was inspired last spring when I had the opportunity to work with Panorama chef Ivy Magruder on a multi-course meal themed around the French mother sauces. Riffing on that idea, we created a dish based on one of my mother’s special desserts: lemon pound cake. Now my mom’s version was not a fancy recipe – it required boxed mixes and a lot of eggs and oil. But Magruder elevated her classic dessert, grilling the pound cake and topping it with macerated fruit. The dish was a huge success.

Grilling pound cake adds texture, slight caramelization and beautiful, slightly charred spots. Summer is the perfect time to try variations on this dessert, and I wanted to play with apricots, as I’m most familiar with the dried version served on cheese plates. Fresh apricots, like figs, are delicate creatures, slightly tart and almost creamy when ripe. They hold up well on the grill, as do peaches, plums or nectarines. I also gilded this grilled lily with almond whipped cream, but feel free to swap for vanilla or mix in a spoonful of lemon curd to play up the fruit’s tart notes.


Grilled Pound Cake and Apricots
Inspired by a recipe from Panorama’s Ivy Magruder 
8 servings

1 pound cake, cut into 8 slices
4 ripe apricots, halved and pitted
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. pure almond extract

• Prepare a charcoal grill for high, direct heat and create a two-zone fire by moving the coals to one side. Alternately, preheat a gas grill for high, direct heat.
• Place the pound cake over direct heat and sear just until grill marks appear, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip and grill the other side, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove and set aside.
• Place the apricots cut-side down over direct heat and sear until grill marks appear, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip and place skin-side down over indirect heat or move to the upper tier of a gas grill. Cover and cook 1 minute, until the fruit is soft but not falling apart. Remove and set aside.
• In a chilled bowl, use a hand mixer on high speed to whip the cream until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and almond extract and whip 30 seconds to 1 minute until the cream has stiffened to your desired consistency.
• To serve, place a piece of grilled pound cake on each plate. Top each with an apricot half and a dollop of whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Just Five: Ceviche

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016


On a recent beach vacation, we prepared delicious dishes with fresh, locally caught fish, working within the limits of a rental kitchen. However, on some nights, it was just too hot (so very hot!). On one particularly searing night, the idea of standing at the stove nearly took me out of vacation mode. It was time for ceviche, fresh fish “cooked” by the acid in citrus juice, perfect for serving as a starter on a bed of lettuce or with plantain or tortilla chips. This recipe swayed the ceviche-averse in my family, even the daughter who orders chicken tempura sushi. Leery of raw fish? Here are six tips to inspire ceviche confidence:

● Choose semi-firm, white fleshed, ocean fish (no river trout ceviche!). Red snapper, bass, grouper, sole or flounder are good options. Do not be afraid to ask your fishmonger what is freshest.
● Keep the fish cold until ready to use. Keep it in its plastic bag placed on a bowl of ice in the refrigerator.
● If needed, remove the bloodline (the dark pink or red line that sometimes runs down the middle of the fillet).
● Ask your fishmonger to remove the skin and the pin bones, or do it at home with a sharp knife for the skin and pliers or tweezers for the pin bones.
● Do not over- or under-marinate the fish; 10 to 20 minutes should be enough. The fish should appear opaque, not raw.
● Mix the marinated ceviche and remaining ingredients just before serving to preserve their colorful, fresh appearance.


4 servings

1 lb. fresh firm, white ocean fish*, skin and pin bones removed
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
10 limes, divided
½ avocado, diced
⅓ cup finely chopped red onion
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. olive oil

● Slice the fish into small bite-sized pieces and place in a medium glass bowl. Toss with 1 teaspoon salt.
● Add the juice of 9 limes to the bowl. The juice should completely cover the fish. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 10 to 20 minutes, until opaque and the fish does not appear raw.
● Strain the fish and place in a clean glass bowl. Discard the marinade. Add the avocado, onion, cilantro, olive oil and the juice from 1 remaining lime and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

* Red snapper, bass, grouper, sole or flounder are all good options.

Make This: Halibut with Asian Salad

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016



Throw together this light summer dish just for the halibut. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together ¼ cup soy sauce, 3 tablespoons lime juice, 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons grated ginger, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon sugar. Reserve ¼ cup dressing and set aside. Place 2 8-ounce halibut fillets and the remaining dressing in a zip-close bag, then seal and refrigerate 15 minutes. Meanwhile, trim 1 English cucumber, peel to create wide ribbons and place in a medium bowl with 3 peeled and diced peaches and any collected juices, ½ cup torn cilantro, the reserved ¼ cup dressing, 3 chopped scallions and ½ teaspoon minced Serrano pepper. Toss to combine and set aside. Place halibut on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 12 to 14 minutes, until cooked through. Divide the salad between 2 plates and top with the halibut.


-photo by Greg Rannells

Just Five: Pork Chop with Squash and Herbs

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016



Pork chops are possibly my favorite cut of meat. But not just any skinny little half-inch chop will do. I like a good Iowa chop – at least 1¼-inch thick. I usually finish salty pork with a sweet glaze or chutney, but this dish gets its sweetness from creamy butter spiked with fresh herbs. Use whatever summer squash looks best at the farmers market like crookneck, zucchini or pattypan. And yes, if you’re firing up the grill, this can definitely be made outside.


Pork Chop with Squash and Herbs
2 servings

3 shallots, divided
5 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. minced chives
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tsp. kosher salt plus more, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. summer squash (yellow squash, zucchini, pattypan, etc.), chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 1-inch-thick bone-in pork chops

• Mince 1 shallot and place in a small bowl with the basil and chives. Add the softened butter, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper and mash with the back of a fork to make a compound butter. Cover and refrigerate.
• Place an oven rack 6 inches from the top of the oven. Preheat the broiler.
• Roughly chop the remaining 2 shallots and toss with the squash, oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Spread onto a foil-lined sheetpan. Broil 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the squash starts to brown in spots. Remove the squash and keep warm.
• Line the sheetpan with fresh foil and place a rack on top. Sprinkle both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper and place on the rack. Spread a heaping tablespoon compound butter on top of each pork chop.
• Broil 5 to 6 minutes, flip, and broil another 5 to 6 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chop reaches 150 degrees.
• Divide the squash between two serving plates. Top each with the pork chop and serve with remaining compound butter.

Just Five: Caramelized Onion-Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Friday, July 8th, 2016



I know what you’re thinking: Well, she’s gone and lost her mind. Oh ye of little faith and harsh judgment! I am about to open up your world to new and brilliant things!

It’s no secret I am a devotee of caramelized onions. I have sung it’s praises on French onion grilled cheese and pasta. I was raised on Famous-Barr’s French onion soup. Its sweet and jammy notes make anything better – even ice cream.

As I stared at a batch of this most magical ingredient fresh off the stove, it struck me that dark chocolate might just be perfect pairing. They’re sweet, a little spicy and reminiscent of Mexican chocolate. Use sweet Vidalia onions for this recipe. They are lower in sulfur and less funky than your standard white or yellow onion. And if you want to drizzle some reduced balsamic vinegar on top of your ice cream, I won’t judge you.


Caramelized Onion-Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
1 quart

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced Vidalia onion (about 1 large onion)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. water
4 cups half-and-half
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 egg yolks

Special equipment: ice cream maker

• In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and saute the onion about 20 minutes, until very soft and golden. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and the water and cook 1 minute, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
• Scrape the onions into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until pureed. Set aside.
• Prepare an ice bath.
• In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the half-and-half, the remaining 1 cup sugar, cocoa powder, the salt and 2 grinds of pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat.
• In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Temper the yolks by whisking in 1 cup half-and-half mixture, then whisk the mixture back into the saucepan.
• Return the saucepan to low heat and stir frequently until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and whisk in the pureed onions.
• Pour the custard into a mixing bowl and plunge it into the ice bath, stirring frequently until cooled. Remove from the ice bath, cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.
• Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Make This: No-Churn Matcha-Coconut Ice Cream

Thursday, July 7th, 2016


With tropical creaminess and a burst of summer fruit, this dessert is a treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds. In a large bowl, whisk together ½ cup stirred full-fat coconut milk, ½ cup Coco Lopez cream of coconut, 1 tablespoon matcha green tea powder* and ⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 1½ cups heavy cream at medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently fold the whipped cream into the coconut-matcha mixture. Pour into an airtight container, cover and freeze 2 hours. Stir in 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cherries, cover and freeze 5 hours, preferably overnight.

*Known for its antioxidant properties, matcha is green tea leaves ground into a fine powder. Global Foods Market, globalfoodsmarket.com

-photo by Greg Rannells 

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