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Jul 23, 2016
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Just Five: Pork Chop with Squash and Herbs

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

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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

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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

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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 

Just Five: Roasted Broccoli

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

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Hat-tip to my long-suffering husband for this recipe. He is a teacher, which means at some point in June, he steps up his cooking game. Recently after a particularly long day, I came home to this roasted broccoli dish, and it is an A-plus, head-of-the-class hit.

We love broccoli in our house, but we usually just steam, then and throw a little salt at it. This roasted version covered with sweet-tart lemon, crunchy toasted pine nuts and salty Parmesan is perfection in a bowl. I wouldn’t go so far as to say we eat it like potato chips, but there is never any left, no matter how much broccoli we roast. After a dinner based around this dish, there’s little guilt in chasing down the ice cream truck.

 

Roasted Broccoli
4 to 6 servings
Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten

¼ cups pine nuts
3 to 4 lbs. broccoli florets (about 5 crowns)
¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 lemon
3 to 4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
• In a small dry skillet over medium heat, toast the pint nuts 2 to 3 minutes, tossing occasionally, until just fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool.
• Toss the florets in a large mixing bowl with ¼ cup olive oil, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper and stir to coat. Spread the broccoli on the sheet pan in an even layer and roast 20 minutes.
• Meanwhile, remove 2 teaspoons lemon zest and place in a serving bowl. Slice the lemon and add 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil.
• Add the roasted broccoli into the bowl with the lemon and toss to coast. Add the Parmesan and pine nuts and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Make This: Strawberry-Cucumber Salad

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

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Perfect for a summer brunch or as a steak dinner side, this salad’s sweet-tart dressing complements the berries and cucumber like a string of pearls with a seersucker sundress. In a medium bowl, combine 1 pint thinly sliced strawberries, 1 peeled and thinly sliced English cucumber and ½ cup chiffonaded basil. In a small bowl, stir together ½ cup creme fraiche*, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon honey and ½ teaspoon lemon zest. Drizzle the dressing over each salad and top with ¼ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts, evenly divided among the salads.

*To make your own creme fraiche, combine 1 cup cream and 1 tablespoon buttermilk in a glass jar. Cover and store in a warm spot 8 to 24 hours, or until thickened. Refrigerate and use within 12 days.

 

-photo by Greg Rannells

Just Five: Tomatillo-Orange Salsa

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

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This salsa is a true workhorse. It adds dimension to pork tenderloin or seafood. It’s delicious spooned on a breakfast burrito, mixed into white rice or simply served with chips. Choose smaller tomatillos with a fresher husk and roast them to bring out their natural sugars. The spicy, smoky adobo sauce is powerful kick. I start with just a teaspoon; add more to reach your desired heat level. For a chunkier salsa, chop one raw tomatillo and add it to the finished product.

 
Tomatillo-Orange Salsa
1 cup

4-5 small tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed well
Vegetable oil, for greasing
1 orange, peeled and segmented
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup minced red onion
1 tsp. finely chopped chipotle in adobo sauce, plus more to taste
Kosher salt to taste

• Preheat the broiler.
• Slice the tomatillos in half and place cut-side down on a foil-lined sheet pan lightly coated with oil. Broil 5 to 10 minutes, until just charred. Remove from heat and let cool.
• Meanwhile, remove as much white pith from the orange as possible. Roughly chop and add the fruit and any juice into a medium bowl. Add the cilantro, onion and chipotles and stir to combine.
• Place the tomatillos in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 3 to 4 times. Stir into the orange mixture. Season to taste with salt and more adobe sauce, if desired.

 

Just Five: Smoked Paprika Chicken

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

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There are more variations on roast chicken than orphan socks in my laundry room (and if there was such a thing as a single sock store, I could be a supplier). This combination of smoked paprika, lime and agave would be ideal for not only chicken, but also fish or pork. It’s nuanced and complex with the dark sweetness of the agave playing off the tart lime and the earthy smokiness of the paprika. The bright red paprika creates a vivid, slightly sticky sauce for the chicken. Leftovers are sublime in a quesadilla or served on a sandwich with avocado.

 

Smoked Paprika Chicken
Inspired by a recipe at Simply Recipes
4 servings

1 4-5 lb. whole chicken
3 to 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
2 limes, divided
4 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, place breast side-up in a cast-iron skillet on a rack in a roasting pan and set aside.
• In a small bowl, thoroughly combine the butter, smoked paprika, salt, pepper and onion powder. Use your hands to rub the butter mixture all over the chicken skin, tucking some under the skin of the breasts and thighs.
• Slice 1 lime in half and tuck both halves in the cavity of the chicken. Roast 40 minutes.
• Meanwhile, juice the remaining lime and combine with the agave in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 10 seconds, then stir to combine.
• Baste the chicken with the agave-lime mixture. Roast another 35 to 45 minutes, basting with the pan juices every 15 minutes, until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 degrees.
• Let rest 10 minutes before carving. Drizzle with the pan drippings before serving.

 

 

Just Five: Cornmeal-Crusted Pork Loin with Blood Orange

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

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Beautiful blood orange takes your breath away with its rich color and a nuanced flavor – think tart raspberries mixed with sweet orange. Here, a slightly spicy, crunchy cornmeal crust on this pork loin is finished with a splash of this sweet citrus’ juice. Don’t be shy when seasoning the pork loin. It’s a big cut of meat and needs the flavor. This dish would work equally well with pork tenderloin or chops, too.

 

Cornmeal-Crusted Pork Loin with Blood Orange
4 to 6 servings

2 blood oranges
½ cup medium-grind yellow cornmeal
1 Tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
3½ lb. boneless pork loin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. olive oil

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Use a microplane or zester to remove 2 teaspoons orange zest. Slice the oranges in half, then juice. Reserve the juice and the zest; discard the remains.
• In a mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, cumin, chili powder and orange zest, then transfer the mixture to a large plate.
• Pat the pork dry with a paper towel and season generously with salt and pepper. Roll the pork in the cornmeal mixture until evenly coated.
• In a large nonstick, oven-safe or cast-iron skillet, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork and sear until browned all over, about 3 minutes per side.
• Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake 45 minutes, until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 155 degrees.
• Tent the skillet loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Slice the pork into ¾-to-1-inch pieces and drizzle with the blood orange juice to serve.

Make This: Shrimp Roll

Friday, May 6th, 2016

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Downside to not living by the ocean: no ocean. Upside to not living by the ocean: We don’t have to fight the seagulls for these sandwiches. In a large pot, bring 8 cups water plus 2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning or salt to a boil. Remove from heat and add 1 pound medium peeled and deveined shrimp. Cover and let sit 3 minutes. Prepare an ice bath. Drain the shrimp and submerge in the ice bath to cool. In the bowl of a food processor, combine 2 egg yolks, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 clove garlic, ¼ cup fresh basil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon horseradish. Pulse to combine. With the processor running, drizzle 1½ cups olive oil until a thick aioli forms. Roughly chop the shrimp and toss with ½ cup chopped celery and the aioli. Pile on 4 toasted hot dog buns or potato, brioche or Kaiser rolls brushed with melted butter and top with sliced tomato and lettuce.

 

-photo by Greg Rannells 

Just Five: Matzo Brei

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

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Matzo brei is a traditional dish during Passover, but it is also a practical dish regularly requested in my home. There are more versions of this dish than you can shake a kugel at, but my favorite incorporates the flavors of traditional bagels and lox (smoked salmon, red onion and capers).

As my oldest child prepares to go off to college, I’ve realized how important it is to send her out there with a few basic dishes in her repertoire. This dish is a great protein bomb with the added benefit of some omega-3s from the salmon (brain food!). Gild the lily and serve it with a scoop of sour cream and some fresh chopped dill on top, if desired. Chag sameach!

 

Matzo Brei
4 servings

4 unsalted matzos
8 eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp. butter
4 oz. smoked salmon or lox, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 Tbsp. capers

• Place the matzos under running water for 20 seconds, until beginning to soften but are not mushy or falling apart. Break into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
• In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
• Place the onions in a large, dry skillet over high heat and quickly toss until they start to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and saute until the butter just starts brown and smells nutty, about 3 minutes.
• Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the matzo, stirring to coat with butter, then add the eggs. Stir constantly until the eggs start to set, about 3 minutes. Add the salmon and cook 1 minute. Sprinkle the capers over the matzo brei and serve immediately.

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