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Sep 25, 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

Just Five: Chocolate-Tahini Milkshake

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

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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

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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

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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

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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.

 

Ceviche
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.

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.

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.

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.

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