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Aug 02, 2015
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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: Nectarine and Blackberry Coco-Pops

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

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Times have changed (cue old-timey music). Back in the day, we stocked up on boxes of Fla-Vor-Ice freezer pops available in every fake flavor imaginable: orange, banana, root beer, grape and, of course, “red.” Now, there are freezer cases filled with all-fruit popsicles, sugar-free, organic, even some fruit and veggie blends. Still, there’s something to be said for making your own real-fruit frozen treats.

This recipe takes the flavors of a favorite cobbler (nectarine, blackberry and cinnamon) and throws in a little tropical kick with coconut milk. Use whatever sweetener you like – or none at all. You’re the boss! Make them at lunchtime, and they’ll be ready before the fireflies are out.

 

Nectarine and Blackberry Coco-Pops
6 servings
Inspired by a recipe originally published in Vibrant Food by Kimberley Hasselbrink

2 ripe nectarines, peeled, pitted and diced (about 1 cup)
1 cup blackberries
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 13.5-oz can full-fat coconut milk

Special equipment:
6 popsicle sticks
6 disposable cups or a popsicle mold

• In a small saucepan, combine the nectarines, blackberries, honey and cinnamon over medium heat. Stir to combine and cook until the fruit is very soft, about 5 minutes. Use the back of a spoon to gently crush the fruit into a lumpy sauce. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut milk. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes.
• Pour about ¾ cup of the fruit mixture into each cup or popsicle molds. Place a piece of plastic wrap tightly over the top of each cup or mold. Use a sharp knife to cut a tiny hole in the center of plastic and push a popsicle stick through into each cup or mold. Freeze at least 5 hours.
• To serve, run warm water over the outside of the cup or mold and gently slide the freezer pop out.

 

 

Just Five: Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

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There is a distinct lack of crust-less sandwiches, petit fours and sugar lumps in the world today. Channel your inner Dowager Countess and invite someone over for a spot of tea and these aromatic cookies. Culinary-grade dried lavender flowers are available at Penzeys Spices in Maplewood and its new location in Chesterfield. When you crush them with sugar and citrus, the smell transports you to tea party in a field of flowers under a blue sky.

 
Lavender Shortbread Cookies
24 cookies

½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. dried lavender*
1 tsp. lemon zest
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

• In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the sugar, lavender and lemon zest 8 to 10 times until the mixture is well blended. Set aside 1 tablespoon lavender sugar for sprinkling.
• In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the all but the reserved lavender sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until just incorporated.
• On medium speed, beat the flour in 1 large spoonful at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until the flour is just incorporated. The dough will be a bit dry. Form the dough into 2 2-inch-thick discs, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
• Preheat the oven to 325. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
• Roll out a disc ½-inch thick on a lightly floured work surface. Cut the cookies out with a glass or cookie cutter and place them onto the baking sheets. Sprinkle the cookies with the reserved lavender sugar.
• Bake 10 to 14 minutes, until the edges are light brown. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely. Cookies will keep covered up to 1 week.

*Available at Penzeys Spices in Maplewood and Chesterfield

 

 

Just Five: Skirt Steak with Radishes

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

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Radishes are a divisive little vegetable. While some long for radish season to make a butter and radish sandwich (yes, that’s a thing) or spend hours mastering radish roses for garnish, many more see this pink nubbins as the things you don’t eat on the crudite plate, skipping right over them at the farmers market.

Don’t be that guy! When you cook radishes with butter, they develop a mellow peppery taste that pairs exquisitely with steak. The pungent green tops are edible, too, and adding arugula or spinach softens their sharp bite. This pretty pink and green dish comes together in a snap and stretches a cheap cut of steak to serve four in less than 30 minutes.

 

Skirt Steak with Radishes
3 to 4 servings

8 radishes with leaves
¼ cup water
2 Tbsp. butter
¼ tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/8 freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 cup arugula or baby spinach
Vegetable oil for greasing
1 to 1½ lb. skirt steak

• Prepare a charcoal grill for high, direct heat.
• Remove the radish leaves, coarsely chop them and set aside.
• Quarter the radishes and place them in a medium saucepot with the water, butter, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the radishes are fork tender, about 10 minutes. Add the mustard, half the minced garlic and radish leaves and simmer another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the arugula to wilt and set aside.
• Season the steak with the remaining minced garlic, salt and pepper. Oil the grate and grill the steak 5 minutes, then flip and grill another 4 minutes for medium-rare. Let rest on a cutting board 3 to 5 minutes.
• Thinly slice the meat against the grain. Divide the radish mixture evenly among 3 to 4 plates, then top each with steak slices.

 

 

Just Five: Sole with Citrus-Browned Butter Sauce

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

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It may shock you to know that there are many nights during the week when I’m not whipping up amazing five-ingredient meals for my family (shout out to Dogtown Pizza for keeping them fed on more than one occasion). However, I recently gained a bonus kid for a few nights, and I was determined to impress this new audience. I know you can never go wrong with browned butter, and pairing it with citrus and fish was a no-brainer. This dish was a huge hit, and I impressed a teenage girl – which, as any parent knows, is no small fete.

 

Sole with Citrus-Browned Butter Sauce
4 servings

1 cup flour
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 4-oz. sole fillets
2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 Tbsp. butter
1 large shallot, minced
1/3 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Orange zest and lemon zest, for garnish (optional)

• Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
• Mix together the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge the fish in the flour and shake off the excess. Discard the flour and set the fillets aside.
• In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the fillets and cook 3 minutes, then carefully flip and cook on the other side another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the fillets to a serving platter and place it in the oven to keep warm.
• In a saucepot over high heat, melt the butter until it starts to foam. Add the shallot and swirl 3 to 4 minutes, until the butter begins to brown and smells nutty. Add the orange and lemon juices and cook 1 minute more, until the butter starts to foam again. Remove from heat.
• Remove the platter from the oven and drizzle with the citrus-browned butter sauce. Garnish with orange and lemon zest, if desired. Serve immediately.

 

 

Just Five: Raspberry Fool with Angelic ‘Croutons’

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

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I’m generally not a fan of angel food cake. Its spongy texture leaves something to be desired. But toasted angel food cake? That simple technique converted me, and its the secret ingredient to this classic dessert. Toasted angel food “croutons” add sweet, crunchy, chewy bits of heaven to a beautiful treat. I used raspberries, but any spring berry would work wonderfully. Almond extract in the whipped cream gives an almost fruity note – I may not go back to vanilla!

 

Raspberry Fool with Angelic ‘Croutons’
4 servings

1 store-bought angel food cake, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
12 oz. raspberries
4 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. almond extract

• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
• Place the cake pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toast about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
• Set a few raspberries aside for garnish. Mash the remaining raspberries in a bowl with 2 tablespoons sugar. Set aside to macerate.
• In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the almond extract using an electric mixer on high until soft peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes.
• Place a layer of cake pieces in the bottom of 4 glasses. Add a layer of macerated raspberries, then a layer of whipped cream. Repeat layers to the top of the glasses, then garnish each with a few whole berries.

 

 

Just Five: Pork Tenderloin with Date Relish

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

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This dish is the perfect date night dinner. (See what I did there?) Sweet, toothsome dates pair wonderfully with fresh orange juice and seared pork. Toasted walnuts add a finishing crunch, though hazelnuts would also work here. Don’t skip the fresh herbs, either. If you are a card-carrying member of ICCCC (I Cannot Consume Cilantro Club), parsley makes a fine substitute. One final note: Do not use pre-cut dates, which are often coated in extra sugar that makes the dish far too sweet.

 
Pork Tenderloin with Date Relish
3 to 4 servings

¼ cup walnuts
1 1½-lb. pork tenderloin
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
¾ cup diced pitted dates*
¼ cup fresh orange juice (about 2 oranges)
¼ cup cilantro or parsley

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
• In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts 2 to 3 minutes, tossing frequently, until aromatic. Remove from heat and let cool, then coarsely chop. Set aside.
• Season the pork tenderloin all over with salt and pepper.
• In a large ovenproof skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the pork 1 to 2 minutes per side, until evenly browned all over. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast 12 to 15 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Let the meat rest on a cutting board and loosely tent with foil.
• Pour the pan drippings into a small bowl. Add the dates, orange juice, cilantro and toasted walnuts and whisk together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
• Slice the pork tenderloin and place on a serving dish. Spoon the date relish over the top and serve.

* Do not use pre-cut dates, which are often coated in extra sugar.

Just Five: Filipino Chicken Adobo

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

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I don’t have a drop of Filipino blood in my family, but my mom was an adventerous cook and I learned a lot growing up at her table. Her Filipino Chicken Adobo was a regular summer dish. She boiled the chicken for an hour or so, and then handed it off to my dad to grill just long enough to get a nice char on the outside (I have a sneaking suspicion it was more about letting him futz with the fire for an hour and keeping him out of the kitchen. Win-win.). This dish is pretty foolproof: marinade the meat, simmer until until it is fall-off-the-bone tender, then crisp the skin under the broiler.

 

Filipino Chicken Adobo
4 to 6 servings

½ cup white vinegar
½ cup soy sauce
5 cloves garlic, crushed
4 bay leaves
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken leg quarters or 8 thighs

• In a large pot, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves and ½ teaspoon pepper and add the chicken pieces. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 3 hours.
• Gently bring the pot to boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer 20 more minutes, until sauce begins reduce and thicken.
• Preheat the broiler.
• Remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a baking sheet. Broil the chicken until the skin is crispy. Remove to a serving plate.
• Remove and discard the bay leaves and garlic from the pot, then spoon the sauce over the chicken. Serve with rice.

 

Meatless Monday: Leeks Vinaigrette with Eggs

Monday, April 13th, 2015

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Odds are, you still have a hardboiled egg or two lingering in your fridge after Easter. Make quick work of them with a quick, healthy Meatless Monday meal that requires just five ingredients. Slice and boil a few leeks until just tender, then shock them in cold water to preserve their vibrant color. Whisk together a classic vinaigrette of olive oil, red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard, then drizzle it over the leeks and top with chopped egg and fresh tarragon. Get the recipe for this speedy vegetarian meal here.

 

 

Just Five: Citrus Salad

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

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Behold: another dish that blew my marginal expectations out of the water. I love it when a simple preparation is a home run, especially when it’s this beautiful to boot. This salad is ideal for brunch or a dinner party. Use whatever citrus is available, but don’t skip the blood oranges with their enticing ruby color. Cara Cara navel oranges work nicely, as do clementines, mandarins or even a little grapefruit. If you don’t use all the syrup, mix it with some gin, lemon and soda water for a perfect cocktail pairing.

 

Citrus Salad
Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe
4 servings

¼ cup sugar
½ cup fresh tarragon leaves, divided
¼ cup hot water
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 blood oranges, peel and pith removed
2 tangerines, peel and pith removed
2 navel oranges, peel and pith removed

• Muddle together the sugar and ¼ cup tarragon in a jar, add the hot (not boiling) water and pepper, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
• Using a serrated knife, slice the blood oranges crosswise into about 4 ½-inch slices each. Repeat with the tangerines and the navel oranges. Arrange the fruit a serving dish and scatter the remaining ¼ cup tarragon over the citrus. Set aside.
• Strain the tarragon syrup through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Discard the solids. Drizzle the orange segments with the syrup as desired. Serve at room temperature.

Just Five: Asian-Lime Salmon

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

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Salmon is the one fish that everyone in my family gladly eats. I have no problem with this, as it’s frequently on sale and the health benefits are well documented (omega-3 bomb, anyone?). Until recently, the dish to beat in our home was Salmon with Pinot Noir Syrup, but lately, this Asian-lime salmon has slid into the No. 1 spot. I usually serve it flaked in a bowl filled with white or brown rice, edamame, shredded carrots and steamed broccoli or spinach. Only two salmon filets are needed for four of these bowls. For a more velvety sauce, you can stir in a slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water. Bookmark this recipe – you’ll use it all the time.

 

Asian-Lime Salmon
2 Servings

2 5-oz. skinless salmon fillets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
4 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. maple syrup (or agave)
Half the zest and juice of 1 lime

● Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the salmon on a parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle each fillet with salt and pepper and roast 10 minutes for medium-rare.
● Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a small saucepan over medium heat and saute the garlic 30 seconds. Whisk in the soy sauce, syrup, lime zest and lime juice and simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook 3 to 4 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken, stirring occasionally.
● Plate the salmon and drizzle it with the sauce.

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