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Jul 24, 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: 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.

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.

Just Five: Martini Burger

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

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Put a little Friday night in your weekday burger. While the patty itself is pretty basic (feel free to snazz it up with your favorite grill seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, etc.) the blue cheese, olive and celery sauce is, as the kids say, lit.

It may come as a surprise that I am recommending a shelf-stable bottled salad dressing, but after a bit of research (meaning I tried all of the bottles of dressing I had), I found that blue cheese dressings found in the refrigerated section mostly tasted like ranch with a handful of cheese crumbles tossed in. They were sweet and weird, while Wish-Bone Chunky Blue Cheese dressing really tasted like blue cheese. If you want to make your own dressing for this recipe, I salute you. I am far more interested in perfecting my accompanying gin to vermouth ratio.

 

Martini Burger
4 servings

1 cup chunky blue cheese dressing (like Wish-Bone)
⅓ cup chopped pimento-stuffed Spanish olives
¼ cup chopped celery
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1⅓ lb. ground chuck
Kosher salt to taste
Vegetable oil for greasing
4 English muffins, toasted

• Prepare a charcoal grill for medium-high, direct heat.
• In a small bowl, combine the blue cheese dressing, chopped olives, celery and pepper to taste. Set aside.
• In a large mixing bowl, gently mix the ground chuck with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the meat evenly into 4 balls, then form patties, making a small indent in the center of each.
• Lightly brush the grill grate with oil. Oil the grill and cook the patties with the indent facing up 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and grill another 4 to 5 minutes for medium doneness.
• Place the burgers on the English muffin bottoms, then add a scoop of the blue cheese-olive mixture. Cover with the remaining English muffin tops and serve.

Just Five: Madras Egg Salad

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

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It’s that time of year when people divide themselves into two camps: those who are grossed out by a sudden surplus of hard-boiled eggs and those who celebrate it. I myself am a card-carrying member of Camp Celebration. I love hard-boiled eggs sliced up and thrown into salads, eaten for breakfast with a little hot sauce, or made into just about any kind of egg salad. This mustard-free version adds mango chutney and garam masala for a slightly sweet, Indian-inspired take on the classic. I included instructions for the perfect hard-boiled egg in case you didn’t get around to it (or failed miserably on your first try), but for those of you with eggs to burn, it’s as simple as peel, chop and stir. To gild the lily, serve this on thin slices of radish.

 

Madras Egg Salad
4 servings

6 eggs
4 Tbsp. mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. minced green onions
2 Tbsp. mango chutney
1 tsp. garam masala

• Place the eggs in a large pot and cover with 1 inch cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high, then immediately cover and remove from heat. Let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath. Plunge eggs into ice water and let rest until cool.
• To easily shell hard-boiled eggs, place 1 egg in a small glass or mug, fill halfway with water, cover with 1 hand and shake vigorously over a sink to crack the shell. Peel the shell away, and repeat with the remaining eggs.
• Roughly chop the eggs, then add them to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Just Five: Steak with Porcini Slather

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

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I recently took a trip to northern California to visit one of the few friends who nerds out over food as much as I do. Her current obsession: porcini mushrooms. She demanded to know if I was equally infatuated. But here’s the thing – I really don’t get excited about mushrooms.

I’ll now eat my words (and my mushrooms) after that weekend and the amazing porcini dishes we tried. Upon my return, I was inspired to buy a pack of dried porcini mushrooms and play. This recipe was the winner.

If you do not have a spice grinder, you can blitz the porcini mushrooms in a food processor. It won’t be as fine, so add an extra tablespoon of oil when whisking the slather ingredients together and let rest one hour to soften the larger pieces. You can also find porcini powder in specialty shops. Ozark Forest Mushrooms makes a lovely one available at Larder & Cupboard.

With apologies to linguists, I am used the word “slather” as a verb and a noun here. The woodsy, savory porcini mixed with shallot, sugar and pepper make this decadent sauce worthy of such wordplay. I served this steak with the remaining slather slathered on my sides of potatoes and Swiss chard, cursing myself for not doubling the recipe.

 
Steak with Porcini Slather
2 servings

¼ oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1/3 cup olive oil
1 shallot, finely minced
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
½ Tbsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 8-ounce, strip steaks, about 1-inch thick

• In a spice grinder, grind the dried mushrooms into a fine powder.
• In a small bowl, whisk together the mushroom powder, olive oil, shallot, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes and pepper. Set aside.
• In a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, sear the steak 4 minutes, then flip and cook another 3 minutes. Slather some of the mushroom sauce over the top of the steaks and cook 1 minute more for medium-rare.
• Remove from the skillet, cover with foil and let rest 5 minutes. Serve with the remaining sauce on the side and slather at will.

 

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