70 dishes in 70 days. As the lock-down persists so does my challenge to never cook the same recipe twice. So far – so delicious. Why stop now?
Just like certain songs that remind me of summer, the Heart of Palm and Peach salad is one of my own creations that conjures up the same sentiments of long, hot days that drag on for weeks. The contrast of sweet, pungent, soft and crunchy are as mesmerizingly seductive as floating around a pool on an inflatable lounger for 3 hours.
HEARTS OF PALM AND PEACH SALAD
- 1 tin hearts of palm sliced into short thin sections
- 1 large fresh yellow peach sliced very thinly
- Mixed greens
- Candied walnuts
- Crumbled gorgonzola cheese
- Balsamic vinaigrette with Walnut oil
Mix all ingredients together and serve immediately. Serves 4.
The Spicy Mango Pork with Noodles is a relative newbie to my collection, but it was love at first bite. Nothing like pairing up mango with Serrano chilies. I mean, please!
SPICY MANGO PORK WITH NOODLES
- 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon lime zest plus 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
- 2 teaspoons peeled fresh ginger cut into matchsticks, divided
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 1/2 tablespoons thinly sliced serrano chile
- 3 mangoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch-thick spears
- 1 cup hot water
- 8 ounces uncooked thin rice noodles or vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
- Thinly sliced scallions and pickled cucumber slices, for garnish
Toss together pork, cumin, salt, lime zest and juice, garlic, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon ginger in a medium bowl. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes.
Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large skillet over high. Working in 2 batches, add pork; cook until browned on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Wipe skillet clean; reduce heat to medium. Add mustard seeds and remaining 1 tablespoon oil; cook, undisturbed, until small bubbles appear on surface of seeds, about 30 seconds. Add onion and chile; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add mango and remaining ginger; cook, stirring gently, until mango is just tender, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to plate with pork.
Return 1 cup mango mixture to skillet; add 1 cup hot water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high; cook, smashing fruit using back of a wooden spoon, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Return remaining mango mixture and pork to skillet. Cook, stirring often, until pork is fully coated with mango mixture.
Serve pork mixture over noodles; garnish with scallions and pickled cucumber. Serves 4.
I love salads but there are very few I actually pine for through the winter. Panzanella is probably number one on the list. It is my default, go-to “can I bring a salad?” salad, and when you try it – it will become yours too.
- 1 ¼ pounds very ripe tomatoes; a mix of varieties and colors is nice
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- ¾ teaspoon kosher sea salt, more to taste
- 6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, more as needed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 6-inch length of ciabatta or baguette (about 4 ounces), preferably stale, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 2 sprigs fresh oregano
- Chopped fresh basil, for serving
Cut tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Using a large chef’s knife, mince 1 of the smashed garlic cloves. Add a pinch of salt and using the flat side of your knife, smash into a fine paste. Add garlic paste to the tomatoes along with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat and set aside in a colander to drip off the juice for at least an hour.
In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in 3 tablespoons olive oil until the mixture is thickened.
In a 10-inch skillet over high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, bread cubes, the remaining smashed garlic clove, 1 sprig of fresh thyme or 1 sprig of fresh oregano and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Cook while stirring occasionally until toasted and golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely. When cool, discard the garlic and thyme and add bread cubes to the tomato mixture. Add the leaves of the remaining uncooked thyme or oregano, and toss to combine. Transfer to a platter or individual plates and serve garnished with the chopped basil, and freshly ground black pepper. Serves 4.
What to do with leftover peaches and tomatoes? Throw them in a bowl with mint, shallots and a tangy lemon vinaigrette and say: “Oh, this old thing? It was nothing.”
PEACH AND TOMATO SALAD
- 1 pound ripe tomatoes, cored, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges, and wedges halved crosswise
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice
- 1 pound ripe peaches, halved, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges, and wedges halved crosswise
- 1 shallot, sliced into thin rings
- ⅓ cup fresh mint leaves, torn
Perfectly ripe peaches and tomatoes are essential to this recipe.
Combine tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt in bowl and toss to coat; transfer to colander and let drain in sink for 30 minutes.
Whisk oil, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add peaches, shallot, and drained tomatoes to dressing and toss gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to platter and sprinkle with mint. Drizzle with extra oil. Serves 4.
So, this Lamb with Fig Balsamic glaze might be the only serious recipe for the week but it’s not just tall, dark and handsome, it has some pretty deep, rich Tuscan flavors that are beyond restaurant quality. Don’t skimp on the fig Balsamic. It’s the difference between good and great Scott.
RACK OF LAMB WITH FIG BALSAMIC GLAZE
- 2 Racks of Lamb well trimmed.
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil, separated
- Salt & Cracked pepper
- 2 – 3 Tbspn chopped rosemary
- 1/2 cup minced shallots
- 1/2 cup Fig Balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups good quality beef stock
- 1 head of garlic
- 1/3 cup dried mission figs, halved lengthwise
- 6-8 Tbspn unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 Tbspn chopped parsely
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place 15 – 18 cloves of peeled garlic in a small oven safe dish. Drizzle with 2 – 3 Tbsn olive oil and 1/2 cup water and roast in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Cool, drain and set aside.
Season the lamb racks well with salt and pepper and rosemary.
Heat 1 tblspn oil in a skillet and sear the lamb 2 – 3 minutes per side. (Lamb can be done ahead to this point.)
Transfer the lamb to a rimmed baking sheet and reserve the pan for the sauce. Roast lamb in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Degrease the searing pan, add shallots and cook 1 minute. Add vinegar and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce liquid until 3/4 cup remains. Remove from the heat and add garlic, figs and butter 1 Tbspn at a time until the sauce is thick and creamy. Adjust seasoning and add parsely, Serve over lamb chops.
If you have a slow-cooker (and a ton of time), this Pork Ramen gets you as close to Tokyo’s Ramen alley that COVID travel will currently permit.
SLOW COOKER MISO-PORK RAMEN
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp white vinegar
- 3/8 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup soy
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup white miso
- 2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
- 2 scallions, white and green parts separated, green parts sliced thin on bias
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1/2 (1½-inch) piece ginger, peeled and sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds
- 1/2 (2½-pound) boneless pork butt roast, trimmed
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 (4-inch) square piece kombu (optional)
- 3 (3-ounce) packages ramen noodles, seasoning packets reserved for another use
- Furikake and Chili oil for serving (optional)
Bring enough water to cover the 6 eggs to boil in a small saucepan. Add the baking soda and vinegar. Carefully lower the eggs and let them boil for 6 1/2 minutes. Meanwhile prepare an ice-bath. Plunge the eggs into the ice bath for at least 5 minutes until cool. Peel the eggs and then place them into a Zip-lock bag inside of a bowl. Add the mirin and soy and cinch the bag so that all 6 eggs are fully submerged. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Whisk broth and miso together in slow cooker. Add mushrooms, scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Sprinkle pork with pepper and transfer to slow cooker. Cover and cook until pork is tender and registers 195 degrees, 4 to 6 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low. Transfer pork to cutting board and let rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, add kombu, if using, to broth mixture in slow cooker and cook, covered, on high for 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove and discard scallion whites, garlic, ginger, and kombu, leaving mushrooms in slow cooker.
Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add noodles and cook until tender but still chewy. Drain noodles and divide evenly among serving bowls. Slice pork in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise ¼ inch thick. Ladle broth into bowls. Serve ramen topped with 3 or 4 slices of pork and scallion greens. Halve the eggs and lay two halves into each bowl. Serve furikake and chili oil on the side. Serves 4.
What happens when Chinese Spring roll season runs out? Vietnamese Summer roll rolls in. This mostly raw, crunchy and oil-free cousin is as flavorful as it’s pretty – and with two sauces, it’s a party in every bite.
VIETNAMESE SUMMER ROLLS
For the lime dressing:
- 5 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoon sugar
For the Peanut-Hoisin dipping Sauce:
- 1 Thai chile, stemmed and sliced thin
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅔ cup water
- ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
For the summer rolls:
- 3 ounces dried rice noodles
- 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
- ⅓ cup coarsely chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
- 1 large cucumber, seeded and sliced into matchsticks
- 1 medium daikon radish, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
- 8 round rice paper wrappers (8 inches in diameter)
- ½ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
- ½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
- ½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup bean sprouts
- ½ pound cooked medium shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), chilled and sliced in half lengthwise
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Remove the boiling water from the heat, add the rice noodles, and let stand, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the noodles and transfer them to a medium bowl.
Whisk the lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar together in small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Toss 2 tablespoons of the lime juice mixture with the noodles. In a medium bowl, toss 1 more tablespoon of the lime juice mixture with the carrots, peanuts, radishes, bean sprouts and cucumbers. Save the remainder of the lime juice mixture for dipping.
Using a chef knife, mash Thai chile, garlic, and salt to fine paste. Transfer to medium bowl. Add water, peanut butter, hoisin, tomato paste, and vinegar and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
Use a large, flat dinner plate to work on. Fill a 9-inch pie plate with 1 inch of room temperature water. Working with one rice paper wrapper at a time, immerse each wrapper in water until just pliable, about 2 minutes, then lay the softened wrapper on the dinner plate.
Arrange a few cucumber, radish and carrot sticks horizontally at one edge of the wrapper into a small bundle. Add a few noodles and about 3 leaves of each herb. Then fold the wrapper over the bundle securing the ingredients inside. Fold it over once more and then bend in the two sides and lay 3 shrimp halves at the next fold of the wrapper thereby scooping them up in the final fold. Set aside and cover with a damp cloth until ready to serve. Rolls should not be kept waiting for more than 20 minutes. Serve with the remaining lime juice dressing and peanut dipping sauce. Serves 4.
Of all of Italy’s greatest meals, Affogato is probably their greatest fanfare to the end of a meal. It’s ridiculously simple, outrageously flavorful and sinfully more-ish.
AFFOGATO WITH VANILLA ICE-CREAM AND NUTS
- ¼ cup raw pistachios or blanched hazelnuts
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 pint vanilla ice cream
- 8 tablespoons hot espresso or strongly brewed coffee
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast nuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
Mix cinnamon and cardamom in a small bowl.
Divide ice cream among 4 small serving bowls or coffee cups. Sprinkle spice mixture over and pour 2 Tbsp. espresso into each bowl. Top with nuts. Serve immediately.
Stay safe. Stay sane, and most importantly – stay at home!