Tastes of the Week

Week of June 4th, 2012 So it's officially time for something. Not sure what. I am perusing everything I can. What am I saying?  I will be hosting Martha Stewart's Radio Show "Cooking Today" on Sirius XM next Monday, Wednesday and Friday -- June 11th, 13th and 15th. Lining up my guests now. Hot topics, chefs of the moment, genius recipes, the book du jour, food trucks in Paris, American chefs in Paris, Chipotles in Paris. And mangoes in India. Great article in the New York Times about it. Mangoes and monsoons. Reminds me to mention the captivating, charming movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" which takes place in India; Jaipur to be exact. I've been there. It's not as clean as it is in the movie but it is actually more magical. It's known as the pink city. I grew up eating mangoes. My grandparents had a big ol' mango tree in their backyard on Linda Lane in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Feeling nostalgic as I can remember sliding my teeth along the resin-y skin of the voluptuous orange flesh with the juices trickling down my arm. I was six at the time.

In my very first cookbook, Little Meals: A Great New Way to Eat & Cook, I created a recipe as an homage to my mumma and grampy -- Louise and Joe Gold. They were both from Hungary and loved to eat. My grandfather and his mother actually had a restaurant for awhile in Astoria, Queens on the second floor...somewhere. My grandfather, known for his extreme generosity, gave most of the food away. It's hard to stay viable with "free food" as your business model. He was known as an angel by those who came into his orbit. Both my grandparents died early and I miss them.  My grandmother was ten years older than my grandfather. My mother kept it a secret (it was her promise to her mother), all their lives; right up to, and including on, their tombstones.  Quite a love story, right?  Maybe I'll write a story about it someday.

But in the meantime, here is that recipe from Little Meals that is quite nice for the summer months.  It was always summer on Linda Lane.

Shrimp, Mango & Hearts of Palm Juicy, ripe mangoes trigger vivid images of my grandparents' mango tree. Up the street was a lime tree. And so this dish is dedicated to fond childhood taste memories.

1 pounds very large cooked shrimp, peeled 2 ripe mangoes 1 can hearts of palm, rinsed and dried 1/2 cup fresh lime mixed with 1 teaspoon ketchup 1 tablespoon finely minced jalapeno 3 tablespoons olive oil pinches of salt, pepper and sugar 4 packed cups of spring greens, mesclun or soft lettuces

Cut the shrimp into large pieces and place in a bowl.  Peel mangoes and cut into cubes the same size as the shrimp. Add to the bowl.  Slice hearts of palm 1/3-inch thick and add to the bowl.  Toss with lime juice, jalapeno and oil.  Balance the flavors with sea salt, pepper and sugar.  Toss and refrigerate 30 minutes.  Arrange lettuce on a platter or on 4 plates. Mound salad on top. Garnish with thin slices of lime.  Serves 4

I should really start making more of my own food. I understand it's quite good. Someone I haven't heard from in a decade called me out of the blue last week to tell me she made one of my recipes recently and just had to tell me how much she loved it. Then she told me she makes it all the time.  But last week she threw the prune-and-bay leaf stuffed pork tenderloin on the grill. She has a new boyfriend. Maybe that's why it tasted so good. Not sure really.  That's a very easy thing to mess up on a grill; a tenderloin is so narrow and easily overcooked.  But when you're in love, magical things happen and we imbue our food with qualities it might not really have. Here's the recipe anyway.  Barbara Biondo (who is one of the most talented calligraphers on the planet -- her company is called American Art Studio) also makes another recipe -- and this one is from Little Meals.  It's called Chicken Soup Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee.  I made it for one of my appearances a long, long time ago. Someday I will share that recipe, too.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Prune & Bay Leaves ( from Recipes 1-2-3) In France, where the mention of prunes never causes a snicker, this dish would have a distinct bistro feel. Try with Hubbard squash and orange puree and crack open a bottle of white Burgundy.  For a different style, serve it with caramelized endive and bacon and enjoy a glass of Beaujolais.

8 California bay leaves 15 large pitted prunes 1-1/2 pound pork tenderloin

Place the bay leaves and prunes in a bowl.  Pour 1-1/2 cups boiling water over the top and let sit 15 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Make a 1-inch-deep slit along the length of the tenderloin, leaving 1 inch uncut on each end. Remove the bay leaves and prunes from the water and pat very dry.  Place the prunes in the bottom of the slit in a tight row. Crumble 1 bay leaf finely and sprinkle it over the prunes.  Roll the meat and tie it tightly at 1-inch intervals.  Season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Remove the remaining bay leaves in a row, under the strings.  Oil the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast 30 to 35 minutes (or throw it on the grill as Barbara does!).  Let it rest 5 minutes before slicing.  Remove the bay leaves.  Serves 4

Upcoming events:  Pastry Chef Awards tonight; a dinner in honor of fresh figs at abckitchen; a dinner in honor of Chilean olive oil at Olives at the W; lunch at Gramercy Tavern, recipe testing for Cooking Light, pork chops for dinner tomorrow.

Enjoy your own tastes of the week.

A Radically Delicious Recipe: Pork Medallions with Couscous, Pistachio-Lemon Vinaigrette

Here is a stunning "restaurant dish" (that's actually a full meal) you can whip up in your own kitchen. While it contains a cornucopia of ingredients, stealth techniques make it radically simple and radically delicious. Use genuine Dijon mustard from France for the best flavor. The pistachios can be ground in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or mini food processor. Pork Medallions with Couscous, Pistachio-Lemon Vinaigrette


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided 2 tablespoons pistachios, finely ground 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar 2 teaspoons maple syrup 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided 1 1/2 cups water 1 cup uncooked couscous 4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick) 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 pint grape tomatoes 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, pistachios, and next 5 ingredients (through mustard) in a small bowl. Add 1 teaspoon garlic and 1/8 teaspoon salt, stirring with a whisk.

2. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and couscous. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Rub pork with remaining 1 teaspoon garlic. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove pork from pan; keep warm. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil and tomatoes to pan; cook 5 minutes or until skins blister, shaking pan occasionally. Sprinkle with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir tomatoes and parsley into couscous; divide couscous mixture evenly among 4 plates. Top each serving with 1 pork chop and spoon vinaigrette on top.

New Year's Eve Pig Out

I don't really mean pig out in the sense of the word overindulging, but I do mean the preparation of one of my favorite pork roasts.  Since it requires 18 hours in your oven, it is the perfect dish to serve at the stroke of midnight -- at the very same moment that you sing Auld Lang Syne and kiss your partner under the mistletoe.  Instead of shouting "Happy New Year!" however, you may instead scream "Let's eat!" The vapors streaming from your kitchen at this point will be so intoxicating as to leave all formalities aside and have you rushing to the groaning board (a word whose derivation is most interesting.)  Let's figure this out and I'm telling you now so you can get the ingredients today.  If you put the pork shoulder in the oven tonight (Thursday, December 30th) at midnight, the irresistibly crackly sphere of meat will be ready for indulging at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow night -- Friday, Dec. 31st, the early hours of most New Year's Eve festivities. That's fine for many of you who like to eat at a reasonable hour, leaving you enough time to position yourself in front of some fireworks.  For those of you who are glued to your big screen television to watch the ball drop from the center of Times Square in New York City and join the world's choral countdown, then you'll need to put the pork in the oven around 4 a.m. (Friday, Dec. 31st).  That could present a problem, or not, but it is no different than what many Americans do on Thanksgiving Day. I can't tell you how delicious this pork roast is.  Flavored with fennel and cumin seed, garlic and fresh lemon, the skin becomes so crispy and the pork flesh stays so very moist because of the very low temperature at which it cooks.  There's a little kick at the end from hot pepper flakes and the whole thing goes amazingly well with champagne, whose celebratory bubbles cut through unctuous succulence and tempers the salinity.  Serve with a pot of oil-slicked bay-scented lentils (good luck in Italy) and a simple arugula salad splashed with balsamic vinegar (and maybe some crumbled blue cheese with pickled red onions!)  A simple carrot puree -- for color and contrast -- would also be nice.  Crank up the music and bring in the new year on high.

Here's what you need to do: 18-Hour Pork Shoulder with Fennel, Garlic & Lemon If you put this in the oven before you go to bed, it will be ready for dinner the next day -- all crackly, succulent and irresistible.

10-pound whole pork shoulder, skin on 2 large heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled 3 tablespoons fennel seeds 3 tablespoons cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes 2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Make deep slits in the pork skin, about 1 inch apart, going through to the flesh.  Combine the garlic, fennel, cumin, pepper flakes and 2 teaspoons kosher salt in a food processor; process until coarsely ground.  Spread the mixture all over the pork, making sure to pack some into the slits.  Place the pork in a roasting pan.  Roast for 30 minutes.  Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the pork and reduce the temperature to 250 degrees.  Bake for 18 hours.  Squeeze the juice of the second lemon over the pork during the last hour of cooking.  When done, the skin will crackle and the flesh will be soft.  Carve into thick or thin slices. Serves 8 (or more)

Happy almost New Year!