Cornmeal Fried Porkchops

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2015/03/cornmeal-fried-pork-chops-goat-cheese-smashed-potatoes/

For the pork chops
6 boneless pork chops (about 3 ounces each)
About 3 cups buttermilk, whole milk if you can find it
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups yellow cornmeal
Cayenne pepper
Canola oil (or high heat safflower or sunflower, what I used) for shallow-frying

For the potatoes
3 pounds small-to-medium red potatoes
Kosher salt
1 cup half-and-half (or 1/2 cup milk plus 1/2 cup heavy cream)
6 ounces soft goat cheese
8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, diced and chilled
1/2 cup finely sliced fresh chives
Freshly ground black or white pepper

Marinate the pork chops: Pound each pork chop (using a meat pounder or, in a pinch, I’ve also used a cast iron skillet, rather dramatically) between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/8-inch thick. Place the chops in a container and cover them with the buttermilk. Cover and marinate at least four hours or overnight or in the refrigerator.

Prep the smashed potatoes: Put the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water and add 1/4 cup salt. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook the potatoes until fork-tender, about 20 minutes for small potatoes or 30 minutes for medium ones; try not to let the water boil.

Cook the chops: Heat your oven to 200 degrees. Remove the chops from the buttermilk, discarding it and patting most of the buttermilk off the chops. Season the chops with salt and cracked pepper. Put the cornmeal in a shallow bowl and season it with salt and cayenne pepper. Dredge the chops in the cornmeal, gently shaking off the excess, and put on a large plate.

[Brock wants you to cook these in two large cast-iron skillets, using the oil in each only once, discarding it and putting new oil in for the next chop. I used one 12-inch skillet that fit two chops and reused the oil a couple times, but the downside of this is that it will pick up black bits that fall into the oil as it cooks.]

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. When the skillet is hot, add a 1/4-inch of oil to each and heat for 1 minute. Carefully place 2 pork chops in each skillet; do not shake the skillets or touch the chops for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook the chops until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Carefully turn the chops over and cook until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes more. I found that my chops really wanted to stick on the second side, so slide a thin spatula underneath them to loosen them from the bottom of the pan before transfer the chops to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Discard the oil the skillet if it gets too murky and repeat with remaining chops.

Finish the potatoes: When the potatoes are almost cooked, bring the half-and-half to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Drain the potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, carefully smash each potato without breaking it apart. Pour the hot half-and-half over the potatoes; crumble the goat cheese, butter and chives over them then fold it together — I only did this once or twice, preferring to keep as many small pockets of goat cheese throughout as possible. Season with salt, if needed, and white or black pepper.

Serve: The potatoes and chops together. Repeat as soon as possible.

Serve with: Brock recommends that you serve these with a cucumber and pickled green tomato relish, which sounds like everything I want to eat right now, but I would have had to have had 3 1/2 pounds heirloom green tomatoes and gotten started on it two weeks ago (1 week for each pickling stage). I’ll be trying it out this summer. In a pinch, I wish I’d made these pickles instead.

Cucumber and Avocado Salad

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2015/04/obsessively-good-avocado-cucumber-salad/

3/4 to 1 pound seedless cucumber, washed and chopped into chunks
2 thin or 1 regular scallions, thinly sliced
1 large avocado, pitted and diced
2 tablespoons mayonaise
Juice of half a lime, plus more to taste
Salt and hot sauce (we used Sriracha) to taste
Chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley to garnish

Combine cucumber, scallions and avocado in a bowl. Whisk together mayo, lime and seasonings, adjusting levels to taste. Drizzle salad with dressing and garnish with cilantro or parsley. Repeat again tomorrow.

Potato Scallion and Kale Cakes

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2015/04/potato-scallion-and-kale-cakes/

12 scallions (mine were very thin; I’d use fewer if yours are on the thick side)
1 handful kale leaves, rolled in a stack and sliced into very thin ribbons
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (I totally skipped this)
1/2 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt (use less if your mashed potatoes are already seasoned)
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs or panko (plain and lightweight)
1 1/2 cups cold leftover mashed potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Clean and trim the scallions, leaving about 2 inches of green stems; I reserved the darker green tops for garnish and salad additions. Cook in boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, wring out well, and chop finely. Place the scallions in a medium-sized bowl, add the kale, eggs, nutmeg (if using), salt, pepper, bread crumbs and potatoes and stir to combine. The batter will be loose and wet; this is just fine.

Heat the oils in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Use about 2 tablespoons batter (I used a cookie scoop that holds slightly less) per pancake, flattening them as they hit the pan. Cook until golden brown underneath, just a couple minutes, before flipping them and cooking them on the reverse side until golden and crisp as well. Drain on paper towels, but be gentle as they are still fragile. You can keep them warm in a 200 degree oven while cooking off the rest of the batter, adding more oil as needed and letting pan cool between batches if it gets too hot.

Serve scattered with reserved scallion stems, if desired, topped with a crispy egg or alongside a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt. They also make a wonderful meal with a big salad. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a few days

Sesame Noodles

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2015/08/takeout-style-sesame-noodles-with-cucumber/

Serves 4, generously, and up to double that if served as shown, with lots of cucumber, peanuts and herbs

3/4 pound dried rice noodles (see notes up top)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, plus a splash to loosen noodles
2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste or tahini (see note up top)
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated or brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic (from 1 medium-large clove)
Chili-garlic paste, to taste
1/2 pound cucumber, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped
A handful of chopped fresh herbs, such as mint and cilantro, for garnish

Cook noodles according to package directions and rinse with cold water to cool. Drain well. Drizzle with a tiny splash of toasted sesame oil to keep them from sticking until dressed.

Meanwhile, whisk sesame paste and peanut butter in the bottom of a small bowl, then whisk in soy sauce, rice vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, sugar, ginger, garlic and chile-garlic paste to taste until smooth. Adjust flavors to taste. It might seem a bit salty from the bowl, but should be just right when tossed with noodles.

Toss sauce with cold noodles.

Place a medium-sized knot of dressed noodles in each bowl, followed by a pile of cucumber. Garnish generously with peanuts and herbs. Serve with extra chile-garlic paste on the side.

Potato Soup

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/01/perfect-potato-soup/

  • 6 slices Thin Bacon, Cut Into 1-inch Pieces
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 whole Carrots, Scrubbed Clean And Diced
  • 3 stalks Celery, Diced
  • 6 whole Small Russet Potatoes, Peeled And Diced
  • 8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Or Vegetable Broth
  • 3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun Spice Mix
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Fresh Parsley
  • 1 cup Grated Cheese Of Your Choice

Add bacon pieces to a soup pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside. Pour off most of the grease, but do not clean the pot.

Return the hot to medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.

Pour in the broth and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender. Whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove half to 2/3 the soup and blend in batches in a blender/food process until completely smooth. (***USE CAUTION WHEN BLENDING HOT SOUP; IF POSSIBLE, ALLOW THE SOUP TO COOL BEFORE BLENDING***) Pour it back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Let it heat back up as you taste for seasonings, adding more of what it needs. Stir in cream, then stir in parsley, reserving a little for garnish.

Serve in bowls garnished with parsley, grated cheese and crisp bacon pieces.