All Star Dinner

by Amanda Mattos

By virtue of my contributions to this blog, you can probably gather that I’m fond of cooking. That I do it a lot. And that I’m generally pleased with the recipes I make and end up publishing on the interwebs enough to recommend them to other people. That said, this meal was off the damn chain. I’d say that if you’ve got a date or family member to impress, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start. Really and truly remarkably delicious. Recipes for radish butter on toast, whiskey glazed carrots and pork chops with arugula salad after the jump


Radish Butter
Wash about 10 radishes. Cut into quarters (or pieces that won’t choke up your food processor). Blend that with a stick of butter also cut up into knobs (you may decide you need more butter to even out the proportions). When that’s well integrated, add a handful of watercress, 1-2 lemons’ worth of zest, and a few good turns of fresh ground pepper. Process until all mixed together and smooth.

Spread on toasted pieces of good bread. I chose sour dough. I also sliced additional pieces of radish on top for a little additional crunch.

Whiskey Glazed Carrots
The Pioneer Woman Cooks is a great food blog; she posts photos and an explanatory narrative first, so you get to know the recipe, then she posts it in more basic, standard terms. Her recipe today for whiskey glazed carrots caught my eye and sparked the whole rest of the menu. These were so good I’d recommend them even for Thanksgiving. Yes, that’s right. Thanksgiving worthy! I didn’t deviate from her recipe one bit, so here it is. She’s got some great pictures you should definitely look at.

Pioneer Woman’s Whiskey-Glazed Carrots

  • 2 – 3 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into thick circles
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup…1/4 lb) butter
  • 1/2 cup Jack Daniels or other whiskey
  • 3/4 to 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh chopped chives

Melt 1 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add carrots in two batches, cooking for 60 to 90 seconds each batch. Remove from skillet. Pour in whiskey and allow to evaporate 30 seconds.
Reduce heat to medium, and add remaining butter. When butter melts, sprinkle brown sugar over the top. Stir together, then add carrots to skillet. Cover, and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
Remove lid and add salt and pepper. Continue cooking until carrots are done and glaze is thick, about 5 more minutes. Pour onto a platter and serve immediately. Sprinkle with chopped chives if desired.

Pork Chops with Arugula Salad
This was a really nice balance of acid and fat. At the end of the meal, I used the remaining arugula salad on the last piece of toast with radish butter, and that was also excellent. But this was a great way to mix up a stand-by main course. First, prepare the salad.

Whisk together the juice of half an orange and 1 lemon, and… some olive oil. I’m not sure on the amount. I usually follow Jamie Oliver’s “3 to 1” rule for dressings — 1 part acid to 3 parts fat. Also add a good squeeze of dijon mustard, one diced shallot, salt, fresh ground pepper and parmesean.

Arugula as the main green leaf, a couple tablespoons of fresh chopped mint, and about half of a granny smith apple chopped. Toss it all together with the dressing to coat all the pieces.

Pan Seared Pork Chops
Dust each side of the chop with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook in hot pan in olive oil for about 3 minutes on each side. Top with the salad mixture.

Here’s what my finished product looked like. Happy cooking!


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