Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chops

3 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped (1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons of coarsely chopped shallot, or 3 tablespoons of coarsely chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup of coarsely chopped fresh lemongrass (from 2 medium stalks; tough outer layer discarded)
2 tablespoons of light or dark brown sugar
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons of canola or other neutrally flavored oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons of fish sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons of soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of molasses or dark amber honey
4 thin-cut, bone-in pork chops (6 ounces each), about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup of nuoc cham dipping sauce (optional; see note)

Combine the garlic, shallot or onion, lemongrass, brown sugar and pepper in a mini food processor; process to a fine texture. Add the canola oil, fish sauce, soy sauce and molasses or honey; process until relatively smooth, to form a wet paste. This is your marinade; transfer to a mixing bowl.

Use paper towels to blot excess moisture from the pork. Add the pork to the marinade, turning to coat well, then cover and marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Or, refrigerate for up to 24 hours; let the meat sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.

Heat a cast-iron stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove the chops, discarding any leftover marinade. Do not wipe off the meat.

Add the pork chops to the pan; cook for 5 to 7 minutes, turning frequently, until firm and cooked through. To check doneness, pierce with the tip of a sharp knife; it’s okay if the center is faintly pink. Transfer them to a plate to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve the chops warm, passing the dipping sauce at the table, if desired.

VARIATION: To make the marinade without a food processor, mince the garlic and shallot, transfer to a large bowl, then mix with 3 tablespoons grated or minced lemongrass (or store-bought lemongrass paste) and the remaining ingredients.

NOTE: To make the dipping sauce, combine 1 tablespoon sugar (or 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup), 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice and 1/4 cup warm water in a medium bowl. Taste, and, as needed, add 3/4 teaspoon sugar (or 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup) and/or 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice; dilute with water if you go too far. If there’s an unpleasant tart-bitter edge, add 2 teaspoons of plain rice vinegar to fix the flavor. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce, aiming for a bold, forward finish that’s a little gutsy. If you want heat, add 1 thinly sliced Thai or serrano chile, or 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons chile garlic sauce or sambal oelek; for pungency, add 1 small minced garlic clove. The yield is 1/2 to 2/3 cup.

Gochujang Pork with Orange Slaw

FOR THE PORK CHOPS

4 thin boneless pork chops (about 3 ounces each)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons gochujang, plus more for serving, if desired

FOR THE SLAW

1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (optional)
2 cups thinly shredded green cabbage (about 1/2 medium head)
1 cup thinly shredded red cabbage (about 1/4 medium head)
1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley leaes
1/2 cup coarsely grated carrots (about 1 large carrot)
1/4 cup sliced scallions (from 1 large scallion), plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Place the oven rack 5 to 6 inches from the broiler and turn on the broiler. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly grease the foil.

Pat the chops dry and then lightly salt and pepper both sides. Transfer the chops to the baking sheet and place it under the broiler. Cook for about 4 minutes, turning once midway through cooking.

Remove the chops from the oven and brush them liberally with the gochujang on both sides. Return the chops to the broiler and broil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes on one side, watching carefully so the sauce does not burn.

Remove the pork from the oven. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing into 1/4-inch thick strips.

While the meat is resting, zest and juice the lemon. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and zest, lime juice, oil, soy sauce and sugar as well as the crushed red pepper flakes and ginger, if using.

In a large bowl, combine the cabbages, parsley, carrots and scallions.

Add the vinaigrette and sesame seeds, if using, to the slaw and toss until well coated. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Divide the slaw among 4 shallow bowls and top with the sliced pork. Sprinkle with additional scallions, if desired.

Beef-a-Roni

2 quarts water
Salt to taste
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 pound lean ground beef chuck or round steak
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley
1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
2 cups cubed or shredded Cheddar cheese
Cayenne pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Bring the water with salt to a boil. Add the macaroni; stir and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain and rinse under cold water.

In a skillet, heat the oil and add the onions, celery, green pepper and garlic. Cook, stirring, until wilted. Add the meat, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the meat loses its red color. Add the oregano, basil and tomatoes. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the cooked macaroni. Blend well and set aside. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan, and stir in the flour with a wire whisk until well-blended. Add the milk, stirring rapidly, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes.
Remove the sauce from the heat, and stir in the Cheddar cheese, cayenne, nutmeg, and more salt and pepper to taste. Stir until the cheese melts.

Preheat broiler.

Spoon the macaroni mixture into a baking dish measuring 7 by 10 by 2 1/2 inches. Pour the cheese sauce evenly over the macaroni mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and place under the broiler (about 4 to 5 inches from the heat source) until it is hot, bubbling and lightly browned.

Sloppy Joes

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup tomato paste
2 3/4 cups tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon pureed canned chipotle in adobo
1 bay leaf
12 kaiser rolls or hamburger buns
12 slices cheddar cheese (optional)

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm oil, and saute onions until translucent, 5 to 6 minutes.

Add garlic, and saute for 30 seconds. Add ground beef, and saute until well browned, 15 to 20 minutes.

Add tomato paste, tomato puree, chili powder, Tabasco, chipotle and bay leaf. Stir until blended. Raise heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until thick enough to spread on a sandwich, about 45 minutes.

To serve, heat a broiler. Slice the rolls open and place them under the broiler until lightly toasted, turning as necessary. Ladle about 1/2 cup onto the bottom of each roll, and top with cheddar cheese to taste. Return bottom halves to the broiler until cheese just melts. Top with the remaining halves, and serve immediately.

Korean Corn Cheese

1 (15-ounce) can corn kernels, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 to 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (see Tip)
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Heat your broiler. In a medium bowl, combine corn, bell pepper, mayonnaise, sugar, salt and pepper.
In an 8-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over high. Add the corn mixture and sauté just until warmed, 2 to 3 minutes.

Spread the mixture evenly into a single layer, then cover with cheese.
Set the skillet on the rack nearest the broiler and cook until the cheese is golden brown in spots, about 3 to 4 minutes. (Keep a close eye on it, as oven temperatures may vary.)
Sprinkle with the scallions and enjoy while it’s hot and cheesy!

Tip: For extra flavor, blend mozzarella with another mild, melty cheese like Muenster. Readers also suggested a cheddar mix.

Readers also suggest adding shredded chicken.

Beef Stew with Red Onions and Ale

2 pounds boneless beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 medium red onions
1 to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups beef or chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 cup ale or beer (nonalcoholic is fine)
1 rosemary sprig
3 carrots, sliced
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or sherry vinegar, plus more to taste
Chopped chives, for garnish
Flaky sea salt, for garnish

Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Set aside while you prepare the onions.
Peel the onions. Cut 2 of them in half root to stem, then thinly slice them crosswise into half-moons. Cut the third onion, root to stem, into 1/2-inch wedges.

Dust the beef cubes lightly with flour. Heat butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven or other pot over medium-high. Add beef, in batches taking care not to crowd the pan, and sear until it’s good and dark all over, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer beef cubes to a bowl as they brown. Add more oil and adjust heat if necessary to prevent burning.

Stir in sliced onions and raise heat to medium-high if you lowered it. Cook until pale golden brown and soft, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant and lightly golden at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes longer.

Make a well in the center of the onions, then stir in tomato paste, coriander and allspice; cook, stirring until paste is darkened, 1 minute. Stir in stock, ale, 1 cup water and rosemary sprig. Return beef and any juices to the pot and bring to a simmer. Partly cover the pot and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Give the beef a stir, then add onion wedges. Simmer for 15 minutes, then stir in carrots and continue to simmer until the meat, onions and carrots are tender, 30 to 45 minutes longer.

If the sauce seems thin, use a slotted spoon to transfer meat and vegetables to a platter; cover with foil to keep warm. Discard the rosemary. Return pot with liquid to stove and simmer until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Taste and add more salt and vinegar if you like. Spoon sauce over meat and garnish with chives, flaky sea salt and more black pepper.