White Beans with Salsa Verde

Cooked Royal Coronas, Alubia Blanca, or Cassoulet beans

To make Italian salsa verde:

Pound a clove of garlic with some salt and make a paste.

Add chopped fresh sage and flat-leaf parsley (about 3 parts sage to one part parsley) and continue pounding as you add really good olive oil.

Italian Meatball Soup

1 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 cup carrots diced 1/4-inch
1/2 cup celery diced 1/4-inch
1/4 cup onion finely diced
1 Tbsp tomato paste optional
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
28 oz can diced tomatoes undrained,preferably fire-roasted
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning or 1 tsp basil and 1/4 tsp of thyme and oregano leaves
Parmesan rind or 3/4-inch cube of Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground pepper
20 frozen, fully cooked Italian meatballs about 1 inch *see notes
3/4 cup ditalini pasta or other small pasta
4 cups baby spinach
Freshly grated Parmesan for serving

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat on the stovetop. Add carrots, celery and onion and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, if using and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender (taste to be sure). Discard bay leaf.
Pour in can of tomatoes. Add Italian seasoning, Parmesan rind, if using, and a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir to combine. Add meatballs. Continue simmering soup another 15 minutes, to allow the flavours to come together.
Add pasta and simmer a further 15 minutes, or until pasta is cooked. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt, pepper and/or Italian seasoning, as needed. Remove from heat and stir in baby spinach until wilted.
Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan.

Recipe Notes
Leftovers will thicken in the fridge. Thin when reheating with a little more chicken stock or water.

If you can’t find fully cooked frozen Italian meatballs, you can use fresh and pre-cook them before adding to soup.

Crockpot option! Add all ingredients except pasta and spinach to your slow cooker. Cook covered on low for 5-6 hours. Add pasta and cook, covered an additional 15-20 minutes. Stir in baby spinach until wilted, then serve with freshly grated Parmesan on top.

If you want to up the fibre quotient, some white or red kidney beans would not be out of place in this soup.

Like some heat with your warm soup? Add a pinch of red pepper flakes when you are sauteeing the vegetables.

Spring Pea Pasta with Lemon and Shiso

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon minced garlic
12 ounces dried orecchiette or shell pasta (or two batches of this fresh orecchiette)
Salt and black pepper
2 cups frozen peas
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons Vermont Creamery mascarpone (Greek yogurt or Vermont Creamery crème fraîche work well, too)
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
1/4 cup finely sliced shiso leaves (or mint, if unavailable), plus more for garnish

Combine oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic in a small skillet or saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden brown, 9 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add the orecchiette and 2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. (The pasta should still have quite a bit of bite; it will continue to cook in the sauce.)Reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Add the peas, lemon zest and juice, reserved garlic-oil mixture, and 3/4 cup of the pasta water to the pasta. Stir until pasta is well-coated with oil and no water remains in the bottom of the pot.

Add the mascarpone, Parmesan, and shiso leaves. Toss until the cheeses melt and evenly coat the pasta. If needed, loosen the pasta with the remaining 1/4 cup pasta water.

Season with more salt and plenty of black pepper to taste, then serve, with extra Parmesan on the side and more shiso, if desired. Enjoy!

Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon and Brown Sugar

3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, pricked with a fork (10 to 12 sweet potatoes)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 to 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon or orange juice
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Large pinch of ground cloves

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap potatoes in foil, place on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Let rest until cool enough to handle but still warm, then remove the foil and peel off the skins.

Add sweet potatoes to a food processor, along with butter, brown sugar, bourbon or juice, lemon zest, salt, nutmeg, pepper and cloves. Purée until smooth. (Or, for a chunkier texture, mash them by hand.) Taste and add salt, sugar or both if you like. Serve while still warm or reheat before serving.

Tip
This recipe can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat just before serving, either in the microwave or in a pot on the stove over low heat.

Pork and Ricotta Meatball Noodle Soup

Meatballs:
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese grated, plus more for garnish
1 large egg
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp nutmeg grated
1 tsp Kosher salt less if using fine salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 lbs ground pork

Soup:
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
1 3-by-1-by-1 inch piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 3 inches long, 1 inch wide and 1 inch thick
1 cup frozen peas thawed
2 cups baby spinach
For serving
Warm cooked egg noodles
Shaved, crumbled Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Start water boiling in a large pot for egg noodles.

In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta and 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano.

Add the egg, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, salt, pepper and water. Add the pork and stir to combine well. Form into 15-18 approx. two-inch diameter meatballs.

In a large pot (preferably non-stick), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook the bottom until well browned.

Using a spoon, gently flip the meatballs over and brown that side well. Again, using a spoon, flip the meatballs on their sides and brown all sides to seal the meatball well.

Pour in the broth and add the the piece of cheese. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer the broth very gently, stirring once or twice (so the Parmesan doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan), until the meatballs are cooked through and the broth is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the thawed peas and spinach. Taste, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the peas are warmed through.

Meanwhile, cook egg noodles in boiling water per the package directions. Drain and keep warm.

Place some warm cooked egg noodles in the bottom of shallow bowls. Spoon the meatballs and broth over the egg noodles. Garnish with additional grated Parmigiano and serve.

Recipe Notes
As the meatballs are quite moist and soft, cooking them in a non-stick pan will make life easier. If you don’t have a larger non-stick pot, you can cook them off in a non-stick skillet, then move them to a larger pot to finish cooking the soup. A non-stick skillet will give you extra room for flipping, as well.

Grilled Flank Steak with Soy-Chile Glaze

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 1/4 pounds flank steak
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Thinly sliced scallions and lime wedges

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small saucepan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and ginger and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic begins to turn golden. Add the soy sauce, sugar and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until syrupy, about 3 minutes; let cool.

Season the steak with salt and pepper. Grill the steak for 10 minutes for medium-rare meat, turning once; during the last minute, brush all but 2 tablespoons of the glaze over the steak. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes.

Grilled Balsamic and Garlic Marinated Flank Steak

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
One 2 1/2-pound flank steak
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a blender, combine the vinegar, oil, garlic and thyme and puree until smooth. In a large glass or ceramic dish, pour the marinade over the steak. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat a grill pan. Season the steak with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until medium, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer the steak to a board and let stand for 10 minutes. Slice the steak, transfer to plates and serve.

Flank Steaks with Shallot-Wine Sauce

Two 12-ounce flank steaks, about 3/4 inch thick
Salt
Pepper
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
3/4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper. In a large cast-iron skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the steaks and cook over high heat, turning once, until medium-rare, 6 minutes total. Transfer to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add the red wine, vinegar and sugar and simmer until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Cuban Flank Steak

1 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest plus 1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
2 large garlic cloves
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Kosher salt
Pepper
One 1 1/2-pound flank steak
2 ripe, firm mangoes—peeled, pitted and sliced
Lime wedges, for serving

In a blender, combine the ?citrus zests and juice with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, oregano, cumin, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and blend until smooth.

In a glass or ceramic baking dish, pour all but 1/4 cup of the marinade over the steak and turn to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Light a grill or grill pan and oil the grate. Remove the steak from the marinade, letting the excess drip off. Season with salt and pepper and grill over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly charred and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 125, 10 to 12 minutes.

Transfer the steak to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the meat against the grain and transfer to a platter with the mango slices and lime wedges. Drizzle with the reserved marinade and serve.

Miso-Sesame Steak Marinade

3 tablespoons red miso
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, trimmed and cut crosswise into 5- to 6-inch pieces, patted dry
2 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
5 teaspoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided

In a medium bowl, whisk together the miso, soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce, sugar, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Measure 2 teaspoons of the mixture into a small bowl and set aside. Add the steak to the remaining mixture, turn to coat and marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, to the reserved 2 teaspoons, stir in the vinegar and 3 teaspoons of the grapeseed oil, then set aside.

Remove the steak from the bowl an pat dry with paper towels. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil until barely smoking. Add half the steak in a single layer and cook without disturbing until well browned and the center of the thickest piece reaches 125°F for medium-rare, another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a platter, then repeat with the remaining steak, using the fat in the pan. Tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Stir any accumulated juices on the platter into the reserved miso mixture. Cut the steak against the grain on the bias into thin slices and return to the platter. Serve with the miso sauce.

Maple Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

8 slices bacon, diced
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsalted butter, frozen
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Drain excess fat; transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.

In a large bowl, combine bacon, flour, cheese, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Grate butter using the large holes of a box grater. Stir into the flour mixture.

In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk and 4 tablespoons maple syrup. Add to the flour mixture and stir using a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.

Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut out 12 rounds using a 2 to 2 1/2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter. Place biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet; place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Remove biscuits from freezer. Place into oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup and butter.

Serve biscuits warm, brushed with the maple-butter mixture.

Pasta con Fagioli

8 ounces campanelle or other short pasta
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large fennel bulb, halved, cored and thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 15½-ounce cans Roman beans (see note), drained but not rinsed
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 ounces Pecorino romano cheese, grated (1 cup)

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente. Reserve 2 cups of cooking water, then drain and rinse with cold water until cool; set aside.

Wipe out the pot and return it medium-high. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil until barely smoking. Add the tomatoes, then cover, reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred and have burst, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onion, sliced fennel and ½ teaspoon salt, then cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, rosemary, fennel seeds and pepper flakes, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the beans, broth and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cover, reduce to medium and cook, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente and the sauce is creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. If needed, add the remaining reserved cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time to reach the proper consistency. Off heat, stir in the lemon zest and juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the cheese and additional oil for drizzling.

Roasted Cauliflower, Paneer, and Lentil Salad

For the salad:
1/2 cup green lentils
1/2 cup black lentils
1 small head cauliflower (about 1 pound)
1 10-ounce block paneer, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups total)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced

For the cilantro-oil dressing:
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup tightly packed, fresh cilantro leaves
1 Serrano chile, seeded, if desired
Juice of 1 lime, about 1/4 cup
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Rinse the lentils in a fine-mesh strainer under cold running water and pick out any stones or imperfect beans. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, turn the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until tender but not mushy, 25 to 60 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on how old the lentils are, so check them every 5 minutes after the first half hour. When they have reached desired doneness, drain through a fine-mesh strainer and set on a clean kitchen towel to absorb any remaining liquid.

While the lentils are cooking, roast the cauliflower and paneer: Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets and transfer to a roasting or sheet pan. Add the paneer. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil, mixing to coat evenly. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the florets and paneer are crispy on the outside and feel tender when pierced with a skewer or knife, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a blender and pulse at medium-high speed until smooth and paste-like.

When the cauliflower and paneer are done, transfer to a large bowl and gently stir in the drained lentils and scallions. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Drizzle with 1/2 to 1/3 cup of the dressing, to taste, and serve warm or at room temperature. (Store the leftover salad and dressing in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to four days. Shake the dressing before using.)

Broiled Potatoes with Lemon and Halloumi

2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound (450g) Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice, from about 1 lemon, plus zest of 1 lemon
8 ounces (225g) halloumi cheese, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried oregano

Preheat broiler and set top oven rack about 6 inches from broiler element. Add olive oil to a 12-inch cast iron skillet and spread evenly all over.

Add potatoes, shingling the slices around the pan in a single circular layer. Season with salt and pepper.

Broil until the potatoes have puffed up slightly, mostly cooked through, and browned on top, about 7 minutes.

Pour lemon juice all over potatoes and sprinkle zest on top. Add halloumi cheese in an even layer on top and broil until cheese is golden brown all over and potatoes are fully cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Sprinkle oregano on top and serve.

Flatbread with Apple, Cheddar, and Arugula

Flatbread Dough: (makes four 5×14-inch flatbreads)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup lukewarm water
1 Tbsp. dry active or instant yeast
1 Tbsp. honey
1/4 cup olive oil

Toppings: (for one 5×14-inch flatbread – increase as necessary)
1 cup grated or crumbled aged white cheddar
1/4 cup cooked diced pancetta or bacon
1/4 – 1/3 of a large apple cored and very thinly sliced (no need to peel) or pear
Handful of fresh baby arugula

In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour and salt.

In a two-cup glass measure, combine warm water, yeast and honey. Let stand 5-10 minutes.

Add proofed yeast mixture and olive oil to bowl with flour and salt. Stir into a smooth dough, adding a few more tablespoons of flour, if necessary to make a smooth, moist (but not sticky) dough.

Place into a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Pre-heat oven to 400° F. with racks in upper third and lower third of oven. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove risen dough to a well-floured surface. Cut dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion on a floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Your flatbread can be any size or shape. If making oblong ones, just be sure they aren’t longer than the length of your baking sheet, so it doesn’t hang over the edge. Somewhere around 5-inches wide to 14-inches long works well.

Place two flatbreads side-by-side onto each baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature for 10 – 15 minutes to rest.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 5 minutes, then switch baking sheets top to bottom and front to back.

*If you have some large bubbles, poke them several times with the point of a sharp knife. Bake another 5-7 minutes, until firm and starting to turn golden in spots.

*Don’t over-brown if you intend to re-bake flatbreads with toppings later on, to avoid over-browning when you bake the second time with toppings.

Remove flatbreads to a cooling rack to cool. (If making cheddar-apple flatbreads immediately, leave oven on and set to 400° and keep baking sheets with parchment handy to re-use)

Once flatbread have cooled a bit, top with cheddar and cooked pancetta/bacon. A little freshly ground black pepper, is nice here.

Arrange thinly sliced apples overtop.

Return to parchment-lined baking sheet and pop back in to the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden and apples have softened. Allow to cool slightly, then top with fresh arugula. Cut into triangles for serving.

Moroccan Meatballs

1/3 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
4 tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
10 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup panko
1 pound 90 percent lean ground beef
1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 large eggs, cracked into a small bowl

In a small bowl, stir together the olives and lemon zest; set aside.

In a blender, puree the tomatoes with their juice until smooth, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet over medium, melt the butter. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and pepper flakes, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Transfer 1/2 cup of the onion mixture to a large bowl and set aside.

Return the skillet to medium and add the broth and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cover and cook until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Remove from the heat.

While the sauce simmers, stir the panko and 1/2 cup water into the reserved onion mixture. Let stand until the panko softens, about 5 minutes, then use your hands to mash to a smooth paste.

Add the beef, 1/2 cup of cilantro, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Divide into 16 (2-tablespoon) portions, rolling them into smooth balls. Place on a plate, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Return the sauce to medium and bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs in a single layer, then spoon sauce over each. Cover, reduce to low and cook for 15 minutes. Flip each meatball, then continue to cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened and meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Push the meatballs to the sides of the skillet. Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Gently pour the eggs into the center, cover and cook over medium-low until the egg whites are barely set and yolks are still runny, 4 to 5 minutes.

Off heat, sprinkle the olive mixture and remaining ½ cup cilantro over the tagine.

Tip: Don’t use ground beef less than 90 percent lean or the sauce will be greasy. Also, don’t overcook the eggs; the yolks should remain runny so they mix with the sauce.

Nuoc Cham

3 tablespoons lime juice (1 fat, thin skin lime)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

Optional additions

1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 or 2 Thai chilis, thinly sliced or 1 teaspoon homemade chili garlic sauce or store bought (tuong ot toi)

Make limeade. Combine the lime juice, sugar and water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Taste and as yourself this question: Does this limeade taste good? Adjust the flavors to balance out the sweet and sour.

Finish with fish sauce. Add the fish sauce and any of the optional ingredients. Taste again and adjust the flavors to your liking, balancing out the sour, sweet, salty and spicy. Aim for a bold, forward finish — perhaps a little stronger than what you’d normally like. This sauce is likely to be used to add final flavor to foods wrapped in lettuce or herbs, which are not salted and therefore need a little lift to heighten the overall eating experience. My mother looks for color to gauge her dipping sauce. When it’s a light honey or amber, she knows she’s close.
Notes

Advance Preparation – This sauce may be prepared early in the day and left to sit at room temperature.

Variation – Use half lime juice and half Japanese rice vinegar for a less assertive sauce. Some delicately flavored dishes require this.

courses sauce

Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Pork (Thit Heo Nuong Xa)

You can use this marinade with small pieces of pork and thread them on skewers and dip them in some nuoc cham dipping sauce. If there’s no lemongrass, use about 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder instead. Slicing the pork at the end is a traditional Vietnamese approach to eating meat as the pieces are easier to pick up with chopsticks. Enjoy with rice, a stir-fried or grilled vegetable and a quick soup (canh). Feel free to stuff leftovers into banh mi sandwiches and use them for bun rice noodle salad bowls.

Ingredients

1 pound boneless pork shoulder steak, about 1/2 inch thick

Marinade

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons granulated or light brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped shallot or yellow onion
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped (3 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon dark (black) soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon oil

Cut the pork shoulder steak into pieces about 3 to 4 inches big. Set aside.

Put the sugar, garlic, shallot and lemongrass into an electric mini chopper and process to a fine texture. (Or, mince the garlic, shallot, and lemongrass individually, put them into a bowl, and add the sugar.) Add the pepper, soy sauce, fish sauce, and oil and process to combine well. Aim for a relatively smooth texture. The marinade will be chocolate brown. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the pork, and turn to coat well. Cover and set aside at room temperature to marinate for 1 hour. Or, refrigerate up to 24 hours, letting the meat sit out at room temperature for 45 minutes to remove some of the chill before grilling.

Preheat a grill to medium-high. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes, turning frequently, until cooked through. Nick with a knife to test. Transfer to a plate, loosely cover with foil or an inverted bowl for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Thai Barbecue Chicken

1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro roots (or substitute with bottom stems)
8 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 tsp white peppercorns, freshly ground
1 tbsp coriander seeds, freshly ground
2 tsp yellow curry powder
2-3 tbsp fish sauce (nahm bplah), to taste
1-2 tsp sugar, to taste
1 large roasting chicken, cut into smaller sections (or see note below), or half a dozen leg-thigh pieces

Coconut milk for basting chicken while grilling (about 1/2 cup)
Using a heavy mortar and pestle, pound cilantro roots, garlic and shallots to a paste. Add the freshly ground white pepper, coriander and curry powder. Stir and pound to blend the dry and wet ingredients. Add the fish sauce and sugar. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.

Trim off excess fat around the edges of chicken pieces, leaving the skin on. Rub paste onto the surface of the chicken and under the skin. Marinate two hours or up to overnight.

Grill over medium-hot charcoals (preferably mesquite or other wood coals). Turn frequently to prevent charring and burning. Add about 1/2 cup coconut milk to the bowl with the remaining marinate. Stir to mix and use this coconut milk mixture to baste pieces after each turning. Grill until cooked through. Serve with Sweet and Tangy Dipping Sauce (see below).

Serves 6-8 with other dishes and rice in a shared family-style meal.

Thai Pork (or Chicken) Satay with Peanut Sauce

Satay Ingredients

1/2 lb (500 grams) pork or chicken, cut
into thin slices about 1″ wide and 3″ long
2 tsp. yellow curry powder
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp. soy sauce
30 bamboo sticks

Peanut Sauce Ingredients

2 tbsp. red curry paste
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. peanuts
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. tamarind juice
2 tbsp. coconut cream

Marinate pork or chicken for 30 minutes with all the satay ingredients.

To prepare the peanut sauce, heat coconut cream over medium heat and add curry paste mix well and add the remaining ingredients. Stir until thick and sauce-like.

Skewer the marinated pork or chicken onto the bamboo sticks. Grill over hot coals until cooked.

Serve with dipping sauce and cucumber salad.