Pork Chops with Salted Plums

2 bone-in pork chops (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch thick, about 1 1/2 pounds total)
Kosher salt and ground pepper
1 pound medium plums, pitted and sliced
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar or fresh lime juice, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup fresh mint leaves
Olive oil, for drizzling

Season pork with salt and pepper; set aside.

Combine the plums and onion in a medium bowl along with vinegar and fish sauce, if using. Season with salt and pepper and try a plum; they should be relatively tangy and salty. Add more vinegar or salt, if needed, and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and cook, without moving, until well browned on one side, 4 to 6 minutes. Flip chops and cook until well browned on the other side, another 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer pork chops to a cutting board to rest. Add plum and onion mixture to the skillet and remove from heat. Give everything a toss, just to deglaze the skillet and scrape up any of those browned bits, slightly wilting the onion and letting some of those plum juices run free.

Slice pork chops to your desired thickness and transfer to a large serving platter. Scatter with plum mixture, top with mint and give everything a drizzle of olive oil before serving.

Shrimp Creole

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
4 teaspoons Creole Seafood Seasoning or more to taste, divided
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 fresh bay leaves
2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes
3 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Louisiana-style hot sauce (such as Crystal)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined raw medium shrimp

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add chicken stock, 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, paprika, cayenne, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high; reduce heat to medium, and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in scallions, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and salt; cook, stirring often, until thick but still a little saucy, about 10 minutes. Set aside Creole sauce.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high; swirl to coat. Add shrimp; sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (or to taste), and cook, stirring often, until slightly pink, about 1 minute.

Add Creole sauce to shrimp; cook, stirring, until shrimp are pink, cooked through, and coated in sauce, 3 to 4 minutes.

Grilled Zucchini with Fresh Mozzarella

3 zucchini (about 1 pound), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 pound salted fresh mozzarella, cut into thick slices

Light the grill or heat the broiler. In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, toss the zucchini with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Grill or broil the zucchini, turning once, until tender and golden, about 5 minutes per side. Put the zucchini back in the bowl.

Toss the zucchini with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, the vinegar, garlic, and parsley. Let cool.

Put the mozzarella slices on a serving plate, fanning them out to form a circle. Drizzle them with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and sprinkle them with a pinch of pepper. Fold the zucchini slices in half and tuck them between the pieces of cheese.

Grilled Apricots (or Plums, Peaches, or Pears) with Burrata, Country Ham, and Arugula

1 1/4 pounds apricots, halved and pitted
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
5 ounces baby arugula
1/2 pound burrata cheese, shredded
4 ounces shaved country ham 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the apricots with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, cut sides down, just until lightly charred, 5 minutes. Let cool.

In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the 1/4 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss in the apricots, radicchio and arugula. Transfer to a platter and top with the burrata, ham and vinegar. Serve.

Melon-and-Peach Salad with Prosciutto and Mozzarella

One 1 1/2-pound honeydew melon—seeded, peeled and thinly sliced
1 peach, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons vin cotto or balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons chopped marjoram
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, chopped
8 thin slices of prosciutto (2 ounces)

In a bowl, toss the melon and peach with the oil and vin cotto; season with salt and pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the herbs and cheese. Transfer the salad to a platter, top with the prosciutto and serve.

Mozzarella with Summer Squash and Olive Puree

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1 pound fresh buffalo mozzarella, cut into wedges
1 small zucchini, very thinly sliced
1 small yellow squash, very thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Flaky sea salt, freshly ground white pepper and piment d’Espelette or hot paprika, for sprinkling

In a mini processor, puree the olives. Strain the puree through a fine sieve; you should have about 1/4 cup. Spread the olive puree on plates and arrange the mozzarella wedges and zucchini and squash slices on top. Drizzle olive oil over the cheese and sprinkle with salt, white pepper and piment d’Espelette.

Persimmon and Burrata Salad with Sesame Brittle

For sesame brittle:
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
Salt

For salad:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons minced shallot
Pepper
5 ounces baby arugula
1/2 pound burrata cheese (2 small balls), drained and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 firm Fuyu persimmons, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

In a medium saucepan, cook the sugar over moderate heat, undisturbed, until melted and light golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the sesame seeds and a pinch of salt and immediately scrape onto a parchment paper–lined plate. Let cool completely, then break the candy into small pieces.

In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, maple syrup and shallot; season with salt and pepper. Mound the arugula on a platter and scatter the burrata, persimmons, sesame candy and pomegranate seeds on top. Drizzle some of the dressing over the salad and serve, passing the remaining dressing at the table.

Thai Cucumber Salad

1 lb cucumber, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 small red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Dressing:
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Add salt to the cucumber, mix well and set aside in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, make the Dressing, by combining all the ingredients in a small sauce pan. Turn on the heat and reduce the Dressing a bit so it’s slightly thickened. Let cool.

Drain the salt water from the cucumber completely. Toss the cucumber, onion, and mix with the Dressing. Top with the peanut and cilantro, serve immediately.

RECIPE NOTES
Thai cucumber salad is best served with Thai chicken sate.

Antipasto Salad with Bocconcini and Green-Olive Tapenade

3 tablespoons green-olive tapenade from a jar
1/4 cup peperoncini—stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups bocconcini (mozzarella balls) (about 9 ounces)
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small head of iceberg lettuce, halved, cored and finely shredded (4 cups)
6 ounces thinly sliced Genoa salami, cut into thin strips (1 1/2 cups)
6 small basil leaves
1/2 cup green olives, such as Picholine

In a medium bowl, mix the green-olive tapenade with the peperoncini and 1/4 cup of the oil. Add the bocconcini and toss.

In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the vinegar, garlic and oregano. Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and season the dressing with salt and pepper.

n a bowl, combine the shredded lettuce and salami. Add the marinated bocconcini and half of the dressing and toss well. Transfer the antipasto salad to a large platter. Top with the basil and olives. Drizzle the remaining dressing around the salad and serve.

The recipe can be prepared through step 2 and refrigerated overnight.

Summer Tomato Salad with Feta and Pita Crisps

1 1/2 pound heirloom tomatoes (about 3 medium)
12 oz. mixed cherry tomatoes
1 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided plus more
1 lemon
1/2 garlic clove
6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. za’atar
2 cups pita chips
1 1/2 tsp. (or more) honey
3 1/2 oz. Greek feta
1/4 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves

Cut tomatoes to taste, then toss with salt.

Zest 1/4 lemon—-you want about 1/2 tsp. zest (it’s easiest to measure if you hold the Microplane upside down so that the zest collects on top and you can scoop it into the measuring spoon). Grate 1/2 garlic clove. Set aside.

Heat 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a small saucepan or skillet over medium until just starting to shimmer, about 2 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp. za’atar and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and darker in color, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in reserved lemon zest and garlic. Wait 10 seconds, then remove from heat. (You’re looking to cook off the raw flavor of the garlic without losing the brightness of the lemon.) Transfer za’atar oil to a heatproof measuring cup.

Place 2 cups pita chips in a medium bowl. Pour 2 Tbsp. za’atar oil over; season with salt. Mix well with a rubber spatula, aiming to coat chips without breaking them into too many pieces.

You should have about 1/4 cup za’atar oil remaining. Squeeze 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon) into a small bowl. Add 1 1/2 tsp. honey and ½ tsp. salt. Add za’atar oil, stirring constantly, until emulsified (meaning that you don’t see any beads of separated oil). Taste dressing and add more lemon, honey, or salt if needed.

Break feta into chunks and toss with tomatoes. Add basil and mint. Drizzle about 3 Tbsp. dressing over and toss to gently combine.

Add pita chips to bowl (don’t leave leftover oil behind—scrape that in too) and fold gently to combine. Spoon salad onto platter, making sure to leave no juices behind. Drizzle with remaining za’atar oil.

Eat fast for crunchy chips or let sit for a crispy-gone-soggy experience.

Pasta with Sausage, Basil, and Mustard

1 pound penne, rigatoni or medium shells
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 hot Italian sausages, meat removed from casings and crumbled (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons grainy mustard
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 cup thinly sliced basil

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the sausage meat and brown over moderately high heat, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the cream, mustard and crushed red pepper and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the pasta and basil and toss to coat. Serve at once.

Penne with Smoked Chicken, Zucchini, and Green Beans

1 pound penne rigate
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound young green beans, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths and blanched until al dente
1/2 pound zucchini, cut into 1 1/2 -by-1/3-inch sticks
2 shallots, thinly sliced 1 pound boneless smoked chicken breast—skinned, trimmed of fat and shredded
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt
2 tablespoons minced parsley

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the penne until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the mascarpone and sherry vinegar. Cook over low heat until melted; keep warm.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-reactive skillet. Add the green beans and zucchini and sauté until tender and lightly browned. Stir in the shallots and cook until softened. Add the smoked chicken and crushed red pepper, season with salt and cook just until warmed through.

In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the vegetables and the mascarpone sauce; add some of the reserved cooking liquid if the pasta seems dry. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Macaroni Gratin

3 quarts whole milk
4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 pound ridged penne pasta
2 trays of ice cubes
1 cup freshly grated imported Gruyère cheese (3 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons minced chives

In a large saucepan, combine the milk and garlic. Warm the milk over high heat until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic. Measure out 1 cup of milk and reserve; set aside the rest.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, without browning, for 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat and gradually whisk in the reserved 1 cup of milk, stirring constantly, until the sauce is completely smooth. Season with a large pinch of salt and generous gratings of white pepper and nutmeg. Return the pan to low heat and cook the sauce, whisking constantly, until it’s thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly and stir in the heavy cream. Season with salt.

Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe

3/4 pound spaghetti
3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
Salt

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cheeses.

Return the pasta to the pot. Working quickly, add 6 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water, 2 tablespoons at a time, alternating with the cheeses; toss well to thoroughly coat the pasta between additions. Sprinkle on the black pepper and season the pasta with salt; toss again.

Four-Cheese Spaghetti Bake

1 1/2 pounds spaghetti
1/2 pound imported Fontina, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
1/2 pound mozzarella, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
1/2 pound Gruyère, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
1/4 pound Gorgonzola dolce, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well and spread the spaghetti on a baking sheet; let cool.

In a large bowl, toss the Fontina with the mozzarella and Gruyère. Spread one third of the spaghetti in the prepared baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle 1/3 of the mixed cheeses and half of the Gorgonzola over the spaghetti and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with another layer of spaghetti, mixed cheeses, Gorgonzola and salt and pepper. Top with the remaining spaghetti and mixed cheeses.

Burrata with Peaches and Tomatoes

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 large tomatoes cut into pieces
2 large peaches cut into pieces
6 ounces burrata cheese cut into pieces
3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil

To make the balsamic reduction, pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, swirling the pan occasionally, until reduced to about half of the original amount, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the tomatoes and peaches on a platter or plate.

Top with burrata cheese chunks and basil.

Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the salad and serve.

Fried Green Tomatoes

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups corn meal
4 green tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
Oil, for frying
Buttermilk dressing, for serving

In a large plastic food-storage bag, mix together the flour, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Place the green tomato slices in the bag and shake until well coated.

Beat together the eggs with the buttermilk until well combined. Place the cornmeal on a plate.

Dip the flour-coated green tomatoes into the egg mixture then lightly dredge in the cornmeal. Place the cornmeal-coated tomatoes on a large plate or sheet. Repeat until all are done.

In a large heavy skillet heat 1/2 inch of oil on medium high to 350°F, about 5 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the temperature by sticking a wooden spoon into the oil. If it bubbles around the spoon, it should be ready for frying. Line a large plate or sheet with paper towels.

Working in batches, slide the tomatoes into the hot oil and cook for 1 minute then turn and cook for another minute or until golden. Remove with a slotted spatula to drain on the paper-lined plate.

Lightly salt the fried green tomatoes, then serve warm with buttermilk dressing.

Tomato-Poached Fish With Chile Oil and Herbs

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 small shallot, thinly sliced into rings
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 pound small, sweet tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
1 1/4 pounds fluke, halibut or cod, cut into 4 equal pieces
1 cup cilantro, tender leaves and stems
1/2 cup mint, tender leaves and stems
Limes, halved, for serving
Tortillas, toast or rice, for serving (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet (use one with a lid) over medium-high heat.

Add garlic and shallots and cook, swirling the skillet constantly until they are starting to toast and turn light golden brown, 2 minutes or so.

Add red-pepper flakes and swirl to toast for a few seconds. Remove from heat and transfer all but 1 tablespoon of the chile oil to a small bowl.

Add tomatoes to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until they burst and start to become saucy and jammy, 5 to 8 minutes. Add fish sauce (if using) and 1 1/2 cups water, swirling to release any of the bits stuck on the bottom of the skillet.

Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened but still nice and brothy, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Season the fish with salt and pepper and gently lay the pieces in the brothy tomatoes. Cover the skillet and cook until the fish is opaque and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes (slightly longer for a thicker piece of fish, like halibut).

To serve, transfer fish and brothy tomatoes to a large shallow bowl (or divide among four bowls).

Drizzle with reserved bowl of chile oil, more olive oil and the crispy shallots and garlic.

Top with cilantro and mint, and serve with limes for squeezing over the top.

Serve with tortillas, toast or rice, if you like.

Sweet and Sour Beets

2 – 3 large beets, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tbs Smoked Maple Syrup plus more to drizzle
2 tbs cider vinegar
1 whole star anise
Salt and pepper
1 tb butter
2 tbs chopped chives

Put the peeled, sliced beets in a wide, shallow pan and add the orange juice, garlic, maple syrup, vinegar, star anise and sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Turn on high to bring to a boil then lower to simmer and cover. Let the beets braise for 10 minutes or until tender, turning every so often to coat with the liquid.

When they are done, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a serving plate. Add a pat of butter to the remaining sauce, simmer until thickened and season to taste. Pour the sauce over the beets, sprinkle with the chives and then drizzle with a little extra Smoked maple if desired.

Sesame Noodles

1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
2 Tbsp chopped, fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 – 2 Tbsp Asian sesame oil
2 tsp Makrut Lime-Leaf Infused or Sugarmaker’s Cut Maple Syrup
1 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
3/4 lb spaghetti
3/4 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
3 scallions, chopped
2 Tbsp sesame seeds

Put the peanut butter, soy sauce, water, ginger, garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, and maple syrup in a blender and pulse until blended.

Boil a pot of water and cook the spaghetti until just al dente. Drain, and run under cold water to stop the cooking then combine with the sesame sauce.

In a smaller pot, blanche the asparagus by cooking in boiling water for two minutes then removing them to a bowl of ice water. Drain and add to pasta.

To serve, put room-temperature noodles and asparagus in a bowl and top with scallions and extra sesame seeds. Serve extra soy sauce on the side to taste.

*Adapted from a recipe for Peanut Sesame Noodles, Gourmet, June 2002