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Adventures in Himalayan Salt Block Cooking: Peach and Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops with Summer Corn Salad

Peach and Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops with Summer Corn Salad. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Peach and Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops with Summer Corn Salad. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

A few years ago, on Christmas morning, my sister handed me a rather heavy gift. Inside was a beautiful pink slab of what looked like marble. This is embarrassing, but I had no idea what it was. “It’s a Himalayan salt block!” Naturally. My sister announced, proud of her creative yet relevant gift idea.   And as much as I loved the look and idea of this gorgeous pink block, I’m ashamed to say, it has been sitting in my pantry the ever since. Every so often she would ask, “Have you used that salt block we gave you?” Wide eyed and so excited to hear how it had worked out.  I would shamefully promise, “Not yet. But I will!”

The truth is that I have been intimidated. I consider myself well-versed on the subject of kitchen equipment. I thought from my experience in restaurants that I knew  all there is to know about what an ambitious home cook should have or covet for their own kitchen.  But sure enough, my over-achieving, brilliant, multitasking, genius-of-a-sister had to find the one cooking tool I’d never heard of. The other problem was that, at the time, there wasn’t much information on salt blocks out there. I couldn’t even find a recipe on the internet. More recently, they seem to be growing in popularity and cookbooks are being published on how to use the stunning pink blocks. Not to mention that, a few weeks ago, my sister sent me an email with dozens of links to salt block recipes. God she’s good. I no longer had an excuse. It was time to break in this beauty. I should have done it sooner because the results have been marvelous.

I started out with shrimp, which was incredible! And then moved on to the beloved pork chop. The block gave the chops a beautiful dark crust and a moist, perfectly tender middle. If you don’t have a salt block, don’t worry, you can still make the below pork recipe using a grill or cast-iron skillet. I recommend serving it with a simple summer corn salad and gin gimlets to drink!

Enjoy!

Heather

 

Peach and Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops with Summer Corn Salad. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Peach and Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops with Summer Corn Salad. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

My beautiful friend Elena capturing the moment. Photo Credit:  Heather Platt

My beautiful friend Elena capturing the moment. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Peach and Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops with Summer Corn Salad
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Filed under Dinner, Heather Platt, In Season, Lunch, Main Course, Meat, Salad, Side, Summer

The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook: Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing

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Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm Organic Kale. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm Organic Kale. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm. Pittsfield, Vermont. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Amee Farm. Pittsfield, Vermont. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

A few months ago, I received an exciting email from a woman named Tracey Medeiros. Tracey lives in Vermont and is a freelance food writer, food stylist,  recipe developer and tester. She is quite frankly, my dream job personified.  She had  found me  on the internet and, noticing that I’m a food-oriented person from Vermont, asked  if I would like a copy of her latest cookbook The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook.  Once my palpable envy of her career/life  subsided, I responded with an obvious and extremely grateful “YES and thank you!” The truth is that I already owned her first  wonderful cookbook Dishing up Vermont. It was one of those cookbooks that I’d flipped through over and over again. The charming pictures of Vermont farm animals, inns, restaurants and the beautiful dishes it’s chefs had created with the local and seasonal produce, cheese, eggs, meat and poultry would make me hungry and homesick all at once.  When I received The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook in the mail from Tracey’s publicist, it had the same effect on me.  With a strong urge to make hearty winter dishes like Vermont Cheddar Soup, Sauteed Sea Scallops in a Smoked Bacon and Maple Cream Sauce and Amber Ale-Braised Highland Chuck Beef Roast, I ignored the 90 degree weather and the palm trees swaying outside the window of my Los Angeles apartment and headed to my local farmers market. The results,  albeit weather-inappropriate were always delicious.

Now, several months later, I am here in this magical moment in Vermont known as late June. The mountains are more verdant than ever, the buttercups are decorating the fields like yellow sprinkles on a bright green cake, the humid heat of summer has not yet arrived but the cold is long gone. The sun seems like it will never set and a cool breeze makes for restful nights. So what better time to continue cooking from my new favorite Vermont cookbook? And seeing as I was married last weekend here amidst the glory of the green mountains and proceeded to  happily indulge in food (I can’t seem seem to get enough cheese!!) and beverage, it seemed appropriate to eat a salad made of local kale.

Almost of the ingredients for this refreshing and nourishing salad were purchased at the East Warren Community Market in Warren, Vermont. This is my all-time favorite place to buy food. Everything on the shelves is made locally with love and the store is so perfectly curated that the manager once told me that she didn’t carry a certain kind of popcorn because she didn’t like the packaging. The feta I used is from Maplebrook Farms in Bennington, Vermont and I substituted pine nuts for the pepitas.

Enjoy!

Heather

 

Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

Massaged Kale Salad with Asian Peanut Dressing

by Tracey Medeiros

serves 4

  • 1/3 cup pepitas (or walnuts or sunflower seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 bunch green kale, stemmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup Asian Peanut Dressing (recipe follows)
  • 2 small peaches, pitted and diced
  • 2 ounces Maplebrook Farm feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)

Place the pepitas, oil and salt in a medium skillet and toss to coat. Toast over medium heat until the pepitas turn light brown and start to pop, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside on paper towels.

In a large bowl, combine the kale and 1/2 of the dressing. Using your hands, massage the kale until it is bright green and slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes, adding more dressing to taste. Top with the pepitas, peaches and feta. Serve at once.

Asian Peanut Dressing

Makes 1 1/3 cups

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 4 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

Whisk together all the ingredients until combined.

Post wedding pics 055

 

maplebrook farm, feta

east warren community market

East Warren Community Market. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

East Warren Community Market. Photo Credit: Heather Platt

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Filed under cookbooks, Dinner, Heather Platt, Lunch, Main Course, Raw, Salad, Side, Vegetarian