What I love most about Judith Fertig and Karen Adler's new cookbook, The Gardener & the Grill, is that takes something so simple—like grilling up a pork tenderloin—and makes it divine.
If you're lucky enough to find fresh figs at your local market, you're in for a treat.
Remove the skewers from the water. Pierce the figs through the middle with a metal skewer or ice pick to make a hole. Then thread 3 figs onto each rosemary or wooden skewer. Lightly brush the figs with olive oil.
Place the pork tenderloin directly over the fire. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side (the center-cut pork loin filet for 5 to 7 minutes per side), turning a quarter turn at a time, until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 140°F for medium and the meat is juicy and slightly pink in the center.
At the same time, place the skewered figs over the fire, turning several times and cooking for about 5 to 6 minutes until they are heated through. When they’re caramelized and soft, remove the skewers from the heat and keep warm.
To serve, arrange 3 slices of pork with a skewer of figs on each plate, all topped with crumbled goat cheese, drizzled with 1/2 teaspoon honey, and a sprinkled with chopped rosemary.
The BBQ Queens are back, and this time, they're going straight from the garden to the grill. Judith Fertig and Karen Adler's The Gardener & the Grill shows that "grilling gives foods (even a head of romaine) that special super-concentrated flavor you just can’t get in the kitchen."
And with this recipe, the Queens prove that grilling can be gourmet.
Prepare a medium-hot fire in your grill.
To serve, place 2 pear halves in each bowl and spoon the crème fraîche on top. Serve warm.
Heartland by Judith Fertig, one of our cookbooks from the August cooking column, celebrates good, down-home American Midwest cooking. Whoever sits at your table -- whether friends, family or just you -- will find bread made from fresh dough to be out-of-this-world. The following recipe is keeping with the spirit of Heartland: a good all-American recipe in half the time, with half the work!
Can bread dough be a pantry staple? Yes, if you consider your refrigerator as “pantry.” With a bowl of this versatile made-ahead dough on hand, you’ll be already halfway to yeasty breads, rolls, and coffee cakes. Busy Heartland farm wives in the early part of the twentieth century had two yeast dough recipes they used regularly. One was for bread and one was for dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, and coffee cakes. This streamlined approach made life easier for them, and it can still make things easier for us today. Plus, there’s also another way to streamline bread baking.
Adding more liquid to a dough eliminates the need to knead. You can simply stir the dough together, keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, and bake when you’re ready. So why not have a baking day, and then wrap and freeze your wares for up to 3 months?
A Danish dough whisk features a mitten-shaped metal mixing end on a wooden handle and makes short work of mixing any dough. Measuring is an important step to assure that your bread turns out right, so follow the directions exactly.
Spoon the flour into a measuring cup, level with a knife or your finger, then dump the flour into a 16-cup mixing bowl.
Add the yeast and salt to the flour. Stir together with a wooden spoon or a Danish dough whisk. Mix the honey, oil, and eggs together in a 4-cup measuring cup. Add enough warm water to reach the 4-cup mark and stir together. Pour the honey mixture into the flour mixture, stir to combine, then beat for 40 strokes, scraping the bottom and the sides of the bowl, until the dough forms a lumpy, sticky mass.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature (72°F) for 2 hours, or until the dough has risen to about 2 inches below the rim of the bowl and has a spongelike appearance.
Use that day in your favorite recipe for sweet bread or rolls, or place the dough, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before baking. If you like, write the date on the plastic wrap so you know the bake-by date for your dough.
One of our cookbooks from our August cooking column combines an appreciation for the amber waves of grain with being super time-friendly. Heartland by Judith Fertig "celebrates its farm-to-table traditions, grounded in the bounty of the land and laced with the ethnic accents and pioneering spirit of the settlers." Read: you'll be cooking up the soul of America in a 2011 minute.
In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt together. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. Stir the egg mixture into the dry mixture until well blended. Set aside.
Fry the bacon in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain and add the scallions to the skillet. Sauté the scallions for 1 minute, then transfer to the cornmeal batter. Crumble the bacon into fine pieces. Stir the crumbled bacon and melted butter into the batter, then spoon the batter into the hot skillet.
Immediately, wearing oven mitts, place the skillet on the middle rack of the oven. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting.
Note: Turn leftover cornbread into croutons for Prairie Panzanella (page 147) or other salads. Cut the cornbread into ¾-inch cubes, spread on a baking sheet, and toast in a 350°F oven until the edges turn golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool, and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.