Sesame Pork Roast
Note: This family favorite was in an early Taste story from Lee Svitak Dean, in 1983. The roast is easy to prepare, whether in a slow cooker, in the oven or on top of the stove in a Dutch oven. When made in the slow cooker, the roast doesn't need to be marinated in advance because the meat marinates during the lengthy cooking time.
• 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
• 3 or 4 green onions, sliced (about 1/4 c.)
• 1/2 c. ketchup
• 1/4 c. soy sauce
• 2 tbsp. ground ginger
• 2 tbsp. molasses (any type)
• 2 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. curry powder
• 1/2 tsp. black pepper
• 2 tbsp. wine vinegar
• 4 lb. pork shoulder roast
• 3 tbsp. flour for gravy, if desired
Toast sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over low heat until golden and fragrant. Place seeds in a bowl with the green onions, ketchup, soy sauce, ginger, molasses, salt, curry powder, pepper, 1 cup water and wine vinegar; stir to mix thoroughly. Place meat in a large bowl and pour the marinade over it. Marinate, covered, 2 to 3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
To prepare in a slow cooker: Place meat and marinade in the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours or on high for about 3 hours.
To prepare in the oven or on the stovetop: Remove meat from marinade, reserving, and pat meat dry. Brown meat in a Dutch oven or frying pan. To continue in the oven, place meat and marinade in a covered casserole dish and roast at 300 to 325 degrees for 3 hours. (The roast should be falling apart when it's done.) For the stovetop, place the meat and marinade in the pot and heat until the marinade is boiling. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook, turning meat once or twice, for 3 hours. Serve meat with pan juices or make gravy.
To make gravy: Pour pan juices into a 2-cup measure. Skim off fat, returning 2 tablespoons of the fat to the pan. If defatted pan juices do not equal 2 cups, add enough water or chicken broth to reach the 2-cup measure.
Whisk 3 tablespoons flour into the fat in the pan and cook over medium heat on the stovetop until bubbly. Slowly stir in pan juices and cook until gravy thickens, stirring constantly. Put gravy through fine strainer to assure it is lump-free.
Serve meat with egg noodles, potatoes or use for sandwiches.
Smoked Salmon Spread
Makes about 3/4 cup.
Note: This is great as an appetizer or as a topper for an English muffin or toast. From Lee Svitak Dean, it appeared in Taste in 1996.
• 4 oz. smoked salmon, cut up (plus additional salmon for garnish)
• 4 oz. cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese, at room temperature
• 2 to 3 tsp. horseradish, optional
• 1 tbsp. chopped green onions
• 1 tsp. lemon juice
• Dash salt
• 2 tbsp. or more capers, optional
• Fresh dill, chopped
• Cream or milk, if needed
Remove any skin from the salmon and discard. With an electric mixer or by hand, combine the salmon, cream cheese, horseradish, green onions, lemon juice and salt. Set aside. Stir in capers, if using, and dill. To make more spreadable, if needed, add a little cream. Serve as a spread on crackers or toast, or in mini-phyllo cups as an appetizer.
Cabbage Salad With Spicy Lime Vinaigrette
Note: This was adapted from a recipe from chef Alex Roberts that he served at Brasa Rotisserie in Minneapolis. To toast sesame seeds, warm them in a dry saucepan over low heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until they lightly brown and become fragrant. It first appeared in Taste in 2012.
• 1 tbsp. coarsely chopped shallots or onion
• 1/4 c. fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 serrano chile, seeded and coarsely chopped, if desired
• 1/3 c. grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
• 1/3 c. sour cream, at room temperature
• 1/2 head green cabbage (or a 10-oz. bag of finely shredded cabbage)
• 1/4 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro leaves
• 1/4 c. chopped fresh mint leaves
• Salt and pepper
• Sesame seeds, toasted (see Note)
To make vinaigrette: Mix shallots with lime juice, sugar and salt. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. In a blender, purée shallot mixture with chile, oil and sour cream until smooth; set aside.
To prepare cabbage: Using a mandoline or grater, shred cabbage as finely as possible (unless using bagged shredded cabbage). In a bowl, toss cabbage with parsley, cilantro and mint. Add about 1/2 cup vinaigrette, or to taste, and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more vinaigrette, if desired. Garnish with sesame seeds. (There will be extra vinaigrette that can be used with another salad.)
Gingered Squash Soup
Note: You can use any hard-skinned winter squash for this soup, including cooking pumpkin (but not the oversized type used for jack-o'-lanterns), or use precooked squash (either frozen or baby food). For the most fragrant nutmeg, use whole nutmeg, available in the spice aisle. From Lee Svitak Dean in Taste in 2008.
• About 3 lb. winter squash, such as delicata or butternut (about 4 c. cooked; see Note)
• 1 tbsp. (or more) grated fresh ginger root
• 3 c. vegetable stock (or water or chicken stock)
• Salt and white pepper
• 1 tsp. ground nutmeg (see Note)
• 1 c. heavy cream
• Sour cream, for garnish
• Sprigs of fresh thyme or slivers of uncooked squash, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. If the squash is too hard to cut in half, first poke holes in it with a knife and microwave for several minutes to soften.
Place squash halves face down in a lightly oiled baking dish or on a baking sheet; cover with aluminum foil. Bake until the pulp is soft, about 1 hour. Scoop pulp from the skin; discard skin.
In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together cooked squash, ginger and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer about 20 minutes, breaking up squash with a spoon.
Remove soup from heat and purée with a food processor or blender until smooth. If desired, strain for a smoother texture. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add nutmeg.
Stir in cream and heat throughout. Serve hot, garnished with a small dab of sour cream, sprig of thyme or sliver of uncooked squash.