Californians are very savvy when it comes to gourmet cuisine. It seems nearly everyone is up to date on the latest TV chef challenge, the new “it” restaurants and even the freshest seasonal produce at the farmers market.
Cuisine has become the latest spectator sport, but actually cooking like a pro is an entirely different story.
Many say they lack the time, equipment or expertise. Yet a top West Coast chef claims almost anyone can make delicious gourmet dishes with minimal time and effort in the kitchen.
Through her partnership with the California Milk Processor Board, chef Jenn Louis, one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs of 2012,” will share her favorite “Real and Simple with Milk” summer recipes with Californians.
“Using few ingredients keeps things simple and allows flavors to peek through,” Louis says. “Milk tenderizes, refreshes, adds creaminess and just the right amount of richness to all of my dishes. I hope Californians will enjoy them throughout the season.”
California-born and raised, Louis began her culinary adventure after extensive travel through Europe, North and South America as well as living on a dairy farm in southern Israel. In 1988, she realized her dream to cook for a living while doing so on an Outward Bound camp in the North Carolina woods.
Her refreshingly simple cooking perspective has taken her on a meteoric ride to the top among culinary circles. She is the co-owner of two highly acclaimed restaurants, Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern, both in Portland. Louis also has been recognized twice by the prestigious James Beard Foundation, in 2010 and 2011, among her many distinguished accomplishments.
Available on www.gotmilk.com/recipes, Louis’ “Real and Simple with Milk” recipes include:
* Dutch Babies: This light German pancake uses a very simple batter whose ingredients are all placed in a blender for mixing. Oven baked until puffy and golden, it can be topped with her blueberry conserva and a sprinkle of powdered sugar or with fresh seasonal berries.
* Chilled Cucumber Soup: No cooking is needed for this refreshingly light soup. Just blend lots of fresh cucumbers, milk and a few other simple ingredients to make it the perfect first course for dining al fresco under the stars.
* Parsley Crepes: Louis makes this savory lightly green-tinted parsley crêpe with a basil pesto, fresh ricotta, ham and juicy tomato slices. It’s a light and satisfying meal during the summer months.
* Summer Corn Fritter: As the summer vegetable of choice, the sweetness of the corn is the star in this light side dish. They’re delicious for dessert, drizzled with honey or molasses or they can be served with a bowl of hearty chili.
* Milk-braised pork shoulder: The milk used in this succulent recipe tenderizes the meat as it cooks slowly over low heat either in the oven or on a stove top. The pork picks up the notes of lemon zest and sage used in this recipe. Served lightly seared with creamy polenta and summer vegetables.