Chef concocts savory recipes using milk

Cucumber soup

Chef Jenn Louis worked with the California Milk Processor Board to create a series of simple savory dishes as part of a summer “Got Milk?” campaign. Louis is one of Food & Wine’s best new chefs of 2012.
“Using few ingredients keeps things simple and allows flavors to peek through,” Louis said, in a press release from “Got Milk? “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.”
Dubbed “the West Coast Queen of Simple,” California born and raised Louis began her culinary career 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 has also been recognized twice by the prestigious James Beard Foundation, in 2010 and 2011, among her many distinguished accomplishments.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with an extraordinary culinary talent like Chef Jenn Louis,” said Steve James, CMPB Executive Director, in the press release. “Her recipes resonate well with Californians because they are real and simple. Through them, she demonstrates that great food isn’t complicated and is really easy to make during the summer.”
Dutch Baby Pancake with Blueberry Conserva
Serves 4
• 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• 1 lemon
• 3 eggs
• 2/3 cup 2% low fat milk
• 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
• pinch of fresh nutmeg
• 1/3 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 10-inch cast-iron or ovenproof nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat; set aside. In a blender, combine zest of 1/3 lemon, eggs, milk, flour, salt, vanilla, almond extract, nutmeg and sugar. Blend until frothy, 1 minute. Pour batter into skillet; bake until pancake is puffed and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve with blueberry conserva.
Blueberry Conserva
• 1 cup water
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 pint blueberries
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/2 a cinnamon stick
In a medium saucepan, mix water and sugar. Add 1/2 pint of blueberries, 1 bay leaf and 1/2 of a cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat until the berries begin to breakdown and become soft. Once the berries are broken down, add the remaining 1/2 pint of blueberries and continue to cook until thickened, do not over reduce. Sauce should lightly coat back of a spoon when finished. Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaf, ladle sauce into containers and cool in refrigerator. If conserva becomes too thick when cool, thin out to sauce consistency with simple syrup.
Other great Dutch Baby toppings: honey, maple syrup, powdered sugar and lemon juice, fresh fruit.
Parsley Crêpes with Ham, Pesto, Ricotta and Summer Tomatoes
Serves 6
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
20 fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons ricotta
6-12 slices ham
3 ripe summer tomatoes
In a blender combine egg, milk, butter and parsley until combined well. Add flour and salt, blend until smooth. Strain batter through a fine mesh strainer to remove any parsley pieces and chill for 30 minutes.
Heat a 6 to 8-inch non-stick pan over medium heat until hot. Swirl a small piece of butter until melted, remove pan from heat and tilt and swirl 1/4 cup crêpe batter to cover bottom with a thin layer of batter. Return pan to heat and loosen edge of crêpe with a spatula. Cook crêpe until underside is lightly browned. Turn crêpe and lightly brown the other side. Transfer to a plate.
Basil Pesto:
Yield 1 quart
2 1/4 cups basil leaves (2 1/4 ounces)
1 medium clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts, untoasted (1 1/4 ounce)
2 tablespoons Pecorino-Romano, finely grated and loosely packed
3/4 teaspoon salt
Blend pine nuts, salt, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Scrape down sides of food processor bowl; add basil and 1/2 cup of the olive oil and cheese. Blend, scrape down sides of bowl. Add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil with food processor running until pesto has reached the desired consistency. Scrape down sides of bowl several times during process. All ingredients in pesto should be gently chopped and held together by the oil without being runny.
Spread each crêpe with 1 tablespoon of pesto, 1 tablespoon of ricotta, 1-2 thin slices of ham and several slices of tomato. Roll up or fold crêpe and repeat with remaining crêpes.
Serve with a big lettuce salad.
Milk Braised Pork Shoulder
Serves 4-6
2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 quart 2% low fat milk, warm
2 sprigs sage
2 bay leaves
3 strips of lemon zest, 2” x 1/2”, with as little white as possible
Trim excess fat from pork shoulder and truss pork with cotton twine to create evenly shaped roast. Season pork roasts generously with salt and pepper.
Heat a pan that is 2 inches taller than the roast and large enough for the pork to sit flat on the bottom. Add olive oil and butter to pan and sear trussed pork shoulder until nicely caramelized on all sides. Once evenly caramelized, add warmed milk to the pot with the pork, reduce burner to low heat and add sage, bay leaves and lemon zest. Gently season milk with salt. Cover pan loosely with an offset lid. Cook at a gentle simmer for one hour, then turn pork over and cook for additional hour or until a skewer can be easily inserted. When the meat is soft (after 2-3 hours), remove the meat from the pan and bring the sauce together by blending with an immersion blender or whisk. Cool the pork in the braising liquid. Once the meat is cooled, remove the twine and slice to desired thickness. If not serving immediately, chill pork, then slice and proceed with warming.
To reheat, gently warm the milk sauce and add the sliced pork once warmed, season as needed. Adding an additional few tablespoons of butter to the sauce will help it to emulsify when simmered together; this is not traditional nor is it necessary.
Serve with soft polenta.
Chilled Cucumber Soup
Serves 8
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds, lightly toasted
4 ounces rustic white bread, crust removed, bread cut into chunks
3 pounds cucumbers
2 small garlic cloves
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cups 2% low fat milk
2 cups ice
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
10 large mint leaves
12 large basil leaves
Peel, seed and coarsely chop cucumbers. In a blender puree half of each of all ingredients. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the other half of the ingredients. Add milk as needed for a thinner consistency. If the soup is too chunky, pass through a medium sieve. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. If desired, thin with water before serving.
Serve chilled. Garnish with: finely chopped fresh chile, avocado, red onion, crab meat, poached shrimp, chopped mint, chopped cilantro, or chopped basil.
Summer Corn Fritters
Serves 6
1 ear of corn, shucked and kernels removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup 2% low fat milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 quarts vegetable oil
In a small sauté pan, sauté corn in olive oil until tender. Season with salt and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal with the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add the reserved corn, egg, milk and melted butter and whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate the fritter batter for at least 1 hour. Batter will hold, refrigerated, for 2 days.
In a medium pot, heat oil to 350 degrees. Gently drop walnut-sized portions of batter into hot oil and fry until golden brown and cooked through. Test by cutting a fritter in half. Season with salt and serve hot.
Serve: drizzled with honey or molasses, with honey butter, with chili instead of cornbread, with slices of ham and a salad for a light meal, or with roasted chilis and grilled chicken.

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