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No-Fuss Meal From Chef Kimmel

Chef on a shoestring over Lamb Chops with Herbs
AP / CBS
Stephanie Pearl Kimmel is considered a culinary pioneer in Oregon. She is credited for introducing the baguette and the espresso machine to the Eugene, Ore., dining scene. Currently the executive chef at Marche restaurant, she describes her approach to cooking as "market-driven" and straightforward.

The Saturday Early Show asked her to take the "Chef On A Shoestring" challenge - create a three-course meal for four with $30.

The following are her recipes:

Arugula Salad With Cantaloupe And Lime

This is a variation of the classic Mediterranean starter, prosciutto and melon with lime. In this case, the meaty flavor of the arugula stands in for the prosciutto, making it a refreshing, small, composed salad.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 medium-sized ripe cantaloupe
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
Salt to taste
1 bunch of small arugula leaves
Fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper
1 small lime, cut into quarters

To assemble salad: Halve and seed the cantaloupe. Cut each half into 8 wedges, then with a sharp knife cut away the peel, removing any green edges. Place the melon wedges in a shallow bowl, drizzle with olive oil and turn to coat. Arrange melon attractively on 4 individual salad plates.

In the same bowl, toss the arugula gently with a small amount of olive oil and salt to coat the leaves, but not so much that the delicate leaves will wilt.

Place 1/4 of the dressed arugula on each salad plate. Season the melon with fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper to taste, then garnish with a wedge of lime.

Grilled Pork Chops With Summer Savory

This simple and tasty preparation is also wonderful made with thyme, rosemary or sage, or a combination of herbs, such as dried herbes de Provence.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced or pounded with a mortar and pestle
Freshly ground pepper
Several sprigs of fresh summer savory (or substitute 1/2 teaspoon dried)
4 center cut pork loin chops, about 3/4-inch thick
Salt to taste

Method: Combine the olive oil, garlic and ground pepper together in a small bowl. Strip the herbs from the stem and add to the mixture. Spread the pork chops with the mixture and allow to marinate covered in the refrigerator for an hour or two.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in the grill. Remove the chops from the refrigerator just before you are ready to begin grilling and season them well with salt.

Cook the chops for about 7 or 8 minutes on each side. The meat should be moist with the slightest tint of pink. If you prefer your pork a little more done, cook for another couple of minutes.

Fresh Tomato And Olive Sauce

This simple summer relish is a cross between a salsa and a tapenade. It can be made several hours in advance, adding the basil just before serving. It is a versatile sauce for topping grilled chicken or fish, or tossing with spaghetti.

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sliced scallion or finely chopped sweet white onion
1 anchovy filet, rinsed, dried and chopped
3/4 cup Mediterranean olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 cup small cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons good olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large basil leaves, rolled and sliced into chiffonade, or snipped with scissors

Method: In a non-reactive bowl, combine the capers, the scallions, the anchovy, the olives, the tomatoes, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the basil right before serving.

Spoon a little on top of the pork chops.

Grilled Polenta Triangles With Summer Corn

4 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup polenta
4 cups water
1 ear of corn
1 tablespoon butter or heavy cream (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method: Combine the polenta and water in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir with a whisk to evenly distribute the polenta grains then turn the heat down to very low. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes stirring occasionally with a heavy wooden spoon to prevent sticking. If the mixture becomes very thick and difficult to stir, add a little water to bring it back to a creamy consistency.

While the polenta is simmering, prepare the fresh corn. Shuck the corn and remove all of the silk. With a sharp knife, carefully cut the kernels off of the cob. Blanch the corn in a pot of salted boiling water for about 1 minute, then drain and reserve.

When the polenta is done, add the reserved corn and stir well to incorporate. Add the butter or cream if a richer, smoother taste is desired. Season well with salt and pepper. With a spatula, spread the polenta on an oiled surface until it's an even 3/4- inch thick. When the polenta has cooled completely it will be quite firm. With a sharp knife, cut it into 3-inch squares; then cut each square diagonally to make triangles. About 5 minutes before serving, brush with olive oil and grill until heated through (the polenta squares can also be heated in the oven).

Blueberry Clafoutis
4 to 6 generous servings

Ingredients:
1 pint blueberries
1 cup sifted unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
3 extra large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Unsalted butter for dotting the top

Method: Preheat oven to 425° F.

Butter and flour a 10-inch porcelain tart dish or other attractive ovenproof and non-reactive dish. Distribute the blueberries evenly over the bottom of the dish. Place the dish on a rimmed cookie sheet.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt, then add one cup of the milk and whisk well to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, until they are incorporated. Whisk in the sugar, the vanilla and the remaining cup of milk. Ladle the batter over the berries in the dish, then dot the top with small bits of cold unsalted butter.

Place the clafoutis on a rack in the middle of the oven, being careful not to spill batter over the rim of the pan. Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool enough to set. Garnish with a generous dusting of powdered sugar, or even a dollop of whipped cream scented with a few drops of kirsch if you're feeling extravagant. I like to serve clafoutis when it is still a bit warm, but it is also delicious at room temperature. Accompany with whipped cream or ice cream, if you like. It also makes a great picnic dessert.

Definitions:

Clafoutis - Clafoutis is an ancient French country dessert that uses whatever fresh fruit is in season. Its origins are in the Limousin region of central France where it was originally made with black cherries. Highly adaptable and always appreciated, the simple sweet batter is a breeze to make according to chef Kimmel. You can sometimes find clafoutis with a cake-like topping and you can also find them more like a pudding.

Summer Savory: It is an herb of which there are two types - winter and summer. Both are related to the mint family. Summer is a milder version of winter savory. However, both are considered strongly flavored and should be used with discretion. Savory's aroma and flavor is often described as a cross between thyme and mint. Savory is often used for adding flavor to meat and fish. Largely overlooked in American cooking, summer savory is championed by the French, who use it to flavor beans, salads, veal, lamb, and pork.