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Spring Greens and Pork

Chef Bruce Aidells
Author of "The Complete Meat Cookbook."

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  • Spring greens and sausage salad
  • Sauteed pork chops with sweet apple and mustard sauce served with spinach
  • Spring strawberries with lemon zest

Aidells believes modern-day meat requires new methods of cooking. Because of pressures to lower the fat in the American diet, he says, livestock producers have been breeding and raising animals to be leaner. As a result, older recipes may not work as well with the leaner, more tender meats of today.


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Buy "The Complete Meat Cookbook"

His "The Complete Meat Cookbook" is designed to give cooks all the information they need on buying and preparing today's cuts. A large section is devoted to coaxing more flavor from meat by seasoning before cooking, introducing flavors during the cooking process and adding flavor after cooking.

He recommends buying the highest USDA grade that is compatible with your wallet and cautions against being lured by supermarket "fantasy" names such as "butcher's choice," which often are intentionally misleading.

Aidells says a digital instant-read thermometer is an indispensable tool for the modern meat cook, important not just for safety but to make sure you do not overcook your meat.

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Aidells is the owner and founder of Aidells Sausage Company, which makes a line of gourmet sausages.

First published in 1998, "The Complete Meat Cookbook" recently has been released by Houghton Mifflin. Aidells also wrote "Bruce Aidells's Cmplete Sausage Book," "Hot Links and Country Flavors," "Real Beer and Good Eats" and "Flying Sausages."

He lives in San Francisco.

Spring Greens and Sausage Salad

Ingredients:

4 cups (2 handfuls) assorted lettuce leaves, washed and torn
6 small red potatoes, halved and boiled until tender, about 15 minutes (optional)
One-third pound green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces and boiled until tender, about 5 minutes
1 cup cherry tomatoes, washed
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
One-quarter cup Nicoise olives or Kalamata olives (optional)
2 links Smoked Poultry Sausage sliced into quarter-inch-thick rounds.
(Recommended sausage flavors: Smoked Chicken & Apple, Smoked Turkey & Chicken with Sundried Tomato and Basil, Smoked Turkey and Chicken Pesto, Smoked Turkey and Chicken with Artichoke and Roasted Garlic, Smoked Turkey and Chicken with Leeks and Chives, Smoked Lemon Chicken, and Smoked Hot Italian Turkey)

For Vinaigrette:
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sherry or wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Spread lettuce on the bottom of a large, shallow salad bowl.
  2. Arrange potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs and olives artfully over the lettuce bed.
  3. Fry sliced sausage in a non-stick pan for 2-3 minutes per side over medium high heat until nicely browned. Scatter sausage over the salad.
  4. Place the mustard and vinegar in small bowl and whisk in oil. Drizzle all the dressing generously over the salad and serve.

Sauteed pork chops

Ingredients:
4 One and one-quarter-inch-thick center-cut loin pork chops, either rib or T-bone, trimmed of external fat
1 tablespoon olive oil

Method:


  1. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over high heat.
  2. When the pan is hot enough to sear the chops but not burn them, add the chops. They should make a gentle hissing sound when they hit the pan, not an explosive sputter. Adjust the heat if the pan seems too hot.
  3. Sear the chops on one side for 1 to 2 minutes, or until beginning to brown lightly. Turn the chops over and sear for 1 minute more.
  4. Reduce the heat so that the chops continue to sizzle ( do not turn the heat so low that there are no more sizzling sounds) and cover the pan , cooking the chops for 3 to 4 more minutes.
  5. Turn and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more on the other side. The chops are done when the meat is firm but not hard when pressed with a finger - 145 degrees to 155 degrees Fahrenheit on meat. For the juiciest results, remove the chops from the pan when they register 145 degrees Fahrenheit, cover loosely with foil, and let them rest for 5 minutes or so before serving, to stabilize the juices. After resting they should read 150 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, make the pan sauce.

Sweet apple and mustard sauce

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
One-half cup apple juice or cider
One-half cup sliced dried apples
1 tablespoon apple jelly
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
One-quarter cup heavy cream

Method:


  1. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan, leaving any meat juices.
  2. Adjust the heat to medium and put in the garlic. Stir and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the apple juice and the dried apples, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. Boil the sauce for 3 minutes and then whisk in the apple jelly, mustard, and cream.
  5. Continue to boil until the sauce begins to turn syrupy.
  6. Pour over the pork chops and serve.

Spring Strawberries With Lemon Zest
Ingredients

2 baskets of strawberries
3 tablespoons brown sugar (to taste)
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
4 scoops vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

Method


  1. Wash berries with stems on.
  2. Cut off stems and slice berries in half.
  3. Toss with sugar and lemon zest and adjust taste for preferred sweetness.
  4. Let sit for 30 minutes or more (until berries begin to make a sauce).
  5. Scoop berries onto four bowls of vanilla ice cream.

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