Last week I attended my first-ever Central Market cooking class. If you don’t have a CM in your neck of the woods, I am so so sorry. It is my heaven on earth–a HUGE gourmet grocery store with fabulously a helpful and knowledgeable staff and lots of free samples. Some of the stuff is a bit pricey, but hey, when you’re looking for rare fireflower honey you really can’t get in a twitch about the cost.
The class I opted for was sort of a dueling chefs/learning experience. Two of CM’s staff chefs, Cindy Haenel and Vance Ely, took lemons and limes (respectively) and came up with delicious appetizers, main courses and desserts. I absolutely adore cooking with citrus, so this was PERFECT for me. And the chefs are so down to earth that the classes seem more like hanging out in the kitchen with your best friend, rather than a rigid classroom.
So when the fam came into town, I decided this was the perfect time to try out these end-of-summer-esq dishes. I decided to nix the shrimp from the pasta salad, since I was using it as a side dish and not a main course, and it came out pretty good. It’s not great because (as I clearly see now) the shrimp really do add a lot to the dish. But if you’re wanting a light pasta salad for a cookout that isn’t your typical Italian dressing concoction, this is a good substitute.
The pork sandwiches could not have been better, though. For some reason I got it in my head that I needed to grill the pork rather than bake it and sweet jesus am I glad I did. The meat was absolutely, breath-takingly PERFECT. Everyone ooohhhed and aaahhhed and drooled all over those pork loins in a way I have yet to witness in any place other than a steak house. So definitely grill this recipe, don’t bake it.
As the last bits of summer are slipping away (faster for some of us, you lucky dogs), get one more good use out of your grill and give these two recipes a try.
Grilled Shrimp over Orzo Salad with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette (Cindy Haenel)
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. orzo pasta, cooked al dente and drained
6 oz of feta cheese, crumbled (I would use more, personally, but I love feta and can never get enough.)
1 lg. yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1 lg. red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 c. kalamata olives, pitted and quartered
2 scallions, finely sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
Whisk together the zest, juice, dill and garlic. Add first tablespoon of oil and incorporate well before gradually adding the rest. Season with salt & pepper, to taste. Mix the pasta, cheese, peppers, olives and scallions together in a bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over and mix to combine. Add the oregano and season with salt and pepper to taste.
*I used the veggies I had on hand, which were red bell peppers and yellow squash. Spinach, zucchini and even arugula would be nice in this.
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. of lemon zest
6 medium wodden skewers, soaked in water
Preheat grill to high. Toss the shrimp in some olive oil, lemon zest and season with salt and pepper to taste. Thread 6 shrimp on a skewer, bending the shrimp so that the skewer passes through it twice. Grill, turning once for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the grill. Place on top of orzo salad and garnish with fresh dill.
Serves 6–I disagree. This makes a TON of pasta. You could easily half this and still have enough for 6.
Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Lemon-Tarragon Aioli
2 1/2 lbs. of pork tenderloin
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons of lemon zest
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of ground red pepper
2 to 5 gloves of garlic, minced
Rinse tenderloin and pat dry. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large zip-top freezer bag or shallow dish. Add tenderloin(s) and seal or cover, and chill for 4-6 hours. Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade.
Preheat oven to 400F. Place pork on rack or broiler pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake pork for 20-25 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 150F. Let stand 15 minutes. Cut pork into 1/4-inch thick slices. Serve with buttered, toasted diner rolls and Lemon Tarragon Aioli.
*As mentioned above, I recommend grilling this. I believe we let the grill get up to about 400F before tossing the pork loins on. We browned them for about 5 minutes on each side on the middle rack, then moved them up top till they reached 150F
Lemon Tarragon Aioli
1 c. mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/8 tsp. chopped tarragon leaves
1/8 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients and chill.
Serves 6–Once again, both the pork and aioli recipes serve way more than 6. Probably closer to 8 or maybe even 10, if you make it with the hearty shrimp pasta salad. Also, I believe I added a bit more tarragon to the aioli, but that’s only because I really love a strong dose of it.
*One final note, the type of dinner rolls that the class served were almost like brioche–very light and airy. I would suggest not using a heavy bread as it would detract from the other components.