This is my first post from the Shreveport Unscene. The project is a year-long event designed to advance music, the arts, and food in the Shreveport area. Sarah and Evan are doing a two week residency with the goal of promoting the use of fresh fruits and vegetables in restaurant menus and, along the way, in the family menus of the community. They will be cooking with products from the local farmers market and challenging local chefs to do the same.
Shreveport has a rich food tradition with many Southern and Louisiana specialties. But like much of the South, its food is heavy on deep frying – chicken fried steak, Southern fried chicken, fried catfish and hush puppies, not to mention Natchitoches meat pies, corn dogs, fried pickles, and even deep-fried ice cream. Bucking that tradition will be a challenge.
On our day of arrival, Sarah and Evan went to the farmers market, which is held twice a week. The market is much larger on the weekend, so during the week the choices were limited, but they found fresh pork chops, onions, garlic, new potatoes, sweet yellow peppers, corn from a Mennonite colony in nearby Arkansas, blueberries, raspberries, and fresh cream.
They augmented these products with prosciutto from the gift basket in their room and red onions, cilantro, vegetable oil, and balsamic vinegar from the nearby grocery store. Then they cooked our evening meal from all of this bounty, sort of as a trial run. Sometimes it’s ok to be a guinea pig.
Herbed Pork Chops
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 large pork chops
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled but whole
- 1/2 large onion, chopped coarsely
- salt and pepper
- 1 red onion, diced finely
- 1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
- balsamic vinegar
- In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over high heat, Add the pork chops, garlic, and onions. Brown the pork chops on both sides. Then transfer to an oven-proof dish and place in the oven preheated to 375. Roast for 20 minutes or until done to your liking. Adjust the seasoning.
- In the meantime, combine the red onion, cilantro, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.
- When ready to serve the pork chops, top each with a large tablespoonful of the herb mixture
New Potatoes, Onions, and Sweet Peppers with Pancetta
- 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, quartered
- 1/2 large white onion, chopped coarsely
- 4 sweet yellow peppers cut crosswise into 2-inch slices
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 of reserved herb mix (see recipe ab0ve)
- 3 ounces prosciutto, sliced into thin ribbons
- Add the potatoes, onion, and peppers to a large saute pan over medium high heat with the oil.
- Stirring frequently, cook the vegetables until they are soft. Remove from the heat. Serve topped with half the herb mixture and the prosciutto.
Mexican-Style Corn with Yogurt and Queso Fresco
- 6 ears fresh corn, shucked and silk removed
- 1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt
- 1 pound Mexican queso fresco, crumbled
- Old Bay seasoning (note: one of us is very sensitive to spicy food, so that was the choice of seasoning. Ground chiles or chili powder would also be very good.)
- Over high heat, dry roast the corn, two or three ears at a time, until they are lightly charred.
- Transfer to an oven-proof pan or dish. Spread the roasted corn with yogurt and then sprinkle with queso fresco and seasoning.
- Place in the oven preheated to 375 for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Serve immediately.