Joni Woolf: More ‘Fresh Tastes’ from a fine cookbook author

Published 4:37 pm Monday, June 4, 2018

When Lee Clayton Roper published A Well Seasoned Kitchen, some folks may have thought she had said it all. It won prizes and accolades and was purchased and reviewed by cooking enthusiasts all over the country. Then she outdid the original with the new cookbook, Fresh Tastes from a Well-Seasoned Kitchen. Every recipe I have tried is a winner; her instructions are thorough and most recipes are not complicated. It is truly a cookbook for modern sensibilities and lifestyles. The photography alone is enough to make you want to hurry to the kitchen and put together Chipotle Lime Shrimp Tacos or Vegetable Curry or perhaps a Blueberry Peach Custard Pie. Those will appear later. Today we’re featuring two excellent recipes, one for a meat dish and one for an elegant salad. I hope you like them. I did.

Spicy Pork Chops with Argentine Chimichurri Sauce
(Note: The Chimichurri Sauce needs to sit for at least 30 minutes.)
Chimichurri Sauce
1 cup packed, flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
4 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons lemon-flavored balsamic vinegar (can use white balsamic vinegar)
½ cup lime oil (if you can’t find, use extra virgin olive oil and add some lime zest to the sauce)
To make the sauce:
In a food processor, combine parsley, garlic, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar; process until the parsley is evenly chopped. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil and process just until blended. Taste and add more salt if needed. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Pork Chops
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons paprika
1 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper
¾ teaspoons freshly ground white pepper
4 boneless pork loin chops, around ¾-inch thick
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, stir together the salt, paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder and peppers. Coat both sides of the chops with olive oil, then rub both sides of each chop with spice mixture (around ½ to 1 teaspoon per side); save extra for the next time you prepare the recipe or to use on pork tenderloins. Set aside.
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on high. Once the grill is heated, bank the coals to one side of the grill, or turn off one burner of the gas grill. Place chops on the hot part of the grill and cook, covered, 3 minutes or until seared. Move chops to the cooler part of the grill, cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 145 degrees F. Let rest for around 10 minutes. Serve with some of the sauce spooned over the top and down the sides. Chimichurri sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving. Chops can be pan-fried in a large skillet in 1 to 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Roasted Beet Salad with Arugula Dressing
1 ½ cups packed baby arugula
1/3 to ½ cup sliced green onion (about 4; white, light green and some dark green parts)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons anchovy paste (in a tube) (This is optional.)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 large beets (red, or mixture of red and yellow)
9 to 10 cups Boston, Bibb or other lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
Crumbled goat cheese
Sliced red onion
In a food processor, combine the arugula, green onion, garlic, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, anchovy paste and tarragon; process until well-blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Wash the beets and trim off the ends. In a large piece of foil, place 2 beets side by side and fold foil edges together tightly to make a packet; repeat with remaining beets and foil. Place in oven directly on oven rack with seam side up (this keeps any beet juice from going into your oven) and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until soft in the center when pierced with a fork. Cool. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and cut into wedges. Divide lettuce among 6 salad plates. Arrange sliced beets in a circle on top of lettuce; sprinkle with goat cheese and red onion. Drizzle with some of the dressing, to taste.
Beets are a nearly perfect food: tasty, full of vitamins, low in calories and lovely to look at. Always buy fresh ones. They are worth the small amount of trouble to prepare.

Joni Woolf, a writer and editor, now lives in Schley County, having moved from her home in Macon several years ago. Contact her at