With few ingredients and milk, Chef Jenn Louis shows how anyone can be a top chef
SAN CLEMENTE, CA – Californians are very savvy when it comes to gourmet cuisine. It seems nearly everyone is up to date on the latest TV chef challenge, the new “it” restaurants and even the freshest seasonal produce at the farmer’s market. Cuisine has become the latest spectator sport, but actually cooking like a pro is an entirely different story. Many say they lack the time, equipment or expertise. Yet, a top West Coast chef claims almost anyone can make delicious gourmet dishes with minimal time and effort in the kitchen. Through her partnership with the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB), the creator of GOT MILK?, Chef Jenn Louis, one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs of 2012”, will share her favorite “Real and Simple with Milk” summer recipes with Californians. All it takes is just a handful of fresh quality ingredients, bound together by silky, creamy milk.
“Using few ingredients keeps things simple and allows flavors to peek through,” says Louis. “Milk tenderizes, refreshes, adds creaminess and just the right amount of richness to all of my dishes. I hope Californians will enjoy them throughout the season.”
Dubbed “the West Coast Queen of Simple,” California born and raised Louis began her culinary adventure after extensive travel through Europe, North and South America as well as living on a dairy farm in southern Israel. In 1988, she realized her dream to cook for a living while doing so on an Outward Bound camp in the North Carolina woods. Her refreshingly simple cooking perspective has taken her on a meteoric ride to the top among culinary circles. She is the co-owner of two highly acclaimed restaurants, Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern, both in Portland. Louis has also been recognized twice by the prestigious James Beard Foundation, in 2010 and 2011, among her many distinguished accomplishments.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with an extraordinary culinary talent like Chef Jenn Louis,” says Steve James, CMPB Executive Director. ”Her recipes resonate well with Californians because they are real and simple. Through them, she demonstrates that great food isn’t complicated and is really easy to make during the summer.”
Exclusively available on www.gotmilk.com/recipes, Louis’ “Real and Simple with Milk” recipes include:
- Dutch babies – This light German pancake uses a very simple batter whose ingredients are all placed in a blender for mixing. Oven baked until puffy and golden, it can be topped with her blueberry conserva and a sprinkle of powdered sugar or with fresh seasonal berries.
- Chilled Cucumber Soup – No cooking is needed for this refreshingly light soup. Just blend lots of fresh cucumbers, milk and a few other simple ingredients to make it the perfect first course for dining al fresco under the stars.
- Parsley Crepes – Louis makes this savory lightly green-tinted parsley crêpe with a basil pesto, fresh ricotta, ham and juicy tomato slices. It’s a light and satisfying meal during the summer months.
- Summer Corn Fritter – As the summer vegetable of choice, the sweetness of the corn is the star in this light side dish. They’re delicious for dessert, drizzled with honey or molasses or they can be served with a bowl of hearty chili.
- Milk braised pork shoulder – The milk used in this succulent recipe tenderizes the meat as it cooks slowly over low heat either in the oven or on a stove top. The pork picks up the notes of lemon zest and sage used in this recipe. Served lightly seared with creamy polenta and summer vegetables.
To learn more about GOT MILK? and Louis’ Real and Simple with Milk recipes, visit www.gotmilk.com/recipes.
Dutch Baby Pancake with Blueberry Conserva
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 lemon
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup 2% low fat milk
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- pinch of fresh nutmeg
- 1/3 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 10-inch cast-iron or ovenproof nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat; set aside. In a blender, combine zest of 1/3lemon, eggs, milk, flour, salt, vanilla, almond extract, nutmeg and sugar. Blend until frothy, 1 minute. Pour batter into skillet; bake until pancake is puffed and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve with blueberry conserva.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 a cinnamon stick
In a medium saucepan, mix water and sugar. Add 1/2 pint of blueberries, 1 bay leaf and 1/2 of a cinnamon stick. Bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat until the berries begin to breakdown and become soft. Once the berries are broken down, add the remaining 1/2 pint of blueberries and continue to cook until thickened, do not over reduce. Sauce should lightly coat back of a spoon when finished. Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaf, ladle sauce into containers and cool in refrigerator. If conserva becomes too thick when cool, thin out to sauce consistency with simple syrup.
Other great Dutch Baby toppings: honey, maple syrup, powdered sugar and lemon juice, fresh fruit.
Parsley Crêpes with Ham, Pesto, Ricotta and Summer Tomatoes
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 20 fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons ricotta
- 6-12 slices ham
- · 3 ripe summer tomatoes
In a blender combine egg, milk, butter and parsley until combined well. Add flour and salt, blend until smooth. Strain batter through a fine mesh strainer to remove any parsley pieces and chill for 30 minutes.
Heat a 6 to 8-inch non-stick pan over medium heat until hot. Swirl a small piece of butter until melted, remove pan from heat and tilt and swirl 1/4 cup crêpe batter to cover bottom with a thin layer of batter. Return pan to heat and loosen edge of crêpe with a spatula. Cook crêpe until underside is lightly browned. Turn crêpe and lightly brown the other side. Transfer to a plate.
Yield 1 quart
- 2 1/4 cups basil leaves (2 1/4 ounces)
- 1 medium clove garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, untoasted (1 1/4 ounce)
- 2 tablespoons Pecorino-Romano, finely grated and loosely packed
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
Blend pine nuts, salt, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Scrape down sides of food processor bowl; add basil and 1/2 cup of the olive oil and cheese. Blend, scrape down sides of bowl. Add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil with food processor running until pesto has reached the desired consistency. Scrape down sides of bowl several times during process. All ingredients in pesto should be gently chopped and held together by the oil without being runny.
Spread each crêpe with 1 tablespoon of pesto, 1 tablespoon of ricotta, 1-2 thin slices of ham and several slices of tomato. Roll up or fold crêpe and repeat with remaining crêpes.
Serve with a big lettuce salad.
Milk Braised Pork Shoulder
- 2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 quart 2% low fat milk, warm
- 2 sprigs sage
- 2 bay leaves
- · 3 strips of lemon zest, 2” x 1/2”, with as little white as possible
- · Salt
- · Pepper
Trim excess fat from pork shoulder and truss pork with cotton twine to create evenly shaped roast. Season pork roasts generously with salt and pepper.
Heat a pan that is 2 inches taller than the roast and large enough for the pork to sit flat on the bottom. Add olive oil and butter to pan and sear trussed pork shoulder until nicely caramelized on all sides. Once evenly caramelized, add warmed milk to the pot with the pork, reduce burner to low heat and add sage, bay leaves and lemon zest. Gently season milk with salt. Cover pan loosely with an offset lid. Cook at a gentle simmer for one hour, then turn pork over and cook for additional hour or until a skewer can be easily inserted. When the meat is soft (after 2-3 hours), remove the meat from the pan and bring the sauce together by blending with an immersion blender or whisk. Cool the pork in the braising liquid. Once the meat is cooled, remove the twine and slice to desired thickness. If not serving immediately, chill pork, then slice and proceed with warming.
To reheat, gently warm the milk sauce and add the sliced pork once warmed, season as needed. Adding an additional few tablespoons of butter to the sauce will help it to emulsify when simmered together; this is not traditional nor is it necessary.
Serve with soft polenta.
Chilled Cucumber Soup
- 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds, lightly toasted
- 4 ounces rustic white bread, crust removed, bread cut into chunks
- 3 pounds cucumbers
- 2 small garlic cloves
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cups 2% low fat milk
- 2 cups ice
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
- 10 large mint leaves
- 12 large basil leaves
Peel, seed and coarsely chop cucumbers. In a blender puree half of each of all ingredients. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the other half of the ingredients. Add milk as needed for a thinner consistency. If the soup is too chunky, pass through a medium sieve. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. If desired, thin with water before serving.
Serve chilled. Garnish with: finely chopped fresh chili, avocado, red onion, crab meat, poached shrimp, chopped mint, chopped cilantro, or chopped basil.
Summer Corn Fritters
- 1 ear of corn, shucked and kernels removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup 2% low fat milk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 quarts vegetable oil
In a small sauté pan, sauté corn in olive oil until tender. Season with salt and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal with the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add the reserved corn, egg, milk and melted butter and whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate the fritter batter for at least 1 hour. Batter will hold, refrigerated, for 2 days.
In a medium pot, heat oil to 350 degrees. Gently drop walnut-sized portions of batter into hot oil and fry until golden brown and cooked through. Test by cutting a fritter in half. Season with salt and serve hot.
Serve: drizzled with honey or molasses, with honey butter, with chili instead of cornbread, with slices of ham and a salad for a light meal, or with roasted chilis and grilled chicken.
About Jenn Louis
Chef Jenn Louis has garnered accolades from almost every major culinary entity in the country including Zagat, Bon Appetit, and Cooking Light, among others. In 2010 and 2011, she was a James Beard Foundation semifinalist for “Best Chef – Northwest.” Louis and husband David Welch are the owners of Portland’s highly acclaimed Lincoln Restaurant, recognized by Conde Nast Traveler’s “Hot List” as one of the 50 top new restaurants in North America. They also own and operate Sunshine Tavern and Culinary Artistry, a highly successful full-service catering and event planning company in Portland.
About the CMPB
The California Milk Processor Board was established in 1993 to make milk more competitive and increase milk consumption in California. Awareness of GOT MILK? is over 90% nationally and it is considered one of the most important and successful campaigns in history. GOT MILK? is a federally registered trademark that has been licensed by the national dairy boards since 1995. The CMPB’s Spanish-language campaign began in 1994 using the tagline “Familia, Amor y Leche” (Family, Love and Milk). The TOMA LECHE (Drink Milk) campaign replaced it in 2006, following a growing trend in Hispanic food advertising that uses wit and humor to reach audiences. GOT MILK? gifts and recipes can be viewed at www.gotmilk.com and www.tomaleche.com. The CMPB is funded by all California milk processors and administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.