Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sunny Gets Her Pork On...Plus Her Beautiful Digits

Cooking For Real with Sunny Anderson

Masterpiece Burger
Curry Pork Burgers with Spicy Ketchup
Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Cookies
Sweet Potato and Celery Root Fries

Sunny tells us that in her New York neighborhood there are a lot of artists. She says pork is HER canvas. I sure hope she’s not going to paint a real live hog. No, luckily she’s using it to create a masterpiece of zestily spiced pork burgers. I have to admit I don’t like the sound of pork burgers, but I bet they’ll have a lot of flavor.

Sunny starts by making a spice blend with cayenne pepper and garlic powder for her oven fries. (SHE loves garlic powder, while you know how I feel about it.) BUT she does give us the exactly right reason for using it. She’s cooking at a really high temperature and fresh garlic could burn and turn bitter. That’s why garlic powder is always used in a rub for blackened chicken or fish or whatever. She adds Hungarian paprika and Chinese five spice powder, (which I can’t stand because of the star anise) and a little salt and pepper.

By the way, I’m not mad at (to use Sunny’s turn of phrase) the fact that SHE'S making OVEN fries, as I was with Aida. Sunny never promised us that she was going to teach us the end all and be all of French fry cooking. She never presented us with a bunch of roasted potato chunks when we were expecting pommes frites…Harrummmph!

Sunny is making her oven fries with sweet potatoes and celery root. Interesting. She slices off the outside of the celery root and cuts it into thick matchsticks. She cuts up sweet potatoes (with the skin on) the same way. They go onto 2 baking sheets in a single layer so they brown nicely. She drizzles over oil and sprinkles on the spice blend. The oil will help the seasoning adhere to the vegetables as well as making the fries crispy. They go into a 450°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes.

Next is a spicy ketchup. She adds 1 tablespoon of butter into a pan and then presses in two garlic cloves with a garlic press. That’s just what I would do, except I would get rid of the center root part first. She adds ketchup and crushed pepper flakes and cayenne. I would have cooked the spices first on low for 2 minutes and then added the ketchup at the end. She adds green onions and stirs them in and takes it off the heat. She takes out the fries.

She says the Chinese five spice powder is going to make the whole kitchen smell…I AGREE! Oh, she adds it’s going to make the whole kitchen smell GOOD. Whatever floats your boat…the fries do look good though. Sunny stirs the fries a bit and puts them back in the oven.

Sunny takes out 2½ pounds of pork while telling us that she was a car hop at a burger joint. She puts the pork in a bowl with sliced green onions and 2 cloves of garlic. She adds 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

Sunny is being careful not to get her pork hand on anything, but she just should have washed her hands. After gingerly adding the spices so as not to infect them, she touches the salt and pepper things with the same hand. No! You gotta wash your hands after every step.

She forms the pork burgers and makes a few extra meat balls for the freezer. She refrigerates the burgers.

Next up are peaches and cream cookies. Cool idea. She places 3/4 cup flour in a bowl with ½ teaspoon baking soda and a pinch of salt. She creams 1 stick of butter with ¼ cup each of light and dark brown sugars.

She chops dried peaches for the cookies. (I think fresh might be good too. Another good alternative would be chopped granny smith apples, which would add a lot of moistness.) She adds an egg to the mixture and then 1½ cups quick cooking oats. Wait, she doesn’t mean instant, does she? No, the 5 minute oats.

Actually, use whatever you want…in all my years of making oatmeal cookies, I’ve never noticed a difference between using quick cooking and the longer cooking oats. Now I almost always use the old fashioned oats and I imagine you could do that here too.

Sunny takes the fries out of the oven.

She adds white chocolate chips to the cookies. They are the “cream”. Lastly, she mixes in walnuts and the dried peaches. She forms balls with them and puts them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sunny says you can also use waxed paper. Foil is MY liner of choice.

She presses down the balls (a wet hand is helpful here) and they go into the oven - 350°F for 10-12 minutes. Don’t overbake.

Sunny adds oil to her sauté pan. Her VERY large burgers go into the pan. She slices the largest tomato I’ve ever seen. She takes out her cookies, which are rather large as well. YUM! She just grabs the entire piece of parchment paper and transfers the whole thing to a cooling rack.

Sunny takes out the burgers and puts one on a bun. She adds her huge tomato slice and some lettuce. She “paints” her bun with the spicy ketchup and tops it with the other side of the bun. She presses it down A LOT and manages to get all the layers in her mouth at once. It looks good. She tastes the fries. She loves them. Sunny grabs a cookie as we say farewell.

PS Sunny is quite a strong, even powerful woman, but have you ever noticed her hands? They are quite beautiful and delicate. The turn of her wrist is very graceful and elegant as she eats that monster of a burger.


Emiline said...

I like the idea of a peaches and cream cookie. Dried peaches are expensive though! I think fresh peach would be tasty, but then the cookies would get soggy the next day. Maybe you could pre-cook the peaches before adding? So that they would lose some moisture? Or I suppose you could make your own oven-dried peaches.

I don't know why I'm saying this - I spent $15 on cheese the other night.

Jen said...

Hi Sue- I agree with you on the 5 spice poweder... I always want to use it but I really hate star anise.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That sounds like a great meal actually! Something I would totally make - I am with ya on the 5 spice powder though. I just never got into it.

Sue said...

You are funny. And you're right - fresh peaches WOULD make them soggy and so would apples, I guess. If you're worried about the cost, just use some nasty store brand raisins and call it a day.

I'm glad I'm not the only one.

Hi Jenn,
The recipes did look really good and the five spice powder is easy enough to leave out.