(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
How much does Sean Kanan love you? He loves you so much that he might not only prepare you gourmet pork chops atop braised red cabbage for Valentine's Day, but he'll leave a bonus gift of a papaya and arugula salad ingeniously crafted from the leftovers for your lunch the next day.
Kanan plays the deviously sexy Deacon Sharpe on the popular daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful, a role he also made famous on The Young and the Restless. He made hearts beat quick on General Hospital as A.J. Quartermaine from 2006-2014. However, his ultimate Valentine's Day gift is even more thoughtful than double-duty recipes, like the aforementioned cinnamon-and-spice-kissed ones above. Kanan's goal is to inspire a whole generation of new-fangled gentlemen.
The Pork Chops Bada Bing, Braised Red Cabbage and Bada Bing Leftover Salad are just a few of scores of innovative choices he includes in The Modern Gentleman: Cooking and Entertaining with Sean Kanan. Plenty of sophisticated menus, as well as tips on everything from music to stocking your bar, appear in the book by Kanan, an excellent cook who speaks fluent Italian and lived in Italy while competing as a celebrity contestant on that country's version of "Dancing with the Stars."
However, Kanan sensed a broader gap to be filled. "As an actor, I thought it only appropriate to use the analogy of the theater to help me explain as I teach you how to create a real connection with women using food and entertaining as the vehicle. We have all heard the old adage, 'the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.' I believe that the same thing can be said of a woman," he notes. Kanan proved his point many times over during college dates when he taught himself to cook in order to compete during dates with those who had bigger budgets to wine and dine their companions at expensive restaurants.
Although in order to be better dining companions Kanan encourages his proteges to read more to enhance their education and further distinguish themselves by learning a foreign language, their expertise at preparing some of his specialties, like Sauteed Zucchini with Parmigiana and Balsamic Reduction, Whitefish with Dijon Artichoke Remoulade or Seared Pears and Candied Walnuts Over Vanilla Ice Cream, certainly won't hurt.
Fun fare like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun - and fast. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for creating homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!
Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since these are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations. They can't help but draw "wows" from your Valentine - all year long.
Pork Chops "Bada Bing"
4 boneless pork chops
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon (preferably Chinese) chili paste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
1/4 cup pineapple (bite-sized pieces)
Paprika, for garnish
Braised red cabbage:
1 red cabbage
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Salt, to taste Pepper, to taste
Yields 4 servings.
To prepare pork chops: Combine all ingredients together, except for pineapple and paprika, in a quart-sized re-sealable bag. Place in the refrigerator until ready to cook. They can be marinated overnight if desired. Preheat the grill or the broiler in your oven. Remove pork loins from the bag and place on grill or broiler. Discard marinade. Cook for about 7 minutes on each side, slice into one to make sure it's done and use a meat thermometer. (The USDA
suggests a minimum of 145 F for pork chops.) Garnish with pineapple and paprika. Serve over braised red cabbage. (If making the next-day leftover Bada Bing Salad that serves 2, reserve 1 cooked pork chop and 1 / 4 cup braised red cabbage.)
To prepare braised red cabbage: Carefully chop cabbage into 2-inch long strands. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add cabbage and saute until the cabbage is slightly softened. Add garlic, apple cider vinegar, nutmeg, cinnamon and balsamic vinegar. Stir together. Add chicken stock, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer for approximately 7 to 10 minutes, until liquid reduces. Season with salt and pepper."Bada Bing" Next-Day Leftover Salad
2 cups arugula
1/4 cup leftover braised red cabbage
1 papaya, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup vinaigrette dressing
1 leftover Pork Chop "Bada Bing"
1 strawberry, sliced
Yields 2 servings.
Toss arugula with braised red cabbage, papaya, red onions and dressing. On a serving plate, make a bed of the arugula mixture. Slice the pork (which can be served either warm or cold) thinly. If the pork chop is warm, wait until you are ready to serve to add it to the arugula. Assemble the pork chop on top of the arugula. Garnish the edges of the plate with the sliced strawberry.
QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Stars who want to shape up for the Oscars might take a page out of "Extra" host/red carpet interviewer Mario Lopez
's book, "Extra Lean
." He gives the keys to his ripped physique. "Probably the most crucial of all steps, balancing a combination of healthy carbs, protein, and fats throughout each day," he writes, "ensures that you'll have plenty of energy to constantly burn fat and stay lean for life. To reach this state, you need to have the following total daily intake of each nutrient: 1/2 (more or less) of carbs; 1/4 (more or less) of protein; 1/4 (more or less) of fat." He gives lots of tips on avoiding traps like sugary carbohydrates and increasing consumption of healthful fats.Lisa Messinger
is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes
(Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet
(Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.