Fix it Fast; Make it Delicious

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

The hardest recipes to create are the simplest. If you had all the quality ingredients you could possibly want, and all the time in the world, of course you’d be expected to cook something wonderful.

But what about cooking with six ingredients, with six minutes to prep and six minutes to clean up? Ah, now there’s a challenge!

And if you happen to be a professional chef? Why all the more difficult, trying to put yourself in the shoes of a home cook.

Stuart O’Keeffe has more than mastered the challenge with The Quick Six Fix, 100 No-Fuss, Full-Flavor Recipes (c. 2016), published by William Morrow. I was sent a review copy because, of course, it’s the perfect concept for Special Fork cooks.

Born in Ireland and now based in LA, Stuart has cooked in France, Dublin and the Napa Valley. He is inspired by global flavors, from Asian to Latin to Mediterranean, as well as from his homeland, where talented chefs have been busy putting Ireland on the culinary world map.

One of Stuart’s useful cooking tips is to read the recipe before you start cooking. He recommends reading a recipe three times so you know what you need, can envision what’s going to happen and have a fair idea of how to manage your time.

There are a number of icons accompanying each recipe: one icon to denote if a dish is made in one pot, baking sheet or skillet (so cleanup is that much easier), one to indicate a vegetarian dish, one to identify a recipe that makes a complete meal (only one dish to cook), and one is a stoplight to let you know when to clean up in the middle of cooking so you don’t leave your kitchen in a mess.

The book is well-illustrated with mouthwatering photography and each recipe is accompanied by a headnote – Stuart’s personal introduction to the recipe.

I’ve just had time to try one of the recipes, Mustard-Crusted Pork with Apple Cabbage Slaw—it was simple and scrumptious and as easy as described in the book. This dish makes a wonderful Sunday supper for the family.

You will note that the recipe calls for more than six ingredients. In the front of the book, Stuart lists which items are pantry staples that he expects you will have on hand already, and they are not counted as part of the six in the ingredient list. The ingredients that are counted as part of the six are marked in boldface type throughout the book. I think that’s a fair call.

Also, preparation time assumes that you have done the mise en place, that is, chopped, sliced and prepped the ingredients and have them readied as called for in the ingredient list. That’s a fairly common way to assess prep time.

That said, I’m passing my cookbook on loan to my son Dave, who is an avid weekday cook. But I think he’ll want to buy a copy of his own.

Mustard-Crusted Pork with Apple Cabbage Slaw
Serves 4 to 6

1 ½-pound pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup grainy mustard, such as Grey Poupon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
4 cups shredded cabbage
1 apple, grated through medium to large holes on grater
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Pat pork dry and season well with salt and pepper. In a bowl, whisk mustard and olive oil together. Using your hands, rub mixture all over pork tenderloin. Let meat sit until it comes to room temperature, at least 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Place pork on a wire rack on a rimmed 36 X 18-inch baking sheet lined with foil. Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F. and cook for another 10 minutes or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees on a meat thermometer. Remove from oven; set aside, and cover with aluminum foil.
  4. In a skillet, heat butter, vinegar, and sugar over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Then turn up the heat to medium high, add the cabbage and apple, and cook until the cabbage has wilted somewhat, about 10 minutes. Stir in chopped parsley.
  5. Remove foil from pork and slice.
  6. Spread cabbage on a platter, top with pork slices, and serve.

Recipe from The Quick Six Fix, 100 No-Fuss, Full-Flavor Recipes by Stuart O’Keeffe, (c. 2016) published by William Morrow.

Special Fork recipe notes:

  • Be sure to have a meat thermometer because roasting times will vary; mine took a little longer since my pork was not quite down to room temperature.
  • I shredded my own cabbage, but if you want to save more time, buy pre-shredded coleslaw mix.
  • You can use a smaller rimmed baking sheet, as long as the pork fits; my was 9 X 13 inches.

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Posted: May 15th by Sandy_Hu