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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

SOCO Restaurant Thorton Park

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On Melissa’s last day before heading back to Oakland, CA., we went out for dinner. This time it was my turn to choose the place. I decided on SOCO RestaurantThorton Park. 

SOCO (Southern Contemporary Cuisine) takes classic southern fare and kicks it up a few notches. The atmosphere is trendy, cozy, with a lot of natural light. Let me take you on a quick tour of our experience.

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Soco Restaurant

Our server Jordan and the hostess Tiffany were both very professional and courteous. They both helped to make our dining experience one we’ll remember. Thank you both so much!

As I passed by I noticed a small bio on the wall, one about the Chef Greg Richie and another about how old favorites have been reimagined.

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For our appetizers, we had House Smoked Fish Dip Gratin.

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Melissa had their Lake Meadow Naturals Deviled Eggs.

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Soco-Style Chicken and Dumplings.

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Slow Roasted Barbecue-Glazed Pork Belly On Grilled Biscuits Topped With Chow-chow.

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Grilled Meatloaf On Lobster Mash Potatoes.

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Diver Scallops With Roasted Baby Carrots And Brussel Sprouts.

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A Trio Of Banana Puddings, Chocolate, Bourbon, and Peanutbutter With A Vanilla Wafer Waffle.

For more information on SOCO Thorton Park in Orlando visit their website at http://www.socothortonpark.com

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Farro With Cranberries, Pineapple, And Pistachios

Farro is a food composed of grains of certain wheat species. If you love barley you’ll definitely love Farro. Farro has a slightly nuttier flavor with a chewy texture that’s really delicious.  If you’re one that doesn’t/can’t eat sweets, for one reason or another, this dish will satisfy all those cravings. The natural sweetness in dried fruit once rehydrated is super intense.

Prepared similar to pasta, Farro is cooked in water until tender, or if you prefer, Al Dente. Farro With Cranberries, Pineapple, And Pistachios provide a slightly sweeter take on the many traditional recipes that are available.

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Fennel And Garlic Crusted Pork Loin

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 2 to 4 servings
Equipment: 3-quart saucepot

Ingredients:
1 cup of uncooked Farro, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
3 cups of unsalted vegetable broth (or water)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried pineapple
1/8 cup of pistachios, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh basil, finely julienned (substitute fresh mint)

Directions:
In a large saucepot on medium heat, place 1 cup of farro with 3 cups of unsalted vegetable broth and the dried fruit. Bring to a low boil and season with Kosher salt. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until al dente. When the farro is done, drain any excess liquid that may remain. Add the chopped pistachios and fresh basil, stir to combine. Transfer to a large serving bowl.

Serve warm or at room temperature. This is my recipe for Farro With Cranberries, Pineapple, And Pistachios.

Fennel And Garlic Roasted Pork Loin

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Meatloaf With Sundried Tomatoes

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Meatloaf is a favorite in my house. I’m always trying to reintroduce new flavors into my meatloaf. Whether I’m trying different types of ground meat or adding different ingredients, meatloaf is comfort food. This is my Meatloaf With Sun-Dried Tomatoes.

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Meatloaf With Sundried Tomatoes (1)

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I want to talk about my gravy for this dish. Sometimes I like to make a gravy that’s more in the style of an Au Jus. What I mean is, it’s more on the brothier side than a thicker style gravy. I’ll get into more detail later.

I’m making this meatloaf with ground chicken. It’s leaner and I can play around with some new flavors. Let’s get started.

Meatloaf Gravy

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 Servings
Equipment: 12-inch sautépan, 1  rimmed baking sheet pan

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
1 red and yellow bell pepper, diced
1 Poblano pepper diced, (substitute green bell pepper)
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 cloves grated garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup half and half
5 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Ketchup
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

2-pounds of ground chicken (substitute ground turkey)

Gravy:
2 cups chicken stock, unsalted
2 cups beef stock, unsalted
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste (Kosher salt)

Side Dish: 2 15-ounce bags frozen petite Green Peas

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and diced peppers, cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft but not browned. Set aside to cool.

Place all the ingredients, from the list above, into a large mixing bowl adding the breadcrumbs last. Mix together until you get the consistency of wet sand. To that add the cooled sautéed onions and peppers and the chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Mix to combine.

Finally, add the meat. With clean hands, gently toss the mixture together, making sure it’s combined but not compacted.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet pan. Transfer the meat mixture over to the lined sheet pan. Pat the meat into a flat rectangle and then press the sides in until the meat forms a cylinder down the middle of the pan. This will ensure there will be no air pockets. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the internal temperature, in the middle, reads 155-160-degrees F.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. There you have it my Meatloaf With Sundried Tomatoes.

Directions For the Gravy:
To a 3-quart saucepot add 2 cups chicken stock, 2 cups of beef stock, and 5 sprigs of fresh thyme. Over medium heat, bring the liquid up to a simmer. Salt and pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, add 4 tablespoons of cornstarch to 4 tablespoons of cold water. Whisk together until smooth paste forms. Whisk the *slurry (cornstarch/water mixture) into the saucepot with the broth (chicken/beef) until the liquid comes back up to a bubble, 2-3 minutes. Fish out the thyme sprigs.

*Slurry:  Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Whisk until smooth paste forms. Add the slurry into the hot, simmering liquid you want to thicken. 2 tablespoons per cup will give you a thicker, more gravy-like consistency.

Homestyle Baked Mac & Cheese

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