Monday, May 18, 2009

The Polymath Cooks With 7up, Part Eight

Five days after returning from the Farm where I had in fact gotten some good work done, found me in my kitchen surrounded by the detritus of a full day of cooking with 7up. I had developed five entrees, had used 7up in every possible application, and was sitting with my friend Kevin, who had to come over and help me taste. Kevin was very excited to be my guinea pig, and tucked into the dishes with gusto, offering excellent advice.

The top dish, we decided, was a chicken breast marinated in 7up, coated with bread crumbs that contained both lemon and lime zest, and was served with a rice salad with a 7up cumin lime dressing. Second place, 7up brined pork chops with a 7up chipotle glaze, served with butternut squash that had been mashed with butter and 7up reduced to a caramel. The 7up marinated pork loin with 7up honey jalapeno sauce, paired with sweet and sour 7up slaw with cabbage, fennel and green apple was pretty good. The 7up Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken was almost addictive, and the 7up Asian Chicken Salad also was excellent. *recipes below

Kevin helped me take the photos, and we made some notes - the chipotle glaze needed to reduce more to be thicker, slightly more cumin in the rice salad - I sent Kevin home with a bag full of food to take to his pals at work, and wrote up the recipes. It was after midnight when I logged into the website to enter the contest. I uploaded the first picture, the pork chops, and the recipe and hit send. Then I went back and entered the chicken breast. A screen popped up.

We’re sorry, but you have already entered this contest.


I went back to the rules. In tiny tiny print way at the bottom, one entry per household. ONE. I hadn’t even entered the best one! I sat feeling defeated. Then I called Kevin.

“You could make that chicken if I taught you how, right?”

“Yeah I think so.”

“I’m entering you in the contest.”

“Oh, I don’t know…I’m not a good cook…”

“Kevin! I didn’t read the fine print. There is only one entry per household. I sent them the pork chop recipe, but we liked the chicken even better! If the pork wins, no problem. If the chicken wins, we’ll practice practice practice before we go to Miami for the cook-off, and we’ll split the prize! And if we both get in, then we double our chances!”

Kevin laughs, and then, in all seriousness, says “Okay, but e-mail me the recipe in case someone calls and asks me questions!”

“Done.” I entered the chicken recipe under Kevin’s name and thought about how much fun the two of us would have “competing” against each other at the finals in Miami.

NEXT: The Polymath Gets Some News

7up Recipes for your oddly delicious cooking pleasure....

Lemon Lime Chicken with Confetti Rice

For Chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ c 7Up
¼ c lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
2 T Dijon mustard
2 T fresh thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T soy sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T butter, melted
1 T lime zest
½ c bread crumbs

For Rice:
4 C cooked rice, white or brown, cooked according to package directions with ¼ cooking water replaced with 7Up, cooled to room temperature but not chilled

¼ c each-
chopped celery
chopped carrots
chopped red bell pepper
sweet corn kernels
canned black beans, rinsed and drained
toasted pine nuts
chopped green apple
chopped scallions
chopped flat leaf parsley

½ c 7Up
¼ c lime juice
1 shallot, minced
1 T sugar
1 t kosher salt
½ t grains of paradise, ground
1 T ground cumin
¾ c extra virgin olive oil

Chicken: In Ziploc bag put 7Up, lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, thyme, garlic, soy, Worcestershire, and chicken breasts. Squish around so chicken is completely covered with marinade, and put in refrigerator 1 hour to overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Mix bread crumbs with lime zest in shallow dish.

Remove chicken from marinade to bread crumbs, and coat completely. Place on baking tray. Drizzle with melted butter and bake in oven 14-18 minutes, depending on thickness of chicken. Should be golden brown on top and cooked through.

While chicken is baking, whisk all dressing ingredients in small bowl. In large bowl, mix rice and rest of salad components, add about ½ of the dressing. Taste and add more dressing to desired flavor balance. Serve at room temperature.

7Up Chipotle Pork Chops with Butternut Squash

For brine:

1 ½ c 7Up
¾ c dark brown sugar
¼ c kosher salt
10 cloves garlic crushed
2 bay leaves
1 t coriander seed
1 T celery seed
4 cassia buds (may substitute cloves)
2 cups hot water
4 cups cold water

4 pork loin chops, rib on
2 t canola oil
Salt and pepper

For Sauce:
½ c honey
¼ c dark brown sugar
1 c 7Up
Zest of 2 limes
1 t salt
2 cloves garlic, grated
4 chipotles in adobo, chopped

For Squash:
1 c 7Up
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 T unsalted butter
1 t salt
1 T dark brown sugar
½ t nutmeg
½ t grains of paradise, ground
¼ c applesauce, natural style

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread squash chunks on sheet pan and roast in oven until soft, about 20-30 minutes.

Dissolve sugar and salt in the 2 cups hot water. Add cold water and rest of brine ingredients. Put brine in Ziploc bag with pork chops, and let rest in fridge one hour.

Put 7Up, honey, sugar and salt in small saucepan over medium high heat until thoroughly combined. Add lime zest, garlic and chipotle. Cook until reduced by half, and thickened. Blend with immersion blender till smooth. Taste for seasoning.

Remove chops from brine and pat dry. Discard brine. Oil chops and season well with salt and pepper. Sear over high heat in sauté pan until browned on both sides. Move to sheet pan and finish in oven to desired doneness (I prefer slightly pink in the middle, about 12 minutes)

Mash squash in bowl with potato masher, or put thru ricer. Add butter, and blend until melted. Stir in salt, sugar, nutmeg, grains of paradise, and applesauce. Put 1 c 7Up in small saucepan over high heat and reduce to caramel, about 6 minutes. Should be medium golden brown, and should yield about 1 T or less caramel. Watch carefully so that it doesn’t burn. Mix caramel into squash.

Serve chops with a spoonful of chipotle sauce, and a side of squash.

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Sweet and Sour Slaw

¼ c lime juice
2 T sugar
1 T cumin
1/3 c olive oil
1 crushed garlic clove
1 T fresh thyme leaves

2 small or 1 large pork tenderloins (about 2 lbs)
2 T canola oil
Salt and Pepper

½ c tangerine juice
½ c dry white wine
¼ c lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
2 c dark brown sugar
2 jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, sliced into thin strips

Mix marinade ingredients in Ziploc bag and add tenderloins. Marinate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all glaze ingredients in small saucepan over medium high heat, and reduce till very thick, about 15 minutes.

Heat one side of grill to high.

Remove tenderloins from marinade and pat dry. Coat with oil and season well with salt and pepper. Sear over high heat on the grill until golden brown on all sides and remove to unheated side of grill. Baste with glaze. Close grill. Finish over indirect heat to desired doneness (I prefer slightly pink in the middle). Let rest 10 minutes after removing from oven, and slice about ½ inch thick slices, with more glaze as sauce. Serve with slaw.

1 small green cabbage, shredded fine
1 head fennel, shredded fine
1 green apple, julienned
¼ c rice wine vinegar

1/4 c 7up
¼ c lime juice
1/3 c sugar
1 T + 1 t kosher salt
½ t ground black pepper
1 T caraway seed
½ c canola oil

Put shredded cabbage in a strainer over a bowl, and toss with 1 T salt until well blended. Let rest 1 hour, then rinse well to remove salt, and pat dry. Toss with fennel and apple. In a bowl whisk 7Up and lime juice with sugar and salt till dissolved. Add caraway and oil and whisk until emulsified, toss dressing with cabbage mix and taste for seasoning. Chill.

Spicy Thai Noodles with Chicken

1 lb. linguini
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 c 7Up

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
6 T peanut butter, smooth style, (not natural)
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 T lime juice

6 T sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp ginger, grated
4 T peanut oil
3 garlic cloves (or more) finely minced
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you like it)
4 scallions, whites and green tops, chopped
½ seedless cucumber, sliced into half moons

Cook the noodles according to package directions; toss with 2 T peanut oil; set aside.

Bring 3 c 7Up and 5 c water to boil in small saucepan. Add chicken, bring back to boil, cover and turn off heat. Leave covered 1 hour till cooked through. Remove from poaching liquid and shred meat.

Put 1 c 7Up in small saucepan and boil over high heat until reduced to ¼ c, about 6 minutes.Mix together soy sauce, vinegar, reduced 7Up, lime juice, peanut butter, sesame oil. Does not have to be thoroughly combined, peanut butter will not blend until heated.

In large sauté pan, saute garlic and ginger in 2 T peanut oil; add red pepper flakes and cook one minute, until fragrant. Add soy mixture and cook 2 minutes until smooth and slightly thickened. Add in noodles, and toss and mix over medium heat just until heated through. Add in shredded chicken and mix well. Cool to room temperature. Garnish with chopped green onions and sliced, seeded cucumbers. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

7up Asian Chicken Salad

1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat shredded
½ c rice wine vinegar
½ c sugar
1 c 7up, reduced over high heat to ¼ c
¾ c almond oil not roasted, just plain (or canola)
2 oz. sliced almonds, toasted
4 scallions, white and green, chopped
4 T sesame seeds, toasted
1 t kosher salt
½ t white pepper
1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 cup fried chow mein noodles

Put vinegar, reduced 7up, sugar and salt in bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in almond oil. Add chopped scallions and toasted almonds and toasted sesame seeds and pepper to dressing. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your palate with salt, pepper or sugar.

Remove chicken from poaching liquid, and shred into rough strips and chunks. Put chicken in Ziploc bag, and add dressing. Chill in fridge one hour to overnight.

Toss chicken in dressing with iceberg lettuce, and garnish with chow mein noodles.


  1. Those are some serious recipes! Bravo - they all sound really good!

  2. You are my hero. I want to come visit and cook with you. I can teach you Southern faves; you can teach me 7UP cuisine.

  3. Maybe it's just too late at night, but as good as all of those sound, I can't get the sicky sweetness of 7up out of my mind.

    Also, I'm pretty sure I'll be fired soon for checking your blog every 5 minutes for the next part of this story.

    I hope you win the 50-gees, as I'm pretty sure you'll be responsible for my healthcare coverage once you get me sacked.

  4. Cool! Had the idea of a 7-Up slaw a week or so ago and thought I should Google it to see if someone else had worked it out already. Looking forward to trying and possibly improvising!

    Your recipes do look great.