David Doesn't Bake

Baking is science and I don't like formulas, but cooking is art and anything goes...and the simpler the better. It's all about less time at the stove and more time at the table. With a forty year passion for food I'm excited to share what I do in the kitchen nearly every day.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Roast Potato and Cucumber Salad

This time of year it’s all about going local, keeping it simple, and letting the flavors speak for themselves. And roasting versus boiling your potatoes will really bring out their September goodness.

Cut your fingerlings in half and toss with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can use another potato variety; just make sure to stick with one that will hold its shape like a red potato. Roast until well browned and cooked through, and then set aside to cool.

Cut an equal amount of cucumber into half inch chunks, along with some sliced scallion and chopped parsley. Toss them together with the potatoes, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Simplicity at its best!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Tomato Almond Pesto

The extended summer weather means the tomatoes keep coming and coming, here’s an interesting pesto that will be ready long before your pasta is even cooked.

Throw a handful of slivered almonds in a food processor with a couple of peeled garlic cloves and half a teaspoon of salt, run until it forms a paste. Add a cup and a half of fresh cherry, or chopped tomatoes, and a half a cup of fresh basil. Pulse until it’s a chunky puree, adding some olive oil if it needs to be thinned out. Before tossing with your cooked pasta, salt to taste, and serve with grated parmesan.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Shrimp Curry

Just because it comes in a can, doesn’t mean it can’t be as good as a restaurant. Maesri curry paste from Thailand is the real deal, and if they have it in Warren, VT they must have it at your local market.

The dish comes together quickly, so it’s best to prep everything first. Start by coarsely chopping a medium sweet onion and a large handful of cilantro, peel the shrimp, shuck and cut the corn from the cob, open up a can each of red curry paste and coconut milk, and get some salted water boiling for the rice noodles.

Here we go, in a large heavy pot, saute the onion until translucent, then add the corn. After a few minutes add the coconut milk and red curry paste, then simmer for another five minutes. If it isn’t spicy enough, add some Sriracha to taste.

Next, throw your rice noodles into the boiling water, shut the heat, and let stand until they’re tender and drain. While the noodles are cooking, add the shrimp and cilantro to the curry sauce and continue to simmer until the shrimp are cooked though…it doesn’t take long. Throw some tomatoes in too if you have them, it is the season.

Serve over the noodles with plenty of sauce.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Barley Salad

With all the local vegetables available now, there’s no better time for a barley salad. Whether you use tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, zucchini, carrots, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, or green beans, the general technique is the same.

Boil a cup of barley in some lightly salted water for about 25 minutes, or until tender, then drain. Make the dressing by whisking together about a half a cup of olive oil with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, a couple splashes of red wine vinegar, a minced garlic clove, and salt and pepper.

Prep your vegetables by cutting up the ones that can be eaten raw, and sautéing the others until cooked through. You can serve it warm, room temperature, or right out of the fridge the next day, simply combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss with a generous handful of chopped parsley. Feta, parmesan, or toasted nuts never hurt if you happen to have some around.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Lebanese Tarator Sauce

I read about this tahini based sauce a few months ago and have since served it over lamb, fish, chicken, and vegetables….I love it! And it lasts in the fridge for up to 10 days, so make lots.

In a food processor combine a ½ cup of tahini, a 1/3 of a cup of water, the juice of two lemons, three chopped garlic cloves, a half a teaspoon of salt, and a pinch or two of cayenne. Run until very smooth, about a minute. Add a generous handful of chopped parsley and quickly pulse two or three times. Use liberally.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Tomatoes, Basil, and Ricotta

The hot days of summer are here, as are the tomatoes. They’re so good you really don’t need anything more than some extra virgin olive oil, basil, and salt. But give yourself a treat, and next time throw on a big spoonful of Maplebrook, or any local ricotta. Tomato season is a short one, don’t let a day go by without some.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Coconut Rice

Being pretty much all white, it’s hard to make coconut rice look good in a photo on its own, so here it is under some fried swordfish. But whatever you put it under, it rocks! And the spicier the dish, the better it tastes  with the rice. I can’t believe I had never made it before, super easy too.

It works best to make at least a cup and a half of rice so you use a full can of coconut milk. Measure out the coconut milk, then add enough water for a total of 3 cups of liquid. Pour it into a small pot and bring to a boil. Add a cup and a half of white rice and stir. Once it starts to boil, cover, turn down the heat, then simmer for approximately twenty minutes. Once all the water is absorbed, stir in a generous handful of shredded coconut, turn off the heat, and let sit covered for another five minutes.

Any leftover rice will last a week in the fridge, and cooked up with some pineapple and veggies, makes a great summer fried rice.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Wilted Scallop and Spinach Salad

I’m on a wilted salad kick these days, they’re summery, easy, and I love the mix of warm and cold. Cut some red potatoes into half inch chunks and simmer in a pot of salted water until just tender. Drain and set aside.

Slice up some bacon and cook over medium heat in a large skillet with a little bit of olive oil. Next, add a minced shallot along with some sweet red pepper. When the bacon starts to brown stir in some bay scallops and minced garlic then cook until the scallops are cooked through. It doesn’t take long.

Immediately transfer the hot mixture, along with the potatoes, into a large bowl of raw spinach and toss with olive oil, lemon, and salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Grilled Plums

Ice cream is a guaranteed crowd pleaser when it comes to dessert on a hot summer night, but if you’re looking to take it up a notch, serve it over some grilled plums. Slice into a firm plum with a chef’s knife until you feel the side of the pit, then continue around the entire diameter so you end up back where you started. With two hands, twist the plum apart at the cut and dig out the pit with a small paring knife.

Lightly oil the plum halves and dust them with a few pinches of cinnamon or cayenne pepper. Place them on a hot grill cut side up for a couple minutes, then flip and continue for another five. You want them caramelized on the outside and soft all the way through without being mushy. Serve immediately with ice cream.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Sweet Onion and Grapefruit Salsa

This salsa will make it feel more like summer than it already does.

Finely mince half of a large sweet onion, juice two limes, then stir the two together and let sit for at least twenty minutes. In the meantime, peel, seed, and cut a grapefruit into one inch chunks doing your best to preserve the juice, and chop a large handful each of mint and cilantro.

At least fifteen minutes before serving stir it all together, salt and pepper to taste, and pour it over some grilled fish or chicken.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Spinach Bacon Bean Dip

Bacon makes everything better, especially in July. Start by coarsely chopping a couple slices of thick cut smoked bacon and cook in a frying pan until crisp, remove and set on a paper bag to drain.

Using the same pan with the bacon fat, sauté a chopped shallot and four cloves of garlic. After a few minutes, stir in two cans of drained cannellini beans and cook for another five minutes over medium heat. Transfer the hot bean mixture to a large bowl and toss together with a bag of baby spinach.

Once it’s cooled down scrape the mixture into a food processor with half the bacon bits, a large pinch of red pepper flakes, or, a couple of shakes of your favorite hot sauce. While processing, stream in approximately a third of a cup of extra virgin olive oil until smooth. Then, salt and pepper to taste, garnish with the remaining bacon bits, and serve with crackers, a sliced baguette, or some toasted pita chips.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Radish Leaves

I’m loving the radishes at the Farmer’s market these days, and the leaves too. No need to let them go to waste, here are a few great things to do with them. But before trying any of them wash and dry the leaves well in cold water to remove any dirt.

The easiest option is to add them to a salad. This time of year the leaves are small and delicate and will make for a delicious peppery accent to most greens. As they get larger, coarser, and bitterer, it’s better to sauté them with olive oil and garlic until tender. Use them right away or stick them in the fridge for another time, they’ll keep for at least a week. They’re delicious as a room temperature side dish, or added to scrambled eggs, soup, or stew.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, try a radish leaf pesto, it’s definitely for lovers of all things bitter. For a less bitter pesto, use half radish and half spinach leaves. Happy summer!