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.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Lamb Chops with Braised Celery

Cooked celery is one of those things that every time you make you say, why don’t I make this more often…at least I do.  Not only is it tasty and easy to prepare, but it’s relatively inexpensive and lasts for over a week in the fridge. This braised celery is an easy way to gussy up your dinner whether you’re thinking lamb chops, chicken, or jumbo shrimp.

After washing and removing the coarse ends, slice each celery stalk in half or thirds the long way and coarsely chop.  In a large pan, sauté for a few minutes along with a thinly sliced scallion or shallot over medium heat with a splash or two of extra virgin olive oil.  A couple pinches of chili flakes are nice too if you’re looking for some spice.

Add a half a cup of chicken stock and simmer gently uncovered until the celery is soft, shouldn’t be more than 7 to 10 minutes. Add some more stock if necessary.  Stir in a little chopped parsley, some grated parmesan or crumbled feta, salt and pepper to taste, then simmer for another minute and serve.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Miso Butter Onions


If you still haven't decided what your making for NYE, these miso butter onions are umami perfect!  And this is the simplest Ottolenghi recipe I’ve ever come across.  Start by preheating your oven to 500.

Trimming the onions can be a little tricky, slice four of them in half from stem to stem then remove the outer layer or two being careful to leave the stem ends intact…they’ll what holds the onions together throughout.

Melt a half a stick of butter in a small sauce pan, then transfer to a bowl and whisk together with three to four tablespoons of miso paste and two cups of warm water. Pour the mixture into a large baking dish, arrange the onions in the dish cut side down, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 35 minutes.

Remove the foil, carefully turn the onions over and baste well with the liquid in the bottom of the pan.  Bake for another 45 minutes basting occasionally.  You’ll know they’re done when they’re brown on top, and pierce easily with a knife.  Serve them along with every drop of the reduced sauce.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Cauliflower with Almonds, Raisins, and Capers

As long as we’re breaking with all kinds of holiday traditions this year, why not change up your holiday meal with a new veggie dish?  And, you’ll be making this crowd pleaser long after the bells have stopped jingling.  I adapted this recipe from Gramercy Tavern chef, Michael Anthony.

Cut up a head of cauliflower into small florets then toss with some olive, salt, and pepper and roast in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.  You could also steam or boil if you prefer, or don’t have the oven space…but roasting is best.

Melt a tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan, add three tablespoons of breadcrumbs, and toast until golden brown, flipping often.  Set the breadcrumbs aside in a large bowl. 

Add a little bit of olive oil to the hot pan and do the same with a few tablespoons of slivered or chopped almonds.  Once toasted, scrape them into the bowl with the breadcrumbs.

In a small soup pot over low heat, add a couple of tablespoons each of wine vinegar and water, and two tablespoons of raisins.  Simmer for 5 minutes, drain, and add to the other ingredients along with a tablespoon of drained capers, a teaspoon each of finely chopped parsley, scallion greens, and, if you like, some tarragon.

You could do all of the above hours before serving and leave the bowl at room temperature until serving.  When you’re ready to eat, slide in the hot cauliflower, toss well, and salt and pepper to taste.

Happy Merry! 

Monday, December 14, 2020

Korean Ketchup

Condiments rule, especially when you’re in a rush to get dinner on the table.  This three-ingredient sauce comes together in a minute and provides a tangy umami burst to all things fried, grilled meats, roast veggies, eggs, tofu, and of course, burgers.

BTW, not sure why it’s called Korean Ketchup other than the fact that I read about in a cookbook called, Korean Home Cooking by a NYC chef with Vermont ties, Sohui Kim.

In a small bowl stir together a quarter cup of ketchup with a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and Sriracha to taste.  That’s it.  And I’m betting that after you taste it, you’ll want to make a double or triple batch…it keeps in the fridge for ages.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Everything Tuna Melt


I didn’t think it would be possible, but tuna melts just got better!  And all I did differently was use a freshly baked everything bagel from the Sweet Spot instead of bread.

While the bagel halves are toasting, combine a can of drained tuna fish with a finely chopped scallion, a tablespoon of relish, banana peppers, or capers, and any of the everything bits that may have fallen off the bagels. 

Stir in some mayo then salt and pepper to taste.  Spread the tuna evenly on the toasted bagel halves, then cover each with some thinly sliced or shredded Vermont cheddar.  Put back in the toaster and get ready, because in about four minutes you’ll be savoring one of the best stick-season treats ever.

Just another reminder of how lucky are we to be living alongside so many passionate food producers.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Crisp It, Cheese it, And Put an Egg On It

By the Saturday or Sunday following Thanksgiving, after a more than a couple of cranberry topped turkey sandwiches and big pot of turkey soup, I’m ready to be done with Thanksgiving for another year.  But, what about all those potatoes, stuffing, and roast vegetables that always seem to be the last things to go?

Crisp it, cheese it, and put an egg on it I say!  Any gravy left, even better.  If not, a handful of pickled jalapenos or spoonful of kimchi never hurt.

Heat a bit of oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Once hot, spread the leftovers evenly over the bottom of the pan, being sure to chop up any of the larger pieces first…and maybe forgo the creamed spinach.   Be patient, give them time to crisp up, if there’s a lot of butter in the mashed potatoes it may take a bit longer than usual. 

As soon as they’re golden and crispy, flip in sections and brown for another few minutes.  Top with a generous pile of shredded cheddar or other mild cheese then turn down the heat and cover. 

While the cheese is melting, fry or poach your eggs in another pan.  Just before the eggs are done, plate your crispy cheesy leftovers and top with the eggs. 

Now, Thanksgiving 2020 is officially over.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Dry Brined Turkey

Whether you’re making a big turkey, or a single turkey thigh, dry brining guarantees crisp and juicy results with only a minute or two of effort.  Just make sure you plan for at least 24 hours of brining time, two to three days for a larger bird.

Wash and pat dry your turkey and set aside.  In a small bowl, mix together a teaspoon of sugar with four tablespoons of kosher salt. You can also add black pepper, herbs, or spices to the mixture if you’re looking for some additional flavor. These quantities should give you enough dry rub for a small turkey, adjust accordingly.

Using your hands, rub the mixture all over the turkey, including the cavity if you’re making an unstuffed bird. Place the turkey in a rimmed roasting pan breast side up and refrigerate uncovered…yes, uncovered. Then stuff and roast as you normally would, no need to wash or dry off again.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

If being glazed with maple syrup and garlic wasn’t enough, what makes this dish especially perfect for Thanksgiving this year is that quantities can be easily knocked down to one or two servings for smaller gatherings.

Pre-cook your sweet potatoes by baking or boiling them whole for about 25 minutes, or until barely fork tender.  Let cool and cut them into quarter inch chunks.  This step can even be done the day before and refrigerated overnight.

As you’re nearing serving time, heat a little bit of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Once hot, add the sweet potatoes and toss frequently.  When they’re browned to your liking, turn down the heat to medium low and stir in some thinly sliced garlic and a generous pour of maple syrup. 

Continue to cook for another three or four minutes, tossing now and then so they glaze evenly.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Easy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Squash Kale Feta Pizza

Tis’ the season of squash and kale, and together with some feta they make for an exceptional Fall pizza.  And luckily, if you aren’t up for making your own pizza dough, there are two amazing local ready-made pizza crust options available.

Preheat your oven to 400.  Peel and thinly slice some butternut squash then toss with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper and lay out on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for another 10 minutes or so.  Remove and set aside.

To prep the kale, devein about a half a dozen leaves, chop coarsely, and blanch in a pot of simmering water for a couple of minutes.  Transfer to a strainer, let it cool slightly, then squeeze as much of the water out of it as you can.   Combine in a food processor with a clove of garlic, a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt, and an eighth to a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil…run until smooth.  You’re looking for a spreadable, but not too thin, consistency.

Prep your ready-made crust according to the instructions.  Using a rubber spatula, cover liberally with the kale mixture, followed by the squash slices, and some crumbled feta. 

Bake and enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Ginger Vegetable Stir Fry


If you don’t do a lot of stir frys you’re missing out on one of the easiest ways to whip off a last-minute meal.  And the key to a good stir fry is simple, good ingredients, especially when it comes to the ginger and garlic…always go with the fresh stuff.  

Garlic doesn’t take much to deal with, but until someone showed me how easy it was to peel ginger by scraping it with an upside-down teaspoon, I used to think it was kind of a hassle…what a life changing event that was.  Even more life changing, throw a cut up piece of unpeeled ginger root in your food processor, you won’t even notice the skin once it’s minced up.  So, no excuses, use the real deal, and use lots of it.

After prepping all your vegetables, heat some veggie oil over medium-high heat in a wok or large heavy pot.  For this cabbage, shitake mushroom, and scallion stir fry, I started by throwing the chopped cabbage in the wok first as it takes the longest to cook. 

After a couple of minutes, add the mushrooms, scallions, ginger, garlic, and some fresh chili pepper if you want a little heat.  I like the Fresno peppers myself.

Toss the mixture often for another four to six minutes, you don’t want the veggies to soften too much, then salt to taste.  At this point you can also add some sesame seeds, and, or, sesame oil for a bit more flavor. But it doesn’t need it, the ginger and garlic are all it takes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Devil Butter


Holy Shmolly!  Put down that Catalina dressing, your wings deserve better…as do your grilled meats, eggs, roast and steamed vegetables, and a whole lot more.  A friend turned me onto this compound butter recipe in a cookbook I highly recommend, Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden.

You’ll need two sticks of room temperature butter. Now, two sticks might sound like a lot of butter, but trust me, I used one stick and regretted it after the first bite.

Start by draining a quarter cup of pickled banana peppers, pepperoncini, or jalapeno slices in a strainer.  Use your hand to squeeze out as much of the juices as you can then finely chop. 

With a fork or wooden spoon, mash the peppers into the softened butter along with a tablespoon each of red chile flakes, ground black pepper, smoked paprika, and Tobasco sauce, as well as a half a teaspoon of kosher salt. Once it’s well mixed, scrape it into a container and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.

For these steamed turnips, I simply tossed them right out of the pan with a generous amount of the butter and served immediately.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Tomato Butter Puree

It’s time to face a very sad reality, this Saturday is the final farmer’s market of 2020.  Luckily, here in VT, we’re able to find a lot of local produce year-round at our Valley markets, however, what we aren’t going to see until next summer are tomatoes.  While they aren’t what they were a month ago, with some roasting and a little butter you can still create a pretty epic tomato memory to last the winter.

Preheat your oven to 400, then core and quarter about a pound of tomatoes.  In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with a coarsely chopped onion, a splash or two of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a cookie sheet or oven proof dish and roast for approximately 30 minutes.

In a food processor, combine the cooked tomatoes and onions with a quarter cup of chicken stock and puree for half a minute.  Cut a couple of half inch slices of butter and with the food processor running, add one to the mixture.  After 10 seconds, add the second and puree until silky smooth.  For a thinner sauce, add some more chicken stock.  Salt and pepper to taste.

You’ll want to immediately eat it with a spoon, but you could also serve it with some roast cauliflower, broccoli, grilled chicken, or beef.