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.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Tahini Beans with Crispy Lentils

Summer is nearly over but the beans keep coming, and while this dish takes a bit of prep, it’s one of my new favorites. The cumin and honey spiced tahini alone would be enough to get excited about, and then add the crispy garlic and shallot lentils…wow!

Cut a pound of green beans into one-inch lengths then simmer in salted water for a couple of minutes. Immediately douse with cold water to cool, drain, then set aside.

Boil a third of a cup of beluga lentils until just tender, about 12 minutes. Run under cold water for a minute to cool, drain, then set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together a quarter cup each of tahini and extra virgin olive oil, the juice of one lemon, a tablespoon of honey, a teaspoon of ground cumin, and salt to taste. If necessary, stir in a tablespoon or two of water achieve a runny consistency.

Now you’re ready to start cooking. Toss the beans with some olive oil in a large pan over heavy heat. Once you start to see some searing, slide them into the bowl with the tahini and mix until coated well.

Turn the heat down to medium, add some more oil to the pan, then sauté a large sliced shallot and a few cloves of sliced garlic. After a minute, stir in the drained lentils, turn the heat up to medium-high and cook for another three to four minutes stirring often.

Spread the crispy lentils over the beans and serve.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Leek and Tomato Salad

This one is really about the blanched leeks, once prepped and stored in the fridge, I ended up eating them way more often than I would have. They were great for salads, omelets, enchiladas, on a bagel with cream cheese, or sautéed with some mushrooms and garlic on top of some grilled lamb. So if you’re going to go for it, prep three or four, they will last for days.

Another benefit of blanching, you don’t have to worry about cleaning them. Cut off the dark upper third of each leek and save for a soup or stew, then cut off the root end and discard. 

Cut the leeks down the middle the long way, then into 1/8 to ¼ inch slices. Once you’ve cut up all of your leeks, slide them into a pot of boiling salted water, turn down the heat and simmer for about two minutes. Remove immediately and plunge them into an ice bath. Drain and store.

And we can’t not mention that it’s still tomato season, the blanched leeks along with a lemon vinaigrette make for a delicately flavorful salad.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Frisee, Corn, and Potato Salad


What I love about this salad is the way the frisee wilts a bit when you toss it with the hot corn.  And then with a shallot Dijon vinaigrette…late summer perfection!

To make the vinaigrette, add a small minced shallot to a clean jar followed by a tablespoon of Dijon, a few heavy grinds of black pepper, three tablespoons of red wine vinegar, and six of extra virgin olive oil.  Shake it well, then salt to taste.

Cube or wedge some white or red potatoes into half inch pieces then lightly boil in extra salty water until barely fork tender.  Immediately strain and douse with cold water to keep them from cooking anymore.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, sauté a couple shucked corn and three finely chopped cloves of garlic for three to four minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Wash and cut your frisee into bite size pieces. Then, in a large bowl, toss it together with the potatoes and warm corn right out of the hot pan.  Stir in the dressing and serve.

If you add a piece of salmon or chicken on top, douse that with some of the dressing as well.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Watermelon and Green Apple Salad

School might be starting but summer isn’t over yet, and this salad is so perfect for a hot, humid evening with family or friends.

In a large bowl, toss together a medium cubed watermelon, two green apples cut into 1/4 pieces, the zest from a lime, the juice from two limes, a couple of splashes of extra virgin olive oil, a small handful each of mint and cilantro, and coarse salt to taste. 

If you happen to have any around, toasted mustard seeds are nice…as are chopped salted peanuts.  And the key to keeping it from getting soggy? Prep everything ahead of time, then wait until the last possible minute to toss it all together.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Mussels with Sausage and White Beans

On their own mussels aren’t really a meal, but they could be with a quick sausage and bean sauce. For two pounds of mussels, figure on two sausages, a can of drained white beans, and about 12 ounces of your favorite store bought or fresh tomato sauce.

Using a sharp knife, slice through the casings and slide the meat from the sausages into a hot sauce pan along with some minced shallot and garlic. Use a spatula to break up the meat while it’s cooking.

When it’s cooked through, add the tomato sauce, drained beans, and for a little heat, some red pepper flakes. Cover and simmer for ten minutes.

In a separate pot, bring a half an inch of clam stock or white wine to a boil, drop in the mussels, turn down the heat to medium, and cover. After four minutes, pour in the sauce and a handful of chopped parsley.  Give it a gentle stir, cover for another minute, check to see that the mussels are sufficiently cooked, then serve.  Grated parmesan is optional.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Tonnato Sauce

After you make this once, everyone in your household will be chanting for it before every meal. Tonnato is the bomb!  It’s awesome on cutlets, but just as amazing on tomato toast, steak, chicken, shrimp, grilled vegetables, pita toasts, a substitute for mayonnaise in egg salad, the list goes on and on. You can’t go wrong, and you’ll have so much fun trying.

Tonnato is reason enough to acquire a food processor if you don’t already have one. Add a half a cup of extra virgin olive oil, a quarter cup of drained capers, two drained cans of premium tuna fish in oil, a tin of drained anchovies, the juice of one lemon, and a half a teaspoon of black pepper. Process until smooth and salt to taste…but it shouldn’t need much.

If you want to thin it out, add some more olive oil.  If you want to thicken it up, add some mayo. But don’t wait, make it now.  I promise you’ll be wondering how you’ve lived this long without it.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Yogurt Herb Marinated Chicken

“I wouldn’t feed white meat to my dog!” A local chef said this to me a while back when we were talking chicken, and I couldn’t argree more. Even fried, dark meat reigns supreme!  However, in the spirit of open mindedness, and the fact that my wife enjoys an occasional chicken breast, I gave this yogurt marinated chicken a try…and it was actually pretty tender and moist.

In a large bowl, stir together a third of a cup of whole milk yogurt, five minced garlic cloves, the zest from a lemon, a small handful of cilantro, a splash of olive oil, four teaspoons of dried oregano or za’atar, and salt and pepper.  Mix in two pounds of chicken breasts or tenders, cover with saran, then put in the fridge for at least a few hours…overnight is even better.

Remove the chicken from the fridge, then broil or grill making sure not to overcook and dry out. To serve, top with a big squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of dried herbs.

In case you’re wondering, chicken thighs work really well too!

Monday, August 2, 2021

Blistered Tomatoes and Basil

Hard to go wrong with anything tomato these days, but this one way exceeded my expectations given how easy it was.  The high heat really brought out the sweetness in the tomatoes, and together with the balsamic and basil…crazy good!

Preheat your oven to 450. Then, in a large bowl, toss together a pint of local cherry tomatoes, enough extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat, a healthy sprinkle of kosher salt, and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

Pop them in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until they just start to split. Let cool for a minute, then stir in a large handful of coarsely chopped basil. That’s it!

Serve as a side dish, or pour over some fish, chicken, pork, or beef.  You can’t go wrong; I think they’d even work on vanilla ice cream. And make sure you use a spatula on the pan to get every last drop.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Summer Pea Soup

The peas I picked up at the farmer’s market were so good, I thought, these would make an amazing summer soup. But, being the lazy/practical cook that I am, the reality of shelling all those peas, not to mention the cost, made me think better of it. I bought a bag of frozen baby sweet peas instead…and the soup was still pretty amazing.

In a medium soup pot, sauté a finely chopped sweet onion in olive oil until translucent. Add four cups of chicken stock, bring to a boil, then add the peas and turn the heat down to medium.

Cook for five minutes then take the pot off of the heat. Either puree with a stick blender, or transfer in batches to a food processor. Either way, you don’t want to see any peas floating around in your soup.

Salt and pepper to taste, stir in a half a cup of crème fraiche, reheat and serve.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Cauliflower Mint Salad

Sometimes the trickiest part about putting out a meal isn’t making the food, but timing it so everything is ready at the same time. However, you can really increase your chances of getting it right when you include a side dish that can be made well ahead of time and served at room temperature.

Preheat your over to 450 and cut a head of cauliflower into small florets. Toss with some olive oil and salt and pepper, then roast for approximately 40 minutes, or until it’s caramelized around the edges.

Transfer to a large bowl, let cool for ten minutes, then stir together with a large handful of chopped mint.

If you’re eating within a few hours, leave at room temperature, otherwise refrigerate until an hour before you need it. Either way, give it a good squeeze of lemon before serving.  Of, if you’re really feeling it, prep a sauce with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to puddle under the cauliflower on a platter.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Classic Wedge Salad

There’s only one thing to do when friends bring over the largest, crunchiest, most beautiful head of iceberg lettuce from their garden that you’ve ever seen…break out the blue cheese and bacon.  Classics are classics for good reason!

To make the blue cheese dressing, crumble four ounces of blue cheese into a bowl.  Add a half a cup each of mayonnaise and sour cream, a third of a cup of buttermilk, the juice from half a lemon, a half a teaspoon of black pepper, and salt to taste. Mix well, then refrigerated for at least an hour.

While that’s chilling, coarsely chop and crisp up a third of a pound of bacon then set aside on a paper towel or brown bag.

To serve, cut the lettuce into wedges, remove the core and stem from each wedge, then generously dollop with the dressing followed by the bacon bits. 

If there’s any dressing left over, or if you were savvy enough to double the recipe, puddle it under a steak and roast potatoes sometime in the next week.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Honey Butter Shrimp with Wilted Greens

Bitter greens really make this dish pop!  This time around I used endive along with some local arugula…gave me a nice color mix. Other greens that would have worked include radicchio, mustard, and collard.

Season a pound of shelled shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet or sauté pan, slide in the shrimp and cook for a couple of minutes.

Flip the shrimp and leave on the heat for another minute or so, then stir in two tablespoons of room temperature butter and a tablespoon of honey. Turn the heat down to low and stir to coat well.

Toss the shrimp, and every last drop of the honey butter, together with the greens in a large bowl.  Let sit for a minute so the greens can wilt a bit, salt to taste, then serve.