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, April 12, 2021

Bacon and Pea Pasta


This pasta is reason enough to always have bacon and peas in your freezer.

Cut a half pound of bacon into quarter inch slices and sauté over medium heat. Once it starts to brown, remove from the pan and set aside.

Add a large finely chopped shallot to the hot pan with the bacon fat and sauté until translucent. Slide in a couple of minced garlic cloves, cook for another minute then turn down the heat to low. Stir in the defrosted peas as well as the cooked bacon and leave on the heat while the noodles are boiling.

Before draining the pasta reserve a cup of the pasta water in a measuring cup and stir in a teaspoon of concentrated chicken stock.

Add a half a cup of the chicken stock to the bacon and peas scraping any bits up from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the drained pasta and a cup of grated parmesan or pecorino. Toss well, adding the rest of the chicken stock as to loosen things up. 

Let it sit for minute, top with a little more cheese, and serve.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Maple Soy Glazed Salmon


Maple syrup and mud, must be spring. Time to lighten things up in the kitchen, stew and casserole season is over.

In a small bowl, stir together a minced garlic with a few tablespoons each of maple syrup and soy sauce. Cut a pound and a half of salmon into four pieces then combine with the sauce in a large zip lock bag and marinate for thirty minutes.

Remove the salmon from the bag and pour the sauce into a small sauce pan.  While your roasting, pan frying, or grilling your salmon, reduce the sauce for a few minutes over medium low heat to thicken. Add some Sriracha for a spicier version.

Pour over your cooked salmon just before serving.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Fennel Avocado Salad

One fennel, one avocado, and half a lemon…that’s about all this super satisfying salad takes. A firm, barely ripe avocado will work best.

Cut the stalks from the top of your fennel bulb saving any fronds to add to your salad later.  Remove any wilted or coarse outer layers.  Cut in half, and halves again…quarters are easier to work with…then thinly slice.

Halve the avocado, remove the pit, and cut into quarter inch chunks. Combine the avocado and fennel in a bowl along with the juice from half a lemon, a few pinches of chili flakes, a nice drizzle of your best olive oil, the fennel fronds, and salt to taste. Yum!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Polenta with Mushrooms and Arugula Puree


I like my polenta soupy, think cream of wheat consistency. So, for a cup of polenta, ignore what the directions on the package say and use six cups of water.

Bring the water to a boil with a teaspoon of salt then slowly stir in the polenta. Turn the heat to very low and cook for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

While the polenta is cooking, sauté a finely chopped shallot and 12 to 16 ounces of sliced cremini or white mushrooms in a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Once the mushrooms start to brown, remove from the heat.

Peel two cloves of garlic, cut into chunks, then mince in a food processor.  Add two large handfuls of arugula and a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt. With the processor running, drizzle olive oil into the mixture until you get a smooth somewhat loose consistency.

When your polenta is done, stir in a little butter, half a cup of grated parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the polenta onto plates and top with the mushrooms and arugula puree…chicken or shrimp is optional. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

White Bean Garlic Soup


Dry beans are best as the water you boil them in makes for the richest broth. But canned beans are still good, just make sure you strain them and rinse well before using. Navy, cannellini, or any white bean will work.

If you’re starting with dry beans, soak for six hours, drain, then add them to a soup pot with enough water to cover by several inches.  Lightly boil until the beans are soft, then drain, making sure to reserve all of the bean broth. 

The golden-brown garlic is the key to this soup. Generously cover the bottom of a soup pot with extra virgin olive oil and set over low to medium heat. Add a handful of peeled garlic cloves to the pot and cook for around twenty minutes, stirring occasionally until golden all over…not dark brown.

Add a chopped onion and cook until translucent. Stir in the beans and enough liquid to cover the beans by a couple of inches.  Use either half and half bean broth and chicken stock if you used dry beans, or all chicken stock. 

Simmer for twenty minutes, then blend until silky smooth using a stick blender or food processor. If it’s too thick add some more broth or stock.  If it’s too thin, simmer longer.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Miso Cod

You’re going to be very surprised how easily this miso butter can turn a plain piece of baked cod into something worthy of dinner guests…something we’ll hopefully be thinking about sometime soon.  If you’re not big on cod, it works just as well on salmon, scallops, chicken, steak, cooked veggies, and sweet potatoes.

To make the miso butter, use a fork to mash together 4 tablespoons of room temperature butter with two tablespoons of miso paste. That’s it.

Salt and pepper the cod and bake at 400 for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillet.  It will flake easily with a fork when cooked through. 

Remove from the oven, transfer to a plate to ensure it doesn’t overcook, and hit it immediately with the miso butter.  Give it a half a minute to melt and serve.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Chili Crisp


If you haven’t yet jumped on the chili crisp rage, get ready to be blown away.  It’s so addictive you’ll want to put it on everything. It will be the last thing you think about before falling sleep, and the first when you wake up.

There are many very good store-bought varieties including the original Lao Gan Ma with a head shot of a Chinese grandma on the label. I’ve heard rumors her spicy chili crisp made her one of the first millionaires in China. 

Trader Joe’s has a take on her sauce as do a lot of celebrity chefs. However, the best one I’ve had so far is one a friend gave me along with this recipe from Bon Appetit magazine.

Thinly slice four shallots and simmer in a small pot over medium heat along with two heads of sliced garlic, one and a half cups of vegetable oil, two cinnamon sticks, and six star anise. Cook for about twenty minutes or until the shallots and garlic are browned.

In a medium bowl, mix together a finely chopped 2” piece of ginger, a quarter cup of red chili flakes, two tablespoons of soy sauce and a tablespoon of sugar.  Drain the shallot mixture through a fine sieve into the ginger mixture.  Let the chunks in the sieve cool, then stir back into the chili oil. 

Store in sealed containers in the fridge for up to a month, but don’t worry it won’t last that long. It even makes poached soft tofu irresistible, and that’s something I didn’t think I’d ever say.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Brussel Sprouts with Lemon Breadcrumbs


Ten minutes is all this one takes...and it will soon be your new favorite way to cook Brussel sprouts. 

Set a non-stick pan over medium low heat.  Once hot, add a splash of extra virgin olive, the zest from half a lemon, and enough breadcrumbs to cover the bottom.  Toss frequently with a rubber spatula until toasted golden brown then transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Trim each Brussel sprout by removing any browning outer leaves as well as the very bottom of the stem...no more than a 1/16 of an inch, then slice them all in half.

Wipe the breadcrumb pan clean and place back on the heat with a little bit of olive oil.  Add the halved spouts to the hot pan along with some salt and pepper, toss, then cover with a tight-fitting lid. 

Let them cook for a couple of minutes, toss again, and cook for a minute or two more. When they’re barely fork tender, slide them onto a plate and top with the lemon breadcrumbs. 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Wilted Kale and Garlic

Keeping it real simple this week, which a lot of time is the best way to do it.

Devein and coarsely chop some kale, figure about two stems per person. Heat a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil in a large wok, straight sided pan, or pot, along with some finely chopped garlic.

Until recently, I’ve waited until the oil was hot to add the garlic, but after reading otherwise I find I’m liking putting it in right away and then heating the oil and garlic together. It definitely makes it easier to avoid burning the garlic.

Once the garlic is translucent, add the kale and toss to coat well. Continue to cook for another minute or so. You’ll know it’s done when it’s in between crunchy and soggy….wilted. Salt to taste, toss well, and serve.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Braised Gochujang St. Louis Ribs

These St. Louis style ribs only took an hour of stove top braising, and the meat was falling off of the bone. Cut the rack up into pieces of three or four ribs, rub all over with some gochujang, then set aside.  Mince a couple peeled garlic cloves and a thumb sized piece of ginger in the food processor.  Add a few tablespoons of gochujang chili paste, the juice from one lime, and enough rice wine vinegar to get a ketchup consistency. 

Sauté a finely chopped medium onion in a large heavy pot with a lid. Once translucent, add a can of tomato paste, a cup and a half of chicken stock, and the gochujang mixture.  Simmer for a few minutes, add the ribs and cover the pot.  Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to simmer.

After thirty minutes, turn the ribs over in the sauce and cook for another thirty minutes or until they’re tender.  Serve with some roast potato slices, rice, or something else to soak up all that over-the-top flavorful tangy sauce.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Lemon Sardine Pasta


This dish is so good you have to give it a chance, even if you’re sardine adverse…you won’t even know they’re in there.

It comes together quickly so start by getting a half a pound of pasta boiling in a pot of salted water.  In a large pan, sauté a minced shallot and a couple of cloves of minced garlic in a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil.  Once the shallots are translucent, add a few big shakes of chili flakes and the zest from half a lemon, leave on low heat.

When your pasta is ready, reserve a cup of the pasta water then slide the noodles into a strainer. Next, drain the oil from a can of sardines and add the fish to the pan with the shallots.  Break them up well with a rubber spatula then stir them together with the rest of the mixture.

To finish, add the noodles to the pan along with the juice from half a lemon and a couple large handfuls of arugula.  Toss well, adding as much of the reserved pasta water that you need to loosen things up. Top with some grated parmesan.

For a pound of pasta just double up on everything.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Collard Greens and Beans

Collard greens, beans, and bacon...talk about comfort food! It makes for a filling meal on its own, or alongside some beef, pork, chicken, or sausage. And despite rumors to the contrary, collards only need to cook for twenty to thirty minutes.  

Slice between an eight and a quarter pound of bacon into ¼” pieces then cook over medium heat in a large pot or high sided pan. When it starts to brown, stir in a chopped onion and cook for another few minutes. 

To complete, add a couple of finely chopped garlic cloves, a can of white beans, a deveined and chopped bunch of collard greens, and enough chicken stock to nearly cover all. Put a lid on it and simmer for twenty minutes or until the greens are tender. 

If you want it a bit thicker, remove the lid and simmer for a while longer. When you have it where you want it, salt and pepper to taste.