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, January 17, 2019

Crispy Cheddar Bacon Potato Melt

Crispy is the key word here, top and bottom. Pierce some baking potatoes with a fork, place in a roasting dish, and bake at 450 until they’re soft in the middle. Figure about one to one and a half potatoes per person. While they’re cooking, dice up some sliced bacon and fry until barely crisp in a large pan over medium heat, then set aside.

Once soft, smash the potatoes flat in the roasting dish with a potato masher then liberally drizzle them with extra virgin olive oil and a generous topping of kosher salt. Turn the oven up to 500 and cook for another twenty to thirty minutes, you want them starting to brown on the top and crispy on the bottom, without burning.

For the final step, turn down the oven to 350 and smother the potatoes with shredded cheddar. Top with the cooked bacon and cook for another fifteen minutes or until the cheese has melted completely.

Give ‘em a try for this weekend’s NFL playoff games, then again for Super Bowl…they’re that good.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Creamed Scallops on Toast

Why procrastinate any long on giving up your New Year’s resolutions? Do it now, and bring on the heavy cream, you won’t regret it…this scallop toast is well worth it. In a hot pan, quickly sear some bay, or quartered sea scallops, then set aside. Turn down the heat to medium, add some butter along with some sliced mushrooms, a large diced shallot, some minced garlic, and an overly generous amount of black pepper. Sauté for about five minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft and the shallots translucent.

After getting your toast started, add enough heavy cream to the pan, and a bit of clam stock if you have it, to barely cover the mushrooms. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the scallops, leave on the heat for another minute, salt to taste, then serve over the toast with some chopped parsley.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Salmon Sashimi with Jalapeno

You probably haven’t considered serving salmon sashimi, but you should. It makes any gathering a bit more special, and it comes together very quickly. The key is obviously to buy the freshest salmon you can find, and you want a piece that’s closer to the belly end of the fillet then the tail. Also, have your fishmonger take the skin off for you, a quarter pound will be plenty for two to three people.

With a long sharp knife, slice the entire piece in half along the spine, then into 1/8” to ¼” thick slices. For the jalapeno, slice the thinnest slices possible from the center of the pepper. I also like to serve them with a little sauce, either puddled on the plate or on the side. For that, simple stir some freshly grated ginger into some soy sauce.

To serve, gently place a single slice of jalapeno on each piece of salmon. If you’re adverse to jalapeno, you can also layer the salmon in a small dish with a splash of your very best extra virgin olive oil and some flakey salt. No need for soy sauce in this case.

Happy 2019!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Shrimp and Prosciutto

Prosciutto wrapped shrimp is one of those things I think of as a wedding or catered party appetizer. But why bother to wrap them, it’s a pain in the butt. And, while it’s a great combination, especially for the holidays, when you cook them wrapped neither the prosciutto or the shrimp comes out perfect. Let’s do it the easy way, cook them right, and make it the main course.

Tear the prosciutto slices into bite sized pieces and sauté over medium heat with a little bit of olive oil. If you like them crispy, let them go longer, if not, pull them after a couple of minutes and set aside. Add some more olive oil to the pan and stir in some chopped scallions and peeled shrimp.

Toss frequently until the shrimp are nearly cooked through, then stir in the cooked prosciutto and a minced garlic clove. Leave on the heat for another minute, hit it with a healthy squeeze of fresh lemon juice, then slide onto a serving dish. Garnish with some grated parmesan, chopped basil, and serve immediately.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Applesauce

It’s world latke week, and what’s a latke without applesauce and sour cream. So, as long as you’re making the effort to grate all those potatoes and onions, you might as well throw a few apples in a pot to make your own applesauce.

In keeping with my philosophy of less time at the stove and more time at the table, as far as I can tell, there’s no need to peel the apples. Simply cube four apples, any variety works fine, and combine in a small pot with a half a cup of apple cider, a half a teaspoon of cinnamon, and the juice from a third of a lemon. No need for any added sugar, the cider does it all.

Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for twenty minutes stirring occasionally. Add more cider if necessary. Happy Latkes!

Garlic Arugula Bean Dip

Friends dropping by in twenty minutes? No worries, your food processor will do all the work. Peel a couple of garlic cloves and process until minced along with a dash or two of salt. Add a can of drained white beans and a large handful of arugula, then pulse until smooth with enough extra virgin olive oil to reach the desired consistency.

If you don’t have any arugula, substitute a few anchovy fillets, or some kalamata olives. Smoked paprika, rosemary, or hot sauce would also make for a tasty dip. And if you have more than twenty minutes, serve with some grilled slices of a local baguette.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Cod in Ginger Broth

After Thanksgiving, and before the holiday party season starts, give this delicate poached cod a try for a bit of a cleanse. Heat some vegetable oil in a small pot or straight sided sauté pan over medium heat, add a finely chopped onion and cook for a few minutes. Turn the heat to low and add a couple of teaspoons of freshly grated ginger, and a minced garlic clove.

After a couple of minutes, add three cups of miso or vegetable stock and a splash of soy sauce. Once it starts to simmer, add some thinly sliced shitake mushrooms, chopped spinach or bok choy, and scallion. After a couple of minutes, carefully lower the cod fillets into the broth, cover, and cook until the fish is cooked through, seven to ten minutes depending on their thickness.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Crispy Turnips

There’s so much I love about these turnips, and best of all, they can be pre-cooked the day before…perfect for freeing up your oven for that Thanksgiving turkey. Peel and cube your turnips and toss with enough olive oil to lightly coat. Salt, and roast in a 350 oven until barely fork tender. If you’re preparing the day before, cool, and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

About twenty minutes before serving, heat some turkey fat in a heavy pan over medium high heat and stir in the cubed turnips. Toss every few minutes or so, you don’t want them to burn, but you want them crispy on as many sides as possible. When you’re ready to serve, spoon them into a bowl and toss with some thyme, sage, or parsley, and salt to taste.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Cauliflower with Mint, lemon, and Chili

When thinking about Thanksgiving dinner, there are certain things you can’t mess with, like the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. But when it comes to the vegetables, I say, the heck with tradition….is creamed spinach really necessary?

This cauliflower dish is not only refreshingly cleansing, but it doesn’t take up any space in the oven. And you can prep it the day before by breaking the cauliflower up into small florettes, chopping the mint, squeezing the lemon juice, and storing them separately in Tupperware in the fridge.

Ten minutes before you’re going to sit down, steam the cauliflower until fork tender. Immediately drain, then toss in a large bowl with some extra virgin olive, lemon juice, chopped mint, and some red pepper flakes. Salt to taste.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Potato Celeriac Soup

November! It’s a tough month to embrace, but there isn’t a better time for potatoes, celeriac, apples, or soup. The quantities aren’t critical, but more or less equal quantities of potatoes and celeriac are a safe bet. Peel and cube the celeriac, then cube the potatoes, no need to peel them.

Sauté some chopped onion, shallots, or leeks in a large soup pot for five minutes. Add the celeriac and potatoes along with a cut up unpeeled apple, and a few chopped garlic cloves. Stir together, then after a couple of minutes add enough chicken or vegetable stock to cover the vegetables by at least an inch.

Bring to a boil then simmer for forty five minutes to an hour, or until the celeriac is very tender. Once cool enough puree with a stick blender, or in batches in a food processor, until smooth. Return to the pot, reheat, then salt and pepper to taste.

If you’re pondering your Thanksgiving menu, this one should be in the running.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Japanese Vegetable Pancakes

Since having an Okonomiyak, or vegetable pancake, from a Japanese street vendor in New York last year I finally had a chance to make them at home. Good stuff!

For the sauce simply stir together 4 tablespoons of ketchup, 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce, and a spoonful of honey.

For the pancakes, thinly slice a quarter cabbage, two kale leaves, and two scallions, then combine in a large bowl with two grated carrots. Mix thoroughly with a quarter cup of flour, a half teaspoon of kosher salt, and three lightly beaten eggs.

To cook, heat just enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a large heavy skillet, then spoon a pile of the vegetable mixture into the skillet and flatten with a spatula. Cook three to four minutes per side, or until they’re brown around the edges. Drain on a paper bag and serve immediately with the sauce.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Chinese Pork and Black Bean Stew

Chinese Black Bean and Garlic Sauce is one of those condiments that miraculously turns an ordinary pork shoulder into a stew that you’ll hardly believe you made yourself. It’s a great Sunday meal as you need three to four hours of cooking time for the pork to get super tender, or any night of the week if you have a crock or instant pot.

Cut a boneless pork shoulder into one inch cubes and season liberally with salt. Over high heat, brown the cubes in a heavy soup pot with a little bit of vegetable oil, about five minutes. Turn down the heat to medium and add a couple dozen sliced white or cremini mushrooms along with four to five large cloves of chopped garlic. Stir occasionally until the mushrooms soften up.

Add water to cover the pork by at least an inch, bring to a slow boil, then add the appropriate amount of concentrated beef stock and a few heaping tablespoons of the Black Bean and Garlic sauce. Cover and leave over low heat, or put in a preheated 250 degree oven. After an hour, taste, and add more beef stock and bean sauce as needed. After two hours, ladle out two cups of the broth into a bowl and set aside.

Once the pork is tender add four tablespoons of cornstarch to the warmish bowl of broth and stir with a fork until smooth, then add to the pot of pork. Bring to a light boil for a minute, stirring as the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat and serve with a side of rice.