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, May 23, 2017

Spicy Avocado Toast

Korean chili powder is another spice I find myself reaching for more often these days, just another way to add some zip instead of the same old thing. You can find it at most bulk spice counters. Try it on this simple but incredibly satisfying avocado toast and you’ll see what I’m talking about. If not, you can always use red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.

Scoop out a perfectly ripe avocado onto some toasted bread or pita and mash down gently with a fork. Drizzle with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with some kosher salt and chili powder, and enjoy. Good right?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Roast Brussel Sprouts with Fish Sauce

Okay, here’s a quicky that packed with flavor and crunch…great as an appetizer or side dish. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees then in a small bowl combine a tablespoon each of olive oil, fish sauce, and rice vinegar. After that, coarsely chop a large handful of peanuts.

Next, trim and halve a pound of Brussel sprouts then toss with a bit of olive oil and kosher salt. Spread flat side down on a baking sheet and roast for twenty minutes, flip, then cook for another ten…crispy edges are good. Immediately toss with the sauce and chopped peanuts and serve.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Spaetzle

I always thought you needed a special kitchen gadget to make spaetzle, but according to Mark Bittman you don’t. And it turned out this version of his recipe I adapted was even easier to make than fresh pasta. After setting a large pot of salted water on high heat combine a cup of milk, three eggs, and a half a tablespoon each of salt and black pepper then beat well. Add two cups of flour and stir until it’s the consistency of pancake batter.

Turn the water down to a soft boil then with a spoon drizzle about half of the batter into the pot. Try to cover the bottom evenly, but no problem if it gets a little messy looking. Give it a few minutes, scrape any pieces from the bottom, then scoop out with a slotted spoon directly into a large bowl of ice water. Repeat with the second half of the batter then drain and toss with a little bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking together.

Before serving, brown well in a frying pan with butter or oil. And while it’s plenty good as is, it’s even better combined with some caramelized onions, fresh herbs, or Gruyère cheese. The best side dish ever…at least this week.

Monday, May 1, 2017

African Peanut Stew

If you’ve been looking for a reason to throw that bag of frozen okra into your cart at the market, this is your chance. For this stew it’s best to start with a little prepping, salt six boneless chicken thighs, finely chop an onion and a large piece of ginger , peel and cube a large sweet potato, and defrost a large handful of the okra pieces.

Heat a large splash of oil in a soup pot and brown the chicken for four minutes on each side. Set aside for five minutes then cut into chunks. Add another splash of oil to the pot and sauté the onion and ginger for five minutes. Stir in a few teaspoons of curry powder, a half teaspoon of black pepper, a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper then cook for another five minutes on medium low heat.

Next, add a small can of diced tomatoes, two tablespoons of tomato paste or ketchup, a cup of chunky peanut butter, the cubed sweet potato, and six cups of chicken stock. Simmer for thirty minutes. Add the okra and cut up chicken and continue to cook for another twenty minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, add salt and cayenne to taste.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Pea Shoot Pesto

It’s the little things that brighten your day, right? Like finding pea shoots at the market. Talk about a perfect spring pesto, and ready in as much time as it takes to boil pasta.

In a food processor combine a quarter cup of pine nuts, two peeled garlic cloves, a teaspoon of kosher salt, and a 6 oz. container of pea shoots…pulse until you get a coarse paste. With the machine running drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil until it’s smooth, about a half cup. Add a half cup of grated parmesan, pulse a couple of times to mix, and toss with the cooked pasta.

I did garnish with some baby peas from the frozen food section but totally optional, they’re just for looks. The spring flavor is all in the shoots.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Crispy Eggplant with Garlic Marinara

Warning! This one is kind of a pain in the neck…but it’s totally worth it. Preheat the oven to 400 then thinly slice a medium eggplant cross-wise, use a sharp knife so that your slices are no more than a 1/16 of an inch thick. Set up a breading station with a bowl of lightly scrambled eggs and another bowl with a four to one ratio of panko to grated pecorino, salt and pepper are never a bad idea either.

Cover the entire surface of two rimmed cookie sheets with long heavy pours of olive oil. Individually dip the eggplant slices into the egg, followed by the panko mixture, making sure to press the slices down firmly so the breading sticks well to both sides. Lay them out in a single layer on the oiled cookie sheets and bake for approximately thirty minutes. Flip once halfway through and rotate the pans to minimize the chance of burning the edges.

While those are cooking sauté a few cloves of minced garlic until translucent then add a jar of your favorite marinara sauce and simmer. Drain the crispy eggplant slices on paper bags before serving with the sauce. And no worries about leftovers, they’re great the next day in a sandwich or salad.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Asparagus with Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette

If you don’t have any smoked paprika in your spice cabinet yet I only have one thing to say…what are you waiting for? It’s an effortless way to add depth and flavor to grilled meats, sauces, and salads, and turns a simple blanched vegetable like asparagus into something special.

In a mason jar combine half a cup of extra virgin olive oil, the juice from half a lemon, a splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar, two tablespoons of minced shallot, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, a half teaspoon of kosher salt, and a teaspoon of smoked paprika. Cover, shake vigorously, and set aside.

Cut off the bottom inch and a half from a bunch of asparagus and discard, then cut the stalks into thirds. Steam or blanch in boiling water for one or two minutes depending on the thickness of the stalks. If you’re serving them warm, drain thoroughly then toss with the dressing. If you’re serving them cold or at room temperature drain and set them in an ice bath for five minutes, then drain and toss with the dressing ten minutes before serving. Either way, make sure you shake the dressing well and get all that minced shallot up from the bottom of the jar.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Lamb with Mint Chimichurri

For this recipe I prefer to cut a boneless leg or lamb shoulder into two inch chunks, it makes for better marinating and more even cooking. The day before, stir together two cups of chopped mint, one cup of chopped parsley, five finely chopped cloves of garlic, a cup of extra virgin olive oil, the juice from a whole lemon, two tablespoons of kosher salt, and a teaspoon each of ground black pepper and chili flakes. In a large bowl rub half of the chimichurri mixture into the lamb, cover, and let marinate in the fridge overnight.

The next day, leave the lamb at room temperature for an hour or so before grilling, broiling, or roasting. Once cooked to your liking, immediately toss with the other half of the chimichurri mixture and serve….and get ready for a mind blowingly tasty Passover, Easter, or family dinner.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Beans and Leeks

I had the pork chops ready for the barbeque but hadn’t thought much about what to serve them with, but I did have a leek in the fridge that looked like it needed to be eaten soon. While heating a large sauté pan over medium heat I quartered, sliced, and cleaned the leek well in cold water.

After a healthy pour of olive oil I added three to four cloves of chopped garlic to the pan, stirred for a minute, then added the leek and a quarter teaspoon of ground black pepper. After stirring occasionally for five minutes in went a drained can of white navy beans and a couple pinches of salt. I immediately turned the heat to low and there they sat until the pork chops were ready. Good stuff!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Pea and Bacon Risotto

Defrost a box of frozen peas and bring in spring with the help of some creamy bacon goodness. In a small pot boil approximately six cups of chicken stock then turn the heat down to very low. Next, chop a quarter pound of bacon or pancetta into small pieces and sauté in a large pan over medium heat with a bit of oil until crisp, then scoop out the bacon and set aside.

Add two finely chopped garlic cloves and a shallot to the bacon fat and cook for a minute before stirring in a cup and a half of Arborio rice. When the rice is coated completely, pour in a half cup of the chicken stock and simmer briskly until the broth is absorbed. Stir well, then pour in another half cup of stock and repeat the process until the rice is al dente, about twenty minutes. In the end you may not have to use all of the stock.

While still on the heat stir in the peas, wait a few minutes, then mix well with the bacon, a cup of parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with some parmesan garnish.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chicken with Tzatziki Sauce

Two cups of tzatziki is probably more than you’ll need but it keeps for at least a week and works equally well with lamb, roast veggies, or as a snack on some toasted pita. Peel and dice half an English cucumber and combine with two cups of Greek yogurt, four minced garlic cloves, the juice from half a lemon, a splash of extra virgin olive oil, a teaspoon of kosher salt and pepper to taste. For maximum flavor its best if you give it at least two hours before serving spooned over your grilled chicken. You could also mix things up with some chopped mint or dill.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Lemon

I'm loving that broccoli rabe is so much easier to find these days, it’s so good in pastas, risotto, or as a tasty side dish. Most often though I simply sauté it with garlic, lemon, and chili flakes.  To start trim about an inch from the stocks then cut the remaining bunch into thirds. Heat a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add a quarter teaspoon of hot red chili flakes followed by the broccoli rabe and stir frequently for several minutes. 

Turn the heat to low and cover for ten minutes or until the stocks are tender. Increase the heat to medium, stir in three chopped garlic cloves and some more oil if necessary. Cook for another few minutes uncovered then squeeze half a lemon over the top and serve.