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 16, 2018

Roast Mushrooms

I’ve been looking for any excuse to turn on my oven the last couple of weeks, and these mushrooms will heat up your kitchen and make any meal a bit more memorable. Preheat your oven to 450 and brush the dirt from approximately two dozen mushrooms. I recommend using at least two dozen as you’ll eat more than you think, and they’ll last for days in the fridge.

In a large bowl toss the mushrooms with some salt and pepper and just enough olive oil to coat lightly. Slide them into a roasting pan, then into the oven for 30 minutes. At this point anything goes, smoked paprika, garlic and parsley, thyme, rosemary, chili flakes, fresh lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, butter, whatever works best with whatever else you’re cooking. Toss and return to the oven for another 15 minutes then salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Lamb, eggplant, and potato stew

Stew season is here, and the ground lamb I picked up at a local farm put this one over the top. In a large heavy soup pot start by sautéing two finely chopped onions and a couple celery stalks in some olive oil until translucent. Cut a medium eggplant into half inch cubes, a potato into quarter inch cubes, and then add both to the pot along with half a dozen chopped garlic cloves. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes over medium heat.

Stir in a teaspoon each of cumin and paprika, a ¼ teaspoon of dried oregano or zataar, a couple pinches of cayenne pepper and then the ground lamb. As the lamb cooks, break it into small pieces with a spoon while stirring it together with the other ingredients. When it’s nearly cooked through add a small can of tomato paste and some chicken stock. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for approximately 20 minutes or until the eggplant is cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste. Stay warm!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Smoked Trout, Caper Crème Fraiche, and Pickled Onion Toast

Have you given any thought to New Year’s breakfast? This smoked trout toast will cure any hangover, can be prepped the day before, and best of all, it’s really really good. To pickle the onions, combine a half a cup of apple cider vinegar and a cup of water then stir in a tablespoon of sugar and a half tablespoon of salt until dissolved. Mix in a teaspoon of whole or finely ground black pepper followed by a very thinly sliced red onion, cover with saran and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to two days.

For the crème fraiche, scrape a half pint into a bowl and add a generous handful of finely chopped capers, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and coarse salt and ground pepper to taste. Refrigerate until a half hour before serving. When you’re ready to go, grill a sliced baguette with a bit of oil in a hot pan, or toast some sliced bread, then simply layer the crème fraiche, smoked trout, and pickled onion on top.

Have a tasty New Year!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Frisee Lardon

Tis the season for something a little special, and this French classic is just that. The first thing to do is remove your eggs from the fridge so they’ll be at room temperature by the time you poach them. Slice some thick cut bacon into ¼” pieces and cook in a heavy pan over medium heat until it starts to brown then remove from the heat.

While you’re bringing a couple inches of water, with a splash of white vinegar or pickle juice, to a boil, rip your frisee into bit size pieces and put in a large salad bowl. Put the bacon back on medium heat, stir in a minced shallot followed by a few splashes of red wine vinegar. Leave it on the heat to reduce while you poach the eggs.

Crack your eggs individually into a small bowl and gently pour them into the simmering water one at a time. Simmer for approximately two minutes, or until the yolks are to your liking, then remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a warm plate. Quickly toss the frisee with the warm bacon vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, then plate and top with a poached egg.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Beet and Tomato Soup

The more local the beets the better for this super easy, healthy, and flavorful winter soup. Sauté a chopped onion and a couple minced garlic cloves in a soup pot with a bit of olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add 1 ½ to 2 pounds of peeled beets cut into small chunks, a large can of crushed tomatoes along with their juices, and a quarter teaspoon each of cumin and cayenne pepper. Stir, then add enough water, chicken, or vegetable stock to cover the beets.

Bring to a boil then simmer covered until the beets are soft, about an hour. It’s not necessary, but at this point you can use your stick blender or a food processor to puree the soup to your desired degree of chunkiness. Season with salt and some additional cumin and cayenne.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sautéed Escarole

As a kid our Italian neighbor served this sautéed escarole at room temperature, but whether at room temperature or hot out of the pot, it makes a refreshingly delicious side dish. Like spinach, it wilts down considerably when cooking so plan on only three or four servings per head of escarole.

While you heat a large heavy pot over medium heat peel off any browned outer leaves from the escarole, cut out the tough bottom stem, and break apart leaving the leaves whole. Add some salt, chopped garlic, and a generous pour of olive oil to the pot, then a few minutes later, the escarole. Stir often with some tongs or a pair of spoons until it’s fully wilted, then drizzle some of your best extra virgin olive oil over the top.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Braised Leeks with Lemon

Here’s a good one for Thanksgiving, or any day of the week…they’re super tasty, easy to make, and can be prepped the day before. Start by removing the coarse outer leaves of the leeks and running them under water to remove any dirt. Next, dry and cut the leeks into halves or thirds depending on their size, then cut them in half length-wise.

Over medium high heat melt some butter in a large sauté pan, add the leeks flat side down and cook for a minute or two or until browned. Flip and do the same on the other side. Add some lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, and enough chicken stock to fill the pan to a height of an eighth of an inch. Cover and cook for a few minutes, then remove the cover and cook until the liquid is nearly evaporated and the leeks are tender. Salt, pepper, and serve with some chopped parsley.

If you’re cooking for a crowd, brown the leeks in batches on the stove top then roast with an eighth of an inch of broth in a large shallow baking dish covered tightly with aluminum foil. And if you’re prepping them the day before, pull them from the oven sooner so as to leave some liquid in the pan and throw them back in the oven the next day to finish and reheat.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Burnt Onion and Applesauce

My mother was ahead of her time, now burning food is all the rage. The caramelized flavor of the apples and onions gives this sauce the perfect balance of sweet and savory making it an easy way to glamorize pork and chicken.

Heat a large heavy pan over high heat while you quarter and slice a red onion and cube a couple of unpeeled apples. Add a bit of oil to the pan and blacken the apples and onion, stirring frequently for approximately ten minutes. Transfer the mixture to a small pot making sure to scrape all the good bits from the bottom of the pan. Add a sprinkle of koshers salt, two pinches of cayenne pepper, and a splash of apple cider or chicken stock. Cover and simmer for ten minutes, salt and cayenne to taste.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Honey Sriracha Delicata and Red Onions

The flavors and textures in this very simple dish make it a real winner, and you can balance the hot and sweet to your own liking. Preheat the oven to 450 while you wash, dry, deseed, and slice your squash into half inch pieces. Peel and chop a red onion and toss both together with a bit of olive oil and salt then roast in a large pan for forty minutes. Give it a good stir after twenty making sure to scrape up any pieces that may have stuck to the bottom.

For the sauce, start by combining equal parts honey and Sriracha. Taste, then add more honey or Sriracha according to your heat preference. In the end you want to end up with about a half a cup of total sauce, you can also add a splash of soy sauce to thin it out. When your squash is fork tender pull it from the oven, stir in three minced garlic cloves, then transfer to a large bowl and toss with the sauce until it’s well coated.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Puntarella and Tomato Salad

This late season mild weather has been great for hiking, stacking wood, outdoor dinners, and vegetables which were on full display at the Farmer’s market this past weekend. Mid-October and I had some of the best cherry tomatoes of the season, crazy! And it’s not over yet.

Puntarella is a pleasantly bitter green related to chicory, similar in taste to mustard greens. In Rome it’s traditional to only use the white stalks with an anchovy, garlic, and red wine vinegar dressing, but this isn’t Rome and I was in a hurry to get dinner on the table. Chop the puntarella and let it soak in some ice water for five minutes, then drain and dry thoroughly. Combine in a bowl with some tomatoes and toss with your best extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Asian Chicken Wings

It’s the fresh ginger and garlic that make these chicken wings so good, and no frying necessary. In a large bowl combine a one inch piece of minced ginger and two garlic cloves along with an 1/8 of a cup each of rice wine vinegar and soy sauce, a tablespoon of vegetable oil, a small splash of sesame oil, a generous tablespoon of chili garlic sauce, a teaspoon of sugar, and some freshly ground black pepper.

Salt a 1 ½ pound pack of wings and either cook on a cookie sheet in a 450 oven for 25 minutes, in a cast iron pan over high heat, or on the barbeque. When the wings are crispy and cooked through simply toss with the marinade and serve making sure to include the bits of ginger and garlic from the bottom of the bowl.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tomato Tart

I’m not a baker, but thanks to locally based, Kiss Tart, I don’t have to be. Their uber flakey and buttery ready-made dough made this late season tomato tart a memorable dinner…and breakfast and lunch the next day too.  

Thinly slice a couple of large onions and cook in a sauté pan over medium heat with three tablespoons of butter, a teaspoon of sugar, and a bit of salt and black pepper. Stir occasionally until golden brown. In the meantime, roll the thawed dough out into a thin crust and form into a half sheet pan or medium sized baking dish. Preheat your oven to 450.

Cover the bottom of the dough evenly with a cup of shredded fontina or Monterey Jack and a quarter cup of Parmesan cheese followed by the caramelized onions and a layer of small round, or sliced tomatoes. Brush the edges of the crust with an egg and milk mixture then bake for twenty minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Finish by topping it with a handful of chopped basil and a sprinkle of salt.