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, July 6, 2017

Barbequed Chicken

After many years of experimentation I’m pretty happy with my barbequed chicken, juicy, crispy, and flavorful…what could be bad, right? And it goes without saying my technique isn’t very complicated. After washing and drying your chicken and lighting the barbeque, mix together some of your favorite spices, cumin, chili, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, or curry. It’s really hard to go wrong as long as you include salt and sugar. Quantities depend on how much chicken you’re cooking but you want to make sure you’re left with a couple of tablespoons of the mixture after liberally dusting your chicken pieces on both sides.

After dusting the chicken stir the remaining spice mixture into a bowl of your favorite barbeque sauce then divide into two parts, one for basting, and the other for serving. Start the dark meat chicken skin side down on the hot grill and cook until it lifts up easily, five minutes on high. Flip each piece, baste the cooked side with your sauce, and then add the white meat pieces skin side down to the grill. Cook all the chicken for another five minutes on high, flip, baste, and then turn the grill to low. Continue to cook, flip and baste every five minutes until the chicken is cooked through; you’re aiming for a good char without overcooking. Serve right off of the grill with the sauce you set aside.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fresh Tuna Salad Nicoise

Fresh tuna takes this French summer classic to another level. In addition to potatoes, green beans, olives, and eggs, don’t be shy about serving with some tomatoes, cucumbers, or radishes…whatever is in season. Start by setting a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil while you prepare the vinaigrette; anchovies, garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper.

Once the water comes to a boil add the small red potatoes, return to a boil, then carefully add the eggs with a slotted spoon and simmer for exactly seven minutes. Scoop your eggs from the pot, chill in a bowl of ice water for two minutes, then set aside. Continue to cook your potatoes until fork tender, adding the picked green beans to the pot for the last minute of cooking time. Drain the potatoes and beans in a strainer.

Finally, heat a sauté pan over high heat, peel and halve your eggs, quarter your potatoes, set aside your Kalamata olives, then salt and pepper your tuna slices and cook until medium rare…don’t overcook whatever you do, it only takes a couple of minutes per side. Immediately serve everything together with a generous drizzle of the vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Grilled Vegetables with Parmesan Basil Bread Crumbs

What I love best about this weekly column is it pushes me to search for the new and exciting instead of defaulting to the same old dinner standbys. And in many cases these discoveries are not only easy to prepare, but I already have the ingredients. These Parmesan basil bread crumbs I interpreted from the grill crazy chef Francis Mallmann are exactly what I’m talking about.

Over a medium low burner heat a generous splash of extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan. Once hot, add a cup of bread crumbs or panko and toss regularly until toasted and golden brown, about four minutes. Scrape into a bowl and mix with a half a cup each of chopped basil and grated Parmesan then set aside.

Toss your assorted vegetables in some olive oil and salt then grill or broil until they’re cooked through and charred around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature with a heavy sprinkle of the bread crumb mixture…a dollop or two of garlicky pesto never hurts either. Happy Summer!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Vietnamese Pork Chops

Here’s a marinade that makes it easy to go Asian the next time you grill pork chops. Combine a quarter cup of fish sauce, three tablespoons of rice vinegar, a quarter cup of light brown sugar, a finely chopped shallot, a splash of soy sauce, and a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, then use to marinate your pork for thirty minutes.

Remove the pork chops and save the excess marinade. While the chops are grilling bring the marinade to a boil in a small pot until it’s reduced by a third then brush over the meat before serving.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Oriental Sweet Potatoes

I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so excited about a potato, at least one that didn’t involve a lot of cheese and heavy cream. But these Oriental Sweet Potatoes that I only recently noticed at the market are very special, somewhere between a potato, sweet potato, eggplant, and a chestnut. Bake it, mash it, boil it, grate it…it doesn’t matter…you’ve got to try it.

For these sweet potato and black bean tostadas cube a potato, boil in salted water for five minutes, drain, then sauté along with a chopped onion for about ten minutes over medium heat. Add some black beans, a sliced jalapeno, and a little bit of chopped kale. Leave on the heat for another five minutes, salt and pepper to taste, then spoon onto crispy tortillas and top with some cilantro and your favorite salsa. Works just as well for tacos or burritos.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Grilled Ramps

Barbecue season is starting up and ramp season is winding down, but spring onions or small leeks work just as well for this seasonal side dish. Trim the root ends from your onions then toss with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill over medium heat until charred evenly, about five minutes per side, then turn the heat to low and cook for another five minutes to ensure they’re soft all the way through. Serve as is, with a squeeze of lemon and crumbled feta, or your favorite vinaigrette.

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.