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, 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.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Golden Beets with Tahini and Pistachios

Peel and steam some golden beets until fork tender, let cool then cut into half inch pieces. For the tahini, whisk together or food process a half cup of tahini, the juice of one lemon, a quarter cup of hot water, and two minced garlic cloves until smooth, then salt to taste. Sprinkle with some chopped pistachio nuts before serving.

You are correct; there aren’t any pistachio nuts in the photo. I evidently took the picture prematurely. But they were there, and I will say without a doubt, they made the dish…as did the local beets.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Mussels with Chorizo

Lucky for us local food lovers, Vermont Salumi is just one of several local charcuterie makers utilizing the curing facility at the Mad River Food Hub, their chorizo was perfect for these mussels… lots of flavor with a little bit of zip. Start by mincing a two inch length of the chorizo and sauté for two minutes in a large pot with a generous pour of olive oil. Stir in a finely chopped shallot, and three minutes later, four to six minced garlic cloves.

When the shallot is translucent add a cup or two of clam stock depending on how many pounds of mussels you’re cooking. After bringing to a simmer add salt and pepper to taste. When you’re ready to go, turn up the heat to medium, add the mussels to the pot, cover, and cook until they’re firm all the way though, less than five minutes. Spoon into bowls with plenty of broth and garnish with chopped cilantro or as pictured here, caper aioli.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Crispy Fried Zucchini

I will warn you, these things are addictive. Tender, crispy, juicy, and full of the flavor of summer…make them while the zucchini is still local. Slice the zucchini or summer squash length wise into 1/8th inch strips, dust both sides with salt and pepper then set aside. Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with vegetable oil and set over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Next, prep a large bowl with a couple of scrambled egss, and another with flour, salt, pepper, and if you’re the herby type, oregano, parsley, or tarragon.

When everything is ready to go dip the zucchini slices in the egg, dredge in the flour, and then place in the hot oil. Repeat until you cover the bottom of the pan, making sure to leave a bit of room between each slice. Cook for a few minutes per side or until browned then transfer to paper towels or a brown paper bag. You may need to scrape your pan clean with a spatula between batches.