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.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Tuna and Caramelized Fennel Pasta

Hard to go wrong with caramelized fennel.

Generously salt and pepper a pound of tuna and broil, grill, or sauté on medium heat until cooked to your liking then set aside. If you prefer it on the rarer side, take into account it will cook more when you toss it with the hot pasta.

Thinly slice a medium onion and a bulb of fennel, saving any fronds you may have had on your fennel bulb. Sauté in olive oil with a half teaspoon each of sugar and salt over medium heat. Stir and toss often until everything is evenly browned and caramelized, should take about ten to fifteen minutes.

While the pasta is boiling, add a half a teaspoon of lemon zest, three tablespoons of capers, the juice from one lemon, and a half a cup of clam or fish stock to the fennel and onions and let simmer over low heat.   

Drain your al dente pasta, then toss in a big bowl with the tuna, fennel onion mixture, a handful of chopped parsley, and any leftover finely chopped fennel fronds.  Salt and pepper to taste.


Monday, August 3, 2020

Chocolate Dipped Frozen Bananas

Yowza!  I don’t say that every week, but the dessert maker in our house surprised me with this one and it definitely falls into the yowza category. It’s a must try! However, I have to warn you, they’re incredibly dangerous to have around if you lack will power…which I do.

Peel and cut three to four firm bananas into half inch slices and freeze on parchment lined cookie sheets for about an hour.  In a small metal bowl over simmering water, melt together three and half tablespoons of coconut oil and12 ounces of chocolate chips.  Doesn’t matter what kind of chocolate, milk, dark, bittersweet, whatever you like.  Stir well, and keep the mixture warm until you’re ready to start dipping.

With a toothpick or small fork, individually dip each frozen banana slice into the chocolate and place back on the parchment.  The chocolate hardens quickly so they can be eaten immediately, which I highly recommend. 

To store any extras, place back in the freezer on the trays for thirty minutes then bulk pack in freezer bags.  Happy August!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Black Bean Broccoli and Tofu

I’ve recently discovered the beauty of soft tofu, and it works especially well in a saucy stir fry.

For the sauce, I used store bought black bean and garlic. I love it!  It’s super flavorful, lasts for months and months in your fridge, and it only takes a spoonful or two turn your soups, stews, and stir frys into restaurant good Chinese food…it’s all about the condiments.

Have your broccolini or broccoli crowns prepped before you start as things come together quickly.  Heat some vegetable oil in a large pot or wok over medium high heat and sauté the broccoli for a couple of minutes tossing frequently.  Add an 1/8 of a cup of water and a heaping tablespoon of the black bean sauce, turn down the heat to low, and simmer. 

After a few minutes, mix in the soft or silken tofu by squeezing it between your fingers over the broccoli to break it up.  Stir thoroughly, leave on the heat for another few minutes, then serve.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Pork and Basil Chimichurri Stir Fry

With the price of supermarket meat so high these days, now is the time to be buying locally raised meat if you aren’t already. I used some boneless pork loin chops along with some local basil for this dinner for two.

Slice a pound of loin chops into quarter inch thick strips, generously salt and pepper, and set aside in the fridge. Next, quarter and slice a sweet onion, cut the kernels from two cobs of corn, and set aside with an extra-large handful of spinach.

Make the chimichurri in a food processor by combining a cup of fresh basil leaves, a quarter cup of parsley, two garlic cloves, a quarter cup of red wine vinegar or fresh lime juice, a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt, and some red chile flakes and black pepper. With the processor running, drizzle in a quarter cup of olive oil and run until smooth. Salt to taste…now you’re ready to get cooking.

Heat some oil in a wok over medium high heat and cook the onion until translucent. Add the corn, give it a minute, then toss in the pork. Stir frequently until the pork is cooked through, it won’t take long.

Take off the heat and stir in the spinach. Once wilted, serve with a heaping spoonful or two of chimichurri over the top.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Potato and Scape Stir Fry

The scape season is a short one, so don’t miss out…and if you already did, no worries, you can substitute scallions. What I really love about this simple stir fry is the freshness and crunchiness of the potatoes you get from not par-boiling them first.

Set a large frying pan or wok over medium heat, then quarter your russet potatoes. Next, with your sharpest knife or mandolin, cut the potatoes into 1/16 inch slices, and the scapes into one inch pieces. Add some olive oil to the hot pan, then slide in the potatoes and scapes.

Toss often to ensure even cooking. Also, continue to test the potatoes with a fork so you don’t let them get beyond al dente…it should take less than five minutes.

Add some salt and pepper to taste, as well as some chopped garlic if you’re using scallions, and serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Syrian Red Pepper Dip

Otherwise known as Muhammara, it’s tastier than hummus and a lot more versatile. In addition to serving it as a dip with some toasted pita, you can also pair it with chicken, pork, lamb, and grilled vegetables, or as a side to any salad. It lasts for well over a week in the fridge too.

You could go to the trouble of making your own roasted red peppers, or you could just use a 12 oz. jar of fire roasted peppers…guess it depends on how much time you have on your hands these days. If you do have some time, roast, skin, and seed two medium red peppers.

In a food processor, combine the roast peppers, half of a cup of toasted walnuts or slivered almonds, a quarter of a cup of bread crumbs, a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, a half teaspoon of smoked paprika, a teaspoon of kosher salt, and a tablespoon each of extra virgin olive oil, pomegranate molasses or honey, and Aleppo or mild red chili flakes.

Run until smooth, then salt to taste.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Parmesan Crisps

What??? Are they really that easy to make? If you’ve ever splurged on a bag of parmesan crisps, or had one garnish your Caesar salad in a restaurant, you’ll know how good they are. And yes, they are that easy to make…one ingredient, five minutes.

Heat a large Teflon pan over medium low heat while you grate about a cup of parmesan. Using your hand, spread thin layers of the cheese into two-inch circles around the pan. If they need tidying, a spatula does the trick.

After a couple of minutes flip and brown the other side. Flip again if the first side isn’t browned to your liking. Once done, set on a plate to cool, and start another batch.

Serve them whole with cocktails, serve them crumbled over eggs, salads, or grilled vegetables, or just eat them straight out of the pan. Yum!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Salmon Roll

A perfectly grilled buttered hot dog bun is critical to a memorable lobster roll…and The Warren Store is doing them right every Friday. So right in fact, I was inspired to get myself some buns and make one at home using last night’s leftover salmon.

To start, you need to buy the ball park style buns with the cut white sides. The brown sided buns aren’t going to do.

For the salmon salad, brake up the cooked fillet into small chunks then toss it together in a bowl with some minced celery, scallion, chopped parsley, fresh lemon juice, a little bit of olive oil, and salt and pepper. You could also substitute mayo for the olive oil.

Grill the buns by melting a quarter inch slice of butter for every roll you’re making in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once they’re golden brown on both sides, immediately stuff with the salmon salad and serve.

Now that’s summer!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

This creamy mouthwatering sauce isn’t just for chicken wings, you shouldn’t hesitate to smother it on roast potatoes, burgers, steaks, or grilled vegetables. And if you really want to go for it, Von Trapp’s Mad River Blue puts it over the top!

In a large bowl combine a cup of sour cream, half a cup of mayonnaise, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and a minced garlic clove. Mix thoroughly, then stir in approximately 8 ounces of crumbled blue cheese and a quarter teaspoon each of salt and black pepper.

The key here is to make it at least a few hours ahead of time then refrigerate until a half an hour before serving.

Trust me, once you taste it, you’ll wish you had doubled the recipe.

Monday, June 8, 2020

White Bean and Spinach Chicken

Some spinach from your local farmer’s market will make this silky saucy chicken all the more flavorful.

Pound or thinly slice a pound of chicken breasts then salt and pepper liberally. Add enough olive oil to the bottom of a large sauté pan and heat over a medium high flame. When the oil is hot, dust the chicken pieces in some flour and brown for no more than a minute per side. Remove the chicken and turn the heat down to medium.

Add some more oil or butter to the pan then sauté a finely chopped onion or shallot until translucent. Stir in some minced garlic, give it a half a minute, then add a cup of chicken stock, a can of drained cannellini beans, and if you happen to have an open bottle, a couple shots of dry white wine.

Let the liquid reduce for two minutes and add several handfuls of spinach. Using tongs, turn the spinach over in the sauce until it wilts. Next, place the browned chicken in the pan and cover, turn the heat to low and cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through…shouldn’t take more than a minute. Salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Steamed Lemon Sesame Broccoli

Grilling season has begun, and this steamed broccoli brings lots of Asian flavor to whatever you’re cooking. It can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature, in fact, it’s even better after the broccoli has had a chance to soak up the dressing for a couple of hours.

To make the dressing, stir together a few tablespoons of vegetable oil, a teaspoon of sesame oil, the juice of one lemon, a splash of soy sauce, and a little rice wine vinegar if you have it.

Cut the broccoli stems into thin slices, the crowns into large florets, then steam for 3 to 7 minutes depending on how tender you like it. If you don’t have a steamer you can also drop it into a pot of simmering water for a couple of minutes. Remember that it will continue cooking unless you run it under cold water for half a minute after removing it from the heat.

Once it’s drained well, toss with the dressing and some sesame seeds.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Lentil Feta Arugula Sauté

Firm lentils are a beautiful thing, mushy lentils, not so much unless you’re making soup. So, you need only boil them for ten to fifteen minutes for al dente. And after placing them in a strainer to drain, immediately rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking further.

Another thing to know about lentils is that they go a long way, so figure about a quarter cup of dry lentils per person.

Ten minutes before your meal, heat some olive oil in large pan and sauté a minced shallot and a couple of cloves of garlic until translucent. Stir in the cooked lentils, a large handful of chopped arugula, some sunflower seeds or slivered almonds, and a generous grind of black pepper.

Cook for another five minutes, salt to taste, then serve with crumbled feta over the top.