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.

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.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Soy Braised Short Ribs

If you’re looking for some Korean inspiration check out The Good Fork cookbook, that’s where I found this one. Salt and pepper four pounds of short ribs then brown over high heat with some oil in a large heavy pot before setting aside. Turn down the heat to medium and stir in a chopped onion, three chopped garlic cloves, and a two inch piece of peeled ginger sliced thin. Cook for five minutes.

Pour in two cups of dry red wine and reduce by half. Add two cups of chicken stock, ¾ cup of soy sauce, ½ a cup of mirin or rice vinegar, ½ a cup of brown sugar, ½ a cup of kimchi, and the cooked ribs along with their juices. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for a couple of hours or until the ribs are tender. Serve with rice and a bit of the sauce poured over the top.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Grilled Halloumi

You may be familiar with Halloumi, on Greek restaurant menus it’s called saganaki.  It's a salty semi-hard cheese that because of its unusually high melting point is amazing for grilling. There’s nothing quite like its warm, chewy goodness.

Place a large pan over medium high heat then halve the square of cheese diagonally. Once your pan is hot add a small splash of olive oil followed by the two triangles of cheese and cook until well browned on both sides. You could also grill it on the barbeque, either way, turning occasionally it will take about ten minutes.

As an appetizer you can simply serve it with a drizzle of your best olive oil, lemon juice, a bit of chopped mint, sautéed garlic, or some caramelized dates or apricots. It’s also a delicious addition to a warm or cold salad. And because it freezes well you can always have one on hand for a spontaneous halloumi fix.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Shrimp and Grits

Although traditionally served for breakfast, these shrimp and grits will satisfy any meal of the day. Peel your shrimp then season with salt and pepper and set aside. Following, boil four and half cups of water, whisk in a cup of grits and a teaspoon of salt, and gently simmer uncovered for thirty minutes.

While that’s cooking prep a cup of grated sharp cheddar, a quarter cup of parmesan, three tablespoons of butter, and half a teaspoon of freshly grated black pepper. Sauté the shrimp in a hot pan until cooked through, for more flavor you could add some bacon, garlic, and or scallions. When your grits are ready remove from the heat, stir in the cheese, butter, and pepper along with a few shakes of tabasco sauce, and serve with the shrimp over the top.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Shaved Cauliflower Salad with a Lime Vinaigrette

I think I just discovered my new favorite ingredient. Up until coming across this recipe in an old Bon Appetit the only reason we kept nutritional yeast in the pantry was for popcorn, but not anymore…it’s an umami burst worth using again and again.

In a mason jar combine a teaspoon each of lime zest, Dijon mustard, and honey with a quarter cup each of lime juice, and extra virgin olive oil. Shake until combined then add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast, a quarter cup of grated parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Shake again.

Quarter a head of cauliflower then with a knife or mandolin cut one of the quarters into 1/8 inch slices then toss with the dressing and let sit for at least ten minutes. To finish, stir in some arugula, spinach, or half a head of frisee. Garnish with some shaved parmesan and prepare to be blown away.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Turkey, Squash, Black Bean Chili

If you’re having any doubts about straying from your classic Super Bowl chili, don’t, this one is definitely super bowl worthy. In a large pot sauté two medium chopped onions until translucent then add a pound of the fattiest ground turkey you can find breaking it up into small pieces with a large spoon as it cooks.

After five minutes stir in three chopped garlic cloves, a ¼ cup of chili powder, a tablespoon of cumin, and some hot pepper to taste such as chipotle, ancho, or cayenne and cook for another five minutes. Next, add a large can of chopped tomatoes, a small can of tomato paste, and four cups of chicken or veggie stock. While that’s simmering peel and seed a small butternut squash and cut into half inch cubes.

Depending on your bean ratio preference add one or two cans of drained black beans and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another fifteen minutes before adding the cubed squash, bring to a boil then turn down and simmer for 40 minutes or until the squash is tender. Before serving stir in a handful of chopped cilantro and top with shredded cheese, sour cream, and or avocado. 

 Go Pats!