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, September 16, 2019

Tuscan Bread Salad

I’ve got a serious tomato problem; I just can’t get enough of them…or this salad, known in Italy as Panzanella. To really nail it you’ll need great quality ingredients, and the patience to allow the onions and croutons their required soaking time.

Toss ¾ inch cubes of baguette or sourdough bread in enough olive oil to evenly coat then brown them thoroughly on sheet trays in a 400-degree oven or in a cast iron pan on the stove. Lightly salt and pepper and set aside to cool. Figure at least 8 croutons per person as they’re the best part.

Soak some shaved red onion in a quarter cup of red wine vinegar in a small bowl. After twenty minutes remove the onion from the vinegar and put it in a large bowl with the croutons.

For the dressing, whisk a half cup of olive oil into the vinegar along with a minced garlic clove, a pinch or two each of salt and pepper, and a splash of balsamic vinegar if you have it. Pour over the onions and croutons, toss well, and leave for ten minutes.

To finish, mix the onions, croutons, and dressing together with some chunked tomatoes, a peeled and cut cucumber, fresh basil torn into large pieces, and salt to taste.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Eggplant with Parsley Vinaigrette

Summer isn’t over yet, and whether you grill the eggplant on the barbeque or bake it in the oven, this seasonal side dish is a winner. I also like the fact that you can prepare it ahead of time, even a day or two, and add the vinaigrette just before serving.

For the vinaigrette, go heavier with the vinegar than the oil then you would for a traditional dressing, maybe half and half. Stir in some minced shallot, a dab or two of Dijon mustard, lots of chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

Cut your eggplant into quarter inch slices, lightly salt both sides, and set aside for five minutes. Wipe the colored droplets away with a paper towel then toss the eggplant with some olive oil and salt.

Set the slices on a medium hot grill, or on parchment in a 375-degree oven. Cook until browned on the outside and creamy through the middle…making sure to flip once or twice. Serve right away, or later at room temperature, with some chunky spoonful’s of the vinaigrette over the top.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Lamb Chops with Spiced Yogurt Sauce

This yogurt sauce comes together in a few minutes, and it will turn your lamb chops into something you’ll be talking about the next day…the garlic may have a little something to do with it.

Combine the juice from half a lemon with a cup of plain yogurt, two teaspoons of cumin powder, a teaspoon of turmeric, a pinch of cayenne pepper, two cloves of crushed garlic, and a half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Salt and pepper your chops, then spoon a healthy tablespoon of the sauce onto each side to coat evenly. Cover with saran and put in the fridge for at least an hour.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and cook the yogurt coated chops to your desired doneness, serve with extra sauce.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Pan Fried Monkfish

It’s always exciting to see a new offering at the fish counter, and monkfish doesn’t take like any other fish you’ve ever had. Many say it has the characteristics of lobster…but come on now…lobster is lobster.

Cut the monkfish into ¼ inch slices and season liberally with salt and pepper, paprika, Old Bay, whatever you’re feeling. Barely cover a large frying pan with some vegetable oil and set on a medium hot stove, wait a few minutes for the pan to get good and hot.

Dredge the monkfish in flour, shake of any excess, and set in the hot oil. Cook for approximately two minutes, or until it is nicely browned. Flip and do the same on the other side. Serve immediately.

I served it over a corn, onion, green bean ratatouille, but almost anything goes. A caper butter, lemon and garlic, or simply sautéed vegetables would all be perfect.

So, if you’ve never tried monkfish, live a little and give it a go.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Spanish Gazpacho

After having the best gazpacho of my life at the new Mercado Little Spain at Hudson Yards in NYC last week, I was determined to figure out how they did it. No surprise, the recipe was all over the web…what a world! And it’s the easiest gazpacho I’ve ever made.

It’s all about getting a really smooth consistency, so cut the following into small chunks and run through the food processor in a couple of batches until finely pureed: a pound of cored local tomatoes, a small peeled cucumber, half a seeded yellow pepper, a third of a Vidalia onion, a small garlic clove, a teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of sherry or red wine vinegar.

With the food processor running, drizzle in an 1/8 of a cup of extra virgin olive oil to finish it off. Combine your batches and chill in the fridge for at least a few hours, or if you can, overnight.

Salt to taste and serve with some small croutons and a drizzle of olive oil over the top. Repeat at least once a week until the end of tomato season.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Spanish Quesadilla

Who doesn’t love a crispy gooey quesadilla? This Spanish take comes alive with some pickled onions and Manchego cheese. To pickle your red onion, stir together half a cup of apple cider or white vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar, and just shy of a tablespoon of salt. Thinly slice a peeled red onion, stir into the vinegar, and let sit for at least 45 minutes.

Drain a can of garbanzo beans and mash with a fork until pasty but still chunky. Stir in some smoked paprika, sliced scallion, and salt and pepper to taste. Next, grate the Manchego and chop some fresh cilantro.

Heat a little bit of oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Place a large flour tortilla in the pan then cover half with some grated Manchego, a layer of mashed garbanzos, some pickled onions, and chopped cilantro. Fold the other half of the tortilla over until the edges are lined up and cook for a few minutes per side or until the cheese is melted.

For a meatier option, add some cooked and crumbled chorizo sausage.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Escarole and Bean Bruschetta

Bruschetta’s are a perfect summer snack, appetizer, or light meal on a hot night, and the escarole I picked up at the farmer’s market made for a memorable treat that I was sorry to see end. Can’t wait to try it on a pizza.

To prep the escarole, remove the stem, cut the leaves into thirds, and wash thoroughly. In a large pot, quickly sauté five chopped garlic cloves and a generous pour of olive oil. Add a can of drained cannellini beans and a quarter cup of chicken or veggie stock, leave on medium low heat. When the liquid is reduced by half, add a large pinch of red chili flakes, freshly ground pepper, and the washed escarole.

Toss using some tongs or a spoon until the escarole is completely wilted, about five minutes. Stir in some grated parmesan cheese, salt to taste, and serve over a grilled bread slice with a drizzle of your best olive oil and a little more cheese.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Radish Pesto

Don’t compost those radish greens! The local radishes are better than ever this year, and the tops make for a tasty pesto. Start with a couple garlic cloves and a handful of pine nuts or almonds in the food processor, pulse until finely ground.

Add your washed radish greens and a third as much fresh spinach to temper any bitterness. With the food processor running, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil through the top until the mixture is runny. Next in is a quarter cup of grated Parmesan, pulse, then adjust your consistency with some more olive oil if necessary and salt to taste.

A large dollop will easily elevate any steak, chicken breast, or piece of fish to new heights. For a refreshing radish appetizer, grill some baguette slices in a medium hot well-oiled pan until crispy. Top with the pesto, a thick slice of feta, sliced radishes, and a sprinkle of coarse salt.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Spicy Fried Shrimp

Fried seafood tastes better in the summer, and a little spice in your cocktail sauce will cool you right down on a hot night. Set up your breading station with a bowl each of flour, lightly scrambled eggs, and breadcrumbs. Cover the bottom of a large pan with vegetable oil and set on a medium hot burner.

For the cocktail sauce start with a quarter cup of ketchup then add horseradish to taste. For some spice add a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a squeeze or two of Sriracha, or chili garlic paste, depending on your mood.

Salt and pepper the peeled shrimp, in batches of two or three at a time, dust with flour, dip in the egg, and coat with breadcrumbs. Fry them in the oil until golden brown, about a minute per side, then drain on a paper bag. Give them a squeeze of lemon and serve with your sauce.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Summer Noodle Salad

I have to confess, I attempted to make Vietnamese summer rolls this week but the rice paper didn’t cooperate…talk about a frustrating experience. However, the Rt. 100 noodles I recently had at the Mehurons’ deli inspired me to throw all the summer roll ingredients together for what turned out to be a pretty awesome salad.

Fill a bowl with hot water and soak approximately 4 ounces of vermicelli rice noodles for approximately 10 minutes. Run under cold water, drain, and set aside. To make the dressing, stir together a little bit of vegetable and sesame oil, some soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fresh lime juice, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad, combine a third of a bunch each of roughly chopped basil, mint, and cilantro, some sliced radish, carrots, cucumber, and snap or snow peas. Pile the drained noodles on a cutting board, cut into quarters, then toss with the salad ingredients and dressing.

If you’re looking for more of a meal, add some thinly sliced cooked shrimp or pork.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Steak with Tomatoes and Basil

Grilling season is here and sometimes simple is best, and this combination of a perfectly grilled steak with fresh basil and tomatoes can’t be beat. Especially when you use ingredients from you local farmer's market.

While your grill is heating up prep equal parts basil and spinach then place in a large bowl with some cut up tomatoes. Salt and pepper your steak and grill to your desired doneness then place on a cutting board to rest for a few minutes.

Toss the salad with a couple splashes of your best extra virgin olive oil, a generous pour of balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. After plating your steak pile the salad over the top along with any dressing that’s left in the bowl.

Oh yea, it’s summer!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Lazy Cod Enchiladas

Why wrap when you can stack? Preheat your oven to 350, warm up some enchilada sauce, then cut the cod into four-inch pieces and season liberally with chili powder, salt, pepper, and few pinches of cayenne pepper. In a non-stick pan, sauté the fish over medium high heat until barely cooked through and set aside.

Pour about a third of your enchilada sauce into a large oven proof dish, then one by one dip some tortillas into the sauce to coat and layer the bottom of the dish. Put some fish on top of each tortilla, then dip another layer of tortillas into the reserved sauce and stack on top.

To finish, cover with any leftover sauce, a Mexican cheese blend, and some sliced jalapenos, scallions, or sliced black olives. Bake until the cheese is fully melted and the edges start to brown.

Serve with some sour cream, salsa, or cilantro.