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, November 19, 2018

Crispy Turnips

There’s so much I love about these turnips, and best of all, they can be pre-cooked the day before…perfect for freeing up your oven for that Thanksgiving turkey. Peel and cube your turnips and toss with enough olive oil to lightly coat. Salt, and roast in a 350 oven until barely fork tender. If you’re preparing the day before, cool, and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

About twenty minutes before serving, heat some turkey fat in a heavy pan over medium high heat and stir in the cubed turnips. Toss every few minutes or so, you don’t want them to burn, but you want them crispy on as many sides as possible. When you’re ready to serve, spoon them into a bowl and toss with some thyme, sage, or parsley, and salt to taste.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Cauliflower with Mint, lemon, and Chili

When thinking about Thanksgiving dinner, there are certain things you can’t mess with, like the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and gravy. But when it comes to the vegetables, I say, the heck with tradition….is creamed spinach really necessary?

This cauliflower dish is not only refreshingly cleansing, but it doesn’t take up any space in the oven. And you can prep it the day before by breaking the cauliflower up into small florettes, chopping the mint, squeezing the lemon juice, and storing them separately in Tupperware in the fridge.

Ten minutes before you’re going to sit down, steam the cauliflower until fork tender. Immediately drain, then toss in a large bowl with some extra virgin olive, lemon juice, chopped mint, and some red pepper flakes. Salt to taste.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Potato Celeriac Soup

November! It’s a tough month to embrace, but there isn’t a better time for potatoes, celeriac, apples, or soup. The quantities aren’t critical, but more or less equal quantities of potatoes and celeriac are a safe bet. Peel and cube the celeriac, then cube the potatoes, no need to peel them.

Sauté some chopped onion, shallots, or leeks in a large soup pot for five minutes. Add the celeriac and potatoes along with a cut up unpeeled apple, and a few chopped garlic cloves. Stir together, then after a couple of minutes add enough chicken or vegetable stock to cover the vegetables by at least an inch.

Bring to a boil then simmer for forty five minutes to an hour, or until the celeriac is very tender. Once cool enough puree with a stick blender, or in batches in a food processor, until smooth. Return to the pot, reheat, then salt and pepper to taste.

If you’re pondering your Thanksgiving menu, this one should be in the running.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Japanese Vegetable Pancakes

Since having an Okonomiyak, or vegetable pancake, from a Japanese street vendor in New York last year I finally had a chance to make them at home. Good stuff!

For the sauce simply stir together 4 tablespoons of ketchup, 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce, and a spoonful of honey.

For the pancakes, thinly slice a quarter cabbage, two kale leaves, and two scallions, then combine in a large bowl with two grated carrots. Mix thoroughly with a quarter cup of flour, a half teaspoon of kosher salt, and three lightly beaten eggs.

To cook, heat just enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a large heavy skillet, then spoon a pile of the vegetable mixture into the skillet and flatten with a spatula. Cook three to four minutes per side, or until they’re brown around the edges. Drain on a paper bag and serve immediately with the sauce.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Chinese Pork and Black Bean Stew

Chinese Black Bean and Garlic Sauce is one of those condiments that miraculously turns an ordinary pork shoulder into a stew that you’ll hardly believe you made yourself. It’s a great Sunday meal as you need three to four hours of cooking time for the pork to get super tender, or any night of the week if you have a crock or instant pot.

Cut a boneless pork shoulder into one inch cubes and season liberally with salt. Over high heat, brown the cubes in a heavy soup pot with a little bit of vegetable oil, about five minutes. Turn down the heat to medium and add a couple dozen sliced white or cremini mushrooms along with four to five large cloves of chopped garlic. Stir occasionally until the mushrooms soften up.

Add water to cover the pork by at least an inch, bring to a slow boil, then add the appropriate amount of concentrated beef stock and a few heaping tablespoons of the Black Bean and Garlic sauce. Cover and leave over low heat, or put in a preheated 250 degree oven. After an hour, taste, and add more beef stock and bean sauce as needed. After two hours, ladle out two cups of the broth into a bowl and set aside.

Once the pork is tender add four tablespoons of cornstarch to the warmish bowl of broth and stir with a fork until smooth, then add to the pot of pork. Bring to a light boil for a minute, stirring as the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat and serve with a side of rice.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Spiced Brussel Sprouts and Cashews

This dish is all about what you decide to add for flavor. While a heavy handful of minced garlic would suffice, some smoked paprika, cumin, curry, chili flakes, cayenne, or chipotle pepper would be way more exciting.

To shred the Brussel sprouts, hold them by the stem end and slice thinly with a sharp knife. Figure about five or six per person. Next, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add a couple handfuls of cashew pieces. Toss frequently to keep them from burning. Once you start to smell them roasting, slide them into a glass bowl and set aside.

Immediately add some olive oil to the pan and sauté a minced shallot or small onion until translucent. Stir in a teaspoon or more of your chosen spice along with the cashews, cook for half a minute. To finish, stir in the shredded Brussel sprouts and sauté until the sprouts are warm and wilted, but not soggy. It only takes a few minutes.

And as always, salt to taste.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Potato Crusted Pork Cutlet

It doesn’t happen very often, but this one is a wow! I mean what could be bad about fried potato crusted pork? I can’t believe I’ve lived this many years without it.

If you don’t have them already, get yourself some dehydrated potato flakes, aka, instant mashed potatoes. Prep three bowls for crusting your pork, one each for flour, lightly beaten eggs, and potato flakes.

Liberally season the thinly sliced pork cutlets with salt and pepper. Ten minutes before dinner, cover the bottom of a large frying pan with a thin layer of vegetable oil and heat over medium heat. Once hot, individually dust the cutlets with flour, dip into the egg, and then press each side into the potato flakes so they’re well coated. Cook for about two minutes per side, making adjustments to the heat so they’re golden but not burnt, and add more oil between batches as needed.

Drain on a brown paper bag, serve hot with a squeeze of lemon…and savor every bite.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Roasted Red Pepper with Basil Ricotta

Perfect as an appetizer, veggie side, or doubled up for a main course, this tasty combo comes together a lot faster than you would think. Preheat your oven to 400, halve and remove the seeds and stems from your red peppers, then rub them with olive oil and salt and place them skin side down in a large roasting dish.

In a small bowl mix together some minced anchovy, one fillet per half pepper, minced garlic, and enough olive oil to form a mustard-like consistency. Spoon the mixture into the red pepper halves, and use a basting brush to spread it around. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until the peppers start to brown on the edges.

While the peppers are cooking, stir together some ricotta, chopped basil, extra virgin olive oil, and coarse salt to taste. Serve the peppers either right out of oven, or at room temperature, with a generous dollop of the ricotta mixture.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Roast Potato and Cucumber Salad

This time of year it’s all about going local, keeping it simple, and letting the flavors speak for themselves. And roasting versus boiling your potatoes will really bring out their September goodness.

Cut your fingerlings in half and toss with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can use another potato variety; just make sure to stick with one that will hold its shape like a red potato. Roast until well browned and cooked through, and then set aside to cool.

Cut an equal amount of cucumber into half inch chunks, along with some sliced scallion and chopped parsley. Toss them together with the potatoes, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Simplicity at its best!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Tomato Almond Pesto

The extended summer weather means the tomatoes keep coming and coming, here’s an interesting pesto that will be ready long before your pasta is even cooked.

Throw a handful of slivered almonds in a food processor with a couple of peeled garlic cloves and half a teaspoon of salt, run until it forms a paste. Add a cup and a half of fresh cherry, or chopped tomatoes, and a half a cup of fresh basil. Pulse until it’s a chunky puree, adding some olive oil if it needs to be thinned out. Before tossing with your cooked pasta, salt to taste, and serve with grated parmesan.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Shrimp Curry

Just because it comes in a can, doesn’t mean it can’t be as good as a restaurant. Maesri curry paste from Thailand is the real deal, and if they have it in Warren, VT they must have it at your local market.

The dish comes together quickly, so it’s best to prep everything first. Start by coarsely chopping a medium sweet onion and a large handful of cilantro, peel the shrimp, shuck and cut the corn from the cob, open up a can each of red curry paste and coconut milk, and get some salted water boiling for the rice noodles.

Here we go, in a large heavy pot, saute the onion until translucent, then add the corn. After a few minutes add the coconut milk and red curry paste, then simmer for another five minutes. If it isn’t spicy enough, add some Sriracha to taste.

Next, throw your rice noodles into the boiling water, shut the heat, and let stand until they’re tender and drain. While the noodles are cooking, add the shrimp and cilantro to the curry sauce and continue to simmer until the shrimp are cooked though…it doesn’t take long. Throw some tomatoes in too if you have them, it is the season.

Serve over the noodles with plenty of sauce.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Barley Salad

With all the local vegetables available now, there’s no better time for a barley salad. Whether you use tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, zucchini, carrots, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, or green beans, the general technique is the same.

Boil a cup of barley in some lightly salted water for about 25 minutes, or until tender, then drain. Make the dressing by whisking together about a half a cup of olive oil with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, a couple splashes of red wine vinegar, a minced garlic clove, and salt and pepper.

Prep your vegetables by cutting up the ones that can be eaten raw, and sautéing the others until cooked through. You can serve it warm, room temperature, or right out of the fridge the next day, simply combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss with a generous handful of chopped parsley. Feta, parmesan, or toasted nuts never hurt if you happen to have some around.