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.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Peas and Shitake Mushrooms

It’s that time of year when we’re craving something green that’s more like spring than winter. Ironically, frozen peas are one of my favorite options…and it doesn’t take much to jazz them up a bit. If you haven’t defrosted the peas overnight in the fridge, run them under some cool water in a strainer and then let them drain for half an hour.

In a large pan, heat up some oil over medium heat and sauté some shitake and sliced scallions until they just start to brown. Add two cloves of chopped garlic and the peas, then cook for another five minutes stirring occasionally. Salt and pepper to taste before serving. For more of an Asian feel you could stir in some soy or oyster sauce, or sesame oil.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fennel Fish Stew

Stew, soup, or chowder? I’m not sure what to call it, but it was really good…and super simple to make. In a large pot with a bit of olive oil, sauté a chopped fennel and a minced shallot until soft. Add three minced garlic cloves, a quarter teaspoon of black pepper, and half a pound of small red potatoes cut into ¼” slices. 

Stir for a couple of minutes, add two cups of fish or clam stock, then bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. Add a quarter cup of crème fraiche or heavy cream and a pound and a half of flounder, cod, or haddock, cut into one inch pieces. Turn the heat to low, cover, and then simmer for a five minutes until the fish is cooked through. Salt and garnish with chopped parsley or dill.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sausage with Peppers and Onions

You can’t go wrong with chili, nachos, or wings for Super Bowl Sunday, but you won’t get any complaints about these sausages either. Start by prepping several cloves of chopped garlic and some sliced onions and peppers. Then, in a large pan over high heat, brown your sausages and set aside.

Add the onions and peppers to the pan along with a bit of olive oil, stir frequently for five minutes before turning the heat down to medium. As the onions start to caramelize, add the garlic, a jar of your favorite marinara, and enough chili flakes to satisfy your heat tolerance. Bring to a boil, return the sausages to the pan, cover, and simmer on low heat for about thirty minutes or until the sausages are cooked through.

Salt and pepper to taste, then serve with some grated parmesan, or on a toasted bun with a slice of Provolone. You could also make these the day before and then reheat before the game. Cheers to a close game…and a 6th Pats Super Bowl victory!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Maple Glazed Vegetables

You can never eat enough maple syrup, and combined with some soy sauce it makes for a satisfying winter veggie side or main dish. The earthiness of root vegetables work well with the sweet of the syrup: parsnips, carrots, potatoes, beets, and onions. I also added some broccoli.

Preheat your oven to 400, then add a couple splashes of vegetable oil to an oven proof pan and place over medium high heat. Add your cut up vegetables and stir frequently until browned, about ten minutes. Transfer to the oven for about fifteen to twenty minutes, or until tender.

Put the pan back on the stove and add enough of a 50/50 mixture of maple syrup and soy sauce to generously cover the bottom of the pan. With the heat on medium, cook until the vegetables are glazed, approximately five minutes. Toss with some sesame oil, or sesame seeds.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Mashed Rutabaga

I have a confession to make, this was my first rutabaga. I don’t know what made me do it? I picked it up and put in my shopping cart without the slightest idea of what I might do with it….crazy! Live every day like your last, right?

I got home and googled a bit only to learn I had lots of options: roasting, mashing, grating, buttering, spicing, scalloping, and French frying. I had been craving creamy, and happened to have some crème fraiche in the fridge, so creamy it was.

After cutting the rutabaga in half I peeled it with a knife, cut it into one inch cubes, and steamed them until they were fork tender. While they were draining, I heated up a bit of butter in a pot and sautéed some chopped garlic and scallions. Once the garlic was translucent I added the rutabaga and mashed it all together with a small container of crème fraiche, and salt and pepper to taste. That won’t be my last rutabaga.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Roast Mushrooms

I’ve been looking for any excuse to turn on my oven the last couple of weeks, and these mushrooms will heat up your kitchen and make any meal a bit more memorable. Preheat your oven to 450 and brush the dirt from approximately two dozen mushrooms. I recommend using at least two dozen as you’ll eat more than you think, and they’ll last for days in the fridge.

In a large bowl toss the mushrooms with some salt and pepper and just enough olive oil to coat lightly. Slide them into a roasting pan, then into the oven for 30 minutes. At this point anything goes, smoked paprika, garlic and parsley, thyme, rosemary, chili flakes, fresh lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, butter, whatever works best with whatever else you’re cooking. Toss and return to the oven for another 15 minutes then salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Lamb, eggplant, and potato stew

Stew season is here, and the ground lamb I picked up at a local farm put this one over the top. In a large heavy soup pot start by sautéing two finely chopped onions and a couple celery stalks in some olive oil until translucent. Cut a medium eggplant into half inch cubes, a potato into quarter inch cubes, and then add both to the pot along with half a dozen chopped garlic cloves. Stir occasionally for 10 minutes over medium heat.

Stir in a teaspoon each of cumin and paprika, a ¼ teaspoon of dried oregano or zataar, a couple pinches of cayenne pepper and then the ground lamb. As the lamb cooks, break it into small pieces with a spoon while stirring it together with the other ingredients. When it’s nearly cooked through add a small can of tomato paste and some chicken stock. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for approximately 20 minutes or until the eggplant is cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste. Stay warm!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Smoked Trout, Caper Crème Fraiche, and Pickled Onion Toast

Have you given any thought to New Year’s breakfast? This smoked trout toast will cure any hangover, can be prepped the day before, and best of all, it’s really really good. To pickle the onions, combine a half a cup of apple cider vinegar and a cup of water then stir in a tablespoon of sugar and a half tablespoon of salt until dissolved. Mix in a teaspoon of whole or finely ground black pepper followed by a very thinly sliced red onion, cover with saran and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to two days.

For the crème fraiche, scrape a half pint into a bowl and add a generous handful of finely chopped capers, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and coarse salt and ground pepper to taste. Refrigerate until a half hour before serving. When you’re ready to go, grill a sliced baguette with a bit of oil in a hot pan, or toast some sliced bread, then simply layer the crème fraiche, smoked trout, and pickled onion on top.

Have a tasty New Year!

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.