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, December 27, 2011

Shrimp Cakes

Looking for that special appetizer for the holidays, think shrimp, here’s a bit of Cuisinart magic.  To the Cuisinart add a chopped garlic clove, fresh minced ginger, two chopped scallions, some chopped cilantro, a few slices of minced jalapeno, a squeeze of lime, then some hot sauce, kosher salt, and pepper to taste…pulse until pasty.  (If you're lacking some of the fresh ingredients you could improvise with some Asian condiments, hoisin, black bean paste, curry, or fish sauce.)  Then add an egg and a pound of shelled raw shrimp, I like the IQF easy peel variety.  Pulse until the shrimp is coarsely chopped, not mushy.  Pour out into a large bowl, mix with two cups of panko bread crumbs, form into small patties, and fry up with a small amount of oil in a large pan.  I served them with a cilantro lime sauce that I made intin the cuisinart like I would a pesto using cilantro leaves, oil, salt, hot sauce, and lime juice.  Cheers!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Turkey Soup

Don’t throw out that turkey carcass!  The post holiday dinner turkey coma is a tough one to overcome but what I like to do is break the carcass into pieces and seal them in a zip lock bag with whatever other bones are leftover and throw them in the freezer.  I was so excited to rediscover my Thanksgiving turkey carcass last weekend, perfect for a winter Sunday soup.  In a large pot I coarsely chopped and sautéed a large onion, half a dozen carrots and celery stalks along with some coarsely ground black pepper.  Once the vegetables began to brown I placed my assorted turkey components in the pot and filled with enough cold water to submerge all. After bringing to a boil I lowered the heat to a slow boil and let reduce for two hours. 

At this point I removed the bones with a pair of tongs and added some additional chicken stock concentrate to taste, I prefer Better Than Bullion.  A jar of stock paste only costs a bit more than a box of liquid stock, yields four times the amount, and will last in the fridge for months and months.  A much better way to go and you are always sure to have stock on hand.  Anyway, once cooled I pulled whatever meat I could find from my carcass and added it to my simmering soup along with a bag of arugula, a couple of cans of white navy beans, and some leftover chicken meatballs.  But just about anything goes, rice, noodles, spinach, cabbage, or some cooked sausage…and the smell of your house will make that Sunday afternoon on the couch reading or watching football that much better.  Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sausage Appetizer

This was a last minute pot luck appetizer, would work with just about any sausage.  I grilled the sausage in a frying pan over high heat until both sides were nicely browned.  With a pair of tongs I took the links out one by one and on my cutting board sliced them into chunks before returning them to the pan.  Once I could see they were cooked through I added two heaping tablespoonfuls of my favorite hot and spicy mustard, tossed for a minute then plated them with a slotted spoon so as not to pickup too much of the grease.  A little green onion for garnish.  Instead of mustard a spicy tomato sauce or a mixture of honey and hot sauce would work as well.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Italian Meatloaf

I go big on this one so there’s always lots leftover.  Preheat oven to 375 then mix together with your hands in a very large bowl: two pounds of burger, one pound of ground sausage, five or six cloves of chopped garlic, two cups of breadcrumbs or panko, a cup of basil or parsley, a chopped sautéed onion, two cups of grated mozzarella, a teaspoon or more of ground black pepper, even more of kosher salt, and a half a cup of tomato sauce saving the remainder of the jar to top your meatloaf after cooking.  Once thoroughly mixed stir in three lightly scrambled eggs then form into a four inch high by five inch wide loaf on a sided cookie sheet.  Cook for an hour to an hour and a half then top with the heated tomato sauce.  Try chorizo or a spiced sausage instead to add some spice, or sub a basil or arrabiata sauce, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Teriyaki Wings

Its football as well as party season and wings make for a great appetizer, not sure why I don’t think of making them more often, super easy.  The day before I placed my wings in a shallow baking dish with a marinade of soy sauce, my favorite teriyaki sauce, crushed garlic, Sriracha hot sauce, white pepper, salt, and a little honey.  I pulled them out of the fridge the next morning and turned over each wing so they would marinate evenly before barbequing them that afternoon.  Make sure you watch your heat and keep an eye on them as they will flame up easily…as you can see from my wings.  You could also bake them for half an hour then finish them off under the broiler.  For a dipping sauce I started with a small bowl of sour cream and kept adding Sriracha hot sauce until I reached my desired hotness, a little salt never hurts either.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Asian Tuna "Milanese"

This is a tasty seafood twist on the classic.  Have your fish market slice the tuna into quarter inch slices, skin on.  After salt and peppering each slice I grated some fresh ginger into a small bowl of soy sauce and added a little bit of sesame oil and rice vinegar to make a vinaigrette.  I poured some vegetable oil into a large pan and let heat up while I coarsely chopped a couple of cucumbers and some grape tomatoes.

For the breading I dusted each tuna steak in flour, dredged in a few lightly scrambled eggs, then coated with panko.  Once the oil is hot you only need to cook for a couple of minutes on each side, tuna is best when it’s served rare.  While my tuna was frying I tossed the cucumbers and tomatoes in a bowl with my vinaigrette then plated and topped each steak with a generous portion before serving. This is also an amazing way to cook swordfish, maybe substitute with an arugula and tomato salad with a lemon vinaigrette.