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, October 28, 2011

Radish, Apple, Arugula Salad

Here’s an unlikely combination and a great one for the season.  Thinly slice equal amounts of radishes and apples and combine with some loosely chopped arugula.  Toss with cider or white Balsamic vinegar, some extra virgin olive oil, and kosher salt and white pepper to taste. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Best Turkey Burger

I never thought I’d say this but I had the most amazing turkey burger last night, and I know what you’re going to say but I think it’s because I baked it…350, about seven minutes a side.  Into my ground turkey I mixed chopped garlic, a half cup of panko bread crumbs, kosher salt, pepper, and a scrambled egg.  After I formed the patties I placed them on a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment.  I flipped the burgers after about seven minutes and spread a spoonful of spicy tomato sauce over the top of each.   After another five minutes I added a slice of fresh mozzarella and baked for another few minutes when I saw the cheese was completely melted.  I served them on a toasted English muffin but a baguette would have been better. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mushroom Pizza with Truffle Oil

I’m hooked!  Someone gave me a small bottle of white truffle oil as a gift a while back and I’ve found it an incredibly easy way to make a pizza or pasta dish a bit more out of the ordinary.  For my mushroom pizza I sliced and sautéed my mushrooms along with a few chopped scallions and some garlic until they were slightly soft.  After lightly covering my rolled out pizza dough with some shredded pecorino I spread out the mushroom mixture and garnished with a little kosher salt before baking until crisp.  Then, just before serving I sprinkled it all over with the truffle oil.  Did the same sort of thing for an appetizer the other night but instead of spreading the mushroom mixture on a pizza dough I spooned it onto lots of baguette slices and served it at room temperature…very fancy…but not really.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Roasted Carrots and Fennel

Speaking of's a great combination, carrots and fennel.  It really makes a difference in a simple dish like this to spring for the organic or farmer's market carrots.  Preheat your oven to 400, cut up your carrots and fennel bulbs, toss in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and ground white pepper then pop in the oven.  I like to stir them around a bit after 30 minutes, total cooking time 50 minutes to an hour...and maybe add a couple of chopped garlic cloves five minutes before you pull it out.  A little more kosher salt wouldn't hurt either.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Potato Olive Soup

It’s soup season and for a change I jazzed up my first potato soup of the Fall with some chopped olives, great combination.  Start by sautéing a couple of chopped onions in a soup pot until they are soft then add four or more cubed potatoes and fill with enough water to cover.  Before bringing to a boil add a teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon or your favorite chicken stock and a generous amount of ground black pepper.  Once it comes to a boil turn the heat down to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft.  At this point I like to taste the broth and decide how much more chicken stock and kosher salt to add before simmering for another five minutes or enough time for the chicken stock to dissolve.  Next, I run it in batches through the cuisinart transferring the soup to a second pot.  Time for the chopped olives, add several heaping tablespoons or more of prepared or freshly pitted and chopped kalamata olives and simmer for another ten to twenty minutes so they can impart their flavor.  Eat up.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Salmon Couscous

Was trying to be a little Moroccan on this one.  I first dusted my skinless pieces of salmon with salt, cumin, and five spice powder and cooked for a few minutes on each side in a straight sided pan.  I could easily have used ginger, garam masala, cayenne, or curry powder instead, just depends what you have around.  After removing the salmon I added some additional oil to the pan and sautéed a chopped onion and several celery stalks with a heaping tablespoon of jarred minced ginger, a few chili pepper flakes, and some kosher salt.  Once browned I poured in a few cups of water, some halved cherry tomatoes, a teaspoon of curry paste and some Better Than Bouillon fish stock, a couple of jars of clam stock would have been fine instead. 

I used kale this time around but spinach would have worked, and since kale takes a while to cook at this point I added it to the stock and let it simmer for half an hour.  About ten minutes before serving I threw in a handful of Kalamata olives, some shucked corn that I found in the back of the fridge, juice from half a lemon, the salmon filets, and salt to taste.  I served with plenty of broth over Israeli couscous and garnished with chopped green scallions.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Brussel Sprout Salad

I wasn’t actually a big brussel sprout fan until I tried them raw, now it’s a staple veggie in our house.  After peeling away any brown outer leaves I shred them individually by holding the stem end and slicing them thin, about a sixteenth of an inch thick, right down to the base.  Then it’s just a matter of tossing them with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and kosher salt.  Parmesan is also a great addition and this time around I found a quarter bag of sliced almonds in my pantry so I threw those in too….great crunch.  I plan on about four sprouts per person but unlike a typical salad they are great the next day so no problem over shredding.  Give them a try…I guarantee you will be very surprised.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tomato Soup

Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, what could be better on a cold rainy day?  Reason enough to keep a can of crushed tomatoes in the pantry.  This time around I heated up a splash of oil with some fresh chopped rosemary before adding the tomatoes to the pot but definitely not necessary…I just happen to have some around from a lamb dish the night before.  After heating up the crushed tomatoes I added a cup of chicken stock and let it simmer for five minutes before going at it with a stick blender until silky smooth.  Then salt and pepper to taste, that’s it.  Don’t forget to dip.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fresh Corn...Hot or Cold

The local corn is amazing this time of year and there are so many ways to enjoy it…hot or cold.  Here are a couple of my favorites.  After shucking I cut off any excess cob so the wide end is flat on the bottom.  Then holding the narrow end of the cob with my left hand I stand it upright in a deep salad bowl and with a chef’s knife slice the kernels from the cob top to bottom.  It’s best to try and cut them away whole by making sure you are slicing fairly close to the cob.   I love tossing the kernels fresh from the cob with a little bit of olive oil, minced shallots or onion, and kosher salt, then roasting it at 400 for 45 minutes…it’s best when you start to see some browning on the edges of the kernels…so sweet.  It’s equally delicious with olive oil and kosher salt but when serving it cold I often add one or two other ingredients such as mint, scallions, tomatoes, green peppers, basil, basically whatever you have in your veggie drawer.   Take advantage of the season and start shucking!