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.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup

Why buy canned soup when you can easily make a better and healthier soup for a lot less.  I always keep a jar of condensed Better Than Bouillon chicken stock on the door of the fridge so I don’t have to plan, you never know when you’re going to need a bowl of chicken soup. 

Start with the fresh vegetables, chop them up, and sauté in the bottom of a soup pot with a little bit of oil; Onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms, fennel, cabbage, whatever you like.  If you use arugula or escarole, or frozen corn or peas, you should add them to your soup at the end.  After ten minutes add your raw meat cut up into small pieces; Chicken, sausage, beef, pork, again, anything goes.  If you’re using leftover meat that’s already been cooked do not add it until the end. 

Add a couple of cups of water per portion of soup and figure about a teaspoon of stock for each cup of water.  Bring to a boil and immediately turn down to a simmer before adding your leafy or frozen vegetables, cooked meat, canned beans, or dry pasta.  For the pasta make sure you simmer long enough to cook through.  I broke a small handful of angel hair pasta into one inch pieces this time around.  This is also the point at which you scour the fridge for suitable leftovers, chop them up and throw them in, very satisfying.  Now all you need is some great bread…soups up.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Creamy Chicken Polenta

You know when you haven’t made something in a while and then when you do you say, “why don’t I make that more often?”  Polenta is one of those things, such a great comfort food.  In a large frying pan sauté an onion and some sliced mushrooms in a little bit of oil for a few minutes.  Slice your chicken breast into one to two inch chunks and brown them for a minute on each side in the pan with your vegetables.  Once browned add a jar of your favorite tomato sauce, I prefer Rao’s Marinara.  While your chicken mixture is simmering, in a small pot add a teaspoon of chicken stock to three cups of water, bring to a boil, add a cup of dry polenta, then turn down to simmer.  I find it definitely helps to stir the polenta often but it only takes a few minutes for it to reach oatmeal consistency.  At this point turn off the heat, add a one inch slab of butter, a generous amount of grated parmesan, and a little salt…stir then cover until you are ready to serve.  I know, “why don’t I make this more often?”

Monday, February 6, 2012

Raw Butternut Squash Salad

Who would have thought, butternut squash, raw?  The texture reminds me of a green papaya salad.  Start by soaking your raisins of dried cranberries in a small bowl of rice wine or white balsamic vinegar.  Peel and seed the squash and shred into a bowl with a box grater.  Before serving toss with your soaked fruit and vinegar, pine nuts or slivered almonds, a few splashes of extra virgin and olive oil, and kosher salt and pepper to taste.  Don’t hesitate to add additional vinegar if you think it needs it.  Crunchy, sweet, sour, and totally refreshing…a great winter salad.