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, March 27, 2013

Put An Egg On It

Over easy, poached, or sunnyside up, putting an egg on it elevates so many dishes to new levels of satisfaction.  Remember that Sunday morning bacon cheeseburger with sautéed onions and an over medium egg back in college?  Try an over easy egg on a warm mushroom or spinach salad, or smothering a mound of leftover pasta.  How about a couple of poached eggs cradled in a pile of corn beef hash or spicy polenta.  Take your spaghetti carbonara to new levels of decadence with a sunny side egg, or lay one over a grilled steak or chicken breast.  Rice and beans, steamed asparagus, potato soup, pancakes, schnitzel, a lentil salad, or smoked salmon, there’s no end to it….go ahead, put an egg on it.  You won’t be sorry.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lamb Shanks with Olives and Oranges

Everyone seems to have lamb on the brain this time of year and these braised lamb shanks will definitely please.  While preheating your oven to 375 salt and pepper four to six shanks and brown in a Dutch oven or roasting pan on the stove for about fifteen minutes, turning occasionally.  Set the shanks aside and add a chopped onion, carrot, a couple celery stalks, a whole orange sliced in half then into eights, and 12-15 peeled garlic cloves.  Sauté for 10 minutes.  Add a couple sprigs of chopped fresh rosemary and a cup each of black Greek olives, tomato sauce, chicken stock, and white wine if you have a bottle open otherwise just double up on the stock, then bring to a boil.  Put the shanks back in then cover tightly and cook in the oven for an hour and a half or until the lamb is tender.  Amazing family dinner and also a great dish if you’re entertaining as you can keep it on hold in the oven on low heat until you’re ready to serve.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Warm Spicy Tofu

This is one of the quickest, easiest, and tastiest ways I’ve discovered to prepare tofu...all it takes is simmering water.  Start by taking your extra firm tofu out of the package and stand it up on a plate to allow the water to drain out.  Meanwhile, fill a wide pot or sauté pan with a couple inches of water and bring to a gentle simmer.  For the sauce finely chop two garlic cloves, half a bunch of scallions, and mix in a bowl with a half cup of soy sauce, a few tablespoons of rice vinegar, a tablespoon of sesame oil, a handful of sesame seeds, a teaspoon of sugar, and some red pepper flakes or a generous dollop or two of your favorite hot sauce.  The sauce can even be made a day or two ahead of time.  Ten minutes before serving cut your tofu block in half, then into quarter inch slices before sliding them into the hot water.  After five minutes drain thoroughly then toss them gently with the sauce and serve with rice.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Warm Mozzarella

About a year ago I was buying a fresh ball of mozzarella in New York City before getting into my car to head back to Vermont.  The Italian man behind the counter who told me he had been making mozzarella for over fifty years gave me a tip.  While still wrapped, he said, put the mozzarella into a bowl of very warm water for 45 minutes before serving, maybe change the water a couple of times to keep it warm.  Did he ever know what he was talking about.  The warm bath literally brings the cheese back to the moment of its peak freshness, so soft, so perfectly chewy, and oozing all of its creamy nectars.  Go get yourself a ball of fresh mozzarella and you’ll see what I’m talking about.  Serve it with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of kosher salt, and fresh chopped basil…or just the oil and salt.  Incredible!