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, May 28, 2013

Orange and Olive Salad

This unlikely combination of navel oranges, olives, and black pepper will leave you wondering why you’ve never had it before.  After peeling, quartering, and thinly slicing my oranges I combined them in a bowl with some pitted Kalamata olives that I halved, my best extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper.  Perfect with a piece of fish or chicken and couldn’t be easier.  And even better with Sicilian blood oranges.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Grilled Shrimp with Scallion Ginger Sauce

I forgot how incredibly tasty a scallion sauce could be until I was inspired to serve this one up with grilled shrimp last week after recently seeing one on a Chinese restaurant menu.  In a Cuisinart after combining one bunch of chopped scallions, a tablespoon each of chopped ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a half a tablespoon of salt, blend and drizzle about a quarter cup of vegetable or grape seed oil to smooth and thicken.  Salt and pepper your shrimp before cooking then simply toss with the sauce.  Serve hot, warm, or chilled, great either way.  And just as amazing with chicken, pork, or fish. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Grilled Zucchini with a Balsamic Glaze

You can never have enough condiments at your disposal and I’ve recently found myself going for the ready-made squeeze bottle of Balsamic Glaze more and more these days, it works equally well for chicken, broccoli, pork chops, carrots, and these grilled zucchini .  While the grill was heating I washed, dried, and cut my zucchini into quarter inch slices before tossing with salt, pepper, and a little extra virgin olive oil.  I grilled the zucchini for approximately five to seven minutes on each side so they were soft all the way through but not falling apart…that’s always a bit frustrating.  I immediately tossed them with some fresh mint then garnished with a decorative squeeze of Balsamic glaze.  The glaze is easy enough to make on your own as well by combining two cups of Balsamic Vinegar and a half a cup of brown sugar then reducing on the stove by half.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

BBQ Roast Chicken

Spring brings dandelions, daffodils, and rum drinks.  It also brings barbeque weather….so no need to turn on the oven to roast that chicken.  While your barbeque is preheating on high, rinse, pat dry, and cut away the excess fat around the cavity of your chicken before seasoning with salt and pepper, salt and paprika, salt and garlic powder, or whatever mixture of spices you’re in the mood for.  Set the chicken in the back of the grill, drumsticks pointing to the side, and immediately turn off all the burners except for the one furthest from your chicken, leave that one on medium before closing the lid.  If you’re using a charcoal grill the briquettes should all be pushed to one side with your chicken on the other.  If you have a thermostat built in best to keep it between 350 and 400.  From here the hardest part is remembering to turn your bird a quarter turn every twenty minutes, I use a timer.  In approximately an hour and twenty minutes you will have a very moist chicken with the crispiest skin, guaranteed.  In the meantime, enjoy your rum drink.

To carve, lop off the wings, legs, and thighs at the joints in that order.  Then remove the breast whole by sliding your knife from the top between the breast meat and ribs carefully working your way down to separate and get as much meat off of the bone as possible.  It’s a cinch to slice your breast meat thick or thin with the skin intact once it’s removed whole. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Blackened Tilapia

There are a lot of ways you can go with this blackened tilapia depending on your mood, Mexican, Indian, Asian, Cajun, or in this case, Spanish.  I love the El Rey de la Vera brand of both sweet and hot smoked paprika, it’s the real deal.  And if you can buy it in East Warren, Vermont, I'm sure you can find it all over.  You may have to adjust for the amount of fish you’re preparing but one teaspoon of salt, a half teaspoon of hot, and two teaspoons of sweet paprika should take care of the family dinner.  If you don’t like your food spicy just go heavier with the sweet.  Spread the spice mixture evenly over both sides of your fillets and when your heaviest Teflon pan is super hot cook the fillets approximately five minutes on each side.  They should be good and black and cooked through.  There are no rules for this one so have fun playing around with your spices.  For Mexican try some cumin and chili powder.  Break out the Garam Masala for an Indian twist, or the Five Spice Powder for something Asian…all with salt.  Blackening isn’t just a Cajun thing.