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, July 30, 2013

Crispy Garlic

Sometimes the best things happen by accident, and this was one of them….at least it seemed like it at the time.  I got distracted while intending to lightly brown a couple of flattened garlic cloves in some hot oil and ended up with some crispy medium brown cloves instead.  I went with it, and set them on a brown paper bag to drain while I barbequed the steak tips and blanched the green beans for a couple of minutes before running them under cold water.  I chopped up the crispy garlic, dried and cut the beans, then tossed with some halved Sun Gold Tomatoes, my best extra virgin olive oil, ground white pepper, and coarse salt.  Not sure what possessed me, it could have been the half bottle of Chianti, but I served the veggies over the steak tips so the salt and peppered oil, garlic, and juice from the tomatoes seeped down making for an absolutely incredible combination of flavors, textures, and temperatures.  Crispy garlic is now a regular addition at our house to all kinds of vegetables, starches, and meats.  In fact, aside for a bowl of breakfast cereal not sure you can go wrong.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cantaloupe Basil Lemon Soup

Fruit soups are a great summer treat as well as a refreshing way to enjoy all the basil and mint that is in abundance this time of year….so easy too.  Peel and seed a cantaloupe and combine in a blender or Cuisinart with the juice of half a lemon, a cup of basil, and half a teaspoon of sugar or honey.  Chill for at least an hour or even better, overnight.  You could also try spicing it up with a couple drops of Sriracha hot sauce, some fresh ginger, or a prosciutto garnish.  If you only have honeydew prepare the same way with some fresh lime juice and mint.  It’s hard to go wrong…get chillin’!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Quickie Lasagna

Lasagna, as well as two day old cold lasagna leftovers, are two of the many foods that seem to taste better in the summer, and this quickie version makes it a whole lot easier to enjoy.  Quarter and boil your dried lasagna noodles, draining about a minute before the recommended cooking time.  In the meantime sauté your burger, sausage, onions, garlic, or in this case, spinach and mushrooms, in a large pot until cooked before adding a jar of your favorite red sauce, a pint of ricotta, and a cup of grated parmesan.  Adjust your spices, stir in your drained noodles, and transfer to a baking dish rearranging any noodles that may be hanging over the lip of your dish.  Top with sliced mozzarella and bake for approximately 45 minutes.  You may never layer a lasagna again.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cilantro Garlic Yogurt Sauce

Grilling season is in full swing and a yogurt sauce is an easy and refreshing compliment.  For this chicken dish I stirred into plain yogurt, the juice of one lime, two minced garlic cloves, chopped cilantro, and salt and white pepper to taste.  There are lots of options depending on what you’re making, try fresh orange juice with dill on your salmon, or mint, garlic, and lemon with your lamb, or how about some Indian spices, or something as easy as your favorite curry or hot sauce with your veggies.  For the best flavor I recommend preparing the sauce at least an hour ahead of time.  And it lasts for days in the fridge, so always make more than you think you’ll need.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Burrata with Basil and Tomatoes

When it comes to five minute summer appetizers this burrata with tomatoes and basil ranks high on the list, and the folks at Mablebrook Farms down in Bennington, VT, make it real easy.  Place your balls of burrata on your serving dish, slice open and split, add a generous pinch of kosher salt, a drizzle of your best extra virgin olive oil, a few chopped basil leaves, and some thinly sliced or chopped tomatoes, then serve with a sliced baguette.  For the creamiest texture pull your container of burrata out of the fridge an hour or two before serving.  Summer is here….enjoy!