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.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Roast Beets with Pine Nuts and Feta

For me I find the easiest ways to cook beets is to peel them with a knife and roast them, no need to scorch your fingertips peeling boiled beets.  Preheat your oven to 375 while you cut off the ends, peel, and cube your beets and toss them with a little bit of oil and place them in your roasting pan.  While they’re cooking toast a handful of pine nuts in a medium hot sauté pan until golden, no need to oil the pan.  You could also toast them on a sheet of tin foil, either way be careful not to burn them.  Give your beets a toss after twenty minutes and test with a knife after forty, they should be soft.  Mix in some chopped scallions, maybe a squeeze of lemon, and leave in the oven for another ten minutes.  Remove and top with crumbled feta before serving.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Leek and Barley Soup

It’s soup season and there’s still a lot of fresh local veggies around.  This one is all about the leeks, quarter and slice at least six and sauté on medium low heat until they’re very soft and mushy being careful not to let them brown.  Add some chopped garlic, ground black pepper, and a sliced carrot and sauté another five minutes before adding a pound of ground turkey or pork and a few pinches of dried chili flakes.  It’s best to break up the ground meat while it’s cooking, about five minutes.  Add a cup of dried barley, stir around, and then fill up half the pot with water before mixing in several tablespoons of condensed chicken stock, I prefer, Better Than Bouillon.  Bring to a boil and let simmer for forty five minutes or until the barley is tender.  Add some fresh shucked corn, or frozen if you can’t find it, and when it starts to simmer add some more stock and salt to taste.  And there aren’t many soups that won’t benefit from some grated parmesan over the top before serving.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Glazed Turnips with Garlic Breadcrumbs

The turnips don’t get any sweeter than they are right now and together with the garlic breadcrumbs make a great Fall side dish. Put a cup and a half of water into a sauté pan with a dash of salt and sugar and while its heating peel and wedge your turnips.  Add the turnips to the simmering water and let cook covered for five minutes, then uncovered until the water has evaporated and they’re tender, another fifteen minutes or so.  Follow with a quarter stick of butter and sauté over medium heat for another five minutes.  In a separate pan heat some extra virgin olive oil and add a chopped garlic clove, after a minute add a half a cup of breadcrumbs and with a spatula stir well so the oil is evenly absorbed.  Before serving add the breadcrumbs to your turnips and mix well.  This preparation would also be great for parsnips, leeks, or fennel. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fried Eggplant with Honey Sriracha Sauce

Vermont honey and Sriracha, an unlikely combination but the perfect two minute sauce for anything fried.  And this time of year eggplant is a great way to go…peeling isn’t necessary but salting is.  Slice and salt each piece and let sit for at least five minutes before patting off the bitter juices that appear with a paper towel.  While your oil is heating, a 1/16 to an 1/8 of an inch is all that’s required, prepare three bowls for breading, flour, eggs, and panko or breadcrumbs.  In that order bread each piece of eggplant before placing in the hot oil for about three to four minutes a side then set on a brown paper bag to drain.  For the sauce stir the Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce into the honey and form a puddle on the bottom of your serving plate.  Place the eggplant slices in the puddle, salt and serve.  In this case I added some crumbled blue cheese and chopped arugula but the dish is very tasty on its own.  Note that you can fry your eggplant ahead of time and reheat them in the oven before serving.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pan Roasted Tomatoes

It’s October and the tomatoes are still coming.  They’re not as sweet as they were a month ago but with a little heat they still have the power to Wow!  I threw last nights’ crop of Sun Golds into a sauté pan for about seven minutes with a little extra virgin olive oil and garlic.  Once they split I added some coarse salt and white pepper then served them alongside a piece of chicken.  They would have been great tossed into a pasta with some olives, a risotto with some arugula, or into a couscous with feta and scallions.  I also could have easily turned them into a great side by adding a can of white beans.  The oven works just as well, especially for larger tomatoes.  Cut them in half, toss in a little olive and salt and place them on a baking sheet for an hour at 350.  They won’t be around for long, get them while they’re hot.