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.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Tenderloin with Pancetta Kale Pesto

New Year’s is a great excuse to dig out the barbeque and get a little decadent with some fried cured pork spooned over a thick slice of tenderloin.  Begin by frying up a few chopped up ¼” inch slices of pancetta or bacon until lightly crisped, cool down and mince them in the Cuisinart along with a few cloves of garlic and a half teaspoon of kosher salt. Devein and blanch a quarter bunch of kale and thoroughly squeeze the water out before adding to the Cuisinart with the pancetta mixture.  While running drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil until it starts to form a slightly runny paste, then salt and pepper to taste.  For the tenderloin get your barbeque as hot as possible, lightly coat your meat with kosher salt and black pepper and throw it on the grill for a few minutes until seared.  Flip, give it a couple of minutes, then turn off all of the burners except for the one furthest from the meat so it roasts at approximately 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.  Set a timer, use a meat thermometer or cut it open, whatever it takes, you don’t want to end the year by overcooking your tenderloin.  Slice and serve with the room temperature pancetta kale mixture over the top.  See you in 2014…have a happy one!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What's in Your Pantry?

After writing this blog for more than two years I thought it was high time to go through my pantry, cupboards, and fridge and create a list of my go to ingredients, those nearly non-perishable things I always have on hand that make spending less time at the stove and more time at the table a whole lot easier. I’m a condiment junky so it’s not nearly a complete list, but in order of frequency of use here it is:  Everyday extra virgin olive oil as well as a nicer one for drizzling, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic, shallots, onions, Better Than Bouillon chicken stock, regular and white balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, Sriracha, chili flakes, parmesan, marinara sauce, sugar, fine salt, eggs, pasta, potatoes, rice, grains, canned beans, Kalamata olives, cheddar cheese, scallions, cabbage, lemons, corn tortillas, anchovy paste, panko, rice wine vinegar, flour, meat marinade, bbq sauce, curry paste, vegetable oil, ketchup, Dijon, honey, smoked paprika, maple syrup, cumin, chili powder, kimchi, feta, pecorino, couscous, capers, carrots, fresh ginger, a jalapeno, butter, salsa, nuts, bacon, clam stock, and Far East Rice Pilaf…we love that stuff.  Treat yourself or make your favorite cook’s holiday special with a nice bottle of olive oil or a tube of anchovy paste.  Have a happy one!!!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Poached Cod and Vegetables in a Five Spice Broth

This is the kind of light meal you could eat all the time, and one of the easiest ways to prepare cod or any other firm white fish.  In a bowl mix together 2 cups of fish or chicken stock, a generous splash of soy sauce, a squirt of sesame oil, a tablespoon of sugar, and a teaspoon of five spice powder.  In a large pot with a little vegetable oil sauté some Chinese vegetables such as carrots, scallions, bok choy, cabbage, or spinach as well as some fresh garlic or ginger until soft, about two minutes.  Add the stock mixture, season a pound of cod with salt and pepper, and once the liquid starts to simmer lay the filets on top of the veggies and cover.  Immediately turn down the heat and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.  It’s a great dish served in a bowl on its own or over rice or noodles. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Gravlax with Mustard Dill Sauce

It’s officially the holiday party season and whether you’re hosting or pot lucking Gravlax is one of my favorite appetizers and rates very high on the way easy to prepare scale.  It’s important to start with two pounds of the freshest salmon available and the wide center cuts work best.  Cut your filet into two equal pieces then find a straight sided dish that is just slightly larger than one of your filets.  You’ll also need a piece of wood or hardcover book that is smaller than the circumference of the dish, and something heavy that will balance on top such as a brick or large can.  Place one of your pieces of salmon in the bottom of the dish skin side down, trickle with a cap full of gin then cover completely with a quarter cup each of salt and sugar and a bunch of fresh dill.  Spread equal amounts of salt and sugar on the second filet and lay it on top creating a sort of salmon sandwich with the thinner belly ends of each on opposite sides so it’s a snug fit.  Cover with saran wrap, weight it down with your plank and heavy object, then put it in the fridge for three days flipping every 12 hours.  Slice thin and serve with a sweet mustard sauce made up of creme fraiche, honey mustard, chopped fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon or champagne vinegar.