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, January 28, 2014

New England Clam Chowder

I’ve been making this clam chowder recipe for years and while it may not be as good as the chowder at the hostel it’s pretty darn close.  It’s adapted from the award winning Venus De Milo recipe and only takes an hour to make…perfect for Super Bowl Sunday.  Peel and dice two Idaho baking potatoes and submerge in cold water while you mince half an onion, two celery stalks, and two garlic cloves.  While you heat 1 ½ cups of clam juice pull your other ingredients:  5 cups of clams, 4 ounces of butter, ½ cup of flour, 2 ½ cups of light cream or a mixture of milk and heavy cream, 2 teaspoons of black pepper and some fresh dill.  When you’re ready to go drain the potatoes and boil them in the clam stock until tender, then add the chopped clams and turn down the heat to low.  Heat up the butter in a large soup pot and sauté the onion, celery and garlic until the onions are translucent.  Stir in your flour to make a roux and leave on low heat for a few minutes before adding a cup of the clam stock and whisking until smooth.  Add the remaining stock along with the potatoes and clams and bring to a simmer before adding the cream, pepper, and several tablespoons of fresh dill.  Salt to taste and don’t forget the oyster crackers.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cheesy Grits

Might as well have a great breakfast as long as there aren’t a lot of reasons to hit the trail early these days in Vermont…and these grits will make you glad you did.  After all, is anything with lots of cheese and butter ever bad?  Whisk a cup of grits and a teaspoon of salt into four cups of boiling water and simmer gently for approximately 30 minutes.  While that’s going grate a cup of sharp cheddar along with a quarter cup of parmesan and set aside with three tablespoons of butter and a teaspoon of freshly grated black pepper.  Crisp up your Andouille or sausage of choice and when your grits are ready remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, butter and pepper along with a few shakes of tabasco sauce.  Fry the eggs in butter on low heat in a covered pan making sure to keep the yolks runny. While they’re cooking plate your grits so you’re ready to go when the eggs are done and serve all with your hot sauce of choice and enjoy. These grits are well worth the mess for breakfast or dinner.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Roast Cauliflower with Parmesan

I’m always surprised by how much family and friends love this dish given how simple it is to prepare, I really have to remember to make it more often.  Preheat your oven to 400 while cutting your cauliflower into individual florets.  Toss with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper then arrange in a single layer in a large oven proof baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes, flip the florets so they brown evenly, bake for another 20, then grate some parmesan over the top and bake for ten more.  That’s it…you see what I mean.  Leftovers are great the next day in an omelet or salad too.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Grilled Pork Chops in a White Bean Clam Broth

When life gets busy there aren’t many things quite as easy to prepare as grilling a piece of meat or chicken, but with just a smidge more effort you could make it a lot more than ordinary.  Before grilling my salt and smoked paprika dusted pork chops I sautéed some chorizo in a small pot, you could also use bacon or sausage…nearly any pork will do, but the tastier the pork the tastier the broth.  Once fully cooked I added a chopped shallot and kale, and after five minutes a bottle of clam juice and a can of white northern beans.  While that simmered I grilled my pork chops as usual and served them with a ladle full of the bean mixture right over the top.  I recommend instead of a bottle of clam juice you keep a jar of Better than Bouillon clam stock on the door of the fridge for times like this, it lasts for months.