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, February 27, 2014

Brined Turkey Thighs

Where has brining been all my life?  I only got turned onto it a couple of years ago and can’t believe I’ve lived so long without it, it guarantees you moist and flavorful poultry every time.  In a large pot add a cup each of sugar and salt to a quart of water and boil until both are dissolved, remove from heat and if you like add some red pepper flakes, chopped onion, celery, or fennel seeds then fill the pot with cold water and cool.  In this case I submerged two skinless turkey thighs in the brine overnight but it works the same for a whole chicken or turkey although a larger vessel such as a cooler may be necessary.  After removing from the brine pat dry with paper towels and cook as you would normally.  Plan ahead, it’s worth it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fresh Pasta

Fresh pasta is such a treat and much easier than you think, you don’t even need a machine.  Mound four cups of all-purpose flour on a wooden surface, make a well in the middle and add four whole eggs, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a half teaspoon of kosher salt.  Beat the eggs with a fork as you slowly incorporate the flour from the sides of the well careful to maintain the form by pushing up more flour from the bottom of the mound.  The dough will come together when about half the flour has been incorporated.  At this point knead the dough with the palms of your hands for about five minutes, cleaning and redusting your surface with flour if necessary.  When it’s elastic and just a little sticky wrap it in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least twenty minutes.  On a clean freshly floured surface cut your dough ball into quarters and roll as thin as possible with a rolling pin or empty wine bottle before cutting into your desired shape with a butter knife.  It can sit for minutes or hours while you prepare your sauce and unlike dry pasta only takes minutes to cook. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Beet, Fennel, and Orange Salad

The warmer temps this week had me thinking salads instead of stews for a change, and even though it may have been a bit premature it is the best time of year to eat oranges.  Step 1, peel and boil or boil and peel four large beets and let cool before cutting them into bite size pieces.  Step 2, take off the rough outer leaves and thinly slice one fennel bulb.  Step 3, peel or cut away the skin with a knife from two oranges before cutting them into chunks.  Step 4, chop a handful of fresh mint.  Step 5, combine all with your best extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, and kosher salt.  Step 6, think spring…we’re over the hump.