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, June 26, 2014

Thai Beef Salad

This is a great summer salad whether you’re grilling or using last night’s leftovers. For the dressing stir together the juice of two limes, a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil, a teaspoon each of soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha, and half a teaspoon of sugar. Grill and thinly slice a half pound of flank steak and let rest in your salad bowl with half of your dressing. 

To serve add some chopped romaine, minced red onion or scallion, half a peeled and seeded cucumber, and a half cup of chopped mint, then simply toss with the remainder of the dressing. A sprinkle of sesame seeds are nice too if you happen to have them in the cupboard.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Parmesan Tater Tots

This is a great one now that the kids are out of school and you’ll enjoy them as much as they will. Start by piercing and roasting 1 1/2 pounds of red potatoes for approximately 45 minutes at 400, throw in a few unpeeled garlic cloves ten minutes before they’re done. Once fork tender transfer the potatoes immediately to an ice bath to cool rapidly while you peel and mash the softened garlic. Next, grate the unpeeled potatoes coarsely with a box grater and combine with the mashed garlic, a teaspoon of kosher salt, and half a cup of grated Parmesan.

With about a teaspoon of the potato mixture form into cylinders about an inch long and place on a generously olive oiled baking sheet until all the tots are made then bake for 40 minutes turning once halfway through. I highly recommend doubling up on this one, they disappeared way too quickly.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Octopus and White Beans with an Arugula Puree

Octopus is one of those things that until you try it you won’t believe how good it can be. Having only ever had it in restaurants I wasn't sure exactly how to attack it but as our local fish market had already cleaned and poached it all it really took was ten minutes on the grill.

While you’re warming up the grill puree two cloves of garlic, a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and two heaping handfuls of arugula in a Cuisinart or blender until it’s a smooth runny consistency. Drain and rinse a can of white beans and combine with the puree.

For grilling halve your octopus making sure to remove the small mouth area, sprinkle with salt, pepper, or smoked paprika, and grill for about five minutes per side or until firm. Then simply cut into small pieces and toss with your bean mixture and serve. If you prefer to sauté I would cut it into pieces first, and if arugula isn't your thing then extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and lemon juice would do just fine.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Grilled Vegetables

Grilling season has arrived, time to clean off the barbeque and stock up on charcoal or propane. And whether its steaks, fish, or chicken you might as well throw on some veggies if you’re going to be grilling anyway. Onions, zucchinis, and red peppers are a great combination and all it takes is tossing them with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper before placing them over the heat.

I find that slicing them on the thicker side helps to keep them from falling apart and a pair of long tongs makes for easy flipping. It’s also best to grill them before your meat and set them to the side so you don’t have to worry about managing different temps and the centers can continue to cook away from the direct heat. A drizzle of your best olive oil before serving isn’t such a bad idea either.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Stove Top Chicken Cacciatore

For this stove top version of Chicken Cacciatore cut your boneless chicken breasts in half and pound to a quarter inch thick before salting and browning each side for a few minutes in a large skillet then set aside. In the same pan sauté a chopped onion for approximately five minutes then add two thinly sliced green peppers and sauté for another ten to fifteen.  When they’re soft and starting to brown around the edges throw in three to five chopped garlic cloves and a half a teaspoon of ground black pepper. 

 Next, turn down the heat and add a half bottle of your favorite marinara and half a cup of chicken stock. Ten minutes before serving slide the chicken pieces into the heated sauce, simmer, salt to taste, and serve over egg noodles, rice, or polenta.