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, December 30, 2014

American Chop Suey

What better way to start the new year than with one of the ultimate comfort foods, American Chop Suey. Preheat your oven to 350 then boil a pound of elbow noodles for a couple of minutes less time than it says on the box for al dente. Remove and immediately rinse the noodles with cold water and drain well.

Sauté a chopped onion, a green pepper, and some sliced mushrooms for five minutes before adding a quarter teaspoon of red pepper flakes, several cloves of minced garlic, and a pound of hamburger. Once the meat is cooked through add a jar of your favorite marinara, simmer for five minutes then salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl combine the saucy vegetables, noodles, and two cups of shredded mozzarella. Transfer to a baking dish then cover the top with grated parmesan…more is better. Bake uncovered for 35 to 45 minutes or until the top is slightly brown and crusty. Happy 2015!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Salmon Tartare

As easy is Salmon Tartare is to prepare it just seems too special to have it on just any old day, but New Year’s Eve isn’t just any old day. Of course your tartare is only going to be as good as your salmon so splurge on the best salmon available.

Start by cutting your skinless salmon into quarter inch chunks, it’s a lot easier to cut if you throw it in the freezer for twenty minutes first. I think a little bit of lime juice, minced shallot, diced cucumber, kosher salt, black pepper, and your best extra virgin olive oil are essential but after that what you toss it with is all about personal preference; Options include cilantro, ginger, jalapeno, sesame oil or lime zest.

For a special presentation form the tartare using a clean empty tuna can with the lids cut off and plate individually with homemade tortilla or potato chips. Cheers!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Warm Squash, Red Onion, and Apple Salad

Anyone who has cooked a holiday dinner knows it takes hours to plan, shop, and cook, and on average it’s over in about 45 minutes…unless of course it’s prolonged by a heated family argument. For Thanksgiving this year I served five smaller courses over seven hours with plenty of time in between for football, board games, walks, naps, and heated arguments…not sure we’ll ever go back to the monster feast again. But whether you stay traditional or break it up into courses this squash, onion, and apple salad is a fantastic seasonal combination.

Preheat your oven to 450 then seed and slice your delicata or acorn squash into quarter inch pieces. Peel and sixteenth an equal amount of red onion halves trying to leave as much of the stem ends intact so your layers stay together. Toss both with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper and roast in a single layer on parchment lined cookie sheets for about 25 minutes, flip and roast for another 20.

To serve toss the squash with some thinly sliced apple, chopped mint, and a lemon vinaigrette before topping with Vermont's own crumbled Bayley Hazen Blue cheese. Happy Merry!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sweet Potato Latkes with Corn and Scallions

I know I ask this every December, but why don’t I make latkes all year long? They’re so good on their own, as a side dish, or with an egg on top and there are so many ways to go with them including this sweet potato version with corn and scallions.

It doesn’t take much vegetable oil, just enough to barely cover the bottom of your frying pan. While that’s getting hot coarsely grate a couple of sweet potatoes on a box grater then mix well in a large bowl with a box of corn, three chopped scallions, two lightly scrambled eggs, a half cup of flour, a tablespoon of salt, and a teaspoon of pepper.

I have found the best technique is to fill a large slotted spoon with a small amount of the mixture and squeeze out any excess liquid by pressing it into the spoon with your hand. Then simply turn out into the hot oil, flatten with a spatula, and brown for a few minutes on each side. Some curried sour cream would be a perfect accompaniment. Let the holidays begin….

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Edamame with Feta and Grape Tomatoes

Whether you spent way too much time cooking, eating, or cleaning up last week this refreshing veggie side dish totally satisfies with the most minimal of effort. You can find the shelled edamame in the frozen food section of the market.

Defrost and bring your edamame to room temperature by leaving out for a few hours or soaking the package in a bowl of warm water. Just before you’re ready to serve toss them in bowl with crumbled feta, tomatoes, scallions, the juice of half a lemon, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

That’s it! I know, way too easy for such a great little dish right?