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, March 27, 2014


It’s so satisfying to successfully transform unappetizing leftovers into a great meal, and enchiladas are a great way to do it.  Whether its veggies, steak, chicken, burger, or rice I start by sautéing a chopped onion with some garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, salt, pepper, and chili powder before adding a drained can of black beans and cooking on low heat for five minutes.  Preheat your oven to 350 then cover the bottom of a baking dish with some enchilada sauce right out of the can to keep your corn tortillas from sticking.  One by one fill each tortilla with your chopped leftovers along with a spoonful of your black bean mixture, roll, and place in the baking dish seam side down.  When you’ve filled them all cover with the remaining enchilada sauce, a generous heaping of shredded cheese, and bake uncovered for thirty minutes.  They make great leftover leftovers as well.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pancetta and Pea Risotto

It’s still comfort food weather and there’s nothing like a bit of parmesan with your bacon, or pancetta.  If you don’t happen to have some homemade chicken stock in the freezer (which I don’t) I recommend Better Than Bouillon, either way warm about three cups in a small pot.  Add approximately a third of a pound of diced bacon or pancetta to a large sauté pan, brown, pour off half of the accumulated fat, then add a minced shallot and a couple of cloves of garlic.  After a minute stir in a cup of risotto and toss to coat.  This would be the time to add a cup of white wine if you happen to have one open but it’s not necessary, but if you do continue to cook on medium low heat until most of the wine has been absorbed.  Add a half cup of stock to the rice, stir, wait until it’s nearly absorbed, then repeat. After forty minutes or so the rice should be firm but not crunchy, stir in a cup of defrosted sweet peas…and lots of grated parmesan.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Fried Artichoke Hearts

The Cabin Fever has set in, not knowing where else to turn I wandered the frozen food aisle at the market looking for an escape.  Artichoke hearts, how could I have not noticed these before?  After defrosting them in a plastic bag submerged in warm water I threw them into a frying pan on medium heat with enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom.  I’ve never been a big a fan of the soggy canned artichoke hearts but these frozen ones crisped up beautifully tasting very much like a fresh artichoke.  Towards the end I added a minced garlic clove, a pinch of chili flakes, and a squeeze of lemon and savored them one by one.  They would have been nice in a pasta dish, salad, or served with fish or chicken but I just couldn’t wait.  The next day I bought two more boxes to keep in the freezer for when I again need a reminder of warmer days…I don’t think they’ll be in there for long.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Roast Monkfish with Fennel and Tomatoes

Monkfish has a consistency similar to lobster and is perfect for roasting.  Begin by cutting your fillets into four inch pieces and dust liberally with salt and pepper while you preheat your oven to 350.  Halve 8 to 10 grape tomatoes and slice a fennel bulb thinly along with a shallot and a couple cloves of garlic.  In a large frying pan over medium heat add olive oil or butter and brown your monkfish by searing for about a minute on one side.  Add the tomatoes, fennel, shallot and garlic to the pan then flip to sear the other side of your fillets for another minute.  Pour a half cup of white wine and the juice from half a lemon into the pan then place in the oven for 25 minutes, a knife should slide through the center of the fish easily when it’s done.  Simply salt and pepper to taste and serve over rice, potatoes, beans, or couscous.  It’s a great one pan meal and is adaptable to any firm white fish and a variety of veggies.  Just one note of caution, remember the handle of your frying pan will be very hot when you go to remove it from the oven.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Garlic Anchovy Butter

There aren’t many things you can prepare for dinner that are as easy as a steak weather it’s on the grill, frying pan, or broiler.  Next time try taking it the next level with a garlic anchovy butter.  Simply sauté a minced garlic clove and a teaspoon of anchovy paste or a few fillets in two tablespoons of butter and pour over your steak before serving.  Like salt anchovies are a natural flavor enhancer, that’s why they’re included in every decent stew and pot roast recipe.  If you really get into it you don’t even need the steak, a crusty baguette will allow you to sop up every drop.