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, April 29, 2014

Pasta with Ground Lamb and Mustard Greens

I recently toured Green Mountain Harvest Hydroponics here in Waitsfield, a year-round greenhouse operation owned by Dave Hartshorn and John and Ted Farr. I was totally impressed by the operation that turns out lettuce, kale, basil as well as other assorted greens year round. I was excited to find mustard greens as they’re one of my favorites to make with lamb and you don’t see them around much this time of year.
While my pasta was boiling I sautéed a chopped shallot and two garlic cloves for a few minutes in some extra virgin olive oil before adding a pound of ground lamb. Once the lamb was cooked through and my pasta was two minutes from being done I dropped the mustard greens into the pot with the pasta. After draining the noodles and greens together I tossed them with the lamb mixture then added a generous amount of grated pecorino and salt and pepper to taste.
Local greens year round in in the Valley just keeps getting better.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Maple "Baked" Beans

We don’t always have five hours to make traditional Baked Beans but this thirty minute stove top version is perfect for the arrival of both sugaring and BBQ season in Vermont.

In a small pot sauté a finely chopped shallot and two cloves garlic until translucent before stirring in a quarter teaspoon of chili pepper flakes (chipotle pepper flakes if you have them).

Drain and add two 15 oz. cans of pinto beans and a quarter cup of both ketchup and maple syrup.

Then it’s just a matter of simmering over low heat until it reduces to your preferred consistency, salt and pepper to taste before serving.

For an even richer flavor start with two strips of smoked bacon cut into half inch pieces, fry until nearly crispy, then add your shallot and garlic.

Either way you’ll wonder why you don’t make them more often...these aren’t your typical canned beans.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Chicken Patties

Whether you serve them with eggs or between a bun a chicken patty is a nice way to change things up a little. 

Pour a half a cup of milk into a cup of panko or bread crumbs and let sit. 

Then, in your Cuisinart pulse a couple of garlic cloves, half a bunch of scallions, kosher salt, pepper, a teaspoon of spice such as Lawry’s or Old Bay, and a couple squirts of your favorite hot sauce. Cut up a pound of chicken into one inch chunks, it’s best to use all thighs or at least a 2 to 1 mixture of thighs to breast meat, then pulse them together with your garlic scallion spice mixture until coarse. Scrape your chicken mixture into a bowl and stir together with a lightly scrambled egg and your soaked bread crumbs. 

Before making the patties I like to taste the mixture by placing a small spoonful into a hot pan until cooked through. Add more salt or spice if necessary, form your patties, and cook on the stove top or BBQ.

You can easily change these up to suit your mood by substituting Indian, Mexican, or Asian spices instead of the Lowry’s or Old Bay.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ricotta Gnocchi

These are the lightest fluffiest and easiest gnocchi I’ve ever made, so if you’ve never made gnocchi I implore you to give them a try.  They may change your life…or at the very least, fill you up.  In a large bowl stir together to form a wet dough:  a cup and a quarter of flour, two cups of ricotta(Maplebrook Farm will make them taste best), two lightly scrambled eggs, a cup of grated parmesan, and a quarter teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  On a lightly floured surface split the dough ball in two and roll each half into one inch thick ropes then cut each rope into one inch nuggets.  Spread the nuggets on a parchment lined baking sheet while you bring a pot of salted water to a boil and melt three tablespoons of butter in large pan.  Working in batches lightly boil the gnocchi for four minutes, drain, then brown in the butter over medium heat.  I served them with a mint pea puree but they would have been great with a red sauce, rosemary butter, or pretty much anything.  I’ll never rice another potato to make gnocchi again.