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.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Linguini with White Clam Sauce

Whether or not your Christmas Eve includes the Italian feast of the seven fishes this fresh clam sauce is a perfect dish for a night of merriment and tree decorating. Start by sautéing a large minced shallot and a quarter teaspoon of red chili flakes with a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. After a few minutes add two cups of the best available clam stock and turn the heat down to low.

Fifteen minutes before serving add two pints of fresh chopped clams and a few tablespoons of chopped parsley to the clam stock then cover and simmer gently. Boil and drain a pound of linguini and stir into your sauce along with a half a cup of grated parmesan and salt to taste, let it sit for a few minutes before serving. Merry Merry!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Potato Pancakes

It’s potato pancake week and you don’t have to be Jewish to give this lazy man’s version a try, no peeling or tearing, just lots of crispy potato goodness.

Wash and dry three baking potatoes then grate into a large bowl using the coarse side of a box grater. Combine thoroughly with half a bunch of chopped scallions, a teaspoon of kosher salt, a quarter cup of flour, a lightly beaten egg and pepper to taste. Heat your heaviest frying pan over a medium flame and pour in just enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom. (And no worries if your potatoes start to brown, it won’t affect the outcome).

When your oil is hot fill a large slotted spoon with the potato mixture and push out as much liquid as possible against the spoon with the palm of your hand. Flip the pancake into the pan, flatten with the spoon, and repeat adding more oil if necessary. It’s best not to crowd the pan so only cook four or five at a time until brown and very crispy, about five minutes on each side. Drain for a minute on a brown paper bag and place on a dish in a 250 oven if you’re not serving right away. Three potatoes makes about eight pancakes, the perfect side dish to a steak, roast chicken, or topped with a couple of fried eggs.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Pea Soup with Chive Crème Fraiche

This isn’t that stick to your ribs ham bone pea soup but rather a lighter fresher version that’s still hits the spot on a cold night. In a soup pot sauté a chopped onion until soft then stir in a large handful of fresh mint leaves along with a smaller handful of Italian parsley. Add a couple boxes of thawed frozen peas and enough chicken stock to generously cover them, about four cups. Set the heat to low and simmer long enough to heat up the stock then turn off the heat.

Let cool for twenty minutes then puree the soup in small batches in a blender or Cuisinart until smooth. For the crème fraiche mix a small container together with some finely chopped chives and half a minced shallot and stir a large spoonful into each bowl of soup before serving.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Curried Sweet Potato with Toasted Coconut

Here’s a quick sweet potato recipe that you’ll want to keep making long after the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone. Peel and cube a couple of pounds of sweet potatoes and bring to a boil in 1 ½ cups of salted water then cover and simmer for about ten minutes.

In the meantime toast a half cup of unsweetened shredded coconut in a sauté pan over medium heat, stirring constantly so as not to burn then set aside. Once your sweet potatoes are tender mash them coarsely and add the coconut, a couple heaping tablespoons of vindaloo or your favorite curry paste, two minced garlic cloves, and some salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Simmer and stir for another five minutes before serving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Spicy Honey Glazed Parsnips

If you’re looking to spice up your Thanksgiving these honey glazed parsnips are the perfect combination of heat and sweet and best of all parsnips are still available from our local farmers. Preheat your oven to 450, wash about 2 pounds of parsnips thoroughly, then halve and cut them into two inch lengths and toss with some olive oil and kosher salt. Roast for approximately 45 minutes.

In a small pot heat two tablespoons of butter, a half a teaspoon of chili flakes, and a tablespoon each of cider vinegar and honey for five minutes stirring occasionally. When your parsnips are browned and tender simply toss with the honey glaze until well coated.

And if you’re tight for oven space you could prepare these earlier in the day and reheat while you’re carving the turkey. The quantities I’ve used here will serve five.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Seared Sea Scallops Gremolata

Gremolata is a simple mixture of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley that adds a lot of flavor with very little effort. It traditionally accompanies veal osso bucco but works equally well on grilled chicken, stews, and seared scallops.

The gremolata can be made up to five hours beforehand by finely mincing together the peel of half a lemon, three garlic cloves, and a handful of parsley leaves. Then it’s just a matter of heating your heaviest pan over high heat for several minutes, salt and peppering your scallops, and searing them for a couple of minutes on each side. Serve with the gremolata and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Vietnamese Chicken Wings

Whether you’re frying, grilling, or baking your wings try this Vietnamese preparation I’ve adapted from chef Andy Ricker of Pok Pok fame, which he adapted from roadside stands all over Vietnam. What makes them so good is taking the time to marinate, so they do take a little bit of preplanning.

For the marinade whisk together half a cup each of fish sauce and sugar along with a couple minced garlic cloves. Toss with the wings then refrigerate for at least three hours. Frying is always best but sometimes something has to give…whatever cooking method you choose make sure you reserve the marinade.

While you’re cooking your wings simmer the marinade over medium high heat for about five minutes until syrupy. To serve, coat the wings with the marinade and top with some chopped mint and or cilantro. And wings aren’t just for football, these would make a great dinner alongside some peanut noodles or a cabbage salad.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Crispy Squash Pancakes

Peel and seed a small butternut squash then grate into a bowl using the big holes of a box grater. Next, stir in a few chopped scallions, a quarter cup of flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, a lightly beaten egg, and salt and pepper to taste. When you’re ready heat some vegetable oil in a nonstick pan and using the palm of your hand flatten a scoop of the squash mixture into a large spoon then slide the formed mound into the hot oil, repeat until the pan is full but not overcrowded.

Cook until the bottoms are golden then flip and flatten as best you can with a spatula. Continue cooking for another few minutes until equally golden and crispy on both sides then drain on brown paper bags or paper towels and serve with lemon, sour cream, or yogurt. These also work well if you wanted to prepare beforehand and reheat in the oven. And as always, they’ll taste better if you use a locally grown squash.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Bloody Brain

Bloody Brain….well not exactly, but this oven roasted cauliflower will turn some heads with Halloween just around the corner. Preheat your oven to 450 while you trim the core and any leaves from the bottom of a whole head of cauliflower. Over medium heat add a heavy pour of olive oil to a deep ovenproof pot (with lid) followed by a chopped onion, a can of whole anchovies, and three chopped garlic cloves.

Sauté for five minutes or so then add a small can of crushed tomatoes, a quarter cup of chicken stock, and chili flakes and salt to taste. Place the cauliflower in the pot core side down then simmer uncovered for another five minutes while occasionally basting the cauliflower with the tomato sauce. Finally, cover the pot and place in the oven for 45 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Serve on a platter with plenty of the tomato chunks over the top. Have fun!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Wheat Berry Edamame Corn and Feta Saute

If wheat berries aren’t already in your regular rotation they will be after you give them a try in this simple sauté, they’re one of the best chews out there…and you know what they say about whole grains.

Bring some salted water to a boil, add your wheat berries then simmer for 50 minutes and drain. You only need a half cup for this dish but you might as well throw in a whole cup as they’re great in soups and salads and last for a couple of weeks in the fridge.

Sauté some shallot and garlic along with a box each of frozen corn and edamame. Once your veggies are cooked through add the wheat berries, chopped mint, crumbled feta, and salt and pepper to taste, then sauté another five minutes and serve.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Caramelized Dates

Need an after school snack, a last minute hors d'oeurve, or just looking to jazz up a salad or a bowl of ice cream? Then you need to try these dates, they’re incredible…and so simple too. Until I made these I couldn’t imagine eating a date in anything but trail mix or a bad fruit cake, but a container of pitted dates is now a staple in our pantry.

Halve dates length wise while you heat a little bit of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat with an optional pinch or two of cayenne pepper. Add the dates to the hot oil making sure not to overcrowd, you want each date to have contact with the bottom of the pan. And don’t look away for too long as they do burn easily, but they won’t take more than a few minutes. Stir occasionally to caramelize both sides then serve warm with flakey or coarse salt.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mashed Potatoes and Celery Root

If you like the flavor of celery you have to give this mashed potato and celery root combo a try, it’s a quick and easy side dish that can accompany just about anything you’re cooking. The celery root is often sold under the name celeriac.

Wash, peel, and cube twice as much potato than celery root before boiling both in a pot of salted water, the celeriac will need a ten minute head start. When they’re soft enough to pierce with a fork drain thoroughly and return the vegetables to the pot over low heat. Add butter and or olive oil as well a bit of chopped parsley then mash, salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Kale Fennel and Honey Crisp Salad

It’s apple season and that means Honey Crisps, but they’re only around for a few short weeks so don’t wait to make this salad. In a mason jar combine a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil, the juice from half an orange, orange zest, a tablespoon of maple syrup, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, a tablespoon of minced shallots, a splash of white wine vinegar, and kosher salt and pepper to taste. Shake vigorously.

For the salad toss some chopped kale with a thinly sliced Honey Crisp and half a large fennel bulb...toasted pumpkin seeds or cashew pieces are nice for crunch if you happen to have them. Then simply toss with crumbled feta and the dressing before serving. Happy Fall!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Roast Lamb with Yogurt Sauce

The key to this roast is to thoroughly smear your boneless leg of lamb with a garlic salt paste a day ahead of time. Prepare the paste by putting a whole head of peeled garlic and two tablespoons of kosher salt in the food processor or mince the garlic by hand then combine with the salt. After rubbing it into the lamb wrap tightly with saran and refrigerate overnight.

The yogurt sauce is also best made ahead of time by stirring together a cup of plain yogurt, two tablespoons of tahini, the juice from half a lemon and salt and pepper to taste. The following day simply roast the lamb for about an hour at 350 for an internal temperature of 120 and serve with the yogurt sauce.

This is a great dish for football Sunday as you can do most of the work on Saturday. Are you ready for some football…

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Smashed Cucumbers

The cucumbers just keep coming…and I don’t mind a bit. Try them with a bit of spice in this recipe I adapted from Superiority Burger in NYC, and the smashing technique lends itself to lots of other dishes as well. Slice an English, Persian or small pickling cucumber in half the long way then cut into four inch lengths. Place a segment seed side down on your cutting board, cover with the side of a large knife, and using your other hand gently smash so the skin splits and the seeds separate. Repeat on the remaining segments then slice into bite size pieces removing as many of the seeds as possible.

For the dressing dissolve two teaspoons of sugar and one of salt in a couple of tablespoons of rice wine vinegar. Then stir in two teaspoons each of sesame oil and soy sauce, a tablespoon of oil, two minced garlic cloves, and red chili flakes to taste. Toss together with the cucumbers and garnish with cilantro and or sesame seeds.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Colatura di Alici

For all of you condiment junkies out there this Italian fish sauce is a must have, especially when combined with some local garlic. Colatura di Alici goes back to Roman times and is still made the same way in a small village on the Amalfi coast from anchovies and salt. It’s readily available online but for this recipe you can substitute a can of anchovies and a teaspoon of coarse salt.

On a washable cutting board mince together three large garlic cloves, a generous handful of parsley, a half teaspoon of chili flakes, and if you’re not using the sauce, the anchovies and salt . If you are using the sauce combine four tablespoons with eight of extra virgin olive oil then stir in the garlic mixture. This can be done several hours ahead of time.

When you’re ready to go cook and drain a pound of pasta, toss with the sauce, and top with some parmesan. And if you like it on pasta definitely try smearing it on a thick steak…incredible!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Spicy Corn Dip

The corn is as sweet as it's ever been this year and it couldn’t have been more perfect in this spicy corn dip, but I don’t think you can go wrong no matter how you prepare it. Eat it while you can!

Shuck four ears of corn and sauté for five minutes in olive oil or butter with a large shallot and a couple of cloves of garlic. Let it cool in the pan. Add the mixture to the food processor with salt, pepper, a half a cup of ricotta and a handful of spinach and puree until smooth.

To serve, scoop the mixture into a bowl and cover with a generous pouring of chili oil. Or, for a bit more depth saute a hot pepper along with the shallot and garlic. Toasted pita chips are the way to go for this one.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Seared Scallops with Potato Corn Hash

This hash epitomizes my belief that it’s all about great ingredients and keeping it simple, and we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by really great ingredients this time of year. While the grill is warming up cut a few medium potatoes into quarter inch slices, clean a couple of leeks, husk a couple ears of corn, then lightly coat all with olive oil and salt along with a few unpeeled garlic cloves.

Get the potatoes on the grill first followed by the corn, then leeks, and grill until they’re all fully cooked. Throw the garlic on for a few minutes at the end. Once cool enough to handle shuck the corn, dice the potato, chop the leeks, and peel and chop the garlic before combining them all together in a large bowl with salt and pepper to taste. Sear the salted scallops in a very hot pan with oil for about a minute a side and serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Clam Bacon Pizza

This is the perfect summer pizza, and one you don’t often see at your local pizzeria...unless you live in New Haven. So whether you’re making your own dough, using a store bought dough ball, or a ready made pizza crust try topping it with some chopped clams and bacon.

Fresh chopped clams are the only way to go for this one;  Drain a half a pint in a colander then sauté a quarter pound of chopped bacon, a diced onion, and a minced garlic clove. When you’re oven is hot top your pizza with the bacon onion mixture followed by the clams and bake until crispy. Salt and dried chili flakes to taste.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Charred Zucchini

Whether it’s the stove top, oven, grill, or open fire ever since reading Francis Mallman’s Seven Fires I’m a huge fan of the char, or controlled burning…especially when it comes to cooking vegetables. So let go of your preconceived notions, turn up the exhaust, and let these zucchini burn, burn, burn.

Set your heaviest pan over medium high heat then slice your zucchini and toss with just a little bit of your best olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Until recently I’ve added the olive oil to the pan but I find this technique works much better. When you’re ready to go slide the zucchini into the pan and cook for seven to ten minutes until charred around the edges, tossing occasionally. Towards the end you may want to individually turn those slices that have evaded being flipped with a pair of tongs. And if you’re adding crushed garlic, chopped shallots, or balsamic vinegar stir in a minute before serving.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Stewed Fruit in a Blueberry Lime Sauce

The greens may not be loving all this rain but the blueberries sure are, so eat lots of them before they go away for another year. For a change try stewing some cherries, peaches, or plums in this blueberry lime sauce…clean bowls guaranteed.

In a sauce pot combine a pint of blueberries with three quarters of a cup of water and puree with a stick blender. You could also mash the blueberries before adding the water. Add a quarter cup of sugar then bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for fifteen minutes. Once thickened add your cut up fruit along with the juice of one lime, cover, and simmer for another ten to fifteen minutes. Serve over vanilla ice cream or with some whipped cream, this is summer at its best.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Grilled Octopus with a Garlic Bean Puree

As it’s already cooked octopus is the perfect summer meal when you don’t want to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen.  For the puree combine two garlic cloves, a teaspoon of coarse salt, black pepper, a can of drained white beans, and a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil in a food processor and pulse until smooth.  To serve simply grill or sauté your octopus for five minutes, spoon the bean puree onto plates, and finish off with a squeeze of lemon juice and chopped chives or scallions for garnish.  

Friday, July 17, 2015

Eggplant Tomato Basil Salad

With so much basil around this time of year it’s hard to go wrong, and this eggplant tomato salad is a great way to take advantage of the local bounty. To remove any bitterness salt your eggplant slices generously on both sides, let sit for half an hour, and wipe dry with a paper towel before tossing them in a large bowl with pepper, crushed garlic, and a little bit of olive oil until coated evenly.

Fifteen minutes on the barbeque will give you the most flavor but you could also bake the eggplant on cookie sheets in the oven at 400 for about seven minutes per side. Whichever way you choose let your tender and slightly browned eggplant cool before cutting it into smaller pieces and tossing with the tomatoes, chopped basil, extra virgin olive oil, and coarse salt to taste. Summer is here…eat it up!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Barbequed Pork Ribs

July 4th is all about America and when it comes to food America is all about barbeque. And these pork ribs can be prepared up to two days ahead of time so even after some exuberant celebrating, with a little bit of planning, they’re guaranteed to come out tender and tasty.

After years of experimentation I’ve found the easiest way to ensure tender barbequed pork ribs every time is to bake them for two hours before finishing them off on the grill. Preheat your oven to 350, combine your favorite combination of sugar, salt, and spices, rub both sides of your racks generously, then bake in a covered roasting pan for two hours. And whether you’re grilling immediately or in a couple of days simply baste the ribs with barbeque sauce for 10 to 15 minutes while turning frequently over high heat.

Happy 4th!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Watercress Salad with Soy Vinaigrette

It’s the little things that can make your day, like finding a new vegetable on the shelf at the market. Waitsfield’s hydroponically grown Green Mountain Harvest’s watercress is here. If you’re thinking salad it combines perfectly with fennel, pistachios, avocado, endive, cucumber, jicama, or apple, and if you’re feeling like something Asian give it a try with oranges and a soy vinaigrette.

In a mason jar combine a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil, a minced garlic clove, a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, a teaspoon each of soy sauce and sesame oil then shake vigorously. Next, peel an orange, remove the pith, and cut the segments into small pieces before combining with the watercress, orange pieces, dressing, and some sesame seeds if you have them.

 Happy Summer!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Shrimp and Prosciutto

The combination of shrimp and prosciutto makes this a very tasty main course or appetizer…and surprisingly quick and easy to prepare. While your sauté pan is heating peal your shrimp, mince your garlic, slice a couple of mushrooms, coarsely chop some arugula, and dice a couple of extra thick slices of prosciutto.

When you’re ready to go add a bit of extra virgin olive oil to your pan and sauté the mushrooms until they start to brown. Next, add the shrimp along with some red chili flakes. After a few minutes flip the shrimp and add the garlic, arugula, and prosciutto. When the shrimp are cooked through salt to taste and serve immediately.

It will taste better if you eat it outside with a glass of white wine.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Belgian Endive, Cucumber, and Olive Salad

If you don’t eat Belgian endive regularly please keep reading because you should; They’re incredibly satisfying, they’re healthy, they last longer and are easier to prep than most lettuces, and they’re available year around. With a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and kosher salt they taste as good on their own as they do with cucumbers, olives, potatoes, mint, watercress, apples, radicchio, arugula, oranges, tomatoes, avocado or bacon…just to name a few.

If you already eat endive you know what I’m talking about, and if you don’t, then it’s a great time to start. Figure about one endive per person, slice them to about a half an inch from the base, and toss with your ingredients and dressing of choice.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Wilted Spinach and Pancetta Salad

There’s something incredibly satisfying about a warm salad dressing tossed with fresh greens, especially this time of year with the abundance of local spinach. And any dish that starts with pancetta can’t be all that bad.

Dice two quarter inch slices of pancetta then sauté in a bit of olive oil until it starts to brown. Add a finely chopped shallot, some sliced mushrooms, and a minced garlic clove…corn or parboiled diced potatoes are an option if you’re thinking of something more substantial. Continue to sauté for another five minutes or so before turning down the heat.

Combine a quarter cup of olive oil with a third as much balsamic vinegar then stir into the pan. When you’re ready to serve toss with your fresh spinach and add kosher salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Same old chicken, same old fish…not anymore. Aioli, aka garlic mayonnaise, makes everything taste good. And while a stick blender or food processor makes it real easy some determined whisking will work just fine.

After mashing a few garlic cloves whisk together a half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, an egg yolk, and the juice from a couple of lemon wedges. Very slowly add about a half a cup of extra virgin olive oil to the mixture while whisking to a loose mayonnaise consistency. If you’re using a stick blender it’s handy to make it in a mason jar. Finish by adding the mashed garlic, kosher salt and black pepper to taste, then chill for at least half an hour before serving.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Spicy Cabbage Peanut Salad

Since making this salad with fried pork cutlets last month I’ve served it with roast chicken, crispy tofu, and coconut rice…it’s a winner…and a great way to take advantage of that first mint of the summer.

In a large bowl combine lots of shredded cabbage with half a cup of chopped peanuts, a chopped jalapeno, a bunch of chopped scallions, a large handful of chopped mint, some quartered grape tomatoes, the juice of two limes, a couple splashes of rice wine vinegar, olive oil, and salt to taste. Then stir it all up a half an hour ahead of time for maximum flavor.

Happy Memorial Weekend!

Monday, May 18, 2015


Why buy hummus when it’s better and cheaper to make it, especially when it’s just a matter of throwing a few things in the food processor. But first a couple of asides, since I’m an immediate gratification kind of cook I use canned garbanzo beans but if you’re the patient type feel free to use cooked ones. Also, tahini is a great condiment to have around so don’t be intimidated by the large can, it goes a long way and lasts a year or more.

Okay, in a food processor add a can of garbanzo beans, a third of a cup of tahini, a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil, one to three garlic cloves, a teaspoon of cumin, paprika, or cayenne, and the juice of one lemon. Hit the switch, if it’s too thick add more lemon juice or water. You can’t really go wrong, especially if you serve with a big splash of olive oil over the top.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Avocado Cucumber Salad

For the mayonnaise lovers out there, this one’s for you. Inspired by Julia Turshen, it’s quick, easy, and so good even if you’re not pregnant. Start by mixing two tablespoons of mayonnaise with the juice of one lime, some kosher salt, and a few hefty squirts of Sriracha.

The most important about this dish is finding the perfect avocado, not too soft yet not too firm. When the avocado stars do align combine your diced avocado with a cut up seedless cucumber, a sliced scallion, and the mayonnaise mixture. And don’t do what I did and add it all at once, add a bit, mix, a bit more, mix, and maybe a bit more…you can’t take it back out.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fried Eggplant with Chickpea Marinara

Everything is better fried, especially eggplants, and paired with a spicy chickpea marinara they make a nice little dinner. Start by slicing one large or two small eggplants, salt both sides, and let sit for an hour or so before wiping any moisture off each slice with a paper towel. Get your sauce going by heating a couple splashes of olive oil in a small sauce pan followed by a quarter teaspoon of red chili flakes, a jar of your favorite marinara, and a can of drained chickpeas. Cover and simmer on low heat.

Generously coat the bottom of your largest frying pan with vegetable oil and heat over medium. Prep three bowls: One with a cup of flour for dusting, another with four loosely scrambled eggs, and a third with two cups of panko or bread crumbs. When the oil is hot enough run your slices through the three bowls then fry for about five minutes per side making sure to adjust the heat for a golden coating.

To serve top your crispy creamy eggplant slices with a couple of spoonful’s of sauce and some grated Parmesan. Definitely ranks on the higher end of the big mess scale but so worth it.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lamb with Salsa Verde

I have been enlightened to the virtues of Salsa Verde after reading Cal Peternell’s Twelve recipes. I have always served a lot of pestos but sometimes a thinner bolder sauce is a better compliment to what you’re serving as in the case of these lamb shoulder chops.

I concocted this version out of some of my favorite go to ingredients. Finely mince or combine together in a food processor a generous handful of fresh parsley, a large clove of garlic, a couple of anchovy fillets, kosher salt, and a quarter teaspoon of red chili flakes. Then simply whisk in a half a cup of extra virgin olive oil and let sit for an hour at room temperature before serving. Barbeque season is here…be bold!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Garlic Rosti

It’s time for a change from the same old rotation of potato side dishes…it’s time for Rosti…a central European perfectly crispy and moist version of hash browns. Begin by heating a couple generous splashes of olive oil in a large skillet then either julienne or grate two large peeled baking potatoes. Toss in a bowl with some salt, pepper, and minced garlic and after draining as much of the liquid as possible spoon evenly into the skillet over medium high heat.

When it settles into a pancake shape and the bottom is golden, about ten minutes, slide it out onto a large plate, cover with another plate, flip, and slide back into the skillet crispy side up. Preheat your oven to 400 and once the other side is browned put the skillet and all in the oven for about thirty minutes to finish off.

It’s easy enough to jazz it up with rosemary, bacon, or scallions, and a fried egg on top never disappoints.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Perfect No Hassle Roast Chicken

Over the years I have read many recipes for roast chicken touting the crispiest skin and the juiciest meat but none has been as easy and full proof as this simple preparation. However, there are a couple of things you can’t overlook, first, remove your chicken from the fridge at least an hour before cooking, and second, dry thoroughly after rinsing.

After that preheat your oven to 450, season the bird inside and out with salt and pepper, herbs, or one of the great rubs down at the Bridge Street Butchery, then stick it in the oven in a roasting pan for 45 minutes. Oh yea, one more thing, crank up your exhaust fan. While you will end up with an amazing chicken the higher heat will generate a bit more smoke than you’re probably used to.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Shaved Asparagus with a Lemon Shallot Vinaigrette

I think the most difficult part of putting out a holiday meal is the timing; everything has to be hot but not overcooked. So spare yourself the shame of mushy asparagus this holiday weekend and give this shaved salad a try.

Start a day ahead of time with the vinaigrette by mixing together some extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, champagne vinegar, minced shallot, and salt and pepper. For the asparagus use your vegetable peeler to shave each spear individually into long thin shavings then set aside in a bowl. This part doesn't go very quickly, a glass of wine helps.

Before serving toss the shavings together with the vinaigrette then salt and pepper to taste. And depending on what else you’re having some toasted pine nuts or shaved Parmesan are nice additions.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cod and Caramelized Onion Quesadillas

When I told the family we were having fish quesadillas for dinner I didn’t exactly get an enthusiastic reaction, but once they bit into them I didn’t hear any complaints. Like any Mexican dish they take a bit of prep but they’re well worth the effort.

Start by caramelizing a sliced red onion in a large pan with butter, olive oil and a half teaspoon each of kosher salt and sugar. In another pan heat up some vegetable oil then dredge your salt and peppered cod pieces in breadcrumbs. When the oil is hot pan fry the cod until golden brown on both sides then set them aside while you clean, dry, and reheat the pan.

When you’re ready to go place a large flour tortilla in the clean hot pan and spread some grated cheese over half of it along with the caramelized onions, cod, and some chopped cilantro. Fold the tortilla in half, brown a few minutes on each side, then slice and serve with some fresh avocado and your favorite salsa.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Fennel Tomato Risotto

This is a great risotto to make when you’re in the mood for red sauce but pasta just isn’t doing it for you. I find it easiest to start by making four cups of chicken stock from concentrate and leaving it in a pot on the stove over very low heat. 

Thinly slice a large fennel bulb and shallot and sauté with a generous amount of butter and extra virgin olive oil in a large pan. When they start to brown stir in two minced garlic cloves and a cup of risotto making sure to coat evenly before adding a half a cup of dry white wine.  Simmer until the wine is nearly absorbed then add a cup of your favorite marinara and stir well. 

For the next thirty minutes or so add a half a cup of chicken stock at a time stirring a bit each time until the liquid is absorbed then repeat until the rice is al dente…you may not have to use all of the stock. While still on the stove add at least a half cup of grated parmesan, a little chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste, let sit for a couple of minutes then serve.

Monday, March 2, 2015

No Fuss Chicken Marsala

No pounding for this adaption, and if you don’t have any Marsala you could use white wine and lemon juice instead. Heat some butter or olive oil in a large pan and sauté a dozen sliced mushrooms and a shallot until they begin to brown. Stir in a minced garlic clove and a little chopped parsley before transferring to a bowl and set aside.

Add some more oil to your pan and while that’s heating dredge one inch pieces of chicken breast in flour. Brown your chicken for a couple of minutes on each side then put them in the bowl with the mushrooms.

Next add a half cup of Marsala, or, white wine and lemon to the pan as well as a cup of chicken stock. Bring to a low boil making sure to scrape off all the good bits from the bottom and sides. Once it is reduced by half pour in the mushrooms, chicken, and any juices from the bowl before turning down the heat and simmering until the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper, add a spot of heavy cream if you’re feeling it, and serve.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pea and Mint Pesto

With spring less than a month away I decided to get an early start with this pea and mint pesto courtesy of the frozen food aisle. After defrosting your peas combine in a food processor with a peeled clove of garlic, half a cup of grated parmesan, half a dozen sprigs of fresh mint, and a teaspoon of kosher salt.

With the machine running slowly add about a third of a cup of extra virgin olive oil until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste then toss with pasta, serve on a crostini, or as a dip with toasted pita chips. It tastes better if you close your eyes, clap your heels together three times and repeat to yourself, there’s no place like spring; there’s no place like spring; there’s no place like spring.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Blueberry Ginger Sauce

This is a sauce I used to make cooking for a high-end catering company in Boston, it just goes to show how amazing easy can be. And the complimentary sweet and salty flavors are perfect on lamb, chicken, pork, or turkey.

It’s all about the blueberry jam, the better the jam the better the sauce. In a small sauce pot simmer two parts jam to one part soy sauce along with some fresh minced ginger. Reduce slowly for about a half an hour or until it’s a syrupy consistency then serve. Substituting garlic for ginger works just as well.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Baked Feta Tomatoes and Olives

Once in a while you stumble upon something that’s so easy and delicious it instantaneously becomes part of the rotation; this baked feta is one of those. I discovered it on Smitten Kitchen and it would be a great starter to any meal…romantic or otherwise.

Preheat your oven to 400. In a large bowl combine a heaping handful of halved grape tomatoes, some chopped Kalamata olives, a minced shallot, a minced garlic clove, a little chopped parsley, a few splashes of extra virgin olive oil as well as some kosher salt and black pepper.

Place a whole block of feta, preferably Maplebrook, in the center of an oven proof dish then top with your tomato mixture and bake for 20 minutes. The feta should be soft enough to easily schmear on crackers or a sliced baguette.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Garlic Chicken and Polenta Soup

This is one of the most comforting soups I've made in a long time and perfect for these sub-zero nights. Begin by making a half cup of polenta as directed on the package making sure not to omit the butter and Parmesan. In the meantime brown four skinless boneless chicken thighs in your soup pot for about five minutes per side then set aside until they’re cool enough to cut into half inch pieces.

To the same pot add a little bit of olive oil and sauté some sliced mushrooms for ten minutes before setting aside. Next into the pot, lightly brown at least twenty peeled garlic cloves before stirring in six to eight cups of chicken stock, preferably Better Than Bouillon. Simmer for fifteen minutes or until the cloves are soft and mash with a potato masher as best you can before returning the chicken, mushrooms, polenta as well as a few chopped scallions to the pot. Stir thoroughly to break up the polenta then salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Spicy Beet Fries

For all you folks that haven’t found the beauty in beets yet these tasty beet fries may provide the enlightenment you’ve been looking for. They’re sweet, spicy, and irresistibly crunchy…not to mention guilt free.

Start by preheating your oven to 450 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Next, peel your beets and cut into rectangular French fry like pieces before tossing with a little bit of olive oil, kosher salt, and your favorite pepper such as cayenne or Sichuan. If you’re not into spicy you could substitute thyme, mint, or rosemary.

Roast your beets for approximately 50 minutes flipping them halfway through. What you’re looking to do is get them crispy with a little char to bring out all their sugary goodness. Salt to taste before serving.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kale, Squash, and Pickled Cabbage Tostadas

It’s all about the fried tortillas as you can make tostadas with nearly anything that you find in your pantry or fridge, this time around it was kale, squash, and pickled cabbage. And when I say fried I don’t mean deep fried, these don’t take a lot of oil or make a big mess.

To cut down on the splatter I like to use a pot with just enough vegetable oil to generously cover the bottom. Prep your toppings and immediately before serving get your oil hot but not smoking. With a pair of tongs place a tortilla in the oil making sure the sides don’t curl up and it cooks evenly. After a minute flip, wait another 30 seconds, and then drain on a paper bag.

Once all your tortillas are cooked place a couple on each plate and stack with your warmed toppings, favorite salsa or hot sauce. And you can never go wrong with kosher salt, avocado and cilantro.