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.