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 27, 2016

Squash Parmesan Soup

I couldn’t believe how good this soup was given how simple it was to make with so few ingredients, perfect for a New Year's dinner or après-ski. In a large soup pot begin by sautéing a large chopped onion over medium heat in a little bit of butter. While that’s cooking peel and seed approximately 2 ½ pounds of butternut squash and chop into small chunks.

Once the onion is translucent add the squash to the pot along with 5 to 7 cups of chicken stock, depending on how thick you like your soup. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes uncovered or until the squash is tender. Use a stick blender or food processor to puree the soup until its silky smooth then stir in a cup of grated parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. If you like herbs you could sauté a little bit of sage with the onions just before adding the squash.

Have a safe and festive 2017!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Chopped Liver

No matter the holiday, when we went to my grandmother’s house one thing was always certain, chopped liver. And we loved it! I hadn’t had it in years so decided to give it a try, minus the Ritz crackers. And we loved it! So here it is, super easy and a guaranteed conversation starter at any gathering.

Begin by making four twelve minute hard boiled eggs then set aside to cool. Sauté a large chopped onion over medium low heat until golden brown then stir in a minced clove of garlic and cook for another minute. Add a pound of rinsed and dried chicken livers to the pan and continue to cook until the livers are grey all the way through, about ten minutes. Spread the mixture out on a large dish to cool.

Pulse the peeled eggs in a food processor until coarsely chopped then scrape them into a large bowl. Do the same with the liver and onion mixture then stir together with the eggs. Add at least a teaspoon of black pepper, two of kosher salt, then garnish with some finely chopped onion or egg and serve with a thinly sliced baguette.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


The holiday party season is upon us and whether you’re hosting or pot lucking this tapenade is a crowd pleaser, and all it takes is a little Cuisinart magic. Chop a couple of cloves of garlic and combine in the food processor with two tablespoons of capers, a tablespoon of lemon juice, a bit of lemon zest, a big squeeze of anchovy paste, a few pinches of chopped thyme (optional), and a cup of Kalamata, nicoise, oil cured, or a mix of all three kinds of pitted olives. Pulse until it’s a chunky paste.

Transfer to a small bowl and stir in approximately a half cup of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crackers or a sliced plain or grilled baguette. Time to be merry!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Pork Tacos with Kimchi

These tasty tacos are all local thanks to our valley farmers, All Souls Tortilleria, Vermont Probiotica, and Gracie’s Kitchen. Hopefully you live in a place with lots of local food producers, if not you'll just have to come visit us in the Mad River Valley.

Sauté half of a finely chopped onion until translucent then add a couple of minced garlic cloves followed by a half pound of ground pork. Once the pork is cooked through salt and pepper to taste and turn the heat to low. Soften a couple of tortillas in the toaster oven on low heat then spoon in some of the pork mixture and top with a bit of kimchi and green salsa. To make them even better, serve with A Sip of Sunshine...our award winning local Warren brew.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Broccolini with a Balsamic Reduction

Vegetables are on the menu this week and this balsamic reduction works as well with carrots and green beans as it does with broccolini. Start by heating some olive oil in a large pan over medium heat then saute the broccolini until it starts to brown, about five minutes.

Add a quarter cup of water and a bit of salt and continue heating until the water has evaporated. Stir in a couple of chopped garlic cloves followed by a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar…making sure your exhaust fan is on before you do. By the time the vinegar has reduced to a glaze the broccolini should be tender, if not add a splash more vinegar, cover, and let cook for a few minutes longer.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sweet Potato Turkey Hash

Why wait for turkey sandwiches when you can pull out those leftovers while you’re still in your pajamas. Cube a couple of sweet potatoes and simmer in a pot of salted water until tender then drain and set aside. Next, remove the turkey from the bone and either finely chop with a knife or cube then pulse in the food processor.

Sauté a chopped onion in a large pan with a couple of minced garlic cloves. Once the onion is translucent stir in the sweet potato and turkey, crank up the heat to medium high, and cook until the potatoes are brown and crispy. Season with salt, pepper, and some smoked paprika if you have it then serve with a couple of eggs on top…Thanksgiving leftovers have begun.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Hassleback Potato Gratin

This Thanksgiving in addition to my traditional mashed potatoes I’m going to serve these crispy creamy hasselbacks. You can never have too many potatoes, right? Or leftovers. Preheat your oven to 400 then combine in a large bowl a half a cup of grated Gruyere and a quarter cup of grated parmesan. Stir in two cups of heavy cream, three minced garlic cloves, and salt and pepper to taste.

Grease a large casserole dish with butter then peel eight or so potatoes and with a mandolin or a lot of patience slice to a thickness of 1/8th inch. With your hands toss the potatoes slices in the cheese mixture making sure to coat all the slices evenly. Still using your hands pick up the potatoes a stack at a time and arrange them vertically in rows or spiral them in from the outside of the dish to the center. It’s important that the potatoes are packed in tightly, even it means slicing, coating, and adding another potato.

Pour the excess cream mixture over the potatoes making sure not to go higher than halfway up the sides of the dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, uncover, and bake for another 45 minutes or until the top is brown and crispy. I was inspired to make these from a recipe I read in the New York Times, it serves six. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming…so thinking something on the lighter side before the heaviness begins. I’ve tried several dry falafel mixes but none compare to this simple combination of chickpeas, onions, and spices for a super satisfying bit of tasty Middle Eastern crispiness.

In a large bowl combine a can of drained chickpeas, a chopped onion, a quarter to half cup of chopped parsley, a quarter cup of flour, three chopped garlic cloves, and two teaspoons each of ground coriander and cumin. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste then pulse the mixture in a food processor until smooth but slightly chunky.

Cover the bottom of a large pan with vegetable oil and leave over medium heat. Form the mixture into patties and fry until golden crispy on each side, you may need to add more oil between batches. Drain on brown bags or paper towels and serve with tahini, pickles, tomatoes, and onion…pita optional.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Beef, Bean, and Cabbage Soup

No denying it now, soup season is here. Warm up your house and yourselves with this satisfyingly hearty beef soup…with plenty of leftovers for lunch. Sauté two chopped onions in a little bit of oil until they start to brown, then add three chopped carrots, two chopped celery stalks, and cook for another ten minutes.

Cut your stew beef into one inch chunks and stir into the pot along with four chopped garlic cloves and a large wedge of chopped cabbage. Add 12 cups of beef stock, preferably from concentrate, bring to a boil then cover and simmer for two hours or until the beef is tender. Now time for the drained cooked beans and the surprise ingredient, half a cup of ketchup. Bring back to a simmer and finish it off with salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Roast Mushrooms

It’s hard not to notice the expanded mushroom selection at the market these days, most of which I’ve only ever seen before on my plate in New York’s Chinatown. As exotic as they may look they couldn’t be easier to prepare, and they make a tasty side dish or appetizer.

The Hen of the Woods, Bunashimeji, and Bunapi mushrooms are small delicate varieties that grow in a dense clump. After removing from the packaging gently break them apart with your hands, toss with a little bit of olive oil and kosher salt, and spread them in a single layer in a large roasting pan or baking sheet.

Put in a 400 degree oven for twenty minutes then stir in some chopped garlic and parsley and return to the oven for another ten minutes. At one of my favorite local restaurants they take it another step and drizzle some aioli over the top before serving, it’s not necessary but a little aioli never hurt anything.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Celery Root, Apple, Carrot, and Red Cabbage Salad

Here’s a satisfyingly crunchy salad that takes advantage of the Fall harvest with local celeriac, apples, carrots, and red cabbage. Use a mandoline slicer to julienne or thinly slice 2 apples with a knife and toss in a large bowl with a tablespoon of lemon. Do the same with the celeriac, carrots, and red cabbage then add to the apples.

For the dressing whisk together some oil, apple cider vinegar, and a bit of Dijon mustard then toss with the other ingredients until well coated, salt and pepper to taste. Toasted pumpkin seeds or raisins are also a tasty addition.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Garlic Lemon and Green Olive Chicken

Nothing brings people together like food, the dinner table is where stories are shared, memories are made, and comfort given. It doesn’t matter if you’re serving pizza, pasta, or filet mignon, it’s all about spending time at the table with the people who color your life. And no other food warms you inside and out like a big pot of chicken.

Salt and pepper eight chicken thighs, skin on, bone in, then brown in a large frying pan over high heat. For best results do it in two batches so you don’t crowd the pan then set aside. Turn the heat to medium and sauté a chopped head of fennel, two lemons cut into small pieces, a quarter teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and a pint of flavorful green olives for approximately five minutes then set aside.

Next, brown 10 peeled garlic cloves for five minutes before adding two cups of chicken stock, simmer lightly until the garlic is soft enough to mash with a fork or potato masher. Layer the chicken and fennel mixture in a large soup pot, add the garlic stock and lightly simmer uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and share the warmth.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Corn Fritters

This has been one of the sweetest corn seasons I can remember and after weeks of boiled, barbequed, roast, and raw variations these fritters were a great way to change things up. Cut the corn from two cobs and set aside, then in a food processor quickly pulse two beaten eggs, a quarter cup each of flour and grated manchego cheese, and a teaspoon of kosher salt. Add the corn, two chopped scallions and half a jalapeno before pulsing a few more times.

Ten minutes before serving heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add just enough oil to cover the bottom. Without crowding spoon the batter into the pan and cook until golden brown, about three to four minutes per side. Add more oil between batches if needed. Serve with your favorite green salsa or a dollop of sour cream with lime juice as an appetizer or side dish…or if you’re thinking brunch they’re also pretty amazing with an egg on top.

Monday, October 3, 2016


The eggplants, tomatoes, and basil are still coming and caponata is one of the best ways to enjoy them. Cut a couple of medium eggplants into half inch cubes and sauté along with a chopped onion over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes or until the eggplant is lightly browned. Add three to four cloves of chopped garlic and cook for another five minutes.

Next, stir in three large chopped tomatoes, a few tablespoons of capers, and a generous pour of red wine vinegar…fresh corn makes a nice addition as well. Turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for another fifteen minutes before adding some chopped basil and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Green Beans with Anchovy Parmesan Dressing

This incredibly zesty dressing is perfect for green beans as well as lots of other vegetables. These measurements will yield about twice as much as you’ll need for one meal so you’ll have a chance to try it on something else this week.

Remove the ends of your beans and cut to the desired length before steaming or blanching for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately run them under some cold water until cool all the way through.

Drain and finely chop a full tin of anchovies, or a couple teaspoons of anchovy paste, then stir together with two tablespoons of Dijon mustard and a handful of chopped parsley. Whisk in a cup of extra virgin olive oil followed by a cup of freshly grated parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Toss with your green beans well before serving.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Penne with Swiss Chard Pancetta and Ricotta

Remove the leaves from the stems and coarsely chop a bunch of Swiss Chard, place in a shallow pot of simmering water for a couple of minutes and drain well. In a deep pan add a splash of olive oil and sauté a quarter pound of chopped pancetta or bacon until nearly crisp then set aside.

In the same pan sauté some minced garlic and shallot for a minute then stir in your cooked and drained penne along with a quarter cup of the reserved pasta water. Turn off the heat and toss evenly to coat along with a quarter cup of parmesan, a cup of ricotta, the drained chard, and salt and pepper to taste. Chili flakes are always a good option to spice things up.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Tomatillo Salsa

I had never made this spicy green salsa before but after my daughter showed me how easy it was I already can’t wait to make it again. If you don’t have a grill you could roast the tomatillos and garlic in the oven but it wouldn’t have the smoky charred flavor that made it so incredibly tasty…so grill if you can.

Husk a pound of tomatillos and grill until lightly charred along with a small peeled and halved onion, a jalapeno pepper, and two to three peeled garlic cloves. Let cool, remove the pepper stem and combine everything in a blender or food processor with a splash of olive oil, the juice from half a lime, a pinch of cumin, a small handful of cilantro, and salt to taste. You can make it smooth or chunky depending on how long you blend it, or add a half an avocado for an even creamier texture.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Melon with Chili and Lime

It’s melon season and whether you’re thinking snacks for a day on the water or a refreshing summer dessert this typical Mexican street food is just the thing. And it couldn’t be easier…just combine some cut melon, fresh lime juice, a pinch of salt, and some chili powder. Chopped cilantro is optional.

It may be September but summer isn’t over yet.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lamb Chops with Tomatoes and Parsley

Drum roll please…peak tomato season is here! And for lovers of all things simple and easy it doesn’t get any better, like these lamb chops with tomatoes and parsley. Before you even light the grill toss your bite sized tomato chunks with a bit of parsley and plenty of kosher salt and your best extra virgin olive oil. The longer you let that sit the more tomato juice you’ll find at the bottom of your bowl. Be sure to serve your chops with some rice or grilled bread so you don’t take a chance spilling any of the luscious juices when you tip the plate to your mouth at meal’s end.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Cucumber Cocktail

Overrun with cucumbers? It’s much more fun to drink than eat them and this cocktail tastes equally refreshing with vodka, gin, or white rum. Peel and cut a couple of large cucumbers into small chunks then puree them in a food processor or with a stick blender. Line a strainer with cheese cloth or a coffee filter and drain the cucumber juice into a bowl by pressing down on the pureed solids.

Squeeze a half a lime and a tablespoon of sugar into the bowl of juice and stir until the sugar dissolves. Chill before serving. Some chopped mint would make it even more refreshing…just the thing to cool you down on a hot summer afternoon.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Asian Squid Salad

Just had my first local corn of the season and it was incredible, cut off the cob it added just the right amount of sweetness to this flavorful summer salad. Start by tossing about a pound of squid with some oil and salt then cooking it in a hot pan or on the barbecue before setting aside.

For the dressing mix together the juice of one lime, a few tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, a few teaspoons of sesame oil, a tablespoon each of chili paste and sugar, and a teaspoon of salt. Cut the cooked squid into small pieces and combine with an ear of corn, four cups of chopped cabbage, a medium hot chopped pepper, some halved Sungold or cherry tomatoes, and a half a cup each of chopped mint, cilantro, and scallions.

Before serving toss with the dressing and a half a cup of finely chopped salted peanuts, add more rice vinegar and salt if needed.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Grilled Chicken with Tahini Sauce

I always have a can of tahini in the fridge for hummus, salad dressings, and this tangy sauce that makes an ordinary piece of grilled chicken into something special. Whisk together or food process a half cup of tahini, the juice of one lemon, and a quarter cup of hot water until smooth then salt to taste. Minced garlic or cayenne pepper are optional. It’s August…more time at the river, less time in the kitchen.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Shred an Egg

Sungold tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, carrots, scallions, and the list goes on…summer salad season is here. And no matter what vegetables you’re using your salad will be way better topped with a shredded hard-boiled egg.

Cover your eggs with cold water, bring to a boil, cover, then remove from the heat and let sit for eleven minutes before transferring to a bowl of cold water. Once peeled shred the eggs with a box grater or force them through the mesh of a wire ladle, spread on your salad and top with salt.

It goes without saying that local eggs taste best.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Black Bean and Corn Burger

Give this veggie burger a try, unlike many I’ve had it’s loaded with flavor and holds its shape in the bun. Start by sautéing a small onion and a couple of garlic cloves until golden, about 8 minutes. Add a drained can of black beans, one and a half teaspoons of cumin powder, a half teaspoon of chili flakes, a teaspoon each of chili powder, smoked paprika and salt then continue to cook for another few minutes.

Transfer the bean mixture to a food processor and pulse until it’s mixed thoroughly, add a half a cup of panko and pulse once or twice more. Scoop the mixture into a large bowl and add another can of drained beans and a half a cup of corn. Mix well with your hands adding salt or more panko if needed. Form patties and bake at 350 for thirty minutes or pan fry in a bit of olive oil. If you’re daring you can cook them on the grill after refrigerating for at least half an hour.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Chili Mint Shrimp

The combination of the sour, spicy, and mint makes this an especially refreshing summer dish that can be prepared in less than ten minutes and be served hot or cold. Start by combining the juice of one lemon with a handful of chopped fresh mint in a bowl and set aside. Season your peeled shrimp with salt, pepper, and a spicy chili powder such as cayenne, Aleppo, or ancho.

Using a grill or cast iron pan on medium heat cook the shrimp for two minutes per side or until they’re just barely cooked through. Remove and toss immediately with the lemon juice then salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Garlic Butter

No surprise that July 4th ranks as the number one grilling day of the year? So whether you’re grilling, meat, chicken, fish, or veggies finishing them off with some garlic butter is an easy upgrade for your holiday bbq. It also helps that you can prepare it several days ahead of time.

Using a food processor, mixer, or large fork combine a slightly softened stick of butter, three finely chopped garlic cloves, and kosher salt and pepper to taste. Once smooth, cover and refrigerate. Before serving let it sit at room temperature for a couple of hours so you can spread it easily over your grilled food with a spatula.

Have a tasty 4th!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Feta Radish Watercress Bruschetta

One of the early stand outs thus far at the farmer’s market have been the radishes, they’re so perfectly sweet, peppery, and crunchy that I end up eating half a bunch before I even get home. And if you’re looking for an easy last minute snack or appetizer they’re amazing paired with some feta and watercress.

There are five elements to this bruschetta, grilled bread, thinly sliced room temperature feta, shaved radish, watercress leaves, and extra virgin olive oil. The coarse salt goes without saying. To get your bread brown and crispy heat a large pan over medium heat then add a generous pour of olive oil just before laying the baguette slices in the pan. Give them about two minutes per side.

While they’re still warm layer them with the feta, radish slices, watercress, a drizzle of your best olive oil and coarse salt to taste. Summer is here, and that means every week at the farmer’s market gets better and better.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Seared Tuna with Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette

You could put this smoked paprika vinaigrette on anything and it would taste great…and I do. In a mason jar combine a cup of extra virgin olive oil, five teaspoons of smoked paprika, a tablespoon of Dijon, an eighth of a cup of red wine vinegar, a splash of balsamic vinegar, two minced garlic cloves, a small minced shallot, and kosher salt and pepper to taste. Shake vigorously.

Rub a thick tuna steak with a little bit of olive oil then season liberally with black pepper. On a super-hot grill or cast iron pan sear the tuna steak for a couple of minutes per side making sure to keep the center raw. Then with a sharp knife cut it into quarter inch slices and top with a generous spoonful of the vinaigrette.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Steamed Mint Cauliflower

Now that the garden is in it’s time to hit the wild mint for some seasonal greens and more immediate gratification. And no need to fuss, the mint is perfect on its own.

Cut a head of cauliflower into florets then steam for approximately seven minutes or until it’s tender but still crunchy. Drain and immediately toss with a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil, a large handful of chopped mint, and kosher salt and pepper to taste.
It’s a busy time of year, best to keep it simple and tasty.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Grilled Mexican Corn

It’s a grillin’ weekend and these charred corn on the cobs with chili and lime will compliment anything you’re putting on the grill. Mix together a small container of crème fraiche with the juice of half a lime, a teaspoon of chipotle or ancho chile powder, and a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt. It’s best if you prepare this at least an hour or two ahead of time for maximum flavor then chill.

After husking six to eight corns rub with a little bit of olive oil and kosher salt and grill over high heat until they’re charred evenly on all sides. It would also work with boiled corn but of course it wouldn’t be as good. To serve simply douse the hot corn with the chipotle mixture and top with a handful of chopped cilantro. Double dipping is encouraged. Summer has begun!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Grilled Pork Chops with Sauerkraut

I don’t often reach for the sauerkraut but it turned out to be an easy way to make a barbequed pork chop into something more than ordinary. While you’re waiting for your grill to heat up sauté a chopped onion and a teaspoon of caraway seeds in a bit of oil for about five minutes or until the onion starts to brown. Add a couple cups of drained sauerkraut and ¾ of a cup of apple cider, cover, and simmer while you barbeque the pork chops. By the time you’re through grilling the sauerkraut mixture will be ready to go, simply top and serve.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Spaghetti with Cauliflower Pesto

Here’s a cauliflower dish you’ve probably never tried, I never had until I came across this recipe from Mario Batali. Cut a small head of cauliflower into florets then pulse into breadcrumb sized pieces in a food processor and set aside. Next into the processor put a half a cup of walnuts, a tin of anchovies oil and all, two cloves of garlic, a bunch of flat leaf parsley, a chopped jalapeno, and a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil. Pulse until it’s formed a paste, add a quarter cup of Parmesan, pulse again quickly, then combine with the cauliflower in a large bowl.

Once you have your spaghetti boiling add some olive oil to a large pan over medium heat and cook the cauliflower mixture for 6 to 8 minutes stirring often. Before draining your pasta reserve a couple of cups of water, then drain and combine the spaghetti with your pesto adding the pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. Serve with grated Parmesan.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Reading the news about the new owners of Country Creemees here in town got me thinking about summer, chocolate dipped creemees, and sweet potato fries. I don’t do much deep frying at home but these baked fries were pretty darn good.

Preheat your oven to 450 then line your sheet tray with parchment paper, they just don’t brown as well without it. Peeled or unpeeled, cut your sweet potatoes into quarter inch slices and toss in a large bowl with just enough oil to coat along with some salt, pepper, and paprika. Bake for approximately fifteen minutes, turn, and bake for another 10 minutes or until tender and golden brown.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Bunt Pan Chicken

If you’re looking for an easy fail proof method to roast a chicken this is it. The technique is basically an indoor version of a beer can chicken, without the beer. While not essential, for the crispiest skin it’s best to place the chicken uncovered in the fridge for an hour after rinsing and drying.

Preheat your oven to 450 and wrap the center column of your bunt pan with a piece of foil making sure to completely cover the hole. Brush your chicken with a little bit of olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and whatever other spices you’re working with such as granulated garlic, smoked paprika, or dried herbs. Stand the chicken up in the center of the pan by inserting the column into the cavity and roast for 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the bird. Rotate the pan 180 degrees halfway through. That’s it!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Crispy Macaroni and Cheese

For all of you out there that prefer the crunch over the goo, this baking sheet version of macaroni and cheese will make you very happy. It’s also a whole lot easier than a traditional mac and cheese that calls for a roux. I’ve adapted it from a recipe I saw on one of my favorite food web sites, Food52.

Preheat your oven to 475 while you boil a pound of pasta for six minutes, I recommend spirals as they provide the most surface area for maximum crunch. In a large bowl toss together 16 ounces of shredded sharp cheddar, an 1/8 of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and salt to taste. Drain the pasta and toss with the cheese mixture.

Using a stick of butter like a crayon grease a large rimmed baking sheet then spread the pasta mixture. Pour 2/3 of a cup of milk evenly over the top along with 8 ounces of shredded extra sharp cheddar and bake uncovered for twenty minutes, serve immediately. I’m not sure which was better, the mac and cheese the first night or leftovers the next night on top of my burger…truly decadent.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fail Proof Aioli

Aioli is in a league with bacon and melted cheese, it just makes everything taste better. But I’m the first one to admit it can be temperamental and frustrating to make, or at least it used to be until I learned the fail proof aioli ingredient…a soft boiled egg. Bring a pot of water to a boil, gently place an egg in the pot, turn off the heat and cover. After eight minutes remove and submerge the egg in cold water.

In a mason jar combine the whole peeled egg along with two to three garlic cloves, the juice from a third of a lemon, a small dab of Dijon, and a third of a cup of extra virgin olive oil. Submerge a stick blender into the jar and in less than a minute on the high speed setting you have perfection. Salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate until needed. Now you’ll never hesitate to drizzle the garlicky goodness over mussels, vegetables, chicken, fish, steak, or your Passover matzo.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Curry Infused Turkey

Have you ever tenderized chicken or turkey with yogurt? Why not take it one step further and infuse some flavor while you’re at it.  This is just one of the great tips I picked up at a the cooking class we took on or Baked Beads' staff outing.

Combine some minced ginger, jalapeno, shallot and your favorite curry paste or powder with a cup of plain yogurt. Cut some boneless turkey or chicken breasts into two inch wide pieces, place them in a flat glass dish, coat with the yogurt mixture, then saran tight and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight if you have the time.

To cook transfer the meat into another pan and bake at 350 for twenty minutes or until they’re cooked through. They’re great on their own, with a bit of chutney, or chilled and diced up with some scallions, cilantro, mayonnaise, and a squeeze of lime.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fried Rice

Fried rice is amazing for lots of reasons - it tastes good, it’s super satisfying as a main or side dish, it’s hard to mess up, you usually have the ingredients on hand, and it’s an easy way to use the leftovers or nearly questionable vegetables hanging out in your fridge. I always include a chopped onion and an egg, after that it’s a free for all.

If you don’t have any two day old cooked rice then prepare a cup and set it aside. Sauté the onion over medium heat in a large pan, pot, or wok with a bit of oil until it begins to brown followed by any other raw vegetables you’re using such as carrots, spinach, mushrooms, peas, celery, or scallions. After a few minutes add a scrambled egg breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks. Any leftover chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp? Now’s the time to throw it in. Sesame seeds or chili flakes? Throw them in too.

When everything is warmed through add four tablespoons of soy sauce, a splash of water then the cooked rice. Cook for another five to ten minutes mixing occasionally so that the rice absorbs the soy sauce evenly.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Kale and Ricotta Salata

I like to think of ricotta salata as an Italian feta, and whether you’re serving ham or lamb on Easter Sunday this refreshing kale salad will be great with either. And it couldn’t be simpler, in a mason jar combine two minced scallions, a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt, and four parts extra virgin olive oil to one part fresh lemon juice then shake vigorously to emulsify. Crumble the ricotta salata into a large bowl of chopped kale then toss with enough dressing to coat well.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Raw Beet Salad

As far as annual food rituals go corned beef and cabbage on St. Patty’s Day is one of my favorites, but after all that fatty goodness I’m thinking vegetables for the rest of the week. This raw beet salad is more vinegar than oil so it really hits the spot when it comes to clean and crunchy.

Shred or julienne about a pound of peeled raw beets then toss with a minced shallot, a splash of olive oil, twice that of vinegar, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. That’s it. If you’re looking for a bit more flavor try adding some rosemary, thyme, mint, or parsley.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Steak with Hearts of Palm Salad

Hearts of palm sounds old school but when paired with some endive, bitter greens, scallion, and lemon juice it turns an ordinary steak into one of those dinners you don’t want to end. You can use a tenderloin or chuck eye steak, either way cut them in half-length wise and pound lightly until they’re about a quarter inch thick. Then salt and pepper and cook for about a minute per side in a very hot skillet.

For the salad coarsely chop a drained can of hearts of palm, an endive, a large handful of either arugula or watercress, and a few finely chopped scallions. Toss together with extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and serve piled high on top of your steaks.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Braised Fennel

I don’t know why I don’t think of braising my vegetables more often as it’s so easy and flavorful…give it a try with some fennel. Cut the fronds from your fennel bulbs, trim any brown edges from the stem, peel off and discard any bruised outer stalks, and cut in half lengthwise.

Add some extra virgin olive oil to a moderately hot frying pan and brown the cut sides of the bulbs for four to five minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add a cup of chicken or vegetable stock, and cook uncovered for fifteen to twenty minutes or until the bulbs are tender all the way through. Salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Lima Beans

Around this time each winter I start to look in the frozen food case for something different, something I’ve somehow overlooked in the past, something that would bring a sense of newness to my night’s dinner…you know what I mean…not the same old thing. And while lima beans don’t probably rank very high as far as glamor veggies go I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

Where lima beans do rank high however is on the easy to make scale. Heat a large pan, add some extra virgin olive oil, then the lima beans. If they’re right out of the freezer start on low heat until they soften then inch it up to medium high to get them lightly browned and crispy. Before serving lower the heat and add some chopped garlic and salt and pepper to taste. I also made them on three other occasions with mushrooms, shallots, and red chili flakes which were all very tasty. Lima beans aren’t just for soups anymore, at least in our house.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lemony Shrimp Risotto

Valentine’s Day is about doing something special, something you don’t do all the time…like risotto. And with a little bit of planning this shrimp risotto won’t get in the way of the rest of your evening. Here’s the prep list: 

- Grate half a cup of parmesan and a teaspoon of lemon zest.
- Finely chop a shallot and some chives.
- Peel a half pound of large shrimp.
- Ready two cups of quality chicken stock from concentrate (I recommend Better Than Bouillon).

Twenty-five minutes before dinner salt and pepper the shrimp then sauté in a large heavy sauce pan for a few minutes with some extra virgin olive oil, remove and set aside. Next, add two tablespoons of butter along with the chopped shallot and lemon zest and cook until the shallots are soft, three to four minutes. Stir in a half a cup of risotto, sauté for a minute, and then add a half a cup of warm chicken stock. When the liquid is nearly all absorbed add another half cup of stock and repeat until the rice is al dente and creamy stirring occasionally, it shouldn’t be more than twenty minutes. To finish add the shrimp, chives, and parmesan and leave on the heat for a few minutes longer or until the shrimp are cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Flavored Deviled Eggs

If you’ve had your fill of chili, wings, and nachos over the last 20 weeks of football these deviled eggs are a sure crowd pleaser. Cook and peel a dozen hardboiled eggs, cut in half lengthwise, and gently refrigerate the whites. In a bowl mash the yokes with a fork until smooth then stir in two tablespoons each of mayonnaise and sour cream.

At this point there are lots of options, a couple tablespoons of truffle, garlic, or chili oil. How about some lemon and capers, crumbled bacon, or horseradish? You could also try some curry or chipotle powder or smoked paprika. Some minced smoked salmon and chives would be nice, or even some anchovy paste. Whatever you decide remember to salt and pepper to taste before spooning the mixture back into your egg white halves. Happy Super Bowl!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Kimchi Chicken Soup

I had pulled the pack of boneless skinless chicken thighs out of the freezer earlier in the day and was staring into the fridge looking for inspiration when I eyed the jar of kimchi in the back corner…that was it…Korean chicken soup! And so easy too.

I sautéed a chopped onion in a large soup pot until translucent before adding an entire 16oz. jar of kimchi and about 8 cups of chicken stock (preferably the concentrated versus boxed variety). Once it came to a boil I added the six chicken thighs and turned the heat down to a simmer.

When the thighs were cooked through, about ten to twelve minutes, I removed them from the pot and set aside while the soup continued to simmer. Then when the thighs were cool enough to handle I chopped them up, returned them to the pot, and added salt and Sriracha to taste.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Baby Bok Choy and Shitake Mushrooms with Oyster Sauce

After the holidays the only food I want to think about is clean, healthy, and easy to prepare, and this bok choy fits the bill on all three. Start by sautéing a half dozen sliced shitakes with a little bit of oil in a large pan or wok over high heat for five minutes. Clean and chop the bok choy, at least one head per person, then add to the pan and sauté for another few minutes. Turn down the heat to medium low, add two chopped garlic cloves and two tablespoons of soy sauce and leave on the heat for another few minutes or until the stalks are tender. When you’re ready to go simply stir in four tablespoons of oyster sauce and serve.

If you’ve had an especially festive holiday season and the thought of making this bok choy overwhelms you I would suggest defrosting a box of frozen peas and tossing them with olive oil, salt, and vinegar. Cheers!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Parmesan Broth with Arugula

The new year is a time for purging so I use the occasion to pull my years’ worth of parmesan cheese rinds out of the freezer to make a rich and tasty broth. In a large pot start by sautéing half a chopped onion and six garlic cloves in some olive oil along with a handful of parsley and a couple of grinds of black pepper.

When the garlic starts to brown add the cheese rinds and enough water to cover liberally then simmer for an hour making sure to stir occasionally to keep the cheese from sticking to the bottom of the pot. After straining add some chopped arugula, salt to taste, and make a note to start collecting your cheese rinds in 2016. Have a fun one!