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, December 14, 2017

Frisee Lardon

Tis the season for something a little special, and this French classic is just that. The first thing to do is remove your eggs from the fridge so they’ll be at room temperature by the time you poach them. Slice some thick cut bacon into ¼” pieces and cook in a heavy pan over medium heat until it starts to brown then remove from the heat.

While you’re bringing a couple inches of water, with a splash of white vinegar or pickle juice, to a boil, rip your frisee into bit size pieces and put in a large salad bowl. Put the bacon back on medium heat, stir in a minced shallot followed by a few splashes of red wine vinegar. Leave it on the heat to reduce while you poach the eggs.

Crack your eggs individually into a small bowl and gently pour them into the simmering water one at a time. Simmer for approximately two minutes, or until the yolks are to your liking, then remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a warm plate. Quickly toss the frisee with the warm bacon vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, then plate and top with a poached egg.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Beet and Tomato Soup

The more local the beets the better for this super easy, healthy, and flavorful winter soup. Sauté a chopped onion and a couple minced garlic cloves in a soup pot with a bit of olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add 1 ½ to 2 pounds of peeled beets cut into small chunks, a large can of crushed tomatoes along with their juices, and a quarter teaspoon each of cumin and cayenne pepper. Stir, then add enough water, chicken, or vegetable stock to cover the beets.

Bring to a boil then simmer covered until the beets are soft, about an hour. It’s not necessary, but at this point you can use your stick blender or a food processor to puree the soup to your desired degree of chunkiness. Season with salt and some additional cumin and cayenne.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sautéed Escarole

As a kid our Italian neighbor served this sautéed escarole at room temperature, but whether at room temperature or hot out of the pot, it makes a refreshingly delicious side dish. Like spinach, it wilts down considerably when cooking so plan on only three or four servings per head of escarole.

While you heat a large heavy pot over medium heat peel off any browned outer leaves from the escarole, cut out the tough bottom stem, and break apart leaving the leaves whole. Add some salt, chopped garlic, and a generous pour of olive oil to the pot, then a few minutes later, the escarole. Stir often with some tongs or a pair of spoons until it’s fully wilted, then drizzle some of your best extra virgin olive oil over the top.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Braised Leeks with Lemon

Here’s a good one for Thanksgiving, or any day of the week…they’re super tasty, easy to make, and can be prepped the day before. Start by removing the coarse outer leaves of the leeks and running them under water to remove any dirt. Next, dry and cut the leeks into halves or thirds depending on their size, then cut them in half length-wise.

Over medium high heat melt some butter in a large sauté pan, add the leeks flat side down and cook for a minute or two or until browned. Flip and do the same on the other side. Add some lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, and enough chicken stock to fill the pan to a height of an eighth of an inch. Cover and cook for a few minutes, then remove the cover and cook until the liquid is nearly evaporated and the leeks are tender. Salt, pepper, and serve with some chopped parsley.

If you’re cooking for a crowd, brown the leeks in batches on the stove top then roast with an eighth of an inch of broth in a large shallow baking dish covered tightly with aluminum foil. And if you’re prepping them the day before, pull them from the oven sooner so as to leave some liquid in the pan and throw them back in the oven the next day to finish and reheat.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Burnt Onion and Applesauce

My mother was ahead of her time, now burning food is all the rage. The caramelized flavor of the apples and onions gives this sauce the perfect balance of sweet and savory making it an easy way to glamorize pork and chicken.

Heat a large heavy pan over high heat while you quarter and slice a red onion and cube a couple of unpeeled apples. Add a bit of oil to the pan and blacken the apples and onion, stirring frequently for approximately ten minutes. Transfer the mixture to a small pot making sure to scrape all the good bits from the bottom of the pan. Add a sprinkle of koshers salt, two pinches of cayenne pepper, and a splash of apple cider or chicken stock. Cover and simmer for ten minutes, salt and cayenne to taste.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Honey Sriracha Delicata and Red Onions

The flavors and textures in this very simple dish make it a real winner, and you can balance the hot and sweet to your own liking. Preheat the oven to 450 while you wash, dry, deseed, and slice your squash into half inch pieces. Peel and chop a red onion and toss both together with a bit of olive oil and salt then roast in a large pan for forty minutes. Give it a good stir after twenty making sure to scrape up any pieces that may have stuck to the bottom.

For the sauce, start by combining equal parts honey and Sriracha. Taste, then add more honey or Sriracha according to your heat preference. In the end you want to end up with about a half a cup of total sauce, you can also add a splash of soy sauce to thin it out. When your squash is fork tender pull it from the oven, stir in three minced garlic cloves, then transfer to a large bowl and toss with the sauce until it’s well coated.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Puntarella and Tomato Salad

This late season mild weather has been great for hiking, stacking wood, outdoor dinners, and vegetables which were on full display at the Farmer’s market this past weekend. Mid-October and I had some of the best cherry tomatoes of the season, crazy! And it’s not over yet.

Puntarella is a pleasantly bitter green related to chicory, similar in taste to mustard greens. In Rome it’s traditional to only use the white stalks with an anchovy, garlic, and red wine vinegar dressing, but this isn’t Rome and I was in a hurry to get dinner on the table. Chop the puntarella and let it soak in some ice water for five minutes, then drain and dry thoroughly. Combine in a bowl with some tomatoes and toss with your best extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Asian Chicken Wings

It’s the fresh ginger and garlic that make these chicken wings so good, and no frying necessary. In a large bowl combine a one inch piece of minced ginger and two garlic cloves along with an 1/8 of a cup each of rice wine vinegar and soy sauce, a tablespoon of vegetable oil, a small splash of sesame oil, a generous tablespoon of chili garlic sauce, a teaspoon of sugar, and some freshly ground black pepper.

Salt a 1 ½ pound pack of wings and either cook on a cookie sheet in a 450 oven for 25 minutes, in a cast iron pan over high heat, or on the barbeque. When the wings are crispy and cooked through simply toss with the marinade and serve making sure to include the bits of ginger and garlic from the bottom of the bowl.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tomato Tart

I’m not a baker, but thanks to locally based, Kiss Tart, I don’t have to be. Their uber flakey and buttery ready-made dough made this late season tomato tart a memorable dinner…and breakfast and lunch the next day too.  

Thinly slice a couple of large onions and cook in a sauté pan over medium heat with three tablespoons of butter, a teaspoon of sugar, and a bit of salt and black pepper. Stir occasionally until golden brown. In the meantime, roll the thawed dough out into a thin crust and form into a half sheet pan or medium sized baking dish. Preheat your oven to 450.

Cover the bottom of the dough evenly with a cup of shredded fontina or Monterey Jack and a quarter cup of Parmesan cheese followed by the caramelized onions and a layer of small round, or sliced tomatoes. Brush the edges of the crust with an egg and milk mixture then bake for twenty minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Finish by topping it with a handful of chopped basil and a sprinkle of salt.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Golden Beets with Tahini and Pistachios

Peel and steam some golden beets until fork tender, let cool then cut into half inch pieces. For the tahini, whisk together or food process a half cup of tahini, the juice of one lemon, a quarter cup of hot water, and two minced garlic cloves until smooth, then salt to taste. Sprinkle with some chopped pistachio nuts before serving.

You are correct; there aren’t any pistachio nuts in the photo. I evidently took the picture prematurely. But they were there, and I will say without a doubt, they made the dish…as did the local beets.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Mussels with Chorizo

Lucky for us local food lovers, Vermont Salumi is just one of several local charcuterie makers utilizing the curing facility at the Mad River Food Hub, their chorizo was perfect for these mussels… lots of flavor with a little bit of zip. Start by mincing a two inch length of the chorizo and sauté for two minutes in a large pot with a generous pour of olive oil. Stir in a finely chopped shallot, and three minutes later, four to six minced garlic cloves.

When the shallot is translucent add a cup or two of clam stock depending on how many pounds of mussels you’re cooking. After bringing to a simmer add salt and pepper to taste. When you’re ready to go, turn up the heat to medium, add the mussels to the pot, cover, and cook until they’re firm all the way though, less than five minutes. Spoon into bowls with plenty of broth and garnish with chopped cilantro or as pictured here, caper aioli.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Crispy Fried Zucchini

I will warn you, these things are addictive. Tender, crispy, juicy, and full of the flavor of summer…make them while the zucchini is still local. Slice the zucchini or summer squash length wise into 1/8th inch strips, dust both sides with salt and pepper then set aside. Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with vegetable oil and set over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Next, prep a large bowl with a couple of scrambled egss, and another with flour, salt, pepper, and if you’re the herby type, oregano, parsley, or tarragon.

When everything is ready to go dip the zucchini slices in the egg, dredge in the flour, and then place in the hot oil. Repeat until you cover the bottom of the pan, making sure to leave a bit of room between each slice. Cook for a few minutes per side or until browned then transfer to paper towels or a brown paper bag. You may need to scrape your pan clean with a spatula between batches.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Chicken with Ratatouille

Not only is ratatouille great for making an ordinary meal extra ordinary, but this is the best time of year to make one given the availability of local vegetables. In a large pot sauté a chopped onion in a bit of oil until translucent, then add four minced garlic cloves and a cubed eggplant and cook for another ten minutes stirring occasionally.

Next into the pot goes a chopped zucchini, bell pepper, and a generous squeeze of anchovy paste for a burst of umami, continue cooking for another ten minutes. Following, stir in either a few chopped or premium canned tomatoes and a large handful of chopped basil and cook until the vegetables are tender. Salt and pepper to taste before serving over a grilled chicken breast, steak, pork chop, or lamb shoulder.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Cucumbers with Whipped Feta

I used cucumbers this time around but it could just as easily have been tomatoes, blanched green beans, or gilled zucchini…this whipped feta will make for a tasty appetizer or side dish. Puree 8 oz. of crumbled feta in a food processor for a few seconds to break up the larger chunks. Add a couple tablespoons of cream cheese or Greek yogurt, the juice from half a lemon, a peeled garlic clove, and a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil. Run until smooth then salt and pepper to taste.

Cube your cucumber and toss with some olive, lemon juice, and salt. A few minutes before serving give each salad plate a good schmear of the feta spread then spoon the cucumber over the top. If you’re thinking appetizers, serve it as a dip with some pita chips, or on a watermelon and basil bruschetta.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Corn, Tomato, Basil Risotto

August is the time for this fresh and creamy risotto, stick with local ingredients and you can’t go wrong. Get started by heating up six cups of chicken or vegetable stock and shucking and cutting the kernels from three ears of corn.

In a large pan over medium heat, add a bit of butter and, or, olive oil and sauté a large chopped onion until translucent. Stir in a cup and a half of rice and cook for another few minutes. Next, add a cup of your stock, stirring occasionally, until completely absorbed. Repeat with another cup of stock, after that’s absorbed, stir in the corn. Continue adding the remaining stock until the rice is al dente and creamy…approximately 25 minutes in total.

To finish, stir in some chopped tomato, chopped basil, a cup of grated parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. For an extra creamy risotto, add a couple more slices of butter. August at it’s best!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Poke Bowl

I just made my first Poke Bowl and I’m hooked, can’t believe it took me this long to discover one of Hawaii’s favorite foods. And what makes it so amazing for the home cook is that after the fish and rice, nearly anything goes. This time around I used salmon and scallops, but tuna would also be a great option, the fresher the better.

In a large bowl stir up a fish marinade of equal parts soy sauce and rice wine vinegar with a pinch of red chili flakes. Cut your skinless fish into chunks, about a third of a pound person, then toss with the marinade and refrigerate. Next, get a quarter cup of white or brown rice per person cooking in some salted water.

When choosing your other toppings think about varied textures and flavors, possibilities include but aren’t limited to: avocado, radish, seeds, nuts, seaweed, greens, cucumber, edamame, scallions, chills, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, and pickled vegetables. Combine your ingredients and mix with some rice wine vinegar, fresh lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, divide your cooked rice among the bowls while it’s still hot and top with the fish and other ingredients along with the excess marinade and dressing. Hit it with a bit of hot sauce and get ready for your next favorite meal. If sashimi isn’t your thing, you could also try substituting out the raw fish with some cooked shrimp, tofu, or chicken…or just lots of veggies.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Avocado Green Salsa

This tangy avocado sauce will elevate chicken, beef, pork, or veggies…and only takes a few minutes to whip up. In a food processor combine a peeled and pitted avocado, a small handful of cilantro, the juice from one lime, and approximately a half a cup of your favorite green salsa. Blend until creamy smooth then salt to taste. Looking for an appetizer? It’s also perfect alongside tortilla chips.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Roasted Radishes with Radish Greens

I’ve been throwing out radish greens for years, but after reading about this technique, never again. And roasting the radishes makes for a delicious change from the ordinary. Cut the radishes from the greens, trim the radishes, and wash the greens. Preheat your oven to 450.

Lightly char your radishes for a few minutes over high heat in an ovenproof pan with a little bit of olive. Season with salt and pepper then place the pan in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Using an oven mitt, return the pan to the stove top, add the greens and salt to taste then sauté over medium heat with a bit of oil or butter until wilted. Squeeze half a lemon over the top and serve.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Snap Pea, Mint, and Arugula Salad

The farmer’s market is really starting to get good, and the snap peas topped my list of favorites this week. To trim, simply snap off the stem and pull it down along the length of the pea taking off the string as you go. Then it’s just a matter of cutting them into half inch chunks, shell and all.

Combine the chunks with a handful of chopped mint and toss with fresh lemon or lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Before serving add some chopped arugula and mix well.

Don’t wait; the snap peas won’t be around for long.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Pan Roasted Swordfish with Garlic and Parsley

Swordfish is incredibly easy to overcook, and no matter how you serve it a dried out piece of swordfish is mighty disappointing. While this preparation doesn’t guarantee success every time, if you pay attention odds are good it will turn out pretty perfect.

Preheat your oven to 400 while you melt a half a stick of butter in a small pan with a couple minced garlic cloves, some chopped parsley, ground black pepper, and salt to taste. Heat a skillet over high heat, salt and pepper your swordfish, add a splash of oil to the pan and brown for about two minutes per side. Immediately transfer the pan to the oven and roast until cooked through, approximately 7 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of your steaks. Don’t be afraid to check often. Remove them from the hot pan immediately and serve with the butter mixture and a squeeze of lemon.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Kale, Sardine, Potato Salad

Until I had this sardine salad at a local restaurant a while back I never would have thought of using sardines this way, now I do all the time. And they’re a whole lot healthier and more flavorful than canned tuna. Give it a chance you sardine haters out there…you never know.

Cut some white potatoes into small chunks and simmer in salted water until fork tender, then run under some cold water to cool and drain. Empty a can of whole sardines along with the oil they’re packed in into a large bowl and chop up into little pieces with the side of a large spoon. Towel dry the potato chunks, then add to the bowl along with some chopped kale, sliced scallion, a small pour of extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Barbequed Chicken

After many years of experimentation I’m pretty happy with my barbequed chicken, juicy, crispy, and flavorful…what could be bad, right? And it goes without saying my technique isn’t very complicated. After washing and drying your chicken and lighting the barbeque, mix together some of your favorite spices, cumin, chili, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, or curry. It’s really hard to go wrong as long as you include salt and sugar. Quantities depend on how much chicken you’re cooking but you want to make sure you’re left with a couple of tablespoons of the mixture after liberally dusting your chicken pieces on both sides.

After dusting the chicken stir the remaining spice mixture into a bowl of your favorite barbeque sauce then divide into two parts, one for basting, and the other for serving. Start the dark meat chicken skin side down on the hot grill and cook until it lifts up easily, five minutes on high. Flip each piece, baste the cooked side with your sauce, and then add the white meat pieces skin side down to the grill. Cook all the chicken for another five minutes on high, flip, baste, and then turn the grill to low. Continue to cook, flip and baste every five minutes until the chicken is cooked through; you’re aiming for a good char without overcooking. Serve right off of the grill with the sauce you set aside.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fresh Tuna Salad Nicoise

Fresh tuna takes this French summer classic to another level. In addition to potatoes, green beans, olives, and eggs, don’t be shy about serving with some tomatoes, cucumbers, or radishes…whatever is in season. Start by setting a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil while you prepare the vinaigrette; anchovies, garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper.

Once the water comes to a boil add the small red potatoes, return to a boil, then carefully add the eggs with a slotted spoon and simmer for exactly seven minutes. Scoop your eggs from the pot, chill in a bowl of ice water for two minutes, then set aside. Continue to cook your potatoes until fork tender, adding the picked green beans to the pot for the last minute of cooking time. Drain the potatoes and beans in a strainer.

Finally, heat a sauté pan over high heat, peel and halve your eggs, quarter your potatoes, set aside your Kalamata olives, then salt and pepper your tuna slices and cook until medium rare…don’t overcook whatever you do, it only takes a couple of minutes per side. Immediately serve everything together with a generous drizzle of the vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Grilled Vegetables with Parmesan Basil Bread Crumbs

What I love best about this weekly column is it pushes me to search for the new and exciting instead of defaulting to the same old dinner standbys. And in many cases these discoveries are not only easy to prepare, but I already have the ingredients. These Parmesan basil bread crumbs I interpreted from the grill crazy chef Francis Mallmann are exactly what I’m talking about.

Over a medium low burner heat a generous splash of extra virgin olive oil in a large sauté pan. Once hot, add a cup of bread crumbs or panko and toss regularly until toasted and golden brown, about four minutes. Scrape into a bowl and mix with a half a cup each of chopped basil and grated Parmesan then set aside.

Toss your assorted vegetables in some olive oil and salt then grill or broil until they’re cooked through and charred around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature with a heavy sprinkle of the bread crumb mixture…a dollop or two of garlicky pesto never hurts either. Happy Summer!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Vietnamese Pork Chops

Here’s a marinade that makes it easy to go Asian the next time you grill pork chops. Combine a quarter cup of fish sauce, three tablespoons of rice vinegar, a quarter cup of light brown sugar, a finely chopped shallot, a splash of soy sauce, and a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, then use to marinate your pork for thirty minutes.

Remove the pork chops and save the excess marinade. While the chops are grilling bring the marinade to a boil in a small pot until it’s reduced by a third then brush over the meat before serving.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Oriental Sweet Potatoes

I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so excited about a potato, at least one that didn’t involve a lot of cheese and heavy cream. But these Oriental Sweet Potatoes that I only recently noticed at the market are very special, somewhere between a potato, sweet potato, eggplant, and a chestnut. Bake it, mash it, boil it, grate it…it doesn’t matter…you’ve got to try it.

For these sweet potato and black bean tostadas cube a potato, boil in salted water for five minutes, drain, then sauté along with a chopped onion for about ten minutes over medium heat. Add some black beans, a sliced jalapeno, and a little bit of chopped kale. Leave on the heat for another five minutes, salt and pepper to taste, then spoon onto crispy tortillas and top with some cilantro and your favorite salsa. Works just as well for tacos or burritos.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Grilled Ramps

Barbecue season is starting up and ramp season is winding down, but spring onions or small leeks work just as well for this seasonal side dish. Trim the root ends from your onions then toss with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill over medium heat until charred evenly, about five minutes per side, then turn the heat to low and cook for another five minutes to ensure they’re soft all the way through. Serve as is, with a squeeze of lemon and crumbled feta, or your favorite vinaigrette.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Spicy Avocado Toast

Korean chili powder is another spice I find myself reaching for more often these days, just another way to add some zip instead of the same old thing. You can find it at most bulk spice counters. Try it on this simple but incredibly satisfying avocado toast and you’ll see what I’m talking about. If not, you can always use red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.

Scoop out a perfectly ripe avocado onto some toasted bread or pita and mash down gently with a fork. Drizzle with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with some kosher salt and chili powder, and enjoy. Good right?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Roast Brussel Sprouts with Fish Sauce

Okay, here’s a quicky that packed with flavor and crunch…great as an appetizer or side dish. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees then in a small bowl combine a tablespoon each of olive oil, fish sauce, and rice vinegar. After that, coarsely chop a large handful of peanuts.

Next, trim and halve a pound of Brussel sprouts then toss with a bit of olive oil and kosher salt. Spread flat side down on a baking sheet and roast for twenty minutes, flip, then cook for another ten…crispy edges are good. Immediately toss with the sauce and chopped peanuts and serve.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Spaetzle

I always thought you needed a special kitchen gadget to make spaetzle, but according to Mark Bittman you don’t. And it turned out this version of his recipe I adapted was even easier to make than fresh pasta. After setting a large pot of salted water on high heat combine a cup of milk, three eggs, and a half a tablespoon each of salt and black pepper then beat well. Add two cups of flour and stir until it’s the consistency of pancake batter.

Turn the water down to a soft boil then with a spoon drizzle about half of the batter into the pot. Try to cover the bottom evenly, but no problem if it gets a little messy looking. Give it a few minutes, scrape any pieces from the bottom, then scoop out with a slotted spoon directly into a large bowl of ice water. Repeat with the second half of the batter then drain and toss with a little bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking together.

Before serving, brown well in a frying pan with butter or oil. And while it’s plenty good as is, it’s even better combined with some caramelized onions, fresh herbs, or Gruyère cheese. The best side dish ever…at least this week.

Monday, May 1, 2017

African Peanut Stew

If you’ve been looking for a reason to throw that bag of frozen okra into your cart at the market, this is your chance. For this stew it’s best to start with a little prepping, salt six boneless chicken thighs, finely chop an onion and a large piece of ginger , peel and cube a large sweet potato, and defrost a large handful of the okra pieces.

Heat a large splash of oil in a soup pot and brown the chicken for four minutes on each side. Set aside for five minutes then cut into chunks. Add another splash of oil to the pot and sauté the onion and ginger for five minutes. Stir in a few teaspoons of curry powder, a half teaspoon of black pepper, a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper then cook for another five minutes on medium low heat.

Next, add a small can of diced tomatoes, two tablespoons of tomato paste or ketchup, a cup of chunky peanut butter, the cubed sweet potato, and six cups of chicken stock. Simmer for thirty minutes. Add the okra and cut up chicken and continue to cook for another twenty minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, add salt and cayenne to taste.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Pea Shoot Pesto

It’s the little things that brighten your day, right? Like finding pea shoots at the market. Talk about a perfect spring pesto, and ready in as much time as it takes to boil pasta.

In a food processor combine a quarter cup of pine nuts, two peeled garlic cloves, a teaspoon of kosher salt, and a 6 oz. container of pea shoots…pulse until you get a coarse paste. With the machine running drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil until it’s smooth, about a half cup. Add a half cup of grated parmesan, pulse a couple of times to mix, and toss with the cooked pasta.

I did garnish with some baby peas from the frozen food section but totally optional, they’re just for looks. The spring flavor is all in the shoots.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Crispy Eggplant with Garlic Marinara

Warning! This one is kind of a pain in the neck…but it’s totally worth it. Preheat the oven to 400 then thinly slice a medium eggplant cross-wise, use a sharp knife so that your slices are no more than a 1/16 of an inch thick. Set up a breading station with a bowl of lightly scrambled eggs and another bowl with a four to one ratio of panko to grated pecorino, salt and pepper are never a bad idea either.

Cover the entire surface of two rimmed cookie sheets with long heavy pours of olive oil. Individually dip the eggplant slices into the egg, followed by the panko mixture, making sure to press the slices down firmly so the breading sticks well to both sides. Lay them out in a single layer on the oiled cookie sheets and bake for approximately thirty minutes. Flip once halfway through and rotate the pans to minimize the chance of burning the edges.

While those are cooking sauté a few cloves of minced garlic until translucent then add a jar of your favorite marinara sauce and simmer. Drain the crispy eggplant slices on paper bags before serving with the sauce. And no worries about leftovers, they’re great the next day in a sandwich or salad.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Asparagus with Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette

If you don’t have any smoked paprika in your spice cabinet yet I only have one thing to say…what are you waiting for? It’s an effortless way to add depth and flavor to grilled meats, sauces, and salads, and turns a simple blanched vegetable like asparagus into something special.

In a mason jar combine half a cup of extra virgin olive oil, the juice from half a lemon, a splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar, two tablespoons of minced shallot, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, a half teaspoon of kosher salt, and a teaspoon of smoked paprika. Cover, shake vigorously, and set aside.

Cut off the bottom inch and a half from a bunch of asparagus and discard, then cut the stalks into thirds. Steam or blanch in boiling water for one or two minutes depending on the thickness of the stalks. If you’re serving them warm, drain thoroughly then toss with the dressing. If you’re serving them cold or at room temperature drain and set them in an ice bath for five minutes, then drain and toss with the dressing ten minutes before serving. Either way, make sure you shake the dressing well and get all that minced shallot up from the bottom of the jar.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Lamb with Mint Chimichurri

For this recipe I prefer to cut a boneless leg or lamb shoulder into two inch chunks, it makes for better marinating and more even cooking. The day before, stir together two cups of chopped mint, one cup of chopped parsley, five finely chopped cloves of garlic, a cup of extra virgin olive oil, the juice from a whole lemon, two tablespoons of kosher salt, and a teaspoon each of ground black pepper and chili flakes. In a large bowl rub half of the chimichurri mixture into the lamb, cover, and let marinate in the fridge overnight.

The next day, leave the lamb at room temperature for an hour or so before grilling, broiling, or roasting. Once cooked to your liking, immediately toss with the other half of the chimichurri mixture and serve….and get ready for a mind blowingly tasty Passover, Easter, or family dinner.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Beans and Leeks

I had the pork chops ready for the barbeque but hadn’t thought much about what to serve them with, but I did have a leek in the fridge that looked like it needed to be eaten soon. While heating a large sauté pan over medium heat I quartered, sliced, and cleaned the leek well in cold water.

After a healthy pour of olive oil I added three to four cloves of chopped garlic to the pan, stirred for a minute, then added the leek and a quarter teaspoon of ground black pepper. After stirring occasionally for five minutes in went a drained can of white navy beans and a couple pinches of salt. I immediately turned the heat to low and there they sat until the pork chops were ready. Good stuff!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Pea and Bacon Risotto

Defrost a box of frozen peas and bring in spring with the help of some creamy bacon goodness. In a small pot boil approximately six cups of chicken stock then turn the heat down to very low. Next, chop a quarter pound of bacon or pancetta into small pieces and sauté in a large pan over medium heat with a bit of oil until crisp, then scoop out the bacon and set aside.

Add two finely chopped garlic cloves and a shallot to the bacon fat and cook for a minute before stirring in a cup and a half of Arborio rice. When the rice is coated completely, pour in a half cup of the chicken stock and simmer briskly until the broth is absorbed. Stir well, then pour in another half cup of stock and repeat the process until the rice is al dente, about twenty minutes. In the end you may not have to use all of the stock.

While still on the heat stir in the peas, wait a few minutes, then mix well with the bacon, a cup of parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with some parmesan garnish.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chicken with Tzatziki Sauce

Two cups of tzatziki is probably more than you’ll need but it keeps for at least a week and works equally well with lamb, roast veggies, or as a snack on some toasted pita. Peel and dice half an English cucumber and combine with two cups of Greek yogurt, four minced garlic cloves, the juice from half a lemon, a splash of extra virgin olive oil, a teaspoon of kosher salt and pepper to taste. For maximum flavor its best if you give it at least two hours before serving spooned over your grilled chicken. You could also mix things up with some chopped mint or dill.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Lemon

I'm loving that broccoli rabe is so much easier to find these days, it’s so good in pastas, risotto, or as a tasty side dish. Most often though I simply sauté it with garlic, lemon, and chili flakes.  To start trim about an inch from the stocks then cut the remaining bunch into thirds. Heat a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add a quarter teaspoon of hot red chili flakes followed by the broccoli rabe and stir frequently for several minutes. 

Turn the heat to low and cover for ten minutes or until the stocks are tender. Increase the heat to medium, stir in three chopped garlic cloves and some more oil if necessary. Cook for another few minutes uncovered then squeeze half a lemon over the top and serve.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Soy Braised Short Ribs

If you’re looking for some Korean inspiration check out The Good Fork cookbook, that’s where I found this one. Salt and pepper four pounds of short ribs then brown over high heat with some oil in a large heavy pot before setting aside. Turn down the heat to medium and stir in a chopped onion, three chopped garlic cloves, and a two inch piece of peeled ginger sliced thin. Cook for five minutes.

Pour in two cups of dry red wine and reduce by half. Add two cups of chicken stock, ¾ cup of soy sauce, ½ a cup of mirin or rice vinegar, ½ a cup of brown sugar, ½ a cup of kimchi, and the cooked ribs along with their juices. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for a couple of hours or until the ribs are tender. Serve with rice and a bit of the sauce poured over the top.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Grilled Halloumi

You may be familiar with Halloumi, on Greek restaurant menus it’s called saganaki.  It's a salty semi-hard cheese that because of its unusually high melting point is amazing for grilling. There’s nothing quite like its warm, chewy goodness.

Place a large pan over medium high heat then halve the square of cheese diagonally. Once your pan is hot add a small splash of olive oil followed by the two triangles of cheese and cook until well browned on both sides. You could also grill it on the barbeque, either way, turning occasionally it will take about ten minutes.

As an appetizer you can simply serve it with a drizzle of your best olive oil, lemon juice, a bit of chopped mint, sautéed garlic, or some caramelized dates or apricots. It’s also a delicious addition to a warm or cold salad. And because it freezes well you can always have one on hand for a spontaneous halloumi fix.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Shrimp and Grits

Although traditionally served for breakfast, these shrimp and grits will satisfy any meal of the day. Peel your shrimp then season with salt and pepper and set aside. Following, boil four and half cups of water, whisk in a cup of grits and a teaspoon of salt, and gently simmer uncovered for thirty minutes.

While that’s cooking prep a cup of grated sharp cheddar, a quarter cup of parmesan, three tablespoons of butter, and half a teaspoon of freshly grated black pepper. Sauté the shrimp in a hot pan until cooked through, for more flavor you could add some bacon, garlic, and or scallions. When your grits are ready remove from the heat, stir in the cheese, butter, and pepper along with a few shakes of tabasco sauce, and serve with the shrimp over the top.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Shaved Cauliflower Salad with a Lime Vinaigrette

I think I just discovered my new favorite ingredient. Up until coming across this recipe in an old Bon Appetit the only reason we kept nutritional yeast in the pantry was for popcorn, but not anymore…it’s an umami burst worth using again and again.

In a mason jar combine a teaspoon each of lime zest, Dijon mustard, and honey with a quarter cup each of lime juice, and extra virgin olive oil. Shake until combined then add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast, a quarter cup of grated parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Shake again.

Quarter a head of cauliflower then with a knife or mandolin cut one of the quarters into 1/8 inch slices then toss with the dressing and let sit for at least ten minutes. To finish, stir in some arugula, spinach, or half a head of frisee. Garnish with some shaved parmesan and prepare to be blown away.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Turkey, Squash, Black Bean Chili

If you’re having any doubts about straying from your classic Super Bowl chili, don’t, this one is definitely super bowl worthy. In a large pot sauté two medium chopped onions until translucent then add a pound of the fattiest ground turkey you can find breaking it up into small pieces with a large spoon as it cooks.

After five minutes stir in three chopped garlic cloves, a ¼ cup of chili powder, a tablespoon of cumin, and some hot pepper to taste such as chipotle, ancho, or cayenne and cook for another five minutes. Next, add a large can of chopped tomatoes, a small can of tomato paste, and four cups of chicken or veggie stock. While that’s simmering peel and seed a small butternut squash and cut into half inch cubes.

Depending on your bean ratio preference add one or two cans of drained black beans and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another fifteen minutes before adding the cubed squash, bring to a boil then turn down and simmer for 40 minutes or until the squash is tender. Before serving stir in a handful of chopped cilantro and top with shredded cheese, sour cream, and or avocado. 

 Go Pats!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Cacio e Pepe

What I love about Italian food is that it’s often the simplest dishes that are the most satisfying; this creamy combination of pasta, cheese, and black pepper is one of my favorites. Boil a pound of noodles until el dente making sure to save a cup of the pasta water just before draining.

Dump the noodles into a strainer and put the pasta pot back on the stove over low heat. Melt a half a stick of butter in the pot then add the drained pasta and toss. Stir in a tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper followed by the reserved pasta water and a cup and a half of parmesan, pecorino, or a combination of both. Mix together until the pasta is completed coated by the butter and cheese then salt to taste and serve immediately.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Pork Ricotta Meatballs

Ricotta makes lots of things just that much better and these pork meatballs are high on the list. Whether you’re craving spaghetti and meatballs, meatball soup, or fried meatballs give these ricotta enhanced meatballs a try.

In a large bowl stir together a cup of ricotta, a third of a cup of grated parmesan, a half cup of panko, a lightly scrambled egg, a teaspoon of kosher salt and half a teaspoon of pepper. Mix in a about a pound and a half of ground pork and a splash of milk then form into balls. Brown completely in a hot pan then add to your tomato sauce, soup, or deep fryer to finish. Comfort food at it’s best!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Curry Poached Cod

The holidays are over and I need a break from butter, heavy cream, bacon, sweets, alcohol, and cooking…and not necessarily in that order. This dish takes a little cooking but not much, the most demanding part is making the rice.

In a large pan heat a can of coconut milk and your favorite curry paste or spices. Cut your cod or other white fish into two inch slices, salt both sides, then add to the simmering sauce. Cook for four to five minutes on each side and serve in a bowl along with some sauce and a scoop of rice. If you have any energy left you could garnish with some chopped cilantro.

Cheers to another year of eating!