Baking is science and I don't like formulas, but cooking is art and anything goes...and the simpler the better. It's all about less time at the stove and more time at the table. With a forty year passion for food I'm excited to share what I do in the kitchen nearly every day.

Tuesday, April 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!