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, 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.