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, October 25, 2018

Japanese Vegetable Pancakes

Since having an Okonomiyak, or vegetable pancake, from a Japanese street vendor in New York last year I finally had a chance to make them at home. Good stuff!

For the sauce simply stir together 4 tablespoons of ketchup, 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce, and a spoonful of honey.

For the pancakes, thinly slice a quarter cabbage, two kale leaves, and two scallions, then combine in a large bowl with two grated carrots. Mix thoroughly with a quarter cup of flour, a half teaspoon of kosher salt, and three lightly beaten eggs.

To cook, heat just enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a large heavy skillet, then spoon a pile of the vegetable mixture into the skillet and flatten with a spatula. Cook three to four minutes per side, or until they’re brown around the edges. Drain on a paper bag and serve immediately with the sauce.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Chinese Pork and Black Bean Stew

Chinese Black Bean and Garlic Sauce is one of those condiments that miraculously turns an ordinary pork shoulder into a stew that you’ll hardly believe you made yourself. It’s a great Sunday meal as you need three to four hours of cooking time for the pork to get super tender, or any night of the week if you have a crock or instant pot.

Cut a boneless pork shoulder into one inch cubes and season liberally with salt. Over high heat, brown the cubes in a heavy soup pot with a little bit of vegetable oil, about five minutes. Turn down the heat to medium and add a couple dozen sliced white or cremini mushrooms along with four to five large cloves of chopped garlic. Stir occasionally until the mushrooms soften up.

Add water to cover the pork by at least an inch, bring to a slow boil, then add the appropriate amount of concentrated beef stock and a few heaping tablespoons of the Black Bean and Garlic sauce. Cover and leave over low heat, or put in a preheated 250 degree oven. After an hour, taste, and add more beef stock and bean sauce as needed. After two hours, ladle out two cups of the broth into a bowl and set aside.

Once the pork is tender add four tablespoons of cornstarch to the warmish bowl of broth and stir with a fork until smooth, then add to the pot of pork. Bring to a light boil for a minute, stirring as the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat and serve with a side of rice.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Spiced Brussel Sprouts and Cashews

This dish is all about what you decide to add for flavor. While a heavy handful of minced garlic would suffice, some smoked paprika, cumin, curry, chili flakes, cayenne, or chipotle pepper would be way more exciting.

To shred the Brussel sprouts, hold them by the stem end and slice thinly with a sharp knife. Figure about five or six per person. Next, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add a couple handfuls of cashew pieces. Toss frequently to keep them from burning. Once you start to smell them roasting, slide them into a glass bowl and set aside.

Immediately add some olive oil to the pan and sauté a minced shallot or small onion until translucent. Stir in a teaspoon or more of your chosen spice along with the cashews, cook for half a minute. To finish, stir in the shredded Brussel sprouts and sauté until the sprouts are warm and wilted, but not soggy. It only takes a few minutes.

And as always, salt to taste.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Potato Crusted Pork Cutlet

It doesn’t happen very often, but this one is a wow! I mean what could be bad about fried potato crusted pork? I can’t believe I’ve lived this many years without it.

If you don’t have them already, get yourself some dehydrated potato flakes, aka, instant mashed potatoes. Prep three bowls for crusting your pork, one each for flour, lightly beaten eggs, and potato flakes.

Liberally season the thinly sliced pork cutlets with salt and pepper. Ten minutes before dinner, cover the bottom of a large frying pan with a thin layer of vegetable oil and heat over medium heat. Once hot, individually dust the cutlets with flour, dip into the egg, and then press each side into the potato flakes so they’re well coated. Cook for about two minutes per side, making adjustments to the heat so they’re golden but not burnt, and add more oil between batches as needed.

Drain on a brown paper bag, serve hot with a squeeze of lemon…and savor every bite.