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, May 14, 2019

Cod Cakes

Finely dice two celery stalks, a medium yellow onion, and two to three cloves of garlic, sauté over medium heat in butter. Once translucent, set aside in a large bowl. Season a pound of cod with salt, pepper, and paprika, or a store-bought mixture like Old Bay. Sauté in butter until barely cooked through, then set aside.

Mix together a tablespoon each of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard, two eggs, a bit of the spice mixture you used on the fish, and salt and pepper to taste…don’t be shy. Scrape into the bowl with the sautéed veggie mixture, then stir in a cup of panko, a handful of chopped parsley, and the cod broken up into smallish pieces. Using your hands, form the patties, place on cookie sheets, and refrigerate for 45 minutes to firm them up.

To finish, heat some veggie oil in a large pan over high heat and gently cook the patties until golden on both sides. Serve immediately with a lemon wedge.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Braised Celery with Parmesan

I love the flavor of celery, but hardly ever use it in anything other than the base of a sauce or soup with some onion and carrots…or raw with peanut butter. This dish not only puts celery front and center, but couldn’t be easier to whip up. And now you’ll have something to do with that half a bunch of celery in the back of the veggie drawer?

Cut 8 to 10 celery stalks into two-inch pieces. In a large frying pan over medium heat, sauté a chopped shallot in a tablespoon of butter for two minutes, add the cut celery and continue to cook for another few minutes.

Add a half a cup of chicken stock, cover, and simmer for five minutes. Uncover, and leave on medium low heat for another ten to fifteen minutes, or until the celery is tender. Salt and pepper to taste, and douse with grated parmesan.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Mexican Corn Salad

Using the same ingredients as the corn sold on the streets in Mexico, this salad will work with whatever your planning for Cinco de Mayo…even if it’s just margaritas.

Defrost a box of frozen corn and toss with a little bit of vegetable oil, a tablespoon of chili powder, and some salt and pepper. Place in a roasting pan and pop it in a 400-degree oven until it starts to brown around the edges, about 30 to 40 minutes.

While that’s cooling, mix together a few tablespoons of mayonnaise, the juice from half a lime, a half cup of crumbled Cotija or feta cheese, some chopped cilantro, and salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Stir together with the corn and serve.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Pork and Scallions Dumplings

These dumplings don’t exactly abide by my mantra of, less time at the stove, more time at the table...but they’re worth the extra effort. You might want to even double the batch so you have lots of extra for the freezer. This is a recipe I adapted from the Good Fork cookbook; you can find fresh dumpling wrappers locally.

To prepare the dipping sauce, combine equal parts soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, and a star anise pod if you have it. Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves then let cool.

For the pork mixture, sauté a diced onion until translucent. Add a bunch of chopped scallions, four minced garlic cloves, and a heaping tablespoon of minced ginger, cook for another minute then scrape into a large bowl and let cool.

Into the same bowl, stir in three quarters of a cup of crumbled soft tofu, a third of a cup of hoisin sauce, a pound and a half of ground pork, a teaspoon of kosher salt, and a quarter teaspoon of black pepper. Mix well.

Line a few cookie sheets with parchment paper and fill a small bowl with water. Take a dumpling wrapper and fill it with about a tablespoon of the pork mixture, then with your finger wet the edges of the wrapper. You can simply fold the wrapper in half and press the sides together. Or if you want to get authentic, watch a Youtube video on crimping a dumpling. Lay the folded dumplings out on the cookie sheets.

To cook, heat a little bit of oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat and add enough dumplings without crowding the pan. Brown for a few minutes on one side, add a quarter inch of water, cover, and steam about five minutes or until the water evaporates. Remove the cover, flip, and brown the other side. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

Freeze any uneaten dumplings on the cookie sheets for about fifteen minutes, then transfer into freezer bags. Once frozen, they’ll last for several months.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Pan Fried Sole

Delicately flakey, flavorful, and ready in less than ten minutes, this pan-fried sole makes for the perfect weeknight dinner. To start, liberally season your fillets with salt and pepper, cut them in half if they’re on the larger side. Then, in a big bowl, dust them thoroughly with flour being sure to shake off any excess.

Set a large frying pan over medium heat and melt a few tablespoons of butter, olive oil, or a combination of both. Once hot, quickly fry the fillets until golden, it won’t take more than a couple of minutes per side. Remove using a spatula and transfer them to a warm plate while you finish cooking all of the fish. Depending on how much you have, you may need to add some additional butter and oil to the pan.

Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon. Or with a spoonful of pureed spinach, garlic, olive oil, and salt, as shown here.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Cucumber Radish Salad

Five years ago, I never saw a Persian cucumber on a supermarket shelf, now they’re everywhere. How’s that? While I have no idea how these baby cukes climbed to the top of the salad veggie charts so quickly, I’m thrilled to have them readily available.

For the dressing, whisk together equal parts extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, a minced shallot, and a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Next, cut your Persian cucumbers into half inch chunks and put in a large bowl with thinly sliced radishes and a healthy handful of coarsely chopped parsley. Toss with the dressing, then salt and pepper to taste.

Sounds too easy, but this salad is more complex then it lets on. And it works equally well for a weeknight meal as it does for Easter lunch.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Korean Chicken and Peanuts

A no-cook three ingredient sauce, now that’s my kind of cooking. And no worries about finding the Korean chili paste, I've see it everywhere these days. And you’ll want to use it for lots more after you experience it on this chicken.

For the sauce, stir together a few tablespoons of the gochujang fermented chili paste with a quarter cup of orange juice and a splash of rice wine vinegar or mirin. You’re after a French dressing type consistency, so adjust the amount of chili paste and juice as needed.

Over medium heat, toss a few handfuls of dry roasted peanuts in a dry pan until they start to brown. Immediately toss them together in a bowl with a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil and some chile powder until well coated, then set aside.

After broiling, barbequing, or pan frying your lightly salted chicken, toss in the sauce and serve with the peanuts on top.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Vegetable Frittata

Spring is here! And what better way to spend a sunny spring morning than doing brunch while the slopes and trails soften up. Invite a crowd, then serve up a veggie frittata. You could even make it the day before and refrigerate.

Roast a container of cherry tomatoes at 400 for thirty minutes then set aside. Turn down the oven to 350 and heat three tablespoons of butter in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Next, quarter and slice three russet potatoes, generously salt and pepper, then sauté until they’re brown and tender. Remove from the heat and stir in four cups of chopped kale.

In a large bowl, whisk together 20 eggs, a cup of heavy cream, a tablespoon each of garlic and onion, a cup of shredded cheddar, and salt and pepper. Stir the egg mixture into the pan with the potatoes and mix gently. If the pan isn’t filled to the top, simply add some more scrambled eggs.

Over the top, place the roast cherry tomatoes, ¾ of a cup of sliced chevre, and a quarter cup of chopped basil. Then, with a steady hand, put the pan in the oven and bake for approximately one hour. You will know that the frittata is done when it does not jiggle when you shake the pan.

By the time you mix the Bloody Mary’s it will be ready to serve.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Crispy Asparagus Pesto

Spring, the season for all things Asparagus. And with crispy tips and shallots, what could be bad about this pesto. Cut approximately two inches from the tip ends of a pound of asparagus and toss with some olive oil and salt to coat along with a large thinly sliced shallot. Spread them out on a parchment lined cookie sheet and roast at 400 until lightly browned and crispy. Set aside.

Remove and discard the coarse white ends from the base of the asparagus spears, then blanch in a large pot of simmering salted water for five minutes. Scoop them out of the pot with a slotted spoon, run them under cold water in a strainer, and drain.

Bring the same pot of water back to a boil and drop in your pasta. While that’s cooking, cut the blanched asparagus spears in half and add to a food processor along with a clove or two of garlic, a bit of lemon zest, a quarter teaspoon of salt, and a large handful of pine nuts. While running, slowly drizzle in approximately a quarter cup of olive oil until you get a smooth mixture.

Next, add between a half and full cup of grated parmesan as well as the juice from half a lemon. Pulse quickly, salt and pepper to taste, and pulse again. Use some of the pasta water if it’s too thick for your liking, more cheese if it’s too thin. Toss with the pasta, then serve with the crispy tips and shallots on top along with some grated parmesan.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Caper Linguini with Garlic Breadcrumbs

This pasta dish is reason enough to always have capers, anchovies, garlic, breadcrumbs, and pasta in the pantry at all times. While your bringing your pasta water to boil, sauté three sliced garlic cloves in a heavy pour of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Brown the garlic on both sides then discard.

Turn down the heat to low and add a cup of breadcrumbs or panko to the pan. Toss occasionally for a few minutes with a spatula until it’s thoroughly toasted, then set aside. Add some more oil to the pan along with some capers, a drained can of anchovy fillets, and a pinch of red chili flakes. As it heats, break up the anchovies with a wooden spoon.

Before draining your pasta reserve a cup of the water from the pot. Once drained, toss the pasta in the pan with the anchovies and capers, some grated parmesan, chopped parsley, and the reserved pasta water as needed. Plate and top with the garlic breadcrumbs.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Lemon Turmeric Roast Cauliflower

This tangy roast cauliflower is a favorite at the East Warren Market, our local outpost in the old one room schoolhouse. And here’s how they do it? Preheat your oven to 425 and cut your cauliflower into individual florets. Make the dressing by combining four tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of one lemon, a teaspoon of turmeric, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper.

Toss thoroughly with the cauliflower and a thinly sliced lemon and spread out in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet, or in a roasting pan if you don’t mind scrubbing. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cauliflower starts to brown. Salt and pepper to taste and serve hot or cold.

I recommend a double batch as it makes for great leftovers.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Avocado Lime Pork

Thinly slice a pound of pork into half inch strips, season liberally with salt and pepper, and sauté in a large pan over medium heat. Cook for a fast minute then set the pork to the side. Add a cup of heavy cream to the pan with a teaspoon of cumin and some chopped cilantro, lightly boil for a few minutes to thicken. 

Stir in the pork along with any juices that accumulated, a diced avocado, and fresh lime juice. Simmer until the pork is cooked to your liking, salt and pepper to taste, then serve with another squeeze of lime juice, some chopped cilantro, and lime zest.

You could also spice it up by adding some cayenne pepper along with the cumin.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Salmon and Sweet Potato Curry Stew

It’s not like I had a craving for salmon and sweet potato curry. But when I came home from the market with some salmon and Japanese sweet potatoes and heard, “oh, grilled salmon and baked sweet potatoes again,” I knew I had to pull one out of the pantry.

Start by simmering a half a cup of lentils in salted water until nearly firm, not mushy, then rinse with cold water and set aside. In a large pot, sauté a Spanish onion until translucent. Add some half inch cubed Japanese sweet potatoes, chicken stock to barely cover the potatoes, along with some yellow or red curry paste to taste. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked through but still firm.

Stir in some fresh spinach and the cooked lentils, then return to a simmer. Cut your salmon fillet into one-inch chunks and gently settle them into the broth. Cover, and continue to simmer until the salmon is cooked through, about five minutes or so, then serve.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Radicchio Feta and Date Salad

The bitter radicchio, with the salty feta, and sweet dates, makes for a complex salad that comes together quickly for dinner any night of the week. In a large bowl, combine the radicchio with some chopped pitted dates, sliced cucumber, finely chopped mint, and crumbled feta. When you’re ready to serve, drizzle with your best olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and a splash of red wine vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.

To make it a bit more special, caramelize the dates in a hot pan and serve them over the top.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Chicken Cutlets with Celery Salad

Between the cornmeal crust, celery, lemon juice, and parmesan, this is one crunchy flavorful dish. To get your celery salad going, thinly slice the celery, then toss with some extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, shaved parmesan, mint or parsley, salt, and pepper.

Pour enough vegetable oil into a large pan to generously cover the bottom and leave over low heat. Prepare three bowls for battering the chicken, one with flour, one with some lightly scramble eggs, and the third with cornmeal tossed with some granulated garlic and paprika, or Lawry’s Seasoned Salt…but don’t tell anyone I told you that.

Liberally season the chicken breast cutlets with salt and pepper, turn up the heat on your oil, then individually coat the cutlets with flour, egg, and then the cornmeal. Cook for a few minutes per side, making adjustments to the heat so they’re golden but not burnt, and add more oil between batches if needed.

Drain on a brown paper bag and serve with the celery salad over the top.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Magic Sauce

It won’t get you very high, but it sure will make nearly everything you put it on taste exponentially better…like magic. This adaption of Melissa Clark’s Peruvian roast chicken sauce is one of the best things I’ve come across in a long time, and it’s just a matter of throwing everything into your food processor and pushing the button.

The ingredients include a bunch of cilantro including the stems, a quarter cup of crumbled feta cheese, two seeded jalapenos, a garlic clove, the juice from half a lime, half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a teaspoon of chili garlic paste, half a teaspoon of honey, half a teaspoon of ground cumin, and ¾ of a teaspoon of fine salt. No worries, there are lots of room for errors if you measure like I do.

Chop everything up into small pieces, put in the processor, then drizzle in a half a cup of olive oil while it’s running until you get a smooth sauce. Quickly smother your chicken, pork, beef, fish, veggies, or grains with lots of it.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Lo Mein

Like me, I’m sure you’re preoccupied with what to cook for Chinese New Year…the year of the pig. Let me tell you, there’s lots to love about this lo mein, not only is it quick and easy, but you can include pork, chicken, or just about any vegetables you happen to have in the fridge. And it’s really flavorful.

For the sauce, stir together a third of a cup of fish sauce, a quarter cup of maple syrup, a splash of vegetable oil, three minced garlic cloves, a tablespoon of Sriracha, and a few shakes of salt and black pepper. If you’re including meat, slice thinly and toss with a couple of tablespoons of the sauce in a separate bowl.

While you boil your lo mein noodles, or thin spaghetti, heat a large pan over high heat and cook the meat for a few of minutes until barely cooked through, then set aside. In the same pan, saute some sliced carrots, scallions, bok choy, kale, mushrooms, or any other veggies of your choice, add more vegetable oil if necessary.

Once tender, scrape them into a large bowl along with the sauce, the juice of two limes, the drained noodles, and the cooked meat. Toss well, and serve with Sriracha.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Crispy Cheddar Bacon Potato Melt

Crispy is the key word here, top and bottom. Pierce some baking potatoes with a fork, place in a roasting dish, and bake at 450 until they’re soft in the middle. Figure about one to one and a half potatoes per person. While they’re cooking, dice up some sliced bacon and fry until barely crisp in a large pan over medium heat, then set aside.

Once soft, smash the potatoes flat in the roasting dish with a potato masher then liberally drizzle them with extra virgin olive oil and a generous topping of kosher salt. Turn the oven up to 500 and cook for another twenty to thirty minutes, you want them starting to brown on the top and crispy on the bottom, without burning.

For the final step, turn down the oven to 350 and smother the potatoes with shredded cheddar. Top with the cooked bacon and cook for another fifteen minutes or until the cheese has melted completely.

Give ‘em a try for this weekend’s NFL playoff games, then again for Super Bowl…they’re that good.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Creamed Scallops on Toast

Why procrastinate any long on giving up your New Year’s resolutions? Do it now, and bring on the heavy cream, you won’t regret it…this scallop toast is well worth it. In a hot pan, quickly sear some bay, or quartered sea scallops, then set aside. Turn down the heat to medium, add some butter along with some sliced mushrooms, a large diced shallot, some minced garlic, and an overly generous amount of black pepper. Sauté for about five minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft and the shallots translucent.

After getting your toast started, add enough heavy cream to the pan, and a bit of clam stock if you have it, to barely cover the mushrooms. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the scallops, leave on the heat for another minute, salt to taste, then serve over the toast with some chopped parsley.