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.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Sweet Potato, Onion, and Kale Hash

This hash is just the thing for Christmas breakfast or New Year’s Day brunch. Not only is it on the lighter side as far as hash goes, but you can prep it up to three days ahead of time. And it’s holiday worthy!

Cut your unpeeled sweet potatoes into ¼” cubes. Drop them in a pot of simmering salted water for a couple of minutes then drain well.

Sauté some chopped onion in a large frying pan over medium heat. After five minutes or so, stir the sweet potatoes into the pan and continue to cook. Give the pan a shake and a flip with a spatula every few minutes.

Once the potatoes are cooked through and the onions start to brown, add some finely chopped kale, a couple of minced garlic cloves, and a bit of salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium low and continue to cook until the kale is tender, about seven to ten minutes. Again, an occasional flip with a spatula wouldn’t hurt.

Salt and pepper to taste, then serve immediately with an egg on top. Or let cool and store in the fridge for reheating later. Hot sauce optional.

Happy Merry!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Pan Fried King Oyster Mushrooms

‘Tis the season for entertaining, and these pan-fried king oyster mushrooms make a special appetizer for an intimate gathering…and they’re ready in minutes. Figure a mushroom and a half per guest.

While you heat a few splashes of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, carefully cut your mushrooms the long way into 1/8” slices. Toss gently in a shallow dish with some olive, salt, and pepper.

Using a fork or a pair of tongs, place the mushroom slices into the hot pan and cook for approximately two minutes, or until they are lightly browned. Flip and do the same to the other side.

Turn the heat to low, remove the mushrooms from the pan and arrange on your plates. Add another splash of oil to the pan if necessary, then stir in some sliced garlic. Sauté for about a minute. Once they are browned on both sides, slide them onto your mushrooms along with some chopped parsley and serve.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Hot and Sour Soup

I made this one with chicken and black beans, but pork or tofu would have worked too, and the beans are optional. The broth and mushrooms are what it’s all about, and it all comes together in less than twenty minutes.

If you’re using meat, brown in a large stock pot then set aside. In the same pot, quickly sauté three minced garlic cloves and a couple tablespoons of fresh ginger. Add six cups of chicken stock, a large pour of soy sauce, a squirt of Sriracha, and a teaspoon of ground white pepper….no worries if you don’t have any, use half a teaspoon of black pepper.

As soon as it boils stir in ten or so thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, then turn down the heat and simmer for ten minutes. While that’s cooking, whisk four tablespoons of rice wine vinegar and two heaping tablespoons of cornstarch together in a small bowl.

Slowly pour the mixture into the soup followed by a couple of lightly beaten eggs. Stir continually until you start to see the soup thicken and egg ribbons form.

Add the cooked meat or some diced tofu along with a few thinly sliced scallions and a couple teaspoons of sesame oil. Taste, and adjust with some more soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, or Sriracha if needed.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Radicchio Salad with an Orange Vinaigrette

Whatever you’re cooking for Thanksgiving classics, this salad’s refreshing combination of bitter and sweet makes for a light and tasty side.

For the dressing, whisk together half a cup of olive oil with a quarter cup each of fresh orange juice and red wine vinegar, a tablespoon of honey, a teaspoon of Dijon, some minced shallot and chopped parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.

You can go a lot of different directions with the greens, but start with radicchio. From there you could simply toss in some endive and watercress, or radishes and spinach for something less bitter, or maybe even some fennel.

To make it even more special, try adding toasted pistachios or walnuts, or a bit of gouda or pecorino cheese. Whatever you decide, wait until just before serving to toss everything together with the dressing.

Most importantly, have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Swordfish with Capers, Parsley, and Anchovies

With lots of prep going on for Thanksgiving, dinner on Wednesday night needs to be about simplicity and ease…not to mention something on the lighter side. These baked swordfish steaks check all those boxes.

Preheat your oven to 425, then grease a roasting pan using a paper towel and some olive oil. Spread out your swordfish steaks on the bottom of the pan and generously salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine equal amounts of finely chopped capers and parsley, along with a few minced anchovies…you can also use anchovy paste to save time. Mix well with enough olive oil so it will spread easily, then spoon it evenly over the swordfish.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. Remove from the roasting pan immediately so it doesn’t get overcooked. Serve with a wedge of lemon.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Crispy Oven Baked Wings

With the dark, damp, days of November upon us, it’s time to hunker down for some football. Unless you’re a Giants or Jets fan that is…very sad.

No need to fuss with deep frying or outdoor barbequing, with a flavorful dry rub, you can get them plenty crispy in the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 then heat your heaviest and largest frying pan on a medium burner to get it good and hot.

Using your hands, toss and massage the wings in a large bowl with a little bit of vegetable oil, and enough dry rub to cover each wing well. For the rub I start with a teaspoon of salt, two of sugar, then a combination of whatever is around; cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, almost anything goes.

Turn your exhaust fan on high, then slide the wings into the hot pan. After a minute stir them around, flipping as many as possible. Give it another minute, then using pot holders, put the pan in the hot oven for approximately 30 minutes.

They’re ready to go as is, or with your favorite dipping sauce.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019


It sounds fancy, but it isn’t, just a little Cuisinart magic….and it makes whatever you put it on come alive.

Put a large handful of parsley, or half and half parsley and cilantro, in your Cuisinart along with three chopped garlic cloves, a quarter teaspoon each of salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, a couple big splashes of red wine vinegar, and a teaspoon of oregano, if you have it.

Slowly pour up to a quarter cup of olive oil into the Cuisinart while it’s running until you’ve achieved a smooth runny consistency. You really want the vinegar to stand out, so don’t be shy about adding a bit more, salt and red pepper flakes too.

Easy, right! And your chicken, beef, pork, fish, broccoli, or potatoes will never be the same.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Squash Curry Soup with Roast Corn

The butternut squash is pretty tasty these days, and the addition of some roast corn makes for a nice twist on a classic soup.

As the chicken stock is one of two main ingredients to this recipe, it pays to use a quality brand. Personally, I prefer the roasted chicken Better Than Bouillon concentrated base. I also think its way more economical than a liquid stock in a box.

Start by preheating your oven to 400. Toss some defrosted corn with a little bit of olive oil and salt in a shallow roasting pan, then cook for 30 to 40 minutes…or until it starts to brown around the edges.

In a large soup pot, heat a few splashes of olive oil then sauté a chopped onion until translucent. Stir in some curry powder or paste, followed by the peeled, seeded, and cubed squash. After a few minutes, add enough water to cover the squash by at least an inch then boil lightly for 20 to 30 minutes.

Once the squash is very tender, stir in a teaspoon of chicken base, let dissolve, taste, and repeat until it tastes like you want it to. Take the soup off of the heat and puree until smooth with a stick blender, or let it cool slightly, and use a food processor. Stir in the roast corn, salt to taste, and serve.

To save some time, you could substitute some drained garbanzo beans for the corn.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Turnips with Crispy Shallots

You could put these crispy shallots on dog food and it would be incredible, but let’s just start with turnips.

Peel and cut the turnips into one-inch chunks, then lightly boil in an inch or so of salted water in a covered pot. While the turnips are cooking, halve and thinly slice lots of peeled shallots…you’re going to want extras for whatever you’re eating tomorrow…and the next day.

In a large non-stick frying pan melt a couple tablespoons of butter then sauté the shallots over medium heat for approximately fifteen minutes. Turn often so they brown and crisp up, but be careful not to let them burn.

When the turnips are cooked through and tender, drain and mash them with some butter, salt and pepper, and if you’re feeling it, a splash of heavy cream. Serve topped with the shallots.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Brothy Cabbage and Beans

It’s all about what’s in your pantry when it comes to weeknight cooking, chicken stock, canned beans, onions, and garlic are all must haves.

In a medium sized pot, sauté a chopped onion until translucent then add a quarter of a head of chopped up cabbage, half a minced jalapeno, and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Leave over medium heat stirring occasionally. Once the cabbage is fully wilted, stir in a few sliced garlic cloves, a can or two of undrained black beans, and a splash of water.

Bring to a quick boil then immediately lower to a simmer. After ten or so minutes stir in some concentrated chicken stock to taste, and a few squirts of ketchup to boost the flavor.

Continue to simmer until the rest of your dinner is ready to go. Salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Tortilla de Patatas

Warning! Making this Spanish potato omelet is definitely a pain in the spud, but if you have an hour and a little patience, it’s so worth it. There’s a reason it’s one of the most common dishes found in Spain.

I modified this recipe from one I found on Smitten Kitchen. Slice a pound and a half of unpeeled Yukon gold potatoes and a peeled sweet onion as thinly has you can. In an eight-inch non-stick frying pan heat up a cup of olive oil. Once hot, add the potatoes and onion and gently simmer for fifteen minutes, turning, and occasionally jiggling, so they cook evenly without browning.

Place a colander in a large bowl and carefully slide the mixture into the colander to drain and cool for five minutes. Generously salt and pepper.

Lightly beat six to seven eggs with some additional salt and pepper. Add the drained potatoes and onions and let soak for 10 minutes.

Return the non-stick pan to medium low heat, add a couple of tablespoons of the reserved oil, then add the potato mixture. Jiggle and flatten with a spatula, then let cook undisturbed for three to five minutes. You’ll want it to be golden on the bottom, but still wet on top.

Wearing oven mitts, set a large plate over the tortilla and quickly flip upside down, return the pan to the heat and slide the tortilla back in to cook the other side for a few minutes or more depending on the thickness. Slide it out onto a plate and lightly salt and pepper.

Slice and serve hot, at room temperature, or out of the fridge for the next few days. You can also save the oil for other uses that would benefit from an infused onion flavor.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Salmon with Caramelized Leeks

This could be one of the most satisfying things you can make in twenty minutes!

Salt and pepper your salmon then preheat your grill, skillet, or oven. Next, melt a few tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Slice your leeks in half the long way then cut into 1/8” slices, rinse and dry if necessary. Add to the hot pan along with a teaspoon of sugar and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper…mix well.

Stir the leeks every few minutes or so, allowing them to lightly brown, but making sure they don’t burn. While they’re caramelizing start cooking your salmon. They both should be done in approximately ten minutes. Top the salmon with the leeks and enjoy.

You see what I mean? And they’re just as amazing on chicken, beef, pork, rice, grains, or pasta. Or simply on their own.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Thai Beef Noodles

This sounds like a lot of work but it really isn’t, it’s all about prepping everything before you start cooking.

Pulse a half a cup of roasted salted peanuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Then, finely chop a seeded jalapeno, mince a teaspoon of fresh ginger, squeeze the juice from three limes, remove the corn from two cobs of shucked corn, and chop a large handful of mint and a half a bunch of scallions. That’s the hard part.

Now, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a half a pound of angel hair pasta. While that’s cooking, heat some vegetable oil over medium in a large frying pan and sauté the corn, after a few minutes crumble in a pound to a pound and a half of ground beef. When it starts to brown stir in the jalapeno and ginger.

Continue to stir until the meat is cooked through, remove the pan from the heat and add the scallions, mint, peanuts, a few tablespoons of sesame oil, a quarter cup of Asian fish sauce, and the lime juice. Mix well and serve over the drained pasta, or for a gluten free option, some wilted cabbage.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Roast Calamari

Quick and easy, easy, easy…that’s what I like! Preheat your oven to 400 while you cut up about a pound of calamari. Toss quickly with a splash of olive oil as well as a healthy amount of salt and pepper. You could also add some red pepper flakes for some heat.

In a separate bowl, add three minced garlic cloves and a handful of finely chopped parsley to 3/4’s of a cup of breadcrumbs and mix well. Combine with the calamari, and using your hands, toss until it’s well coated.

Spread the calamari on a parchment lined baking sheet, as well as any breadcrumb mixture at the bottom of the bowl, and roast for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with a squeeze of lemon, and don’t forget to transfer any calamari you’re not serving right away to a cold platter as it will overcook sitting on the hot baking sheet.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Tuscan Bread Salad

I’ve got a serious tomato problem; I just can’t get enough of them…or this salad, known in Italy as Panzanella. To really nail it you’ll need great quality ingredients, and the patience to allow the onions and croutons their required soaking time.

Toss ¾ inch cubes of baguette or sourdough bread in enough olive oil to evenly coat then brown them thoroughly on sheet trays in a 400-degree oven or in a cast iron pan on the stove. Lightly salt and pepper and set aside to cool. Figure at least 8 croutons per person as they’re the best part.

Soak some shaved red onion in a quarter cup of red wine vinegar in a small bowl. After twenty minutes remove the onion from the vinegar and put it in a large bowl with the croutons.

For the dressing, whisk a half cup of olive oil into the vinegar along with a minced garlic clove, a pinch or two each of salt and pepper, and a splash of balsamic vinegar if you have it. Pour over the onions and croutons, toss well, and leave for ten minutes.

To finish, mix the onions, croutons, and dressing together with some chunked tomatoes, a peeled and cut cucumber, fresh basil torn into large pieces, and salt to taste.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Eggplant with Parsley Vinaigrette

Summer isn’t over yet, and whether you grill the eggplant on the barbeque or bake it in the oven, this seasonal side dish is a winner. I also like the fact that you can prepare it ahead of time, even a day or two, and add the vinaigrette just before serving.

For the vinaigrette, go heavier with the vinegar than the oil then you would for a traditional dressing, maybe half and half. Stir in some minced shallot, a dab or two of Dijon mustard, lots of chopped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

Cut your eggplant into quarter inch slices, lightly salt both sides, and set aside for five minutes. Wipe the colored droplets away with a paper towel then toss the eggplant with some olive oil and salt.

Set the slices on a medium hot grill, or on parchment in a 375-degree oven. Cook until browned on the outside and creamy through the middle…making sure to flip once or twice. Serve right away, or later at room temperature, with some chunky spoonful’s of the vinaigrette over the top.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Lamb Chops with Spiced Yogurt Sauce

This yogurt sauce comes together in a few minutes, and it will turn your lamb chops into something you’ll be talking about the next day…the garlic may have a little something to do with it.

Combine the juice from half a lemon with a cup of plain yogurt, two teaspoons of cumin powder, a teaspoon of turmeric, a pinch of cayenne pepper, two cloves of crushed garlic, and a half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Salt and pepper your chops, then spoon a healthy tablespoon of the sauce onto each side to coat evenly. Cover with saran and put in the fridge for at least an hour.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and cook the yogurt coated chops to your desired doneness, serve with extra sauce.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Pan Fried Monkfish

It’s always exciting to see a new offering at the fish counter, and monkfish doesn’t take like any other fish you’ve ever had. Many say it has the characteristics of lobster…but come on now…lobster is lobster.

Cut the monkfish into ¼ inch slices and season liberally with salt and pepper, paprika, Old Bay, whatever you’re feeling. Barely cover a large frying pan with some vegetable oil and set on a medium hot stove, wait a few minutes for the pan to get good and hot.

Dredge the monkfish in flour, shake of any excess, and set in the hot oil. Cook for approximately two minutes, or until it is nicely browned. Flip and do the same on the other side. Serve immediately.

I served it over a corn, onion, green bean ratatouille, but almost anything goes. A caper butter, lemon and garlic, or simply sautéed vegetables would all be perfect.

So, if you’ve never tried monkfish, live a little and give it a go.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Spanish Gazpacho

After having the best gazpacho of my life at the new Mercado Little Spain at Hudson Yards in NYC last week, I was determined to figure out how they did it. No surprise, the recipe was all over the web…what a world! And it’s the easiest gazpacho I’ve ever made.

It’s all about getting a really smooth consistency, so cut the following into small chunks and run through the food processor in a couple of batches until finely pureed: a pound of cored local tomatoes, a small peeled cucumber, half a seeded yellow pepper, a third of a Vidalia onion, a small garlic clove, a teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of sherry or red wine vinegar.

With the food processor running, drizzle in an 1/8 of a cup of extra virgin olive oil to finish it off. Combine your batches and chill in the fridge for at least a few hours, or if you can, overnight.

Salt to taste and serve with some small croutons and a drizzle of olive oil over the top. Repeat at least once a week until the end of tomato season.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Spanish Quesadilla

Who doesn’t love a crispy gooey quesadilla? This Spanish take comes alive with some pickled onions and Manchego cheese. To pickle your red onion, stir together half a cup of apple cider or white vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar, and just shy of a tablespoon of salt. Thinly slice a peeled red onion, stir into the vinegar, and let sit for at least 45 minutes.

Drain a can of garbanzo beans and mash with a fork until pasty but still chunky. Stir in some smoked paprika, sliced scallion, and salt and pepper to taste. Next, grate the Manchego and chop some fresh cilantro.

Heat a little bit of oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Place a large flour tortilla in the pan then cover half with some grated Manchego, a layer of mashed garbanzos, some pickled onions, and chopped cilantro. Fold the other half of the tortilla over until the edges are lined up and cook for a few minutes per side or until the cheese is melted.

For a meatier option, add some cooked and crumbled chorizo sausage.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Escarole and Bean Bruschetta

Bruschetta’s are a perfect summer snack, appetizer, or light meal on a hot night, and the escarole I picked up at the farmer’s market made for a memorable treat that I was sorry to see end. Can’t wait to try it on a pizza.

To prep the escarole, remove the stem, cut the leaves into thirds, and wash thoroughly. In a large pot, quickly sauté five chopped garlic cloves and a generous pour of olive oil. Add a can of drained cannellini beans and a quarter cup of chicken or veggie stock, leave on medium low heat. When the liquid is reduced by half, add a large pinch of red chili flakes, freshly ground pepper, and the washed escarole.

Toss using some tongs or a spoon until the escarole is completely wilted, about five minutes. Stir in some grated parmesan cheese, salt to taste, and serve over a grilled bread slice with a drizzle of your best olive oil and a little more cheese.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Radish Pesto

Don’t compost those radish greens! The local radishes are better than ever this year, and the tops make for a tasty pesto. Start with a couple garlic cloves and a handful of pine nuts or almonds in the food processor, pulse until finely ground.

Add your washed radish greens and a third as much fresh spinach to temper any bitterness. With the food processor running, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil through the top until the mixture is runny. Next in is a quarter cup of grated Parmesan, pulse, then adjust your consistency with some more olive oil if necessary and salt to taste.

A large dollop will easily elevate any steak, chicken breast, or piece of fish to new heights. For a refreshing radish appetizer, grill some baguette slices in a medium hot well-oiled pan until crispy. Top with the pesto, a thick slice of feta, sliced radishes, and a sprinkle of coarse salt.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Spicy Fried Shrimp

Fried seafood tastes better in the summer, and a little spice in your cocktail sauce will cool you right down on a hot night. Set up your breading station with a bowl each of flour, lightly scrambled eggs, and breadcrumbs. Cover the bottom of a large pan with vegetable oil and set on a medium hot burner.

For the cocktail sauce start with a quarter cup of ketchup then add horseradish to taste. For some spice add a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a squeeze or two of Sriracha, or chili garlic paste, depending on your mood.

Salt and pepper the peeled shrimp, in batches of two or three at a time, dust with flour, dip in the egg, and coat with breadcrumbs. Fry them in the oil until golden brown, about a minute per side, then drain on a paper bag. Give them a squeeze of lemon and serve with your sauce.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Summer Noodle Salad

I have to confess, I attempted to make Vietnamese summer rolls this week but the rice paper didn’t cooperate…talk about a frustrating experience. However, the Rt. 100 noodles I recently had at the Mehurons’ deli inspired me to throw all the summer roll ingredients together for what turned out to be a pretty awesome salad.

Fill a bowl with hot water and soak approximately 4 ounces of vermicelli rice noodles for approximately 10 minutes. Run under cold water, drain, and set aside. To make the dressing, stir together a little bit of vegetable and sesame oil, some soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fresh lime juice, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad, combine a third of a bunch each of roughly chopped basil, mint, and cilantro, some sliced radish, carrots, cucumber, and snap or snow peas. Pile the drained noodles on a cutting board, cut into quarters, then toss with the salad ingredients and dressing.

If you’re looking for more of a meal, add some thinly sliced cooked shrimp or pork.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Steak with Tomatoes and Basil

Grilling season is here and sometimes simple is best, and this combination of a perfectly grilled steak with fresh basil and tomatoes can’t be beat. Especially when you use ingredients from you local farmer's market.

While your grill is heating up prep equal parts basil and spinach then place in a large bowl with some cut up tomatoes. Salt and pepper your steak and grill to your desired doneness then place on a cutting board to rest for a few minutes.

Toss the salad with a couple splashes of your best extra virgin olive oil, a generous pour of balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. After plating your steak pile the salad over the top along with any dressing that’s left in the bowl.

Oh yea, it’s summer!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Lazy Cod Enchiladas

Why wrap when you can stack? Preheat your oven to 350, warm up some enchilada sauce, then cut the cod into four-inch pieces and season liberally with chili powder, salt, pepper, and few pinches of cayenne pepper. In a non-stick pan, sauté the fish over medium high heat until barely cooked through and set aside.

Pour about a third of your enchilada sauce into a large oven proof dish, then one by one dip some tortillas into the sauce to coat and layer the bottom of the dish. Put some fish on top of each tortilla, then dip another layer of tortillas into the reserved sauce and stack on top.

To finish, cover with any leftover sauce, a Mexican cheese blend, and some sliced jalapenos, scallions, or sliced black olives. Bake until the cheese is fully melted and the edges start to brown.

Serve with some sour cream, salsa, or cilantro.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Thai Cucumber Peanut Salad

Even if you don’t make the cucumbers the spicy peanut cilantro mixture alone is worth doing, works amazingly well on salads, meats, and veggies. To make the topping simply throw a teaspoon of chili flakes, along with a quarter cup each of fresh cilantro and salted peanuts, and grind until finely chopped.

Cut some Persian cucumbers in half, then in two-inch pieces. Whisk together three tablespoons of peanut butter, two tablespoons each of soy sauce and rice vinegar, a teaspoon of sugar, a half teaspoon of kosher salt, and a minced garlic clove.

Toss the cucumbers with the peanut sauce and half the cilantro topping, then serve with the rest of the topping over the top.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Mushroom Spinach Spaghetti Pie

This spaghetti pie is the bomb, literally and figuratively. And just the thing for this hectic time of year when you can never have enough leftovers for last minute dinners.

Preheat your oven to 425 then boil a pound of spaghetti until al dente, drain and set aside. In a large Teflon or cast-iron pan, saute a finely chopped onion in some olive oil until translucent. Add four minced garlic cloves and a pound of sliced mushrooms…any mix of cremini, baby bellas, or wild mushrooms will work. Season with salt and pepper and saute for about ten minutes stirring frequently. Scoop the mixture into a large bowl.

In the same pan, add another splash of olive oil, 5 to 8 ounces of fresh baby spinach, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Saute for two minutes, then add to the bowl with the mushroom mixture.

In another large bowl, scramble 3 eggs and a cup and a half of whole milk. Add the cooked spaghetti, the mushroom spinach mixture, 3 cups of Fontina cheese, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, a teaspoon of pepper, and a cup each of fresh ricotta and grated parmesan. Mix really well then scrape back into your saute pan and bake for about a half an hour or until the top is golden.

Wait at least fifteen minutes before cutting. Serve hot, later at room temp, or cold out of the fridge. Trust me, the mess you’re going to make is worth it.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Braised Lemon Caper Chicken

I’ll take a chicken thigh over a breast any day, but if you do prefer breasts, braising gives you your best shot at keeping them moist. Liberally season your chicken with salt and pepper, dust with flour, brown on both sides over high heat in an ovenproof skillet, then set aside.

Turn down the heat to medium and add five chopped garlic cloves to the pan, sauté for a minute then pour in two cups of chicken stock and bring back to a simmer. Stir in two tablespoons each of lemon zest and coarsely chopped capers and let it cook for another couple of minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and bake in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes at 350 depending on the cut and size of your chicken.

To thicken the sauce, set the chicken to the side and return the pan to the stove and boil lightly for a few minutes…you could add some cannellini beans at this point too if you wanted. Salt and pepper to taste, stir in some chopped parsley, then pour the thickened sauce over the chicken.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Crunchy Gochujang Fennel

I’ve smothered this tangy fennel on salmon, pork loin, chicken, rice, even our Easter ham…it rocks! These quantities will give you enough for leftovers, because you’ll want them. And it lasts for days in the fridge.

Remove the tough outer layer and cores from two fennel bulbs and cut into quarter inch thick slices. Simmer for for a couple of minutes in a pot of salted water then transfer immediately to a bowl of ice water. Once cool, drain and pat dry with paper or cloth towels.

For the sauce, whisk together a three-inch piece of minced ginger, two minced garlic cloves, four tablespoons of gochujang paste, three tablespoons of rice vinegar, two tablespoons each of honey and sesame oil, a small handful of toasted sesame seeds, and Sriracha sauce to taste.

Toss the fennel with the sauce then salt to taste.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Soft Boiled Eggs

Not that I ever had to be convinced to eat soft boiled eggs before, but the arrival of salad season makes them even more irresistible. There are dozens of techniques out there all claiming perfection…here’s how I’m making them these days.

For minimal cracking and ease of peeling I’m a believer in bringing your eggs to room temperature before boiling. That being said, bring a pot of water to a boil and using a slotted spoon gently place your eggs at the bottom of the pot making sure they’re completely submerged. Immediately cover the pot, turn off the heat, and leave for seven minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water, wait two minutes, and peel.

They’re best served warm and oozy.

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.