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.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Raw Beets

As far as a ranking of lockdown vegetables go, beets are high on my list; They’re tasty, easy to make, versatile, and most importantly, they last for weeks in the fridge.

I’m sure you’ve roasted, steamed, pickled, or boiled them before, but have you ever eaten a beet raw? What could be easier, right? I’m not recommending eating a peeled beet like an apple, but thinly sliced in a salad is a great way to liven up the routine with color, crunch, and flavor.

A quarter to half inch-thick slice of a medium beet goes a long way. After peeling and cutting it into 1/16th inch strips, give them a quick rinse with cold water to minimize the bleeding if you want…I didn’t as you can see. Then toss with your salad.

Wrap up the rest of the beet with saran and store it back in the fridge, even cut it will be fine for days.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Anchovy Toast

This is the best lunch I’ve had in a while....definitely in a category of one that I didn’t want to end. And I the best part of it all, I dug all the ingredients out of my fridge, pantry, and freezer.

Plan ahead by pulling enough butter out of the fridge for as many pieces of toast that you’re planning on. Once it’s soft enough, use a fork to mash it together with some minced anchovies.

For those of you in the 8 to 10 range on the anchovy loving scale, I’d figure three fillets per slice. For the 4 to 7 range, two fillets, and for those that are 1 to 3 on the scale, just one per slice. Any zero’s at your table? Try half a fillet per slice but don’t tell them what it is. Seriously, I use anchovy paste to punch up a lot of things and those anchovy deniers just gobble it up.

To finish this off, cut an unpeeled garlic clove and half and rub your hot toast with the exposed center of the clove…kind of like lightly greasing a pan. Then smear it with the anchovy butter and serve immediately.

I had it along with a thinly sliced celery, shaved parmesan, and lemon salad. Perfect!

Monday, April 13, 2020


Are you getting tired of potatoes, beans, and pasta? Then get some grits! You don’t hear much about grits up this way, but I actually prefer them to their closest cousin, polenta. While both are made from corn, grits are a finer ground, making for a creamier more desirable texture…at least I think so.

Cheesy grits are pretty satisfying on their own, but they’re even better topped with shrimp, pork, chicken, or veggies in a tomatoey onion sauce. A bit of spice never hurt either.

To cook, gently boil a cup of grits in four cups of lightly salted water for about 20 minutes….you’re looking for a Cream of Wheat kind of consistency. Remove from the heat and stir in a few tablespoons of butter, a half a cup of shredded cheddar or grated parmesan, and a healthy grind or two of black pepper.

They reheat nicely for days so don’t be shy about making extra.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Roast Asparagus

The asparagus is looking mighty fine these days, and just in time for Easter. Whether you’re planning an intimate meal with your fellow self-isolationists, or a larger virtual one, no need to fuss over the veggie. One of my favorite ways to make asparagus is also one of the easiest.

Pre-heat your oven to 400, and cut off the coarse bottom ends from the asparagus spears. Place in a large shallow Pyrex, or on some parchment lined cookie sheets.

Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil then toss until it’s well coated. Generously salt and pepper and roast for approximately 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness. I like it best when it just starting to char at the tips.

You can stop there without feeling like an underachiever, it’s delicious as is right out of the oven or at room temperature. But, if you're looking for a bit more, a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice, or some grated Manchego or parmesan work well.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Mushroom Cacio e Pepe

I know many of you have a cabinet full of pasta because there’s hardly any left at the market….so a pasta recipe seems appropriate this week. Cacio e Pepe is one of my favorites, a perfectly simple Roman dish whose main ingredients are spaghetti, pecorino, and black pepper. I added some sautéed mushrooms to make it more of a one dish meal, sautéed spinach would work too.

Thinly slice and sauté some mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil until soft, salt and pepper then set aside. Boil a pound of spaghetti until el dente making sure to save a cup of the pasta water just before draining.

Drain the noodles and slide them back into the pot. Stir in a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, the reserved pasta water, and a cup and a half of parmesan, pecorino, or a combination of both. Mix together until the pasta is completed coated, stir in the mushrooms, then salt to taste and serve immediately.