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, November 23, 2020

Crisp It, Cheese it, And Put an Egg On It

By the Saturday or Sunday following Thanksgiving, after a more than a couple of cranberry topped turkey sandwiches and big pot of turkey soup, I’m ready to be done with Thanksgiving for another year.  But, what about all those potatoes, stuffing, and roast vegetables that always seem to be the last things to go?

Crisp it, cheese it, and put an egg on it I say!  Any gravy left, even better.  If not, a handful of pickled jalapenos or spoonful of kimchi never hurt.

Heat a bit of oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Once hot, spread the leftovers evenly over the bottom of the pan, being sure to chop up any of the larger pieces first…and maybe forgo the creamed spinach.   Be patient, give them time to crisp up, if there’s a lot of butter in the mashed potatoes it may take a bit longer than usual. 

As soon as they’re golden and crispy, flip in sections and brown for another few minutes.  Top with a generous pile of shredded cheddar or other mild cheese then turn down the heat and cover. 

While the cheese is melting, fry or poach your eggs in another pan.  Just before the eggs are done, plate your crispy cheesy leftovers and top with the eggs. 

Now, Thanksgiving 2020 is officially over.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Dry Brined Turkey

Whether you’re making a big turkey, or a single turkey thigh, dry brining guarantees crisp and juicy results with only a minute or two of effort.  Just make sure you plan for at least 24 hours of brining time, two to three days for a larger bird.

Wash and pat dry your turkey and set aside.  In a small bowl, mix together a teaspoon of sugar with four tablespoons of kosher salt. You can also add black pepper, herbs, or spices to the mixture if you’re looking for some additional flavor. These quantities should give you enough dry rub for a small turkey, adjust accordingly.

Using your hands, rub the mixture all over the turkey, including the cavity if you’re making an unstuffed bird. Place the turkey in a rimmed roasting pan breast side up and refrigerate uncovered…yes, uncovered. Then stuff and roast as you normally would, no need to wash or dry off again.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

If being glazed with maple syrup and garlic wasn’t enough, what makes this dish especially perfect for Thanksgiving this year is that quantities can be easily knocked down to one or two servings for smaller gatherings.

Pre-cook your sweet potatoes by baking or boiling them whole for about 25 minutes, or until barely fork tender.  Let cool and cut them into quarter inch chunks.  This step can even be done the day before and refrigerated overnight.

As you’re nearing serving time, heat a little bit of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Once hot, add the sweet potatoes and toss frequently.  When they’re browned to your liking, turn down the heat to medium low and stir in some thinly sliced garlic and a generous pour of maple syrup. 

Continue to cook for another three or four minutes, tossing now and then so they glaze evenly.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Easy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Squash Kale Feta Pizza

Tis’ the season of squash and kale, and together with some feta they make for an exceptional Fall pizza.  And luckily, if you aren’t up for making your own pizza dough, there are two amazing local ready-made pizza crust options available.

Preheat your oven to 400.  Peel and thinly slice some butternut squash then toss with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper and lay out on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for another 10 minutes or so.  Remove and set aside.

To prep the kale, devein about a half a dozen leaves, chop coarsely, and blanch in a pot of simmering water for a couple of minutes.  Transfer to a strainer, let it cool slightly, then squeeze as much of the water out of it as you can.   Combine in a food processor with a clove of garlic, a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt, and an eighth to a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil…run until smooth.  You’re looking for a spreadable, but not too thin, consistency.

Prep your ready-made crust according to the instructions.  Using a rubber spatula, cover liberally with the kale mixture, followed by the squash slices, and some crumbled feta. 

Bake and enjoy!