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, December 20, 2021

Easy Skillet Enchiladas

This is a great one for a New Year’s Eve gathering or some end of the season football!  Not only is it sure to please, but it can be prepped beforehand, and will soak up three times its weight in alcohol. These quantities are plenty for a group of four to five, double or triple as required.

In a small sauce pot, heat a can of enchilada sauce on low. You could add three to four finely chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but not a deal breaker if you don’t. Love those things!

While that’s simmering, sauté a large shopped onion for five minutes over medium heat in a large sauté or straight sided pan. Add a pound of ground beef, a half a teaspoon of kosher salt, and a teaspoon each of cumin and chili powder. Once the meat is browned, if you’re using black beans or corn, now’s the time to stir them in. 

Next, pour in the enchilada sauce along with 12 corn tortillas cut into bite size pieces. Stir well, cover, and leave on low heat for about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.

To finish, spread two cups of shredded Monterey Jack or Mexican blend cheese and a chopped scallion over the top, then either remove from the heat and cover, or place uncovered in a 350 oven until the cheese is melted. Serve with your favorite salsa, and/or sour cream.

Cheers to 2022!

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Shrimp with Parsley Lemon Pesto

I honestly can’t say enough about the importance of a quality food processor, it’s a life changer in the kitchen. I’ve had the same one for nearly 30 years, with a couple of replacement parts, and use it at least twice a week. Treat yourself this holiday season, it’s one of the easiest ways to elevate your cooking.

One of the things I use mine most for are “pestos.” They aren’t all technically pestos, but almost always include some garlic, greens, salt, and extra virgin olive oil. For this shrimp appetizer, I used a chopped bunch of parsley, stems and all, and a handful of spinach.

I always start by finely pulsing a coarsely chopped garlic clove with a sprinkle of kosher salt. Next in goes the greens, then, with the food processor running I drizzle in the olive oil until I’ve reached the desired thickness and consistency. It usually takes around a quarter of a cup.

For this parsley lemon pesto, I squeezed in the juice from a quarter of a lemon along with the greens. And no matter the ingredients,” basil, arugula, cilantro, parmesan, or a splash of vinegar, you always have to taste for salt before unplugging your processor.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Anchovy Olive Skewers

These anchovy olive skewers, or Pinchos Gilda as they’re called in Spain, are the perfect nibble along side a holiday cocktail. There are many variations, but all include a pitted manzanilla olive, an anchovy, and a hot pickled pepper.

They go together quickly, and can be made hours ahead of time. If you can’t find plain manzanilla olives, the pimiento stuffed ones will do. And for the peppers, the Matiz piparra are best…and you can find them at Mehuron’s. You could also use a pepperoncini, or for something less spicy, a dilly bean.

Start by wrapping an anchovy fillet around the olive then skewering it together with a toothpick. Slide the pepper up against the olive on one side, and a cube of Manchego cheese on the other. Done.


Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Steamed Cauliflower and Celery

Time for a cleanse before the next round of holiday indulgences begin. Steaming doesn’t have to be boring; a flavorful mix of vegetables and a tangy vinaigrette will liven up any dinner.

Start with the vinaigrette by combining the juice from one lemon, three times as much extra virgin olive oil, a small minced shallot, some finely chopped parsley, and a quarter teaspoon each of sugar, salt, and black pepper. Mix well and set aside.

Next, cut a head of cauliflower into florets, and a couple stalks of celery into eighth-inch slices. Bring your water to a boil then add the vegetables to the steamer basket and cover. Cook until tender, about five minutes, but check after four by sticking a knife into the thickest part of a stem. You don’t want it to get too soft.

When it’s done, drain the hot water, let the vegetables sit for half a minute to drain, then toss them in a bowl with the vinaigrette.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Potato Latkes

Potato latkes were actually one of the first recipes I wrote about ten years ago when I started doing this column. Since then, I’ve tweaked a few things and if I do say so myself, they’re even better than they were all those latkes ago.

I still use russet potatoes, but no longer bother peeling them. And instead of the food processor, I grate everything by hand on a box grater…wearing goggles. I’ve changed up the quantities a bit as well, but otherwise, the ingredients are the same.

Coarsely grate a pound of potatoes and a large onion into a bowl. Add three tablespoons of flour, a half a teaspoon of baking powder, two teaspoons of kosher salt, half a teaspoon of black pepper, and a lightly stirred egg. Mix well, your hands work best.

Place a large heavy skillet on medium low heat with just enough vegetable oil to barely cover the bottom. When the oil is hot, take a quarter cup of the mixture with a slotted spoon and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can using the palm of your hand. Tip the spoonful of mixture into the pan and flatten slightly with a spatula.  Repeat until your pan is full but not overcrowded.

Cook five to six minutes, flipping, rotating, and adjusting the heat to get them just right. When they’re golden brown on both sides, transfer to a paper bag and sprinkle with some more salt. Serve immediately, or keep them warm in the oven until you’re ready.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Quick and Easy Falafel

Thanksgiving eve can be a little stressful for the cooks of the house, so keep it light and tasty with some quick and easy falafel. The quantities below will yield seven or eight patties, and can be prepped earlier in the day on Wednesday.

Rinse, and drain a can of garbanzo beans. Then, combine a 1/3 of a cup each of parsley and cilantro in a food processor with a large chopped shallot, four chopped garlic cloves, a couple of tablespoons of sesame seeds, a teaspoon and a half of cumin, and a quarter teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Pulse until it forms a coarse spread.

Add the garbanzo beans and four tablespoons of flour to the mixture then pulse in spurts.  You don’t want it to get too smooth, you’re looking for more of a chunky paste. If it seems too runny, add some more flour. Transfer to a bowl, cover with saran, and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.

To cook, form into two-to-three-inch patties and brown in a large frying pan over medium heat with just enough oil to cover the bottom. They don’t take more than a few minutes per side. Serve with some tzatziki, your favorite hot sauce, or to keep it real light with just a squeeze of lemon.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Shaved Brussel Sprout, Kale, and Pecorino Salad

I’m a big believer in a big fresh crunchy salad as part of our Thanksgiving meal. Don’t get me wrong, I love creamed spinach and green bean casserole, but it’s also nice to have something a little more refreshing at the table.

This one hits all the right texture and flavor buttons with a mix of Brussel Sprouts, lacinato kale, salty pecorino, sweet cranberries, and a citrus dressing. What makes it even more perfect for Thanksgiving is that it can be prepped hours ahead of time, won’t get soggy, and because it has dried cranberries, spares you from having to make cranberry sauce for the two people that actually eat it.

Thanksgiving morning, shave the Brussel Sprouts and devein and finely chop the lacinato…equal amounts of each. Combine and store in a plastic bag in the fridge.  You can also shave the pecorino and do the same.

The vinaigrette is simply some fresh lemon or orange juice with your best extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Shake well in a mason jar, then set aside.

A half an hour before you sit down, throw the greens and shaved cheese together in a large bowl with some dried cranberries, then dress, toss, and salt to taste.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Egg Kimchi Tacos

While I was savoring every bite of these kimchi egg tacos, I couldn’t help but think of one of my most trustworthy mantras, it doesn’t have to be difficult to be good.  A few quality ingredients and five minutes are all it takes sometimes.   

I always keep a pack of corn tortillas in the freezer, and have learned over the years that it pays to take the time to throw a wax paper divider or two between them so you don’t have to defrost the whole pack when you only want a couple.

Reheat the defrosted tortillas in the toaster oven at 300, or in a dry pan over a low flame on the stove.

When they’re soft, warm, and pliable, top them with a fried egg, salt, a pile of kimchi, and a squirt of Sriracha. A few chopped scallions or sliced avocado are nice too if you have them around.

So perfect…any time of day or night!

Monday, November 1, 2021

Squash, Kale, and Garbanzo Curry

Cold nights and curry go together like stacking wood and The Rolling Stones. What I especially love about this particular combination is the way the sweetness of the butternut squash perfectly balances the spice and heat of the curry paste. 

As far as curry pastes go, my favorite brand is Maesri, particularly the masaman…it’s also the most economical at $2 a can. They often have it at the East Warren Market, but if not, it’s always available at the Asian markets in Burlington and online. But any curry paste will work.

Add a cup of chicken stock and the curry paste to a large pot and bring to a boil. Immediately turn down the heat, stir in half a bunch of deveined and chopped kale and simmer for about twenty minutes.  

Skin and deseed a large butternut squash, cut into ¾” cubes, then add to the pot along with a can of coconut milk and a drained can of garbanzo beans. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender. Salt to taste.

It makes a great meal on its own, over rice, or served with a piece of chicken or beef on top.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Eggplant and Red Pepper Pasta

There are two things that makes this pasta much less boring than it sounds, roasting the veggies, and the red pepper, caper, garlic puree.

Cut up a large eggplant and three red peppers into one-inch chunks, toss with some olive oil and salt, then roast on a cookie sheet for approximately forty minutes at 400.

Remove from the oven and pulse a third of the red pepper in a food processor with a couple splashes of extra virgin olive oil, two tablespoons of drained capers, and a clove or two of garlic until nearly smooth. You could also mash them together if you don’t have a food processor, or do, and just hate to clean it.

Cook a pound of pasta, drain, and immediately toss with the warm eggplant, red peppers, and red pepper puree. Chili flakes are optional.

Salt to taste and serve with grated parmesan.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Hash Browns

As far as comfort foods go, hash browns are way up there on my list. To start with, they’re just as amazing for breakfast as they are for dinner.  Can you say that about mac and cheese?  

And how about their adaptability? They’re incredibly perfect on their own, but if the situation calls for it, can easily embrace some garlic, jalapeno, melted cheese, bacon, fennel, kale…the list goes on and on. You can’t say that about beef stew, can you?

But it does take some patience to get them just right. The size of your potato cubes matters, no bigger than half an inch.  And par boiling the potatoes is necessary, just a few minutes in some simmering salted water. And whatever you do, don’t rush the browning, medium low heat for thirty minutes in a heavy frying pan.

For a pound of potatoes, sauté a large chopped onion for a minute with some oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Add your drained potatoes along with some more salt and pepper and continue to cook. 

You want the potatoes to brown, but without burning the onion, so adjust the heat as necessary. And stir well every five minutes or so…very important! As you near the thirty-minute mark you should start seeing some perfection, now’s the time to salt and pepper to taste.

And it goes without saying, the more local the potato, the better they’ll taste. Last farmer’s market this weekend.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

White Bean and Garlic Puree

As you’ve heard me preach many times before, it doesn’t necessarily take much to crank your dinner up a notch…and this bean and garlic puree isn’t just easy, but also super versatile. They’re just us good topped with a piece of chicken, beef, fish, or pork as they are with some crumbled feta, chili crunch, or sautéed veggies.

Empty a can of navy or cannellini beans into a strainer and rinse well with cold water. Peel and coarsely chop a clove of garlic and run for five seconds in a food processor with a quarter teaspoon each of kosher salt and black pepper.

Add the drained beans, turn on the processor, and slowly stream in about an eight of a cup of your best olive oil. Remove the lid and check the consistency; stream in more oil if you want it thinner.  Then just salt to taste.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup

Soup season has most definitely started, and you can find most of the ingredients for this flavor busting cabbage soup at the farmer’s market.

For enough soup for six, cook a quarter pound of chopped bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat for about five minutes. Add a chopped onion and three chopped carrots and cook for another ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Next in, a chopped medium cabbage, a tablespoon of caraway seeds, two tablespoons of light brown sugar, and a half a teaspoon of black pepper. Give that a good stir, cook for another ten minutes, then add a third of a cup of apple cider vinegar.

After five minutes, pour in a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, juice and all.  Stir, then add about 7 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a strong simmer and let it go for thirty minutes uncovered.

Finally, stir in a few squirts of ketchup, a quarter cup of chopped dill, and a large handful of raisins or craisins. To finish, simmer for another thirty minutes and salt to taste...when it comes to soups, sauces, and braises, I’m a big believer of waiting until the very end to salt. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

Roast Sweet Potatoes, Scallions, and Almonds


A single simple ingredient can be the difference between an ordinary and not so ordinary dish, and in this case, it’s toasted almonds.

Cut some sweet potatoes into one-inch chunks, toss with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast at 400 for about thirty minutes.  When they’re barely fork tender, stir in some chopped scallions and roast for another ten minutes.

While that’s cooking, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Once hot, cover the bottom of the pan with a handful of slivered or sliced almonds. Shake, flip, and stir until nicely toasted, about two minutes.  But keep an eye on them, there’s a short window between toasted and burnt.

Toss the potatoes, scallions, and almonds together in a large bowl then salt to taste.

Happy Fall!

Monday, September 20, 2021

Tahini Beans with Crispy Lentils

Summer is nearly over but the beans keep coming, and while this dish takes a bit of prep, it’s one of my new favorites. The cumin and honey spiced tahini alone would be enough to get excited about, and then add the crispy garlic and shallot lentils…wow!

Cut a pound of green beans into one-inch lengths then simmer in salted water for a couple of minutes. Immediately douse with cold water to cool, drain, then set aside.

Boil a third of a cup of beluga lentils until just tender, about 12 minutes. Run under cold water for a minute to cool, drain, then set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together a quarter cup each of tahini and extra virgin olive oil, the juice of one lemon, a tablespoon of honey, a teaspoon of ground cumin, and salt to taste. If necessary, stir in a tablespoon or two of water achieve a runny consistency.

Now you’re ready to start cooking. Toss the beans with some olive oil in a large pan over heavy heat. Once you start to see some searing, slide them into the bowl with the tahini and mix until coated well.

Turn the heat down to medium, add some more oil to the pan, then sauté a large sliced shallot and a few cloves of sliced garlic. After a minute, stir in the drained lentils, turn the heat up to medium-high and cook for another three to four minutes stirring often.

Spread the crispy lentils over the beans and serve.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Leek and Tomato Salad

This one is really about the blanched leeks, once prepped and stored in the fridge, I ended up eating them way more often than I would have. They were great for salads, omelets, enchiladas, on a bagel with cream cheese, or sautéed with some mushrooms and garlic on top of some grilled lamb. So if you’re going to go for it, prep three or four, they will last for days.

Another benefit of blanching, you don’t have to worry about cleaning them. Cut off the dark upper third of each leek and save for a soup or stew, then cut off the root end and discard. 

Cut the leeks down the middle the long way, then into 1/8 to ¼ inch slices. Once you’ve cut up all of your leeks, slide them into a pot of boiling salted water, turn down the heat and simmer for about two minutes. Remove immediately and plunge them into an ice bath. Drain and store.

And we can’t not mention that it’s still tomato season, the blanched leeks along with a lemon vinaigrette make for a delicately flavorful salad.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Frisee, Corn, and Potato Salad


What I love about this salad is the way the frisee wilts a bit when you toss it with the hot corn.  And then with a shallot Dijon vinaigrette…late summer perfection!

To make the vinaigrette, add a small minced shallot to a clean jar followed by a tablespoon of Dijon, a few heavy grinds of black pepper, three tablespoons of red wine vinegar, and six of extra virgin olive oil.  Shake it well, then salt to taste.

Cube or wedge some white or red potatoes into half inch pieces then lightly boil in extra salty water until barely fork tender.  Immediately strain and douse with cold water to keep them from cooking anymore.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, sauté a couple shucked corn and three finely chopped cloves of garlic for three to four minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Wash and cut your frisee into bite size pieces. Then, in a large bowl, toss it together with the potatoes and warm corn right out of the hot pan.  Stir in the dressing and serve.

If you add a piece of salmon or chicken on top, douse that with some of the dressing as well.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Watermelon and Green Apple Salad

School might be starting but summer isn’t over yet, and this salad is so perfect for a hot, humid evening with family or friends.

In a large bowl, toss together a medium cubed watermelon, two green apples cut into 1/4 pieces, the zest from a lime, the juice from two limes, a couple of splashes of extra virgin olive oil, a small handful each of mint and cilantro, and coarse salt to taste. 

If you happen to have any around, toasted mustard seeds are nice…as are chopped salted peanuts.  And the key to keeping it from getting soggy? Prep everything ahead of time, then wait until the last possible minute to toss it all together.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Mussels with Sausage and White Beans

On their own mussels aren’t really a meal, but they could be with a quick sausage and bean sauce. For two pounds of mussels, figure on two sausages, a can of drained white beans, and about 12 ounces of your favorite store bought or fresh tomato sauce.

Using a sharp knife, slice through the casings and slide the meat from the sausages into a hot sauce pan along with some minced shallot and garlic. Use a spatula to break up the meat while it’s cooking.

When it’s cooked through, add the tomato sauce, drained beans, and for a little heat, some red pepper flakes. Cover and simmer for ten minutes.

In a separate pot, bring a half an inch of clam stock or white wine to a boil, drop in the mussels, turn down the heat to medium, and cover. After four minutes, pour in the sauce and a handful of chopped parsley.  Give it a gentle stir, cover for another minute, check to see that the mussels are sufficiently cooked, then serve.  Grated parmesan is optional.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Tonnato Sauce

After you make this once, everyone in your household will be chanting for it before every meal. Tonnato is the bomb!  It’s awesome on cutlets, but just as amazing on tomato toast, steak, chicken, shrimp, grilled vegetables, pita toasts, a substitute for mayonnaise in egg salad, the list goes on and on. You can’t go wrong, and you’ll have so much fun trying.

Tonnato is reason enough to acquire a food processor if you don’t already have one. Add a half a cup of extra virgin olive oil, a quarter cup of drained capers, two drained cans of premium tuna fish in oil, a tin of drained anchovies, the juice of one lemon, and a half a teaspoon of black pepper. Process until smooth and salt to taste…but it shouldn’t need much.

If you want to thin it out, add some more olive oil.  If you want to thicken it up, add some mayo. But don’t wait, make it now.  I promise you’ll be wondering how you’ve lived this long without it.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Yogurt Herb Marinated Chicken

“I wouldn’t feed white meat to my dog!” A local chef said this to me a while back when we were talking chicken, and I couldn’t argree more. Even fried, dark meat reigns supreme!  However, in the spirit of open mindedness, and the fact that my wife enjoys an occasional chicken breast, I gave this yogurt marinated chicken a try…and it was actually pretty tender and moist.

In a large bowl, stir together a third of a cup of whole milk yogurt, five minced garlic cloves, the zest from a lemon, a small handful of cilantro, a splash of olive oil, four teaspoons of dried oregano or za’atar, and salt and pepper.  Mix in two pounds of chicken breasts or tenders, cover with saran, then put in the fridge for at least a few hours…overnight is even better.

Remove the chicken from the fridge, then broil or grill making sure not to overcook and dry out. To serve, top with a big squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of dried herbs.

In case you’re wondering, chicken thighs work really well too!

Monday, August 2, 2021

Blistered Tomatoes and Basil

Hard to go wrong with anything tomato these days, but this one way exceeded my expectations given how easy it was.  The high heat really brought out the sweetness in the tomatoes, and together with the balsamic and basil…crazy good!

Preheat your oven to 450. Then, in a large bowl, toss together a pint of local cherry tomatoes, enough extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat, a healthy sprinkle of kosher salt, and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

Pop them in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until they just start to split. Let cool for a minute, then stir in a large handful of coarsely chopped basil. That’s it!

Serve as a side dish, or pour over some fish, chicken, pork, or beef.  You can’t go wrong; I think they’d even work on vanilla ice cream. And make sure you use a spatula on the pan to get every last drop.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Summer Pea Soup

The peas I picked up at the farmer’s market were so good, I thought, these would make an amazing summer soup. But, being the lazy/practical cook that I am, the reality of shelling all those peas, not to mention the cost, made me think better of it. I bought a bag of frozen baby sweet peas instead…and the soup was still pretty amazing.

In a medium soup pot, sauté a finely chopped sweet onion in olive oil until translucent. Add four cups of chicken stock, bring to a boil, then add the peas and turn the heat down to medium.

Cook for five minutes then take the pot off of the heat. Either puree with a stick blender, or transfer in batches to a food processor. Either way, you don’t want to see any peas floating around in your soup.

Salt and pepper to taste, stir in a half a cup of crème fraiche, reheat and serve.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Cauliflower Mint Salad

Sometimes the trickiest part about putting out a meal isn’t making the food, but timing it so everything is ready at the same time. However, you can really increase your chances of getting it right when you include a side dish that can be made well ahead of time and served at room temperature.

Preheat your over to 450 and cut a head of cauliflower into small florets. Toss with some olive oil and salt and pepper, then roast for approximately 40 minutes, or until it’s caramelized around the edges.

Transfer to a large bowl, let cool for ten minutes, then stir together with a large handful of chopped mint.

If you’re eating within a few hours, leave at room temperature, otherwise refrigerate until an hour before you need it. Either way, give it a good squeeze of lemon before serving.  Of, if you’re really feeling it, prep a sauce with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to puddle under the cauliflower on a platter.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Classic Wedge Salad

There’s only one thing to do when friends bring over the largest, crunchiest, most beautiful head of iceberg lettuce from their garden that you’ve ever seen…break out the blue cheese and bacon.  Classics are classics for good reason!

To make the blue cheese dressing, crumble four ounces of blue cheese into a bowl.  Add a half a cup each of mayonnaise and sour cream, a third of a cup of buttermilk, the juice from half a lemon, a half a teaspoon of black pepper, and salt to taste. Mix well, then refrigerated for at least an hour.

While that’s chilling, coarsely chop and crisp up a third of a pound of bacon then set aside on a paper towel or brown bag.

To serve, cut the lettuce into wedges, remove the core and stem from each wedge, then generously dollop with the dressing followed by the bacon bits. 

If there’s any dressing left over, or if you were savvy enough to double the recipe, puddle it under a steak and roast potatoes sometime in the next week.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Honey Butter Shrimp with Wilted Greens

Bitter greens really make this dish pop!  This time around I used endive along with some local arugula…gave me a nice color mix. Other greens that would have worked include radicchio, mustard, and collard.

Season a pound of shelled shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet or sauté pan, slide in the shrimp and cook for a couple of minutes.

Flip the shrimp and leave on the heat for another minute or so, then stir in two tablespoons of room temperature butter and a tablespoon of honey. Turn the heat down to low and stir to coat well.

Toss the shrimp, and every last drop of the honey butter, together with the greens in a large bowl.  Let sit for a minute so the greens can wilt a bit, salt to taste, then serve.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Turmeric Black Pepper Chicken

Give your traditional bbq sauce the year off and give this tangy spice rub a try this holiday weekend…no matter what part of the chicken you’re planning on grilling.

For four pounds of chicken, mix together two teaspoons of ground black pepper, a teaspoon of turmeric, four teaspoons of kosher salt, and a teaspoon of sugar.  About an hour before grilling, use your hands to rub the spice mixture into the chicken.

What really makes this dish pop is fresh lime juice…once the chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the grill and squeeze two limes over the top then serve.

Happy 4th!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Roast Squash with Chili Yogurt and Cilantro Puree

Once I turn off my furnace for the summer, I don’t care how cold it gets, there’s no way I’m turning it back on until Fall.  So, when the nights get cool, dinner is all about roasting, and this Ottolenghi squash recipe is one of my new favorites.

Start by washing a large butternut squash as you’ll be leaving the skin on. Wipe dry and cut it in half the long way, remove the seeds, then cut it into wedges 2 to 3 inches long by ¾ inches wide.  Place in a large bowl and toss with a third of a cup of olive oil, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of salt, and some black pepper. 

Roast skin side down on a baking sheet at 425 for about 40 minutes, or until soft, then take out of the oven and let cool.

For the Chili yogurt, stir together a cup of Greek Yogurt and a teaspoon or two of Sriracha. To make the cilantro puree simply combine a half a bunch of cilantro, a clove of garlic, a large drizzle of olive oil, and a few pinches of salt in a food processor. 

To serve, liberally dollop the yogurt and cilantro puree over the squash as well as some toasted almonds or pumpkin seeds…if you happen to have some in the pantry.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Refried Beans

Most of the time it’s the sides that takes grilled meat or veggies to the next level, and some homemade refried beans will do just that.

Drain two cans of black or pinto beans into a strainer and rinse well. In a pot with a little bit of vegetable oil, sauté a small diced onion and four minced garlic cloves until translucent. It’s not necessary, but if you want to add some cumin, chili, or chipotle powder, this is the time to stir them in.

Add the drained beans along with half a cup of chicken or vegetable stock then simmer uncovered for twenty minutes. Salt and pepper to taste, then remove from the heat and either mash them with a potato masher, or transfer them to a food processor and pulse until you’ve reached the consistency you’re looking for.

Put them back on low heat and stir in the juice from a lime wedge or two. Serve topped with some crumbled Queso Fresco of feta if you happen to have some handy.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Roast Broccoli with Everything Bagel Seasoning


There’s always so much to do this time of year, and making dinner often becomes more of a chore than the highlight of your evening. We live in an incredible place, but on nights like these, I just wish we could get a pizza delivered.

This is when you need to pull out your secret ingredients, for this one I recommend everything bagel seasoning. It’s all about the condiments, right!

Preheat your oven to 450, then cut up your broccoli and toss well with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil and several generous shakes of salt and pepper. Mix it together with your hands, throw it in the oven, set your timer for 30 minutes, and go pull some weeds or get the kids in the bath. 

After 30 minutes, give it a quick toss and roast for another 10 to 15. You’re looking for some char around the edges. When you get it where you want it, set it on the stove and immediately hit it with the everything bagel seasoning.  Done!  Serve it right away or later at room temperature.

It goes great with cheese and olives too.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Soft Shell Crab with Lemon Aioli

Soft shell crab season has begun, and it’s a short one so don’t wait! Anyone that’s made them before knows how easy they are to prepare, as is lemon aioli, the perfect accompaniment. Whether you eat them hot out of the pan, or sandwiched between a grilled buttered bun, soft shell crabs mean the start of summer.

When you get your crabs, ask the folks at the fish counter to clean them for you…much easier. To cook the crabs, generously salt and pepper both sides, dredge in flour, and fry for a few minutes per side in a medium hot pan with just enough vegetable oil to barely cover the bottom. When they’re crispy golden, remove and drain for half a minute on a brown paper bag or paper towel.

The aioli can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge. Separate a room temperature egg then slide the yolk into a small bowl. Add the juice from a quarter of a lemon and a half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, whisk well.

Slowly drizzle about a quarter cup olive oil into the bowl while whisking constantly. If it starts to separate, hold off on the oil and whisk until it comes back together. When it’s about the consistency of a thin mayonnaise, season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Depending on what else you’re serving, you may want to also whisk in a minced clove of garlic.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Vietnamese Sauce

This traditional Vietnamese sauce also doubles for a super flavorful marinade as well as a salad dressing. This time around I marinated the steak for an hour, the brown sugar makes for some awesome caramelization. I then served it with a small bowl of the sauce on the side along with some raw cucumber and radish. Yum!

No cooking required, just stir together a half a cup of fish sauce, the juice from three limes and the zest from one, two tablespoon of brown sugar, two minced garlic cloves, and a seeded minced jalapeno. 

Monday, May 17, 2021

Celery Parmesan Soup


This is the perfect soup for this time of year, almost spring.

In a large soup pot with some olive oil, sauté a chopped shallot, a minced clove of garlic, and a chopped head or two of celery…leaves and all. Give it about ten minutes then add a quarter teaspoon of black pepper and enough chicken stock to cover the celery by about an inch. As always, the better the stock, the better the soup.

Simmer for approximately thirty minutes or until the celery is very soft, then puree using a stick blender or transfer to a food processor.

Put the soup back on low heat and stir in a cup or two of grated parmesan. It depends on how much soup you made, but it’s hard to add too much. To finish, salt to taste.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Roasted Eggplant with Oregano

Meat, veggies, cheese, beer, salami, tortillas, rum, the list goes on.  The number of food and beverage producers here in the MRV is incredible! And if we cooks weren’t already lucky enough, we can now add dried herbs to the list of local products. The Mad River Botanicals’ dried oregano I picked up at Mehurons for this eggplant roast was the best thing to fresh I’ve ever found on a supermarket shelf.

Preheat your oven to 450 then slice about two pounds of eggplant into ¾ inch rounds. In a large bowl, use your hands to toss the eggplant with a tablespoon of salt and enough olive oil to coat well.  It may take as much as half a cup depending on how thirsty your eggplant is.

Place the slices on parchment lined cookie sheets and bake for approximately 45 minutes.

While those are cooking, mix together six to eight minced anchovy fillets, a tablespoon plus of red wine vinegar, a minced garlic clove, two to three tablespoons of olive oil, a quarter teaspoon of black pepper, and a half a teaspoon of salt.

Pull the eggplant from the oven when they’re golden on the outside and creamy all the way through.  Set aside to cool, then gently toss with the anchovy mixture, a quarter cup of chopped parsley, and a tablespoon of dried oregano. 

Monday, May 3, 2021

Scallion Chicken

This one may look familiar, it’s an exceptionally tasty recipe I saw recently in NYT Cooking. I used a couple of pounds of boneless chicken thighs.

Preheat your oven to 450 while you stir together 4 thinly chopped scallions, 3 tablespoons each of Dijon mustard and fresh minced ginger, 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, a tablespoon of white miso paste, 2 teaspoons of lt. brown sugar, a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of black pepper, and 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil. 

In a large bowl, toss together the chicken and sauce until it’s well coated.  Spread the thighs out in an oven proof baking dish or sheet pan and roast on until they’re cooked through, approximately 25 minutes. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Crispy Potato Veggie Melt

Crispy bottom, creamy middle, gooey top, that’s why you should always throw in a few extra potatoes for later in the week when you’re making baked potatoes. 

Preheat your oven to 500.  Place your fully baked potatoes in an oven proof dish, squash them flat with a potato masher, salt, pepper, and drizzle generously with olive oil. When your oven reaches temperature, roast on a lower rack for approximately twenty minutes.

While your potatoes are cooking, slice up some mushrooms, scallions, spinach, kale, or leftover veggies you may have in the fridge…broccoli, cauliflower, or peppers…nearly anything will work. Sauté together until they’re soft and wilted, then salt and pepper to taste. You could add some chili flakes too for some heat. 

When your potatoes are crispy on the bottom and around the edges, pull from the oven and cover with the sauteed veggies and some shredded cheddar, mozzarella, or Monterey Jack cheese.  Turn the oven down to 350 and bake for another fifteen minutes.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Carrot Ginger Dressing

It was incredibly difficult to hide my emotions when I saw my first bag of local spinach at the market last week, big thanks to those that helped me get back to my feet. 

After I gained my composure, I couldn’t get home fast enough to make a salad. I wasn’t even out of the parking lot before I knew what dressing I’d be going with, carrot ginger…one of my favorites. It’s a sure thing whether you toss it with spinach, kale, iceberg, Brussel sprouts, endive, or grilled asparagus.

Roughly chop a couple of carrots and pulse a few times in a food processor. Add an inch or so of chopped unpeeled ginger, a couple tablespoons of fresh lime juice, three teaspoons of honey, a teaspoon or two of sesame oil, a quarter teaspoon of salt, a third of a cup of extra virgin olive oil, and a third of a cup of rice vinegar. Run until smooth, add more salt to taste.

Support your local farmers!

Monday, April 12, 2021

Bacon and Pea Pasta


This pasta is reason enough to always have bacon and peas in your freezer.

Cut a half pound of bacon into quarter inch slices and sauté over medium heat. Once it starts to brown, remove from the pan and set aside.

Add a large finely chopped shallot to the hot pan with the bacon fat and sauté until translucent. Slide in a couple of minced garlic cloves, cook for another minute then turn down the heat to low. Stir in the defrosted peas as well as the cooked bacon and leave on the heat while the noodles are boiling.

Before draining the pasta reserve a cup of the pasta water in a measuring cup and stir in a teaspoon of concentrated chicken stock.

Add a half a cup of the chicken stock to the bacon and peas scraping any bits up from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the drained pasta and a cup of grated parmesan or pecorino. Toss well, adding the rest of the chicken stock as to loosen things up. 

Let it sit for minute, top with a little more cheese, and serve.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Maple Soy Glazed Salmon


Maple syrup and mud, must be spring. Time to lighten things up in the kitchen, stew and casserole season is over.

In a small bowl, stir together a minced garlic with a few tablespoons each of maple syrup and soy sauce. Cut a pound and a half of salmon into four pieces then combine with the sauce in a large zip lock bag and marinate for thirty minutes.

Remove the salmon from the bag and pour the sauce into a small sauce pan.  While your roasting, pan frying, or grilling your salmon, reduce the sauce for a few minutes over medium low heat to thicken. Add some Sriracha for a spicier version.

Pour over your cooked salmon just before serving.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Fennel Avocado Salad

One fennel, one avocado, and half a lemon…that’s about all this super satisfying salad takes. A firm, barely ripe avocado will work best.

Cut the stalks from the top of your fennel bulb saving any fronds to add to your salad later.  Remove any wilted or coarse outer layers.  Cut in half, and halves again…quarters are easier to work with…then thinly slice.

Halve the avocado, remove the pit, and cut into quarter inch chunks. Combine the avocado and fennel in a bowl along with the juice from half a lemon, a few pinches of chili flakes, a nice drizzle of your best olive oil, the fennel fronds, and salt to taste. Yum!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Polenta with Mushrooms and Arugula Puree


I like my polenta soupy, think cream of wheat consistency. So, for a cup of polenta, ignore what the directions on the package say and use six cups of water.

Bring the water to a boil with a teaspoon of salt then slowly stir in the polenta. Turn the heat to very low and cook for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

While the polenta is cooking, sauté a finely chopped shallot and 12 to 16 ounces of sliced cremini or white mushrooms in a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Once the mushrooms start to brown, remove from the heat.

Peel two cloves of garlic, cut into chunks, then mince in a food processor.  Add two large handfuls of arugula and a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt. With the processor running, drizzle olive oil into the mixture until you get a smooth somewhat loose consistency.

When your polenta is done, stir in a little butter, half a cup of grated parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the polenta onto plates and top with the mushrooms and arugula puree…chicken or shrimp is optional. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

White Bean Garlic Soup


Dry beans are best as the water you boil them in makes for the richest broth. But canned beans are still good, just make sure you strain them and rinse well before using. Navy, cannellini, or any white bean will work.

If you’re starting with dry beans, soak for six hours, drain, then add them to a soup pot with enough water to cover by several inches.  Lightly boil until the beans are soft, then drain, making sure to reserve all of the bean broth. 

The golden-brown garlic is the key to this soup. Generously cover the bottom of a soup pot with extra virgin olive oil and set over low to medium heat. Add a handful of peeled garlic cloves to the pot and cook for around twenty minutes, stirring occasionally until golden all over…not dark brown.

Add a chopped onion and cook until translucent. Stir in the beans and enough liquid to cover the beans by a couple of inches.  Use either half and half bean broth and chicken stock if you used dry beans, or all chicken stock. 

Simmer for twenty minutes, then blend until silky smooth using a stick blender or food processor. If it’s too thick add some more broth or stock.  If it’s too thin, simmer longer.  Salt and pepper to taste.