Baking is science and I don't like formulas, but cooking is art and anything goes...and the simpler the better. It's all about less time at the stove and more time at the table. With a forty year passion for food I'm excited to share what I do in the kitchen nearly every day.

Tuesday, 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.