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, 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.