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.