Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fish Recipes

One of the people I work with asked me about cooking fish.  My standard answer is always "Don't overcook it".  What most people do however is just the opposite. Here is a method for a quick fish saute that finishes in the oven. It can be adapted to any kind of fish.  Do not use this method with Shrimp - you will overcook the Shrimp.

Set oven for 400

Take your fish out of the wrap or package and rinse with cold water. This will remove any loose scales or other debris left over from the fish monger.  Pat it dry and set on a clean dry dish. 

In shallow dish long enough to accommodate the fish, mix the following:

1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of cracked black pepper.
pinch of Smoked Sweet Paprika

mix together to blend.  Dredge the fish in the flour on both sides so that it is lightly coated.  Place in a preheated saute pan that has Extra Virgin Olive Oil and butter heating. (Don't let the butter brown) Fry the fish on both side until is it brown. Then place the pan in the oven for 3- 5 minutes until the fish is done.

Take the pan out of the oven and place the fish on a serving platter or plate.  Add a minced shallot to the pan and cook for about one minute then add 1/4 cup of a  good white wine to deglaze the pan.  Take it off the heat and add 2 tablespoons butter.  As soon as the butter is melted pour the pan sauce over the fish and serve.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blogger Issues

Google in its wisdom has created yet another new interface.  This one took me 15 minutes just to find the page where I can write a new post!!  So as I am learning this new interface there will be some days when nothing get posted.  I do apologize for that!!

I am working on some great recipes to share with you - I just have to learn how to do that all over again!

Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fire Up The Grill

It is time to talk about grilling. In this area most people are already grilling.  If you live in a place that grilling is seasonal now is the time to prepare your grill.  Even if you use the grill all year, it is a good time to do some basic maintenance.

Clean the grill - take the grates off and really scrub them. Use whatever method works best for your type of grate.  Clean the inside of the grill - the drip pans and the burners; the bottom of the grill where there can be deposits of semi burnt food.  All of those areas can be a fire hazard and make food taste bad.  If you have a charcoal grill, make sure all the vents work and that all the ash and any residue is clean out.

Taking the time now will give you better results.  Remember to rinse your grates well.  The first time you fire up your grill let it heat up and cook off any hidden cleaning residue.  Then oil the grates by taking a clean cloth of paper towel dipped in vegetable oil.

Enjoy one of the simple pleasures of live - food cooked over a grill!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Vegie Mac N Cheese

A great comfort food like Mac N Cheese can also benefit from the addition of vegetables. I like to add Cauliflower and Broccoli and some shredded carrots.  You could also add some peas and left over baked veggies too. I do recommend cooking the raw veggies for a few minutes and then shocking them in ice water before you add to the dish.

A good basic Bechemel Sauce will help you create a wonderful dish. I will add some finely diced shallots to the butter before I add the flour when making this.  They add a great layer of flavor. Once the sauce is thickened add your cheese.  Try using a combination of cheeses for a change.  I like Sharp Cheddar with Asiago and Parmesan, or Monterrey Jack.  I have use Gouda, Cheddar and Fontina.  Use what you like.  Once the sauce is done add it to the cooked pasta, and then add the veggies. Top with the usual bread crumbs and bake.  This is good enough to serve a main entree.  Here are some tips to help you.

1. Don't over cook the pasta. It needs to be aldente,  Once you drain the pasta, put it in some cold water to stop the cooking while you finish the rest of the recipe.  Drain the cold water and let it sit for a minute or two so that the water finishes draining.

2. Grate your own cheese.  If you buy cheese from the store already grated, it has been coated with a substance to keep those strands of cheese from sticking together.  That will keep them from melting in the same way.  In my opinion that does not help when making a sauce. Besides, it easy to do and you will save money.

3.If your Cauliflower has some dark spots you can soak over night in some salt water.  That will remove most and make the Cauliflower whiter. It does not add any salt especially if you rinse it.

4. Always use the best cheese, pasta and veggies. You will have a better dish and save money in the long run.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Summer Food Tips

Spring has Sprung - the hot temperatures are here in the desert. Time to prepare for Summer Fare. Some tips to make your summer cooking a little easier and enjoyable.

1. Simple Syrup - basically this just water and sugar in equal amounts heated to dissolve the sugar and then cooled.  This will sweeten iced tea, iced coffee or lemonade easier than using plain sugar. Makes life a lot easier when you want a cold drink on a hot day.

2.Cucumbers - these are used in salads and cold soups and sauces.  If you can't find an English Cucumber use a regular one but take the seeds out.  They can become bitter.  If you are using a cucumber in salad you may want to peal it or not depending on your taste.  I usually peal part of it leaving it in "stripes" to add a little decoration when sliced.  I also will take a fork and score the outside so when sliced the slices have an added decoration.

3. Salads - I do not recommend dressing your salad until you are ready to serve unless it is a Chopped Salad. The dressing will wilt the greens.  Try adding a cold protein such as chicken or ham to the salad and you have a complete no cook meal.  You can also use rice in cold salads for something different instead of greens.

4. Salad Dressings - it so easy to make your own fresh dressings.  I recommend using non-fat Greek Yogurt instead of mayonnaise to cut down on the fat. If you want to use regular yogurt drain it in a colander lined with cheesecloth overnight to remove the excess water. If you use mayo - use a good quality one and keep it cold!

These are just a few ideas that will help. I will have more later on in the season.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cook With What Is In Your Pantry

I love a challenge. Some days when I have not had time to shop that includes figuring out a menu for dinner. That is also where some really good recipes come from. Here is an example - I had limited time and found that I only had frozen chicken tenders and sun dried tomatoes in the pantry.  So I diced up some of the sun dried tomatoes, chopped the half of an onion I had on hand and make a great pasta dish out that and some Angel Hair Pasta and a little chicken base.

3 -4 chicken tenders - if frozen thaw in some cold water or in a Microwave.
1/2 onion -diced
Olive Oil
Three Sun Dried Tomatoes - packed in oil - reserve the oil you drain off and save the rest, Sliced
Low Sodium Chicken broth or base - 1/2 cup approx.
Angel Hair Pasta

Bring a pot of water to a boil add some salt start cooking the pasta.

Heat a non stick pan over medium heat - add the olive oil. Salt and pepper the chicken and saute until light golden brown. Remove the chicken and keep warm.  Add the onions and tomatoes and cook for few minutes.  add the chicken broth.  Deglaze the pan. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and add back to the pan with the reserved oil from the tomatoes - cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked.  

Test the pasta and if it is done, drain and add to the chicken.  Toss to mix and add some grated Parmesan Cheese.  Not too bad for quickie meal!

Monday, April 16, 2012


 Hard to believe that it was one year ago today that I started this blog. Over the last year I have shared hundreds of recipes and tips. The feedback from all of you has been wonderful! Thank you all for reading!!

To celebrate the anniversary, I want to share my recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium white onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped and seeded - or use salsa and omit jalapenos
1 quart chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5-6 corn tortillas or 3 cups of tortilla chips
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken – you can use rotisserie chicken or left over roasted chicken
2 avocados, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced
1 cup Queso Fresco or shredded Monterey Jack
Place a stockpot over medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, jalapenos, and tomatoes; (or salsa) cook, stirring for 15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked down and pulpy. Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings and add the corn chips or tortillas. Let them cook for about 20 minutes – they will dissolve into the soup and thicken it.  At this point I use an immersion blender. Taste and adjust to your liking.  I find that I usually add more salsa at this point and adjust the salt to taste
Ladle the hot soup into 4 soup bowls and put a pile of shredded chicken on top of each. Top with the diced avocado and fried tortilla strips and cheese.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I love my coffee!  I use a burr grinder to grind fresh beans every day. Imagine my horror when I found out it had finally died!!  I have cleaned it out several times but today it just died!  So after some research I did find an alternative - my blender.  It works very well but I do advise you to use a small amount of beans and grind two or three smaller batches instead of one big one. Pulse the blender until you have the grind you want. 

Tomorrow I start a search for a new grinder.  The Blender is fine for now but I need a grinder. BTW the one have been using is about 15 years old.  It had a good life and I will retire it!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Swiss Steak - Oven method

Yesterday was windy and cool.  That sort of weather always makes me feel like comfort food. Here is a great recipes for Swiss Steak done in the oven. It is just another use of braising.

SWISS STEAK - Oven Method

1- 2 pounds of cubed round steak
1 onion - rough chopped
3 cloves of garlic - smashed
3 carrots peeled and sliced
2 stocks of celery - sliced
1 can of diced tomatoes in juice 48 oz or less depending on how much steak.

Preheat the oven to 275

Cut the steak into individual serving size and dredge in seasoned flour.  Heat a Dutch Oven and add EVOO to coast the bottom.  Fry the steak until both sides are brown and remove to a dish.  Add the onion and garlic saute for 2 minutes scrapping up any brown bits.  Add the steak back in and then the tomatoes.  Stir to scrape any other brown bits and bring to simmer.  Turn off the heat, put the lid on the Dutch Oven and place it in the oven.  After 1 m-2 hours add the prepared carrots and celery. Recover and place in the over for another hour. Serve over rice or potatoes.

If the "gravy" looks to thick add beef both.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I have left Williams Sonoma to take a job at The Container Store. I will miss teaching the cooking classes at WS but have started a  Private Chef Business to teach people in their homes.  I am so excited to start working at The Container Store!!  They are a GREAT Company with exceptional people and WONDERFUL products! They are also a partner store with Market America!  So check them out on my web portal before the store opens!

If you would like to find out more about my Private Chet Classes email me or leave a comment here.

Quick Tip - To keep your knife sharp, do not use the blade to drag food across the cutting board.  Use the back of the knife.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Ideas and Recipes

Just a quick announcement:  I am working to bring some new ideas and new recipes to the blog. DAVIS DUST will soon have new branding and a new look.  Along with that there will be some AWESOME new recipes and concepts. So stay tuned!!

Here is the last of the recipes from Easter Brunch class at Williams Sonoma. The Spinach Quiche is a variation of the quiche recipe in the cook book.

SPINACH QUICHE -   © 2010 Wes Davis all rights reserved


2 9 inch prepared pie shell – can be frozen – thaw before use
1 lb of spinach – frozen – thawed and drained of excess moisture
1 lb cheddar cheese – grated
1 lb bacon
1 cup of diced onion
8 eggs
½ cup of half and half
Salt & pepper to taste

Method – cook bacon until crisp but not burned.  Drain on paper towels.

Defrost spinach and place in paper towels. – twist to force as much water  as possible.  Put in bowl of food processor and pulse two or three times to break up.  Put bacon and onion in the food processor and pulse with the spinach until mixed.   Empty into a large bowl and add shredded cheese.  Mix to combine.  Divide between pie shells using a measuring cup.  Fill shells 2/3 of the way full.

Break eggs and whip until light. Add the half and half  and whisk until combined.  Divide between the pie shells filling up just below the rim.  If the level is not quite where you want it you can add some more egg mixture.

Place the pies on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for 45 minutes to one hour. Center should be set and not runny. Do not overcook. If it is puffy and slightly browned take it out.   Let the Quiche rest for at least 20 minutes before cutting.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More Sourdough Results

As many of the readers to this blog know I am experimenting with different sourdough recipes. Yesterday I made a Whole Wheat Sourdough bread that came out better than other attempts. The problem with using Whole Wheat is that the bread can be very dense and sometimes dry.  I was able to achieve a lighter loaf and better crumb by adding a cup of cake flour.  That was a fluke as I had used all my AP flour and did not want to add more of the WW flour.  As does happen in cooking, sometimes we get lucky when we substitute ingredients!  The end result was a lighter dough that was very wet and sticky.  Not usually what I am looking for!!  But after I poured it ( yes I do mean pour!) into the prepared pans it cooked up great.  When I can perfect the recipe it will be posted.  In the meantime, try adding some cake flour to your Whole Wheat Bread. just replace a little of the All Purpose or Bread Flour.

Monday, April 9, 2012

More Brunch Recipes

I got a lot of email and comments about the recipe yesterday. So I thought I would post another recipe from that menu.

COUNTY COTTAGE POTATOES © Wes Davis 2011 – all rights reserved

3 - 4 left over baked potatoes
1 red onion diced
3 green onions – sliced – all parts
1 orange pepper – diced small
1 – 2 cups of shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 teaspoon Garlic powder – adjust to taste
1 teaspoon Cumin – adjust to taste
Olive Oil

Cut the potatoes in to quarters and then slice in 1 inch slices.  Dice the red onion and toss with the potatoes.  Heat a skillet over medium heat and add EVOO to coast the bottom.  When the oil is hot add the potatoes and red onion.  Cook until the onion wilts and the potatoes start to crisp and turn brown.  Add the pepper, garlic and cumin and stir to mix.  When the potatoes are done, pour into an oven proof casserole and top with the cheese.  Place under a broiler to melt the cheese.  Add the green onions and serve. You can also have a good salsa and sour cream on the side.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cooking Class - Brunch

Thank you to all who attended the special class today.  I appreciate the good wishes on my new job and will miss our Sunday Classes.  In case you missed it, here is one of the recipes.

DIRTY FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE © Wes Davis 2011 – all rights reserved

1 loaf of day old French bread or Italian cut in thick slices cut in half
6 eggs
1 teaspoon Saigon Cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup of milk
1 cup of brown sugar packed
1 cup of raisins
1 /2 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans.

Preheat oven to 375

Break the eggs in a large bowl and add the Cinnamon, Sugar and Vanilla.  Whisk to combine and then add the milk.

Combine the brown sugar, raisins and nuts in bowl. Set aside

Take the slices of bread and dip into the mixture and then layer in a buttered casserole dish by placing the crust up.  As soon as you have one layer sprinkle some of the sugar mixture over it and then start another layer.  Continue until the bread is all in the dish. Sprinkle any remain sugar mixture over.  If there is some egg mixture left pour it over the dish. 

Place the casserole dish on a sheet pan and bake for 35 – 50 minutes until it is slightly browned and all the egg mixture is cooked. It should look like a moist bread pudding.

Everyone loved this recipe. If you make it at home, I recommend covering the dish with foil as it bakes to trap the moisture.  I baked this for 25 minutes and it was very tasty! 

For those attended the classes I am available as a Private Chef to cook in your home or for private tutoring. Just email me. To prevent spam the email address is vegas wes at gmail dot com.  All one word.  or leave a comment here.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Sunday Brunch

This Sunday I will be teaching a class on Easter Sunday Brunch at Williams Sonoma in Green Valley at The District in Henderson Nevada.  The Class starts at 12:15 due to the shortened Holiday hours.  This is special class that showcases some of my own recipes.  It is also the last class I will teach at that location for awhile.  I am leaving Williams Sonoma to accept another job with higher pay and benefits.  I wish the company and all the great staff at that store the best! 

So come by and join the class!  I post pictures and recipes tomorrow. Here is what I will be doing.

Spinach Quiche
Dirty French Toast Casserole
Cottage potatoes

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Ham

Easter Ham is a tradition for many people. I am not sure why but it is. There are several great recipes on line that show a myriad of ways and seasonings.  There are spiral sliced hams ( I usually do not use these unless there is a large crowd.  Afterward the meat tends to dry out. But they are great on a buffet.) there are also half and full hams.  You have a choice of the type and size as well as preparation. 

I like a simple easy method.  I use a half ham unless there is a huge crowd.  I place the ham face down in a roasting pan.  I make several shallow cuts on the ham leaving a diagonal pattern.  I place a Clove on each intersection,  put a lot of brown sugar on top and then I sprinkle with Coca-Cola to moisten the sugar.  I pour about a half of can in the bottom of the pan. cover with foil and roast at 275 for 30 minutes per pound. Simple easy no fuss.  My kind of cooking! The ham will be moist and tender and the spices in the soda add a great flavor.

Try it and let me know how you like it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chile Verde (pork)

I roasted a pork butt in the oven. I wanted to use the smoker but it was way too windy so I did it in the oven. That works great by the way.  I used the DAVIS DUST as the dry rub and cooked it at 275 for about 12 hours.  It was VERY tender and made some fabulous pulled pork for sandwiches and dinner.  However there is a lot of meat on one those!!  Here is what I did with the left overs.

Chile Verde

1 1/2 pounds of pulled pork
1/2 Spanish onion diced
3 cloves of garlic - smashed
2 cans of diced Green Chillies (not Jalapenos)
3 tablespoon of good salsa
1 teaspoon of good chili powder
1 tablespoon of DAVIS DUST
olive oil

Put some EVOO in a saute pan that has a lid.  cook the onions and garlic for 2 minutes and then add the rest of the ingredients.  Add 1/3 cup of water and simmer for 30-45 minutes covered.  Use in tacos and burritos or even on eggs!

You can increase the heat by adding some crushed red peppers.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Whirled Peas

No it is not World Peace - it is whirled pea soup!   Use fresh or frozen peas to make this quick soup.

1 Shallot diced
2 packages of frozen peas - 24 oz 
3 cups of Chicken Broth - you can substitute vegetarian or vegan

Saute the shallot in 1 tablespoon of EVOO and 1 tablespoon of butter. Do not brown
add peas and broth and cook until the peas are tender - about 5 - 10 minutes.  Use an immersion blender and puree the soup but do not make it like baby food,  A little texture is great.

Add seasoning to taste.  Serve with crusty bread and a dollop of sour cream or Greek Yogurt.  You can also top with some sliced scallions.