Category Archives: Recipe

Red Light Green Light

There are TWELVE days of Christmas – all of you ever so eager to put those lights UP in November, don’t be in such a hurry to take them down – keep ‘em around at least until the 6th of January, the Feast of the Epiphany. That’s the day the Three Wise Guys, um, I mean Wise Men, finally get to the party. And let’s face it – January could use some low key good times, not to mention a little more light.

As for the red light….

Beets.

beetroot

Can’t beat them, so just enjoy them.

Last summer I used fresh tomatoes in salads and uncooked sauce for pasta. Once I found one recipe for uncooked tomato sauce, it seems as if there were thousands.

Or at least several.

Lidia!

lidia_bastianich_2014

Lidia Bastianich

Marian Morash!

vgcb

 

Total stranger from somewhere else!!

Newspapers and magazines…..

So when I got a new Italian cookbook (much of the Italian being American chefs in Italian restaurants…and the Italian cooking was restaurant cooking too.)

italian_intermezzo

 

AND

It came with music. To cook and dine with Italian music. The music was the deal-breaker.

As I was listening to Ciribiribin

– not to be confused with Chili Bean

 

I found yet another variation on the uncooked tomato sauce, but this one had a twist.

The variation called for beets.

RED LIGHT

That were cooked. For 1 1/2 hours.

Which is very different from uncooked. Or tomatoes.

So I really don’t know how this qualifies as a variation and not a whole new recipes.

BUT

I had beets….

GREEN LIGHT

So I scrubbed them, tossed them with a little olive oil and roasted them in a 350 oven for 90 or so minutes until they were tender.

I took them out of the oven and put some water on for the pasta…..

Alton Brown has embraced the cold water method for cooking pasta….

abeverydaycook

 

Cold water pasta is another post.

Anyhow,

While the pasta cooked

farfalle_pasta

Farfalle – butterflies!

I peeled the beets and cut them into a dice. Tossed with some olive oil wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Also some minced parsley and a little rosemary.

Added with the now cooked pasta and some ricotta, a 1/2 cup or so of the pasta water. Stir, taste, adjust, EAT.

It was pink…..and it was good.

It was NOTHING like the uncooked tomato sauce.

But it was delicious.

It was also good re-heated the next day.

 

 

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Filed under Books, Dinner, Italian, Recipe, winter

Comfort Food

What makes comfort food COMFORTING is that it’s big, and fast and easy and pulls no punches. And possibly takes you back to childhood, even one that wasn’t quite yours….so when someone from Minnesota mentioned missing Tator Tot Hotdish…..we were skeptics, but the Tater Tots….the tater tots…..so when she brought it in to share (this is a sharing dish), she had to write up the recipe.

tatertots

Tots, taters, potato goodness, potato rounds, potato puffs, tater puffs, Mexi-Fries

Here it is:

 

Minnesota Tator Tot Hotdish

1 lb. ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cans cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup

14 or 16 oz bag of frozen vegetables (I use peas/corn/carrots/bean mix)

1 lb bag frozen tator tots

2 cups shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350°

Brown beef and onion together on stove

Mix in the soup and vegetables

Spread mixture into a 9×13 pan

Arrange a layer of tots on top of mixture

Bake at 350° for about 45 minutes, or until tots are golden brown

Sprinkle cheese on top, and bake again until the cheese is melted and the mixture is bubbly

Erin Gillette, 2015

Want more hotdish the Minnesota way? Click here

hotdish

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Filed under Recipe, Supper, winter

#NationalPastaDay

is today, October 17th and I almost missed it.

Actually, ANY Day WITHOUT Pasta is a day I don’t have very often.

And I was raised to call it Macaroni.

Macaronis

in the plural.

macaronis

This image from Wikipedia under ‘macaroni’ is labeled: “macaronis”

Sometimes Noodles…….noodles could be macaroni. Like lasagna noodles….

Pasta was something we didn’t talk about when I was young, back in the olden days….

We had Baked Macaroni and Cheese for Friday nights – and nothing out of  blue boxes then either.

We had Prince Macaroni on Wednesdays….princespaghettibridgeIt was called the Prince Macaroni Plant. The facility was sold in 2014 and now Prince Pasta is part of a mega conglomerate.This bridge was (is) in Lowell MA.

 

….or whatever brand of macaroni was on sale, although we an an awful lot of Mueller’s.

 

muellers-pastaAnd now, for my sad rather pathetic recent macaroni story. It starts with broccoli….

Brassica oleracea var. italica

Brassica oleracea var. italica – the broccoli I was looking at was even more lovely then this!

I saw a beautiful, lovely, absolutely GORGEOUS head of broccoli at the store. I had purchased some feta at the Farmer’s Market and I remembered a dish that was Feta, Broccoli and Rice  from Jeanne Lemlin’s  Quick  Vegetarian Pleasures that I had not made in far too long

qvp-lemlin

This is soooo simple.

  1. Put the rice on to cook – I found the jar with rice, then a found another jar, with a little less rice….so I measured out the water, sauteed the rice, added the water and a little salt and set it up to boil.
  2. I rinsed and broke apart the broccoli into bite sized bits.
  3. I realized the original recipe called for tomatoes, choose to not use them, and got out some crushed hot pepper.
  4. I put some olive oil in a big saute pan, let it heat. Added the broccoli, stirred around, then added some water and put on the lid. The lid was the wrong lid – too small….couldn’t find the right lid. The water was evaporating too fast – add a little more water. Add the crushed red pepper and some salt – very little – there’s feta coming up – and stir around.
  5. Timer dings – rice is ready! Open the rice pot – the rice has swelled and there’s lots of water on top!….Did I use too much water? Why yes, I had – twice as much water as I needed. But the size, the shape….had I used the last of the orzo instead of the dregs of rice????
  6. Why yes, yes, I had! What NOW?????
  7. Drain the pasta – which had cooked for 20 minutes and if it hadn’t been orzo it might just be glop….
  8. Add the overcooked orzo to the broccoli, turn the heat up for a bit to get a little more saute action going….now the liquid is evaporating…..stir stir stir
  9. Add the crumbled feta, stir and adjust the seasonings – it actually needed a little more salt because the pasta was SOOO waterlogged.
  10. Serve and enjoy. On the plate and hot it was good. The next day for lunch, with a little more oil and vinegar, it was great pasta/broccoli/feta salad.
  11. New Rule – label ALL jars in the cupboard.
  12. Although this dish is very good with rice – Orzo would be even quicker.
ball-jar-labels-disolvable

These labels and a Sharpie now live in the cupboard. Everything gets a label.

 

 

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Oatober

Make that #Oatober….someone at Quaker Oats is pretty genius.

Could it be this guy??

quaker-1877

This is the first Quaker for Oats – trademarked in 1877. They’ve been working the genius marketing for a while.

And in 1891, Quaker put the first recipe on the back of the box – for Oatmeal Bread…A few years later Fannie Farmer had a Quaker Oats Bread in the Boston Cooking School Cookbook. Coincidence? I think not!

QUAKER OATS BREAD (1896)

Ingredients
2 cups boiling water.
1/2 cup molasses.
1/2 tablespoon salt.
1/2 yeast cake dissolved in
1/2 cup lukewarm water.
1 cup Quaker Rolled Oats.
4 3/4 cups flour.

Directions
Add boiling water to oats and let stand one hour; add molasses, salt, dissolved yeast cake, and flour; let rise, beat thoroughly, turn into buttered bread pans, let rise again, and bake.

By using one-half cup less flour, the dough is better suited for biscuits, but, being soft, is difficult to handle.

To make shaping of biscuits easy, take up mixture by spoonfuls, drop into plate of flour, and have palms of hands well covered with flour before attempting to shape.

The Boston Cooking School Cookbook
By Fannie Merritt Farmer (1896)pp.59-60.

This makes a pretty dense loaf…and pretty is the wrong word, too. But it makes great toast. Maryetta’s Oatmeal Bread is a lighter brighter oatmeal bread option.

My other oat adventure today was thanks to Martha Stewart.

martha_stewart_2011_shankbone

Martha Stewart, probably kicking herself for not coming up with Oatober.

In the September issue of Martha Stewart Living she had a tip and recipe for quick cooking steel cut oats.

mslsept2016

I eat oatmeal for breakfast pretty much every morning and have for years. I believe that oats truly brought my cholesterol levels down, down and fast, and frankly eating breakfast is pretty easy, pretty inexpensive and has far fewer side effects then most of those little pills…. not to mention more pleasant and easier to remember in the fog of morning. Oats are the base, the only choices I have to make are what to put in them. That choice I usually make at the market, and do the same breakie all week. Ah, blueberries and cinnamon! Oh, Parmesan and pepper!  Dropt egg and rooster sauce; cranberries and honey….The Gracious Pantry has some pretty inspired oatmeal toppings. Back to oats –

Steel cut out are nubbly and more textured then rolled outs.

rolled_oats

Extreme closeup of rolled oats – the roller goes over them and they get very very thin

 

bowl_of_dry_steel-cut_oats_with_full_spoon

Steel cut oats – are chopped – chunky – chewy

Steel cut oats take longer to cook and are not zippy quick or mindless in the morning. I do not want to spend my dawn’s early light time at the stove stirring porridge.There’s always a slow cooker option, but then I’d be making lots, and have to repack to re-heat…not easier.

BUT

soak them the night before, and then 5-10 minutes in the pan – easy peasy! I made enough for one – so 1/4 cup of steel cut oats, 1 cup water and a pinch of salt in my littlest sauce pan and pop the lid on. It sat on the stove overnight, so was there to greet me when I put the coffee on, and after the first cup I remembered why it was there….

lecreuset-pot

This look very much like my little yellow pot, which pretty much lives on top of my stove.It’s that kind of workhorse.

After the second cup, awake and ready to rejoin the world, I brought the oats and water and the pinch of salt to a boil. I then lowered the heat to a fairly active simmer and stirred it from time to time until the water was gone and it was just oaty goodness and no longer liquid. A tooth test – firm, some give, but not hard, not little pebbles. Done. Under 10 minutes, maybe 7 or 8.

Rolled oats take 5 minutes at 50% power in the microwave. The new directions on the box say 3 minutes at 100%, but this just make them pasty. Take the 2 extra minutes!

Martha eats her oatmeal with golden raisins and currants and a slash of low fat milk. Sweet and milky are not my cup of tea. I had some butter and a little cheddar cheese.

There is a really great oatmeal muffin recipe lurking in one of my cookbooks…apples or was it apple sauce? Fortunately, I have all of Oatober ahead of me to find it.

bowl_of_oatmeal_cover_art

My Bowl of Oatmeal was not a movie…and I not on speaking terms with my breakie.

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Filed under Autumn, Breakfast/Brunch, Pantry, Recipe

Lust for Life

If you’ve been paying the least little bit of attention, you might have noticed I’m quite taken by the work of Vincent Van Gogh

Lust-for-Life-Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Self-Portrait_-_Google_Art_Project_454045-1887

Self portrait 1887

I’m also very fond of Kirk Douglas….

kd-favorite

That’s no whale of tale, I swear on my tattoo….20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

SOOOOOO

Kirk Douglas AS Vincent Van Gogh….

total fave

lust for life08-kirk-douglas

Lust for Life

I also loved the book

 

lust for ife pb

I posted Van Gogh’s Potatoes recently…and then I found a celebrity recipe site – really, there IS such a thing – and there was Kirk Douglas with a potato recipe.

Kirk Douglas’ Nutmeg Mashed Potatoes

4 large potatoes
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, or to taste
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/2 cup sour cream

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender and split open, about 20 minutes. Drain and return potatoes to pot.

Mash potatoes with butter, nutmeg, and salt using a potato masher until well incorporated; stir in sour cream and whip until mashed potatoes are creamy.

Classic Celebrity Recipes

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National Cheese Pizza Day

…was September 5th – I can’t believe I missed it!

But wordpress was too busy publishing what I was trying to schedule, so the docket was pretty full that day, anyhow.

 

FNM_100116-Sicilian-Pizza-Cake_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni18col

Sicilian Pizza Cake FoodNetwork Magazine October 2016

A CAKE that looks like a pizza…and pretty convincing, too

Might I make a few changes….

  1. Pizza is a PIE, not a cake

so – change out the cake mix for Pasta Frollo (sweet, short crust)

2.  then – instead of strawberry preserves, why not some sweet tomato jam – here’s a recipe – I’d leave out the hot pepper – or not….

Tomato Jam

The top with Marscapone cheese

marscopone NEC

New England Cheesemaking Supply Company if you want to make your own

and then white chocolate shavings as the grated cheese…

white-chocolate-curls2

FoodNetwork Magazine adds fruit leather pepperoni….but pepperoni has never been my number one pizza, and it IS

National Cheese Pizza Day.

National Pepperoni Pizza Day is February 9th.

 

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People, people who need pudding….

National Indian Pudding Day isn’t until November, but Indian Pudding was in the headlines recently…

with Barbra Streisand

streisand Paul Marotta wireimages for BSB

Paul Marotto Wireimages for BSB

Who was in Boston to sing……

(review of her show here )

and nosh…..

But one thing Babs said really caught everyone’s attention: she said in one of her first visits to Boston, she went to Durgin-Park and ate Indian Pudding. But then just recently, she said, when she asked about Durgin-Park, she was told it was closed!

We’re not sure who Babs was talking to, but clearly they provided her with wrong information. Durgin-Park is still open for business, and after Streisand’s concert, the restaurant was deluged with phone calls the next morning.

“Were not closed, we’re still open,” said Petya Petkova, one of Durgin-Park’s managers.

Globe Story

indian_puddingdurgin park

So this is Durgin-Park’s

Baked Indian Pudding recipe

in case they ever do close. They have been serving Indian Pudding since 1827 when they opened.

Barbra – save this recipe!

Here’s a slightly different version:

Indian Pudding

and another:

An Ode to Durgin Park’s Indian Pudding

 

Ipforbes closeup

Durgin-Park Indian Pudding with ice cream

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Filed under Autumn, New England, Recipe

Happy Birthday Roses!

for Rose Marie

also known as Sally Rogers

Rose-Marie-8

… my favorite on the Dick Van Dyke Show.

I loved that she was funny and sharp and quick and witty, and proudly, and without explanation wore her  little hair bow like angel kisses on her temple.

Sally Rogers always seemed to have a real life going on, somewhere out of camera range, not a just a TV set life.

emmys - 3

Rose Marie has three Emmys for the Dick Van Dyke Show

Even when the Dick Van Dyke Show ended, Rose Marie kept popping up – guest spot here, another there, Hollywood Squares, mother of the Monkees…

But I knew nothing about her.

I always wondered why she didn’t have a last name…..Hey, Marie is my middle name….

There was the whole child star thing…a little before my time

Her career began in 1929

rosemariebring bacon3

Radio Digest 1930

rose marie babyvit-94-baby-rose-marie-mike

But she wasn’t in the gossip pages or even in People magazine all that very much.

rosemariefinal book cover without copyright

She wrote a book

At least that I noticed.

But it’s her birthday  today and…. she’s 93 and still kicking.

Miss Rose Marie official sites

She is also famous for her spaghetti sauce.

Rosemarie sauce to doris day july2016

Rose Marie recently whipped up a batch for her friend Doris Day from her Facebook page

 

August is just a saucy kind of month this year

Directly from her website:

Rose Marie’s Spaghetti Sauce

  • One pound of ground round

  • One-half pound of ground pork

  • One-half pound of ground veal

  • Three eggs

  • Salt and peper to taste

  • Three colves of garlic (chopped fine)

  • Three-fourths cup of Italian cheese (Romano)

  • Three-fourths cup flavored bread crumbs

  • Two tablespoons chopped parsley

  • About three-fourths cup water

  • Olive oil

  • Two cloves garlic

  • Three to four pieces medium size country spareribs

  • Eight to nine Italian sausage links

  • Three large cans Italian tomatoes (no puree)

  • Three cans Del Monte tomato sauce

  • Two large cans of water (use Italian tomato can for measure)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • One-fourth cup oregano

  • One-fourth cup chopped parsley

  • One-eight cup chopped sweet basil

  • Use ingredients in order listed.
    Mix ground meats, eggs, salt and pepper to taste, three cloves of finely chopped garlic, Romano, bread crumbs and parsley in one bowl. Dampen with water, using enough to keep mixture fairly moist. mix with hands, but do not handle too much. Put aside.
    Cover bottom of large sauce pan with olive oil. Chop the two cloves of gralic and brown. Remove garlic.
    Brown spareribs and sausage until fairly well cooked; remove from saucepan.
    Make meatballs with two full tablespoons of meat mixture for each. Brown in olive oil; remove from saucepan.
    Put Italian tomatoes in blender and process until pureed. Put tomatoes in the saucepan containing the olive oil. Add the tomato sauce, the two cans of water, salt and pepper, oregano, parsley and sweet basil. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low. Put in the meatballs, sausage and spareribs which have been cooked. Let cook for three to four hours over low heat, stirring frequently. Keep tasting for salt and pepper need. If sauce gets too thick use water to thin it out.

Roses_-_Vincent_van_Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh – Roses  -1890 – National Gallery, Washington D.C.

 

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Filed under Birthday, Recipe, The 1960"s, TV shows

Cherries, Take Two

Take some cherry tomatoes

Tomates_cerises_Luc_Viatour(1)

Add some fresh mozzarella  –ciliegini – little cherry size

mozzerella, fresh

 

With basil and  a little olive oil …a lovely summer salad. Serve with Scali bread to mop up the juices..

scali bread

If you can’t find Scali bread, here’s a link on how to make some : http://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2008/03/26/for-the-love-of-scali-bread/

The next night…

Take what’s left of the tomato and cheese, which has been marinating in balsamic vinegar all night…..drool….And add to hot pasta

Practically instant, low cook supper.

 

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Filed under Bread, Eating, Recipe, Summer, Supper

Go for the BURN

It’s a summer for burn

There’s this Bern….

              

BernieSS -DNCDAY1-0726-16

Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Penn., on Monday, July 25, 2016. (LiPo Ching/Bay Area News Group)

 

         And the ever-present Sun-burn

Sunburnt_woman

Not me – a total stranger via Wikipedia

The good on the Grill burn  – more like a char, really

               grillingMeat_fillets

charburn2014-markby-sally

Charcoal Burn – it hasn’t happened yet, but it’s sneaking up there

And then there’s

Joanne’s Spaghetti Sauce.

I learned about this famous sauce from her son, Rick.

Back in the day, Rick was a pilgrim…..

Rick M WSJ Sally Rothemich

Rick McKee as a Pilgrim – as seen in the Wall Street Journal Nov. 29, 2012 – photo credit Sally Rothemich

We had some sort of pot-luck at work…I think it was charcoal burn….if not the first time, then later times. I witnessed this sauce on multiple occasions

Rick had a bag of groceries. He needed a pan for the sauce, and chopped onions and garlic and got them going, and open cans of tomatoes and sauce and threw them in.

He then wanted a frying pan. A HEAVY one. For the paste. To burn it.

Excuse me?????

A heavy pan to burn the paste in.

Yep, that’s what he said. That’s the secret.

Well, it’s no secret if the firetrucks come……make sure that the window is opened, turn on the overhead vent fans, and shut the door to keep the smoke detectors quiet. Fire extinguisher? Check and ready to go.

There’s a beautifully season cast iron skillet in the kitchen. If anything happens to it, all who touch it are doomed. Does he understand?

DOOMED! 

Rick puts the 10” cast iron skillet on the burner, turns the heat UP, opens the cans of paste and dumps them in. Wooden spoon in hand, he starts stirring, talking the whole while.

The darker you can get the paste, the better the sauce is.

Stir, stir, stirring.

It concentrates the tomato flavor. It releases the tomato flavor. It brings depth to the tomato flavor.

Stirring fairly vigorously.

Paste is already concentrated – frying it on high concentrates it even more.

Stirring, stirring, stirring.

The color changes.

This was in the long ago olden days before Alton Brown could explain about caramelization of the sugars in the paste, and who knows what else that high heat can bring out.

Finally, he says it’s done. He scrapes it into the pot of sauce, uses some water to deglaze the pan and adds that to the sauce, and turns the sauce down to a simmer.

After the deglazing, the skillet cleans up like a water glass.

He adds seasonings to the sauce and the kitchen smells DIVINE.

Like Sunday gravy. A visit to Italian side of the family.

It was good. Every time he made it, it was good.

Rick learned to make the sauce from his mother.

Joanne’s Favorite Spaghetti Sauce

Cover the bottom of large pan with oil. Chop one large onion and 2 cloves of garlic (cut garlic very fine). Add more garlic if so desired.

Cook in the oil over very low heat for a few minutes. (watch the garlic – it burns easily).

Add one large can of tomatoes and 2 cans tomato sauce. Add salt and let simmer.

Meatballs: 1 lb hamburger (or more if you want a lot of meatballs)

2 cloves garlic very fine, salt, pepper, add flavored breadcrumbs to own taste.

Add 3-4 eggs mix well. Roll in flour, fry til browned, let cool.

Fry 2 cans tomato paste.

Use high heat – in fact burn the paste. THIS is the secret.

Add to sauce.

Add water (2 cans or to own taste).

You can use the water to deglaze the meatball frying pan and add remnant paste to sauce.

Add Italian seasoning and sweet basil. Add meatballs. Let simmer 5-6 hours.

It always tastes better the next day.

 

* italics added by Rick

I got a copy of the recipe in 2009. Her family had it printed up to go with the Mass cards at her wake.

A recipe is one impressive memorial. You get to remember while cooking and again while eating.

And so in August, there will be one night that’s not quite so very hot, and I’ll see if I have tomato paste and bring out the cast iron skillet and go for the burn.

In loving memory of Joanne “Nana” McKee

August 8

1939-2009

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Filed under Recipe, Summer