Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fettuccine with Marinara Sauce

Keeping it simple for a Sunday night. I had the marinara sauce in the freezer. And I served the pasta with some homemade bread. Perfect!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Potato Cake, Leeks en Cocotte and Apple Pie

Let me start of by saying that I made breaded pork chops for dinner but forgot to take a photo! Sigh. The perils of the food blog. They were lovely looking and delicious. I put them in an egg wash and then dredged them in a mixture of bread crumbs, plain and panko, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. They were browned in saute pan in a little olive oil, just enough to give the breading a golden color. The pan went in the oven for I think 20 to 25 minutes. They were cooked perfectly.
The side dishes both are from the new Bon Appetit. I, of course, altered them to fit our tastes, which means I did not use garlic. Loved both the Potato Cake and the Leeks en Cocotte. My versions of the recipes, which serve 2, are at the bottom of this post.

The Apple Pie. I asked Chris if he would rather have an Apple Cake or Apple Pie. He voted for the pie. I used the Pate Brise recipe and the filling was from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything The Basics. Delicious, especially with ice cream.

Potato Cake, to see original version click on the link above

Ingredients -
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1 1/2 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, sliced ¼” thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Method -
Preheat oven to 350°. Generously butter cake pan; set aside.
Heat 2 Tbsp. butter to skillet. Once butter is melted, add potatoes; season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until beginning to soften, 6–8 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons unsalted butter and continue to cook potatoes, tossing occasionally, until tender and golden brown in spots, 15–20 minutes longer.
Transfer potatoes to prepared cake pan, pressing down firmly and evenly (this will help potatoes hold together when you turn the potato cake out). Bake potatoes until crisp on top, 12–15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then invert potato cake onto a plate, season with salt and pepper, and top with parsley.
DO AHEAD: Potatoes can be sautéed and arranged in cake pan 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill; bake 10–15 minutes longer to warm through.

Leeks en Cocotte, to see original version click on the link above

Ingredients -
4 leeks, white and pale-green parts only
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
¼ pound thick-cut bacon, sliced crosswise ¼” thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup dry white wine
¼ cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoons unsalted butter

Method -
Slice each leek in half lengthwise without cutting all the way through the other side; rinse under cold water (gently opening layers) until water runs clear. Pat dry. (Now when I cut my leeks in half and washed them they came apart which I was fine with as long as I knew they were clean.)
Heat oil in a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add shallot and bacon and cook, stirring, until bacon is crisp, about 3 minutes. Add leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, occasionally turning leeks and stirring gently, until leeks are bright green, about 5 minutes.
Add wine to skillet; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Add broth; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until leeks are just tender, 8–10 minutes longer. Mix in butter.
DO AHEAD: Leeks can be rinsed 1 day ahead. Wrap in a damp paper towel and chill.

Pate Brisee

Method -
1-1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt
1 pinch granulated sugar

5-1/2 Tbsp (2/3 stick) sweet butter, chilled

3 Tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled
1/4 cup ice water

Method -
Sift the flour, salt and sugar together into a bowl; add butter and shortening and cut them into dry ingredients with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is like coarse meal.
Sprinkle on and blend in enough of the ice water to make a workable dough, mixing water in lightly with a fork.
Turn dough out onto you work surface and, using the heel of your hand, smear the dough away from you, about 1/4 cup at a time. Scrape up the smeared dough into a ball, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Apple Pie, variation on Mark Bittman's recipe.

Ingredients -
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
pinch salt
4-5 apples
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter, softened

Method -
Preheat oven to 425˚F. Divide pie dough in half. Roll out bottom crust. Fit into pie plate.
Toss brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Peel, quarter and core apples and cut them into 1/2 to 3/4 thick slices. Toss the apples and lemon juice with the sugar-spice mixture.
Put the apples into the bottom crust, making the center higher than the sides. Roll out the top crust. Dot the top of apples with butter and put the top crust on the pie. Trim and crimp the edges. Cut several 2 inch slits in the top crust. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350˚F and back for 40 to 50 minutes, until crust is gold brown and flaky. Cool on a rack.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Mom's Meat Sauce Recipe

Thank you to my sister, Lenore, for reminding me that our Mom use to add chicken to her meat sauce. Funny how one addition can turn a sauce that I have been making for a long time into a whole other thing. Wow. Wow. Wow. The sauce was delicious. I don't usually add extra sauce to my dish of pasta. I could have just had the sauce with some bread. Heck hold the bread, the sauce was that good.

Ingredients -
Olive Oil
Ground Beef
Sweet Sausage
Crushed Tomatoes
Boneless Chicken Thighs
Tomato Paste

Method -
Brown the ground beef and sausage in large pot in hot olive oil. Drain fat from pot. Add tomatoes. Heat to simmer. Add chicken thighs. Cover pot and simmer for about 3 hours. Season pot with oregano, salt, pepper, basil and parsley. If the sauce seems thin add tomato paste. Simmer about a half hour more. Shred the chicken meat into small pieces.
Sorry about the lack of amounts and measurements. It is just one of those things you have to judge by eye.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Chicken Noodle Soup or How to Cure the Common Cold

On Saturday I made a large pot of chicken stock. I used my sister's recipe

Tonight we Chicken Noodle Soup. It was just like my mom use to make. I sauteed celery, carrots and onions. Added some of the broth (I have 3 bags of broth in the freeze) and then added frozen mixed vegetables and chopped spinach. I chopped up some the the meat from the chicken carcass and added it to the pot. I boiled the egg noodles separately and added them to the pot. Seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme. It was wonderful. Could not have just one bowl...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sausage with Peppers, Fennel and Olives

Tonight I used the recipe from Lidia'a Favorite Recipes for Sausage with Fennel and Olives and added an extra ingredient. Peppers. They were on sale, the yellow ones and the red ones! I had to buy them. It was a nice addition to an already delicious recipe.

Sausage with Peppers, Fennel and Olives, adapted from Lidia's Favorite Recipes

Ingredients -
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 sweet Italian sausages (about 2 pounds)
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup large green olives, squashed and pitted
3 yellow or red peppers, 1/4" slices
3 large fennel bulbs (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt

Method -
Pour half of the olive oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausages; cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes or more. Carefully add wine and bring to a boil; cook until reduced by half. Transfer sausages and liquid to a platter.

Add remaining olive oil to skillet over medium heat. Clear a hot spot and cook the crushed red pepper in it for a couple of seconds. Add olives; toss and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add fennel chunks and peppers and toss to combine. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover skillet, and cook over medium high heat for 20 minutes, stirring now and then, until the fennel softens, and begins to color. Add a little water to the pan if fennel remains hard; you want it to be wilted but not mushy.

When the fennel and peppers are cooked through, return sausages and wine to skillet. Toss together with fennel and peppers and cook, uncovered for about 5 minutes. Adjust the season to taste.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Brioche, French Bread, Soup, Sauce and Dinner

Where to start? As I have stated previously I plan on making a lot of bread this year. The year starting with the cooler weather setting in. I have a cookbook which I have had forever, A Basket of Homemade Breads. I decided on the Brioche. The recipe makes 16 rolls. Seeing as it is just the two of us I cut the recipe in half. The dough has a fantastic texture. See the bottom of this post for the recipe.

Today I made the first large pot of my Mom's Meat Sauce. I needed some bread to go with the sauce. I remembered a recipe I found last year, No Knead French Bread. The big advantage of this recipe is that it does not take 18 hours for the dough to rise. I LOVE this recipe! Click Here to view  the recipe and visit the blog Noshtalgia.

Next we have the Chicken Soup. I used my sister Lenore's recipe. It simmered for over 3 hours and the cats were beside themselves when I was removing the meat from the carcass! Click Here for the recipe.

Seeing I had the soup simmering on the stove it seemed like the perfect time to make our first pot of meat sauce. I sauteed chopped onions and browned the sausages and ground meat. I added the crushed tomatoes and let that simmer. My sister recently reminded me that our Mom use to add chicken legs to her sauce. I opted for adding boneless chicken thighs. I let that simmer for about 3 hours, seasoning it with salt, pepper, oregano, basil and parsley. After it cooled it went into the fridge so tomorrow I will remove any fat from the top of the pot.

And now what did we have for dinner?
I decided on making my Mom's Chicken Cutlets when I was mixing the Brioche dough this morning. I ended up with 2 egg whites and a yolk (I only used an egg white for the glaze on the Brioche). Mom's recipe for Chicken Cutlets requires the egg whites to be beaten separately before adding the yolks so it seemed like a perfect way use up the eggs. The meat was so moist and the breading was the perfect color. Click Here for the recipe.
We have a new olive oil store in town, The Shoreline Vine. What an amazing place. You can taste every oil and vinegar... which made for an interesting lunch. I picked up these 2 small bottles and it seemed perfect for our side dish.
I think I may have picked the last of the green beans today. And we had a couple of small tomatoes. Those along with some tomatoes I from my brother-in-law, Ralph, were mixed together for one last tomato and green bean salad. Actually I think this may have been our only tomato and green bean salad of the summer! I steamed the beans and seasoned them along with the tomatoes with the vinegar and olive oil pictured above and salt, pepper, oregano, basil and parsley. Excellent.

And of course there was also my favorite - Roasted Potatoes!

Brioche, from A Basket of Homemade Breads. This recipe as shown here will result in 16 rolls.

Ingredients -
4 cups (1 lb) all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cake (1/2 oz) fresh yeast
2-3 tbsp warm water
4 eggs
4 egg yolks
1- 1 1/2 sticks ( 1/2 - 2/3 cup) melted butter, cooled
2 tbsp sugar
beaten egg for glaze

Method -
1.  Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Make two wells in it.
2.  Cream the yeast with the water and pour it into one well. Into the other well pour the beaten eggs, yolks, melted butter and sugar.
3.  Beat together with your hands to form a fairly soft dough.
4.  Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for 1 hour.
5.  Brush 16 cupcake cups with melted butter.
6.  Punch down the dough by kneading and cut into two. One piece being 2/3 of the dough. (See photo from cookbook below for clearer description!)
7.  Shape into 16 large and 16 small balls. Place a large ball in the bottom of each cupcake cup. Punch a hole in the center of the large ball and place the small ball in it. (See photo from cookbook below for clearer description!)
8.  Prove, covered with a dry cloth, until doubled in size.
9.  Brush gently with beaten egg, you don't want to knock off the small ball of dough. Bake in a very hot oven (450ºF) for 10 minutes.
My copy of this book has been used a lot as this photo will show!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Deep-Dish Eggplant Parmesan

Usually when I make Eggplant Parmesan I will egg wash and bread the eggplant slices and then put them in the oven turning them half way through the cooking time. What a waste of time and energy. This meal was fantastic. Yes I love Eggplant Parmesan but Chris said it was delicious. That's right "this Eggplant Parmesan is delicious." I had enough from the recipe to make 2 dishes so I brought one to my sister's house who is another Eggplant Parmesan lover. The eggplant tasted like it had been fried, and I never thought that with the method I previously used.

From, Deep-Dish Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients -
2 medium eggplants (cut into 1/4-inch slices)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
3 cups marinara sauce
12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/3 cup grated Parmesan (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Method -
Heat oven to 400° F. On 2 rimmed baking sheets, brush the eggplants with 1/4 cup of the oil; season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Spread 1 cup of the marinara in the bottom of an 8-inch baking dish. Top with half the eggplant, half the mozzarella, and half the Parmesan. Repeat, ending with the last cup of marinara. Top with the bread crumbs.

Bake until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

If It Is Chicken Pot Pie It Must be September

My favorite Chicken Pot Pie recipe!!!

This recipe was copied from

Ingredients -
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, diced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups 1 percent milk
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 9-inch store-bought pie crust, thawed if frozen

Method -

Heat oven to 400° F.
Cook the chicken in a pot of simmering water until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes; let cool, then shred.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stir-ring, until they begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes (do not let them darken). Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and simmer until the sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken, peas, thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Transfer to a shallow 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish.
Lay the crust on top, pressing to seal. Cut several vents in the crust. Place the pot pie on a baking sheet and bake until bubbling and the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes.
 Yes those are cat cut outs you see in the crust!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Deck to Table

This was our first year of planting vegetables on our deck. We have had herbs and tomato plants, but this year I attempted green beans and white eggplant. It was fun making the trellis for the beans and then watching and waiting and waiting... I was envisioning more beans to be picked but I was pleased to be picking anything.

Today I harvested the eggplant. We got 3 from the one plant. Very exciting! I sauteed them along with the green beans in some olive oil. I added a little marinara sauce that I made this afternoon. Seasoned the pan with salt, pepper, parsley and basil. I added a little white wine to the pan. Covered and simmered for about 10 minutes.
They were the most delicious eggplant and green beans ever!!!

We had Meatloaf as a side dish!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Let the Bread Baking Begin!

There was a nip in the air today. I left the house this morning and went back for a sweater. You know what this means? Bread baking season has begun. In the past my baking was sporadic because of weekend commitments. Well I have no more commitments so I plan on baking a lot of bread this year.
I started a loaf of Whole Wheat 18 Hour Bread. Mixed ingredients Thursday night and baked it off last night. I brought it over to my sister's house today.

 Last night I started the basic 18 hour bread and baked that today. It looks perfect!

On to dinner... Roasted Cauliflower and Braised Beef with Wine Sauce. The Cauliflower was tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, thyme and Cholula sauce. Baked for 45 minutes at 425 and stirring occasionally. I loved this. The Cholula added the perfect amount of heat to the dish.

And finally the meat. Braised Beef with Wine Sauce. The recipe was from Saveur. I do like putting meat in a pot and walking away for a couple of hours. The aroma was quite nice. The meat was tender and the sauce, well how could it be bad!

Ingredients -
2 slices bacon
1 clove garlic
1½ teaspoons sage leaves
1½ teaspoons rosemary needles
1¼ pounds beef for pot roast
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Kitchen twine
¼ cup olive oil
2 coarsely chopped onions
1 stick celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 bay leaf
2 cups Chianti Classico
2 cups canned tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped basil
½ cup vegetable broth

Method -
Mince together bacon, garlic, sage, and rosemary. Make small incisions in the meat and fill them with the mixture, rub with salt and pepper, and tie the meat tightly with kitchen twine for braising.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or flameproof casserole dish, sauté the onions, celery, and carrots briefly, add the meat and the bay leaf, and sauté the meat quickly over high heat until golden brown.

Pour in the wine and reduce for several minutes. Add tomatoes and basil, pour in the broth, cover, and braise over low heat for 2 hours, until the meat is tender.

Remove meat from the pan or casserole dish and strain sauce through a sieve. Slice the meat, dress with sauce, and serve.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wordless Thursday?

It's Chicken Parmesan. Too long a week so the photo will have to do. 

But I got flowers from a co-worker today.  So pretty and the scent was wonderful.

And Lucy liked them too!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sausage and Chard Sauté with Polenta

New favorite dinner! It has meat. It has greens. And it has polenta!  It is one of our new comfort foods. The recipe is from I loved the flavors. The only change to the recipe is that I used the stems from the chard. I sliced them very thin and sauteed them first before adding the leaves. This recipe will be put in the regular rotation.

Ingredients -
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 small Italian sausage links (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
1 cup instant polenta
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems thinly sliced and leaves cut into 1-inch strips
kosher salt and black pepper

Method -
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
Cook the polenta according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Add the Swiss chard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, tossing, until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Fold in the sliced sausage.
Serve the sausage and chard mixture over the polenta.

Windows on the World

I was planning on posting the usual what we had for dinner post but as I was preparing dinner I was reading my emails and I came upon an eblast from Eater. It was an interview with Michael Lomonaco of Windows on the World restaurant. Click here to read the article.
I did not know that Milton Glaser contributed
to the menu artwork, dishware patterns, and logo.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Pasta with Calamari

I only need one word to describe tonight's dinner - Amazing! I found the recipe on the Napoli Unplugged blog. The recipes on this blog are so similar to my mom's cooking.

I only used Calamari in our sauce, I was going to add Cod but decided to save that for another meal. The whole meal came together in about an hour.

For the sauce I used the few San Marzano tomatoes I had purchased last Saturday, they were perfectly ripe. I peeled and seeded the tomatoes, chopped them up and added them along with a can of diced tomatoes to a saute pan that was heated up with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. I chopped up a hot cherry pepper and added it to the pan, we do like spicy food. Seasoned the pan with fresh chopped parsley, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. And I added a little white wine. That cooked down for about 20 minutes. Then I added the Calamari. I set the temperature on the pan to low and let it cook for another 20 minutes, stirring it frequently and watching it carefully, Calamari can get rubbery if not watched.

It was just perfect!

And the wine we picked was Mastro Aglianico Campania. Loved it. Really nice for the price.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Spare Ribs and Chicken Bake & Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

One of my favorite blogs to read is the Living The Gourmet. Gosh I wish she lived on my street. I found tonight's recipe on her blog the other day and had to try it. Quite delicious was the review from Chris. I let the meat sit in the marinade for a day and a half. It was so easy to prepare.

Here is the recipe with my changes, yeah I did not use garlic!

Ingredients -
6 pork spare ribs
4 chicken legs and thighs
1/2 cup apple juice
2 tbs. maple syrup
1 tbs. soy sauce
1 tbs. olive oil
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Method -
Combine all of the above in in a zip-lock freezer bag and mix well.
Place in the refrigerator for at least one to two hours or up to over night.
Preheat Oven 400 degrees. Put all the ingredients in 2 baking pans lined with foil.  Place in oven and bake for approximate 90 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit for a minute.

For side dishes I made my favorite roasted potatoes and I tried something new, Zucchini Parmesan Crisps. Again I found the recipe online, I think it was facebook. I copied it into the text edit and of course did not note who posted it. Sorry! They were nice. Definitely will make these again.

Ingredients -
1/2 lb. zucchini (about 1 medium-sized)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan (heaping)
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs (heaping)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method -
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray lightly with vegetable spray. Slice zucchini or squash into 1/4 inch-thick rounds. Toss rounds with oil, coating well.
In a wide bowl or plate, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt and pepper.
Place rounds in Parmesan-breadcrumb mixture, coating both sides of each round, pressing to adhere. The mixture will not completely cover each round, but provides a light coating on each side.
Place rounds in a single layer on baking sheets. Sprinkle any remaining breadcrumb mixture over the rounds.
Bake for about 22 to 27 minutes, until golden brown. (There is no need to flip them during baking -- they crisp up on both sides as is.)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Stuffed Calamari

Tonight I got in at about 5:15 and quickly put this dinner together. I have been wanting to make Stuffed Calamari for a long time. I found a recipe that seemed similar to my mom's. It is from The recipe serves 6. Obviously I adjusted the amounts for the two of us but the recipe below is as it appears on the site. We both enjoyed this. The Calamari was cooked perfectly, hurray, but the stuffing was a little dry. Perhaps my adjustments need a little fine tuning.

Italian Stuffed Calamari from

Ingredients -
6 medium squid
1/4 cup Progresso Italian-style fine bread crumbs, I used homemade breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
2 teaspoons fresh Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons minced garlic cloves, no I did not use garlic
1 egg
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, no I did not use garlic
1 egg
1 (8 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground rosemary
1/4 cup green pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine

Method -
Clean squid or tubes and pat dry.

If using whole squid, chop tender parts of the tentacles and mix them with the bread crumbs, parsley, cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic, egg and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil to make stuffing.

Blend well, add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon stuffing mixture loosely into each squid tube and close with a toothpick. Do not over stuff because the squid will shrink during cooking.

Add remaining oil to skillet large enough to hold squid in a single layer.

Heat oil and cook sliced garlic until golden brown. Arrange the squid in oil and brown all sides lightly.

Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, rosemary, green pepper, remaining minced garlic, wine and salt and pepper to taste. Cover tightly and cook 25 to 30 minutes. (I cooked it for 20 minutes)

Remove toothpick from squid and serve whole or sliced, alone or with pasta.