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Thursday, November 22, 2007

"Spaghetti and Meatball" Sauce a la Clemenza

For the sauce

4 cans Tuttorosso Whole Peeled Tomatoes (35 oz cans)
(Feel free to substitute your favorite tomatoes, but remember most cans are 28 oz. Therefore you will have to use 5 cans of those.)
2 onions, halved
2 - 4 cloves of garlic
1/2 bunch parsley
1 4 oz can tomato paste
4 anchovy fillets
3/4 - 1 cup olive oil

Place all ingredients in a large (12 qt) pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.

Sautee 2 # of sweet sausage until well browned on all sides. Remove sausage and juices from pan to deep dish. Deglaze pan with 1 cup of red wine. Scrape bottom of pan well to remove all burnies and bits. Dump deglazing liquid into sauce pan. Wipe out pan with paper towels. Pour 2 cups oil (preferably olive oil or olive oil/grapeseed oil mix) into pan and return to heat.

For the meatballs

1 # meatloaf mix
2 pieces of white bread, crust removed and broken into small pieces
1/4 cup whole milk
2 T chopped parsley
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 egg
freshly ground black pepper
bread crumbs

Soak bread in milk for 10 minutes
Add all other ingredients and mix thoroughly with your hands
Spread crumbs in plate
Roll meat into golfball size or smaller balls and coat in crumbs
Fry in 325 degree oil until golden brown all over
Remove to paper towels to drain

By this time, the onions and garlic should be completely softened and thus purged of all of their flavors. Remove onions, garlic and parsley (and any other flavoring ingredients you may have thrown in on your own) at this point.

With a wand mixer or food processor, process sauce until smooth. I recommend the wand because of the quantity of sauce. If you are making a quarter batch, the food processor may be more practical.

Once processed, add all the sausage and meatballs to sauce and simmer for many hours.

Freeze all you won't use in pint or quart containers.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Simple Thanksgiving Day Dinner

Simple Thanksgiving Day Dinner

Follow my simple rules and Thanksgiving won’t be the stressful mess it always seems to be. First of all, the actual dishes prepared for Turkey Day are about the simplest we make throughout the year. The key is to focus on a few that you as the host want to make and have others bring the remaining dishes. This has to be done with a little forethought, though. When guests ask what they can bring, tell them what to bring. “Could you bring a pumpkin pie?” Or, “Since you make that yummy cole slaw, could you bring that for the dinner?” And don’t accept no for an answer. I recommend you have guests bring cold dishes or those that don’t need to be refridgerated. Avoid having guests bring dishes that have to be re-heated. The oven is already occupied! By the turkey, no less. You as the host should prepare the following dishes:

Roasted Garlic Turkey, Gravy and Cornbread Stuffing adapted from Jacques Pepin

Cranberry relish/chutney adapted from the recipe of the back of the Ocean Spray brand cranberry package

Mashed regular or sweet potatoes

These recipes are simple and allow you to impress your guests and have fun at your own party, too!

Roasted Garlic Turkey


1 12 pound turkey (brined if possible. See my video on brining chicken)
2 cups chicken stock
1 head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
1 teaspoon salt (if you don’t brine turkey)
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 onions peeled and very coarsely chopped
4 carrots peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 teaspoon starch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon soy sauce

If you don’t brine turkey, rinse bird thoroughly under cool water and pat it dry with towels. Place turkey breast side up in roasting pan (on a v-rack if you have one) and roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until nicely browned.

Remove pan from oven and flip turkey onto breast using silicon oven mitts or folded up kitchen towels, Strew vegetables around turkey and place both halves of garlic head inside turkey cavity. Reduce oven temp to 325 degrees and roast for 1 hour.

Add chicken stock to roasting pan and bake turkey for another 30 minutes. Turn off oven and let turkey rest for 30 minutes to an hour. This is when you would put in your cornbread stuffing.

Shortly before serving dinner, remove turkey from oven, place on serving platter and return to oven. Remove veggies with slotted spoon and place in bowl of food processor. Strain pan juices through a paper towel – lined funnel into a wide-mouthed mason jar or pyrex measuring cup. Let rest for 5 – 10 minutes and than ladle off as much fat that has floated to the top as possible.

Pour skimmed juices into processor and process with veggies until smooth. Transfer to small sauce pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Add starch/water mixture, stirring until thoroughly incorporated. Simmer for 1 more minute, cover and remove from heat.

You are now ready to serve your turkey!

Cornbread Stuffing

I prefer to make my own cornbread, but whichever bakery-bought cornbread you like will do. Try to avoid cornbreads that are too sweet or too greasy.

I like this recipe because it incorporates one of my ‘leftover makeover’ techniques. You can use fancy ham for this stuffing, but I prefer just to open up a pack of lunchmeat ham I have for my young daughter and slice that into ribbons for this dish.

4 T unsalted butter
1 onions, peeled and coarsely chopped. Use two if you don’t have scallions on hand.
2 ribs of celery, diced
5 scallions, washed and minced
12 oz of cornbread
1 cup frozen, canned or fresh corn kernels
2 t herbes de Provence
½ t freshly ground black pepper
3 oz ham, cut into ½ inch pieces
¼ cup chicken stock

Melt butter in skillet

When hot, add onions, celery and scallions and sauté over medium high heat for about 3 minutes.

Transfer veggies to bowl and add crumbled cornbread, corn kernels, herbes de Provence, pepper, ham and the chicken stock. Toss lightly to avoid further crumbling of cornbread and place in 6 – cup loaf pan.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes or longer until browned on top and hot inside. Remove from oven and set aside until ready to re-heat in oven with turkey.

If making a day or more in advance, refrigerate until Thanksgiving Day and remove from fridge in the morning. Place in oven with turkey after oven has been turned off. (See turkey recipe above.)

Cranberry Relish

1 large orange, washed
1 bag of fresh cranberries, washed in cold water
¾ cup to 1 cup sugar

Quarter orange, skin and all, and then chop quarters into 4 or 5 pieces each.

Add to bowl of food processor with bag of cranberries and sugar. Process until desired consistency is reached. Can be made 5 days in advance.

Mashed Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes

1 5 lb bag of yellow potatoes or sweet potatoes
1 T salt
½ cup heavy cream (add more if you really like it decadent)
½ stick unsalted butter (ditto)
1 t black pepper

Peel potatoes and cut into 1 inch chunks, approximately.

Add to large pot with salt and cover with cold water.

Bring to boil and then reduce to a simmer.

Temper cream with a couple tablespoons of the boiling water to avoid curdling cream. To do this, simply stir the hot water into the cream. A little hot water hitting a lot of cold cream is a lot better than a little cream hitting a lot of boiling hot potatoes!

When potatoes are fork tender, remove from water with slotted spoon and place in metal bowl or double boiler. Add butter, cream and black pepper. With a heavy duty whisk or potato masher or, if necessary, a sturdy fork mix ingredients until smooth.

Place metal bowl or dbl boiler over another pot with simmering water 1 hour prior to serving potatoes. If you need to transfer the potatoes to another bowl for serving, make sure you heat up serving bowl by filling with boiling water and letting sit for 3 minutes.

If you are using sweet potatoes, sprinkle mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar and a few pat of butter just before serving.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Recipe for Ceviche

Ingredient List

Peruvian popping corn
2T lard or olive oil
1 sweet potato
3 Firm Tilapia Fillets
Juice of 2 limes
Zest of 1 lime
1 tomato diced
1/2 onion finely diced
1 clove garlic minced
1 jalapeno finely chopped
Several sprigs of cilantro
1 Avocado
Black Pepper
Olive Oil

Boil sweet potato until fork tender. Set aside until cool. When cool, peel and cut into 1/2 slices. Slice slices into 3 - 4 '1/2 inch wide sticks' depending on size of sweet potato.

Heat 2 T lard in pan. When hot, add 1/2 cup of Peruvian popping corn and cover with lid. Once popping picks of steam, shake pan a few times over heat and then remove from heat and leave covered. Set aside.

Cut Tilapia fillets into 1/2 inch dice, taking care to adjust for thickness differences between the two halves of each fillet. Place in cold bowl and return bowl to refridgerator.

Prep the Vegetables
Dice 2 tomato
Finely dice 1/2 onion
Mince 1 clove of garlic
Finely chop one jalapeno
Separate cilantro leaves from stems. Discard stems.

Take bowl of Ceviche from fridge and pour lime juice over tilapia and two generous pinches of salt. Toss gently until well mixed.

Add vegetables and whole cilantro leaves to tilapia and toss gently a few times. Take care not to crush the tomato dice in the process.

Set aside for 15 minutes to 2 hours. It can cure overnight, but the beauty of Ceviche is the quickness of the meal and the joy one gets from eating such fresh and lightly cured fish.

While tilapia is curing, cut avocado in half with sharp chef's knife. Remove pit by holding half with pit in one hand and hammering gently into pit with knife. Rock knife back and forth while gently squeezing avocado half. Discard pit.

Scoop avocado out of skin with large soup or serving spoon. Dice avocado.

Place ceviche on plate and surround with diced avocado and sweet potatoes. After sprinkling kosher or sea salt on corn, sprinkle corn all over ceviche and other items on plate. Drizzle fine olive oil over fish and avocado. To finish dish, sprinkle everything with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Baking Cherry Pie With My Two Daughters