Rugelach

Savory Rugelach

Every now and again, I come across a recipe that I really want to make right away. Back in our endless eating days, I would. Now... I have to think about it a bit and balance the pros and cons. Being that we're keeping the weight off means it's working - but it's not always easy.

Fortunately, we had a friend over last night so I had an excuse! Thank you, Fine Cooking Magazine!

I have had and made rugelach many times over the years - but never a savory one. And if you're like me - you've been missing out. The concept is pure simplicity and perfection.

Rugelach

 

Savory Rugelach

adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 11 oz. (2-1/3 cups) all-purpose flour; more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • For the filling
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup grated Gruyère
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 oz.)
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg, beaten

To finish

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced smoked turkey or ham
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. whole milk
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
  • Minced fresh thyme (optional)

Preparation

Make the dough

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand-held electric mixer), cream the cream cheese, butter, and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Add the flour and salt, and then mix just until a smooth dough forms. Divide into 4 equal disks if making crescent shapes or 4 equal squares if making pillow shapes. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour or up to overnight.

Make the filling

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour, and cook until a smooth paste forms, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cheeses and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool slightly, and then whisk in the egg. Cool completely before using.

Fill, shape and bake the rugelach

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment lightly coated with cooking spray.

To shape crescents, remove one dough disk from the refrigerator, and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 9-inch circle. Lay one-fourth of the turkey or ham on the dough, then spread with one-fourth of the cheese filling, leaving a 1/2-inch edge, and then slice into 12 wedges. Roll each wedge into a crescent shape from the outside edge in.

Alternatively, to make pillow shapes, remove one dough square from the refrigerator, and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into an 8-inch square. Lay one-fourth of the turkey or ham on the dough, then spread with one-fourth of the cheese filling, leaving a 1/2-inch edge at the top and bottom. Slice the square in half. Starting at a long end, roll each half into a cylinder from the outside in, and then cut each rolled half into six evenly sized pieces.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and milk. Arrange 12 rugelach on one of the prepared baking sheets. Brush with the egg wash, sprinkle with Parmigiano and/or minced thyme, if you like, and bake until golden-brown, 16 to 21 minutes. Cool slightly before serving. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

It seems a bit involved, but it's really easy. It's easier than making a pie!

And really really good. I can see any number of fillings going into this.

I think we've found a new favorite appetizer!

 

 


Salmon Patties

Salmon Patties

I love it when Victor heads to the kitchen to cook dinner. It means something fun and different will be had.

I tend to do variations on a theme - Victor gets an idea and runs with it. When making something different, his modus operandi, generally, is to read five or six recipes for something and then take the pieces and parts he likes from them and make something his own. It's a great system.

Tonight, it was salmon patties.

Crispy on the outside delicate on the inside salmon patties topped with a sun-dried tomato aioli, and aleppo pepper and garlic roasted potato wedges It does not suck to be me!

Salmon Patties

He purposely didn't add a lot of filler or binder so we could actually taste the salmon. It made for a much more delicate patty with perfect taste and texture.

Salmon Patties

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp pimento, chopped
  • 2 tbsp celery, minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 12 oz fresh wild salmon, poached and cooled
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch Florida Pepper
  • panko bread crumbs for coating

Cook onion, celery, and a pinch of salt and pepper in hot oil until onion is soft and translucent. Stir in chopped pimento.

Add capers and cook until fragrant. Cool.

Stir salmon, onion mixture, mayonnaise, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, garlic, mustard, cayenne, Florida pepper, salt, and ground black pepper together in a bowl until well-mixed. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until firm and chilled, 1 to 2 hours.

Form salmon mixture into four 1-inch thick patties and lightly dredge in panko.

Fry patties in hot oil until golden and heated through, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Top with aioli, if desired.

Sundried Tomato Aioli

Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2/3 cup neutral oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp sundried tomatoes, in oil
  • 3/4 tsp oil from the tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine the egg yolks, dry mustard, salt and lemon juice in a blender and process for 20 seconds.

With the blender running, very slowly drizzle in the oil in a thin stream. It should take about 2 minutes to pour all of it in.

Add the tomatoes, oil, and garlic and process another 20-30 seconds to incorporate completely.

Perfection on a plate!

 


Fresh Pasta

Fresh Pasta and Fresh Tomatoes

We're not done, yet, with those tomatoes! They really are the gift that keeps on giving!

When we cleared out the majority of the garden the other day, we brought in a lot of unripe tomatoes - the upcoming weather was just not conducive to keeping them outdoors.

We had a bunch of yellow tomatoes ripen together, so that started us off on a path to fresh pasta and yellow tomato sauce.

And I have to tell ya - it was a pretty yummy path!

Fresh Pasta

First, Victor made cavatelli - little semolina pasta shells. Perfectly light and tender, but sturdy enough to stand up to the sauce.

Cavatelli

  • 1 1/8 cup semolina flour
  • 3/4 cup Tipo "00" flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Mix flours and salt on board. Make a well and add the water and oil. Slowly mix the liquid into the flour forming a dough. Knead about 5 minutes. Wrap and let rest about 30 minutes to an hour.

Roll pieces of dough into a thin rope and cut into 1/2" pieces. Press and roll to make little shells.

Cook in salted boiling water. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.

For the sauce, I blended several yellow tomatoes in the blender to make a sauce.

Into a skillet went garlic, leeks, and fennel. When it was wilted, I added white wine and cooked it down. Next went the tomato sauce.

I brought it all to a boil and added oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt.

I brought it to a simmer and poached monkfish medallions in the sauce, and then added chunks of yellow tomato.

I cooked the pasta about 3/4 of the way though and then added it to the sauce to finish cooking.

The end result was pretty spectacular for being such a simple meal.

I am really going to miss these fresh tomatoes.


Linguine

Sunday Dinner

Sunday Dinner.

I feel like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof singing Tradition - except I'm Irish eating Italian. I guess it's the ultimate in cross-cultural recognition.

As a kid growing up, we'd have Sunday Dinner now and again - usually a roast or something that could be stretched into several meals in the coming week. My mother was a professional food-stretcher.

Victor's family, on the other hand, did the whole Italian pasta, meatballs, and lord knows what else eat for hours starting early in the afternoon...

Over the years, I've come to embrace that.

Granted, we no longer start early in the afternoon and eat all day, but a homemade pasta with a homemade sauce and homemade meatballs with a homemade loaf of bread sure makes for a great dinner!

Linguine

Victor’s Pasta Sauce

  • 2 – 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – Sm can tomato paste
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (or to taste if you like more) chopped fine
  • Olive oil
  • Dried Italian seasonings
  • Hot red pepper flakes (a tsp or more or less to taste)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Red wine (always cook with a decent wine, never “cooking” wine) about a cup or cup and a half
  • Meat – such as Italian sausage or some nice beef or pork ribs or pork chops

Ok…I ALWAYS make my sauce with meat, so start with a deep, heavy pot and add about 3-4 TBS of olive oil. On high heat, once the oil is hot, start frying the sausage or pork, Let the meat get good and caramelized although you don’t have to cook it all the way through because you’ll add it back to the sauce to finish. Once the meat is browned take it out of the pot, put it on a plate and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium and sauté the tomato paste for a couple of minutes until it begins to “melt”. Add the chopped garlic and sauté with the tomato paste for just a minute (no longer or it will burn). Then add about a cup of the red wine and deglaze the pan with it, scrapping up all the good bits that stuck to the bottom when cooking the meat.

When the wine reduces by about ½ start adding the canned tomatoes.  Add one can of hot water for every can of tomatoes you use.

Now start adding the dried Italian seasonings.  I eyeball it but I would guess a good 2 TBS is fine.  Add about another ½ cup of red wine, with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir everything into the sauce. It will be very thin at this point.

Add back the cooked meat. Now this is important….at the bottom of the plate you let the meat rest on will be some of the oil and juices that seeped out. Pour that back into the pot. It has a lot of flavor in it.

Bring the sauce back to a boil then turn the heat down low and let it simmer for at least 1 and a half hours, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes to keep it from burning. It should reduce by about a third or a little less and get thicker. The meat will absorb the sauce and get very tender.

When I make meatballs, I don’t fry them, I bake them on a sheet pan. When I do, I add them to the simmering sauce when they’re done so they also absorb the flavor.

I usually make the sauce early in the day and after it’s done, just let it sit on the stove until dinner then I re-heat it. This should make enough sauce for a couple of dinners or good sized lasagna.

 

Fresh Pasta

  • 1 cup tipo ’00’ flour
  • 1/3 cup semolina flour
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp water – maybe

Mix flour, salt, and eggs until fully combined. Knead on a floured board until smooth, adding a drop or two of additional water, if needed.

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, and then roll out using pasta machine. You can roll this with a rolling pin, but a pasta roller is so much easier!

 

Lightly dust and then fold the pasta strips.

And then cut to desired width.

Unfold and place on a floured sheet pan.

Cook in lightly boiling salted water for about 3 minutes. Then add to sauce and cook an additional 2 minutes.

 

Aleppo Tomato Bread

  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 pgk dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp aleppo pepper
  • 1 cup tomato juice and pulp from 3 or so fresh tomatoes
  • 4 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp softened butter
  • 1 tsp salt

Place yeast and warm water in mixing bowl. Let proof about 5 minutes.

Add juice, salt, 3 cups flour, and aleppo pepper. With dough hook, mix well, adding softened butter a bit at a time to make a soft but not too sticky dough. Mix for about 10 minutes.

Turn dough out to a floured surface and knead briefly.

Roll into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rise until doubled.

Punch down and form into a round or oblong loaf. Place on a well-floured or corn meal-covered bread peel – if using a baking stone – or onto a floured or corn meal-covered sheet pan and let rise again, until doubled. Make a slit across the top about a half-inch deep.

Place into a 350°F oven and bake about 45-55 minutes.

We were reasonably good - we didn't eat nearly as much as we wanted to - but every bite was perfection.

Viva la Sunday Dinner!


Fresh Tomatoes

The Last Hurrah

Sadly, the garden is over for another year... It's been a good year, with a record amount of tomatoes, cucumbers, galore, and some pretty hot peppers.

The eggplant didn't do as well as it has in the past, and, neither did the hot peppers, although there are still a few out back. The peppers that did arrive came late. I'll go out and get the last of them as soon as it stops raining. (Wishing I could send the rain west...)

Fresh Tomatoes

The green and purple beans started out great and then withered away. No idea why. The beets were good, but also not really plentiful. We also harvested the last of the leeks and the fresh ginger.

It really was the year of the tomato - and, when we weren't canning them, they seemed to go into almost everything we made.

A few nights ago, I made a throw-together andouille sausage and chicken stew, and then the following night, made a pot pie with the leftovers.

Pot Pie

I laid thick slices of tomato on top of the filling before adding the top crust. It was a pretty good use of leftovers...

And then, after seeing a recipe from La Cucina Italiana - I made a bean soup with shrimp.

Bean Soup

I didn't even remotely follow their recipe. but I did take their idea.

I made a quick bean soup using canned cannellini beans, homemade tomato paste, garlic, leeks, and celery, along with white wine, chicken broth, and aleppo pepper. I used an immersion blender to smooth it all out and then added a final can of beans for texture.

I sauteed shrimp in butter and olive oil, lots of garlic, a squirt of lemon, and lots of parsley.  Put the soup in a bowl, added the shrimp on top, and drizzled the pan juices around. It was pretty darned good. I made garlic bread from the Italian Bread I had made earlier in the week

Italian Bread

It was pretty good, too.

We probably have another weeks worth of tomatoes ripening and then it's over until next year - and next year's garden will be in California!

 

 

 


Tomato Galette

Tomato Galette

The garden tomatoes are slowly coming tpo an end, but while they're still around, we're coming up with more ways to eat them.

Tonight, Victor made a Tomato Galette - layers of sliced tomatoes under crisp and crunchy croutons. It was pure perfection!

He took a bunch of yellow heirloom tomatoes and sliced them and then layered them in a small casserole dish with thinly-sliced shallots, a bit of shredded quattro formaggio cheese blend, salt & pepper, topped with homemade croutons from the Italian Bread I made yesterday.

The croutons were bread cubes mixed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder - baked in the oven until crunchy and toasted. Since toast is one of my most favorite food groups, he made enough for me to snack on, as well!

It all went into a 350°F oven for 45 minutes.

Tomato Galette

Crispy crunchy croutons atop perfect tomatoes - seasoned simply, because they're so delicious on their own they don't need a lot. And the homemade croutons made the dish!

I made the bread to go along with a beef stew I had made.

I make stew based on a Boeuf Bourguignon recipe I've been making for years. It started off as a quick version of Julia Child's classic and has just morphed over the years. The constants are beef, bacon, brandy, a bottle of red wine, and beef stock - the rest changes to suit what's in the kitchen at the time... It slow-cooks in the oven for several hours and comes out great every time.

beef stew and tomatoes

This really has been the year of the tomato and I'm going to be sad to see it end.

But it ain't over, yet!

 

 

 

 


Orzo Salad

Orzo Salad

We did a bit of tag-team in the kitchen, today... I had planned burgers with a mushroom sauce because I had mushrooms that needed using up. Victor decided to make an orzo salad because orzo salads are really good. I had also harvested another huge bowl of tomatoes.

You can see how logic plays right into our meal decisions.

Orzo Salad

The salad consisted of:

  • orzo
  • fresh tomatoes
  • tomato paste
  • leeks
  • celery
  • kalamata olives
  • olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

Fresh and refreshing!

The burgers were pretty basic and the mushroom gravy was:

  • crimini mushrooms
  • shiitake mushrooms
  • brandy
  • red wine
  • beef stock
  • pepper, garlic powder
  • cornstarch to thicken

Neither were anything fancy, but they really hit the spot.

Tomorrow night, we're thinking of reworking the salad into a pasta dish with shrimp!

Stay tuned.


Tomatoes

Tomatoes

They just keep a'comin' even as the plants start dying back. I'm really rather in awe - last year, they were pretty much gone in early September.

I think the Black Krim have been the best-tasting, overall, this year - a rich tomato flavor you will never get from the supermarket. That being said, the others haven't been too shabby. Every one has been superior to anything store-bought.

We're going to do at least one more round of tomato paste, but, tonight, decided on a Tomato Cobbler with Ricotta Biscuits from the NY Times.  Something a bit different...

Tomatoes

The recipe calls for draining ricotta, freezing flour, and, generally, making a huge production out of making the biscuits. I just made them using their basic ingredients but not following their process. They were really good. Use your own judgement.

Tomato Cobbler with Ricotta Biscuits

adapted from the NY Times

  • 3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 pounds tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper

PREPARATION

Prepare the ricotta: Strain the ricotta in a cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer for at least 30 minutes. When it’s ready to use, squeeze to get rid of any excess moisture.

Prepare the ricotta biscuits: Put 2 1/2 cups cake flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Transfer to the freezer to chill for about 20 minutes. Add the butter to the bowl and smear the pieces between your fingers, pinching them to make thin pieces and smushing these into the flour mixture until no big pieces are left.

Make a well in the middle of the bowl and gradually pour in 1 cup buttermilk while using a fork to fluff in the flour from the sides of the bowl until you form a shaggy-looking dough. Crumble in the ricotta and loosely incorporate with your fingers.

Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and use your hands to shape it into a roughly 4-inch-by-6-inch rectangle. Fold into thirds and flatten back to the same size with your hands; repeat two more times, flattening the dough out until about 1-inch thick. Refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes.

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat oven to 350 degrees. In a 2-quart baking dish, combine the tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and thyme and oregano with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons cake flour. Season generously with salt and pepper, and let sit while you prepare the biscuit dough.

Lay the biscuit dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 2-inch squares or circles and arrange in a single layer over the tomatoes — you should have around 10 to 12 biscuits. Roll and cut scraps, or just bake the scraps separately to snack on. Bake for 45 minutes, until the tomato mixture has bubbled up and the biscuits are browned on top. Allow to cool, and serve warm or at room temperature, finishing with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Tomatoes

I made pork patties with ground pork, aleppo pepper, garlic, and salt and pepper - and then pan-fried them.

The biscuits were really light, the tomatoes really flavorful.  The total flavor combination worked great.

And there's still more to come!

 

 


Tomato Risotto

Tomato Risotto

I have been making risotto for years. And years.

It's one of those dishes I just make - the basics are always the same, the flavors can change depending upon what's in the 'fridge. It's really an easy dish to pull off - and pretty much impossible to screw up. It takes about 30 minutes - and it's worth the minimal effort.

Tonight's version started off as a way to use up tomatoes. We're getting to the last of them, but... there are still quite a few. I used small yellow tomatoes for this, but any would work.

Tomato Risotto

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup arborio, carnaroli, or other risotto rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 cups hot chicken broth
  • 1 chicken breast, cut in chunks
  • 6 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 - 2 oz grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Saute onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil and butter.  Add chicken and cook about half-way. Add rice and cook until translucent, stirring continually.  Add the tomato paste and blend well.

Add wine and cook until almost fully absorbed.

Begin to add broth by the ladle, stirring continually.  Continue adding ladles of broth as the last one is absorbed. Midway through, stir in tomatoes.

Continue stirring and adding broth until rice is just tender.

Stir in cheese.

Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, as desired.

Enjoy.

Tomato Risotto

20/20 hindsight being what it is, I probably could have held back a few tomatoes and stirred them in at the end for a bit more texture, but, as it was, they melted in and made for a rich, flavorful sauce.

 

 

 


Eggplant and Eggs

Eggplant, Ravioli, and a Seven Minute Egg

I always know when Victor asks if I have planned anything for dinner that he has a plan for dinner. And I ain't no fool - I let him go for it!

His plan, tonight, was based on a soft-cooked egg he had seen on Milk Street - steamed for exactly 7 minutes.

Dinner based upon a simple egg?!? You betcha!

Of course, one needs something to put that egg upon - and he did not disappoint!

First, he made ravioli. Perfect little pillows stuffed with ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, egg, and parmigiano.

Our eggplant did not produce as it has in past years, but we were able to make some cutlets and freeze them. A couple of them came out and went into the oven with his sauce and the same ricotta filling in between them.

When they were ready, the ravioli went into the sauce and the eggs went into the steamer basket. And then everything went onto the plate.

Eggplant and Eggs

Absolute perfection!

It was one of those texture sensations - the silkiness of the ravioli, the crunch of the eggplant breading, and that perfectly cooked egg.

It was heaven on the end of my fork.

 

 


Russian Black Bread

Russian Black Bread

This is an interesting recipe...

99.999% of the breads I make are pretty basic combinations of flour, water, salt, and yeast. It's rather amazing that how you play with those four ingredients can create such a variety of different breads.

This bread, on the other hand, reads like a science experiment! There are a score of ingredients - and ingredients you don't often see in a savory bread - like cocoa powder and espresso powder. And every one of them work to create a decidedly delicious loaf!

The basic recipe comes from King Arthur Flour... I don't know how authentic it may be, but it's a damned good loaf!

Russian Black Bread

  • 1 1/8 cups (255g) lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup (106g) pumpernickel or rye flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons (43g) dark corn syrup or molasses
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (18g) black cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon rye berries
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups (298g) bread flour, divided

Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl, reserving 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces, 121g) of the bread flour.

Mix to make a thick batter-like dough.

Mix in the remaining cup of flour and knead for 7 minutes, or until the dough becomes soft and elastic, but may still be somewhat sticky to the touch. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Russian Black Bread

After the first rise, shape the dough into an oblong loaf.

Russian Black Bread

Place in a greased standard loaf tin, cover with greased plastic, and let rise until almost doubled, about 60 to 90 minutes.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F. When the dough has almost doubled, brush or spray the top with water, dust with pumpernickel or rye flour, and score (slash) the top.

Bake the bread for about 35 minutes, until it sounds hollow when you thump the bottom.

Remove the loaf from the oven and cool it on a rack before slicing.

Russian Black Bread

 

It's one of those loaves that's pretty much perfect in every way. It has a great crust, a soft crumb, and it's just loaded with flavor.

I didn't have black cocoa so I used Scharffen Berger Dark Cocoa Powder. Any good cocoa powder will work, but Dutch Process is probably better...

I also added some rye berries for a bit of crunch - just a teaspoon. The fennel seeds added a really nice surprise. Again, just a teaspoon.

This is definitely a keeper recipe!

Russian Black Bread

 

 

 


Another Batch of Pasta Sauce

It appears that I'm going to be forever banned from posting my recipe site on Facebook... Yeah... it says they're 'reviewing my content' but... I'm not hopeful. One message says I've spammed. I guess three or four recipe posts a week is an awful lot... I mean, it's not quite like Russian bot postings or phony accounts trying to undermine our entire political process...

Oh. Wait. Those are happening as I type this... But that doesn't seem to violate their terms of service.

When I try to share a post from my blog I get a message that states I can't post because people have reported the recipe site as being abusive.

Abusive.

I guess advocating for healthy food is pretty abusive. In a kafkaesque sort of way... Sorta... Abusive spammer.

That's me.

The only thing that pisses me off about it is I have no recourse. There is no one to call, no one to email, no one to speak with or contact in any way, shape, or form. They control it all. The ban extends to Instagram, too.

There, it states: "It looks like your profile contains a link that is not allowed. We restrict certain content and actions to protect our community. Tell us if you think we made a mistake." I have pressed the "report" button a bazillion times to no avail.

An abusive spammer their "community" needs protecting from. Yeah, that pretty much describes me.

Oh, well...

In the meantime, the recipe site is alive and well - just not accessible through Zuckerberg Enterprises. I'll survive.

We're still cooking up a storm, and just made another huge batch of pasta sauce. It will definitely get us through until the next crop of tomatoes.

16 quarts of sauce. That's a lot, even for us. It's Victor's basic recipe... He used 4 #10 cans of San Marzano tomatoes and a couple pounds of fresh San Marzano tomatoes from the garden.

Victor's Pasta Sauce

  • 2 – 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – Sm can tomato paste
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (or to taste if you like more) chopped fine
  • Olive oil
  • Dried Italian seasonings
  • Hot red pepper flakes (a tsp or more or less to taste)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Red wine (always cook with a decent wine, never “cooking” wine) about a cup or cup and a half
  • Meat – such as Italian sausage or some nice beef or pork ribs or pork chops

Ok…I ALWAYS make my sauce with meat, so start with a deep, heavy pot and add about 3-4 TBS of olive oil. On high heat, once the oil is hot, start frying the sausage or pork, Let the meat get good and caramelized although you don’t have to cook it all the way through because you’ll add it back to the sauce to finish. Once the meat is browned take it out of the pot, put it on a plate and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium and sauté the tomato paste for a couple of minutes until it begins to “melt”. Add the chopped garlic and sauté with the tomato paste for just a minute (no longer or it will burn). Then add about a cup of the red wine and deglaze the pan with it, scrapping up all the good bits that stuck to the bottom when cooking the meat.

When the wine reduces by about ½ start adding the canned tomatoes.  Add one can of hot water for every can of tomatoes you use.

Now start adding the dried Italian seasonings.  I eyeball it but I would guess a good 2 TBS is fine.  Add about another ½ cup of red wine, with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir everything into the sauce. It will be very thin at this point.

Add back the cooked meat. Now this is important….at the bottom of the plate you let the meat rest on will be some of the oil and juices that seeped out. Pour that back into the pot. It has a lot of flavor in it.

Bring the sauce back to a boil then turn the heat down low and let it simmer for at least 1 and a half hours, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes to keep it from burning. It should reduce by about a third or a little less and get thicker. The meat will absorb the sauce and get very tender.

When I make meatballs, I don’t fry them, I bake them on a sheet pan. When I do, I add them to the simmering sauce when they’re done so they also absorb the flavor.

I usually make the sauce early in the day and after it’s done, just let it sit on the stove until dinner then I re-heat it. This should make enough sauce for a couple of dinners or good sized lasagna.

Sauce is down in the basement along with jars of plain sauce, tomato paste, and a couple dozen quarts of soup.

We're ready for winter - and hell freezing over if I ever get reinstated.