Collingswood, Spend a Saturday in July to visit this wonderful town in New Jersey!!!

A must see on a Saturday is the town of Collingswood, a great place to get out and enjoy the fresh air, wearing comfy shoes to walk and explore the many blocks of intriqing places.

One place you must visit if you live in New Jersey or near Philly is The town of Collingswood. It is Main Street, USA.

What are the draws? I’m sharing my thoughts, perhaps you would like to see it yourself.

It has been a tradition, I learned, for many years that there is a farmer’s market, with representatives of many New Jersey farms selling their fresh produce.
Are you wanting something that you rarely find in a supermarket grocery store?
One of the vendors sells Zucchini blossoms.

Arts and Culture:
” Second Saturday Event”
Tonight, the town is having a special event from 6:00 to 9:00 pm , ” A Free Open Air Arts Walk”.
On every block of Haddon Avenue, Art and music will be on display.
Dozens of one night exhibitions of jewelers, potters, painters, crafters and artists.
Retailers will offer deals, giveaways and discounts on services.

Antiques.

Antiques abound. It is fun to walk along Haddon Avenue and explore. My favorite place is a cottage, set back from the main road called,” The Painted Cottage”, the owners collect antique furniture, and refinish in white paint, or aqua, silver, pink or sage colors.   In past visits, I’ve dreamed of buying an antique dresser or dressing table/ vanity or wooden desk and satisfied my want by photographing the pretty images. This old style wooden furniture was designed with elaborate carvings that you seldom find in the Big Box type Furniture Stores.

There’s another favorite antique store that I love to browse with my husband. In the display window, the last time we went, there was a small slate board, antique, written in white chalk were the words, ” The First I- Pad”. We smiled and pointed it out and I remarked that as a child, I drew on a handheld chalkboard just like that one. In fact, I still have it!!!

The Restaurants

What to choose is the question. There’s Thai, Latin American, Asian Fusion, Japanese, Mexican, two Indian , American, ” The Pop Shop”, for fountain sodas, shakes, burgers, and belly busting breakfasts, along with several Italian restaurants.

In a review on Yelp.com, a few write of ” That’s Amore” serving a delicious meal called, ” Sunday Gravy made up of meatballs, pork and sausage and a rich red gravy. Growing up in my house, both of my parents referred to mom’s homemade as Sauce of which I have her recipe posted on this blog.

Cooking with Zucchini- Stove top casserole

Good morning. I don’t know about you, but whenever I have a free morning, I’m at the computer, and looking out the window at the sunshine, sipping some green tea.

While talking with mom on the cordless phone,  our conversation went like this.  I was reading a blog recipe aloud where they mentioned Sea Salt as the ingredient for the salad dressing .  (lemon, white vinegar, and sea salt).  Mom asked,” which one is better Sea salt  or Table Salt? ” If there’s a question, Google has the answer. She was amazed , how fast the computer works.

Sea salts retain the trace elements while table salt has been processed to remove trace elements and include additives.

Table salt is processed to remove trace elements while sea salts, in general, leave these in.  These minerals are indeed important in our diets, but in sea salt they exist in what the Mayo Clinic describes as “insignificant amounts.” Chances are you are getting the same minerals in greater quantities in the fruits and vegetables that you eat.

Mom then posed the question about Salt mines. Where are they located?

Google again.

“The oldest salt mine known to date located in Azerbaijan, Duzdagi mine”


“In order to understand these interactions, CNRS researcher Catherine
Marro and her team have been exploring the Araxes basin (Turkey, Iran,
Azerbaijan) for the last ten years or so. The archeologists have been
focusing particularly on the Duzdagi (4) salt mine situated in
Azerbaijan, more specifically beside the old medieval Silk Road linking
Tabriz (in the north west of Iran) with Constantinople.”

“To the researchers’ surprise, intensive salt production was carried out in this mine at least as early as 3500 BC.”

The economic and symbolic importance of salt in ancient and medieval
times is well-known. Recent discoveries have shown that salt most
probably played a predominant role in protohistoric societies, in other
words those that preceded the appearance of writing.  How is salt
obtained? The two most widely used techniques are based on the
extraction of rock salt, in other words a sedimentary deposit containing
a high concentration of edible salt (2), and the collection of sun-dried
salt in salt marshes, for example.”

http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=90605&CultureCode=en

Mom then said, “Well those mines are older than the Coal mines of Pennsylvania. ”

Stove Top Casserole

zucchini 4 cups sliced

Vegetable oil 3 Tablespoons

Garlic cloves, 2 crushed

salt and freshly ground pepper

spaghetti sauce, 1  16 ounce can, heated

mozzarella cheese, 3/4 pound thinly sliced

oregano, 1 teaspoon, crushed

basil 1/4 tsp

In a large Teflon skillet, saute zucchini slices, 1 cup at a time in 1 tablespoon oil with garlic.

Cook until almost tender and a little brown; drain on paper towels.  pour off any excess oil; then layer hot zucchini in skillet, season lightly with salt and pepper , and spreading each layer with some of the hot spaghetti sauce and sliced mozzarella cheese.  Cover top layer with cheese and sprinkle with herbs.   Cover and cook very slowly until mixture is just bubbly and cheese is melted.

 Serves 6.

Reference: The Zucchini Cookbook by Paula Simmons.

Potato Provencal, recipe

Once the dog days of summer have left and September’s cool weather is here, I ‘m ready to get back to the kitchen and start baking more often with my oven.

There is so much variety when your taste buds tell you to make potatoes.   Red skin potatoes have a thinner skin and are a little quicker to peel than a baking potato,or a  sweet potato.

I don’t recall how this cookbook called, “A taste of Heaven and Earth, a Zen Approach to cooking and eating”, came into my house; perhaps one of my mom’s book collection.  With this title, I think I’ll do some yoga poses after I’m finished, a  Sun Salutation, tree pose, dog or cat pose.   I love the spa close to my house, they have a very serene spa classroom; I just wish they were open on a Wednesday!

Now, its recipe time!

This casserole dish is rich with a variety off Mediterranean flavors.

Ingredients:

1 pound new red potatoes.sliced 1/3 in thick

3 TBSP olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 medium  red onions,sliced thin

1 TBSp crushed fresh lovage or fresh sage( eek what is lovage?)

1 TBSp chopped fresh thyme

1 tsp tamari

freshly ground pepper

4 tomatoes, thinly sliced in half (about 3/4 lb)

1 cup pitted and halved black olives ( on Sunday after a baby shower, I took my mom shopping to a Dollar store and she wanted me to buy a can of olives!-however, I said, Pat said our pantry is full!)

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese ( as my co-worker  ,Italian Frank just said yesterday that fresh grated Cheese is the best! , have you read the pre-grated variety container?-all the additives!)

Finely chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Cook the potatoes by steaming them for 5 minutes or until halfway cooked and still firm.  Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the oil in a small skillet.  Saute’ the garlic, onions, and herbs over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.  When the onions become translucent, remove from the heat.   In a medium bowl, carefully mix the cooked potatoes with the onions.  Season with tamari and freshly ground pepper.

Assemble all the ingredients in a 2 quart casserole ( mine is a yellow Pyrex that my grandmother gave to me):

Place half the potatoes and onions in the bottom of the dish, cover with half the tomatoes and olives, and top with 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.  Continue layering in this order until all ingredients are used.

Bake in the oven, covered loosely with foil, for 30 minutes.  Uncover and continue to bake for 20 minutes, until brown on top.  Garnish with parsley.

Serves 4.

Cookbook: A taste of Heaven and Earth   by Bettina Vitale

This Casserole dish

Bellini, The Origin

The Bellini was invented sometime between 1934 and 1948 by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy. Because of its unique pink color, which reminded Cipriani of the color of the toga of a saint in a painting by 15th-century Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini, he named the drink the Bellini.

A true Bellini is made with the nectar of white peaches and Italian sparkling wine. Mionetto Prosecco Brut D.o.c is an example of a good Italian sparkling wine.

The Bellini consists of puréed white peaches and Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine. Marinating fresh peaches in wine is an Italian tradition.[2] The original recipe was made with a bit of raspberry or cherry juice to give the drink a pink glow.[4] Due, in part, to the limited availability of both white peaches and Prosecco, several variations exist.

Bellini Bar

Giada De Laurentiis

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Rated 5 stars out of 5
Total Time: 1 hr 5 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive: 30 min
Cook: 5 min
Yield: 12 serving

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen peaches, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen blueberries or blackberries, thawed
  • 4 to 6 (750-ml) bottles Prosecco or other sparkling wine, chilled
  • Fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, for garnish
  • Orange peel twists, for garnish

Directions

Stir the sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely.

Puree the peaches and orange peel in a blender with 1/2 cup of the sugar syrup until smooth. Strain through a fine-meshed strainer and into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate. In a clean blender puree the strawberries with 1/3 cup of the sugar syrup until smooth. Strain through a clean fine-meshed strainer and into another bowl. Discard the seeds. Puree the blueberries in a clean blender with 1/3 cup of the sugar syrup until smooth. Strain through a clean fine-meshed strainer and into a third bowl. Discard the seeds and solids. Pour each of the purees into clear glass bowls or small pitchers.

For each serving, pour 2 to 4 tablespoons of the desired fruit puree into a Champagne flute. Slowly pour enough Prosecco into the flute to fill. Gently stir to blend. Garnish with the whole berries, as desired, and serve.

Do-Ahead Tip: The fruit purees can each be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.

This wine is perfect alone as an aperitif or as a delight- ful complement to appetizers such as prosciutto or
mild cheeses. Excellent as a base for Bellinis and other sparkling wine cocktails.

Bellini is also the name of a music group originating in Catania, Sicily .     Agostino Tilotta and Damon Che begin writing songs in August 12, 2000.  They started their first North America tour in 2001.  I must locate this group on you-tube or I -tunes and catch a few bars of their music today!

Bellini is a rhythmic, tight, beautifully aggressive quartet consisting of Agostino Tilotta, his wife Giovanna Cacciola (both also of Italy’s famed Uzeda), bassist Matthew Taylor (the Romulans) and drummer Alexis Fleisig (Girls Against Boys). Though retaining some of the basic elements of their former selves, Bellini are more focused, more structured and more rhythmic than ever before. They embody the true spirit of perseverance and punk rock, making uncompromising, honest music strictly for the brutal love of it.

The Teatro Massimo Bellini is an opera house in CataniaSicily, southern Italy. Named after the local-born composer Vincenzo Bellini, it was inaugurated on 31 May 1890 with a performance of the composer’s masterwork, Norma. It seats 1,200.

Doreen’s Penne pasta with Vodka Sauce

Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce

Vodka Sauce 

Prepare this delicious sauce the night before, so the flavors can meld.

1 pint of heavy cream

1/4 cup Vodka

1 ( 8  ) ounce can tomato sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium onion chopped (use food processor)

1/4 prosciutto slab type chopped, slice and use food processor.

Directions:

Heat oil and , chop onion and put in pot, simmering for 5 minutes.

Add prosciutto , chopped, and brown for 5 minutes.

Raise the heat on stove, and add Vodka, then lower heat , add tomato sauce  and cook 10 minutes.

This amount of sauce is for 1 pound of pasta.

Please Note:   This recipe is from a former co-worker Ronni Germaine, who has moved to a southern sunny state, yet her recipe remains with my collection.

Second Note:   Another Cook ( friend) suggests that  For a richer flavor:   add oregano and another 1/4 cup vodka and simmer for 10 min longer.

Penne Pasta w/ Vodka Sauce : Amounts for 3 trays of Penne = 4 pounds of pasta.

4 lbs. pasta

6 qts heavy cream

1 1/2 cups Vodka

1/1/2 c. Olive oil

10 8 ounce cans tomato sauce plus 2 cups of water

5 medium onions

Recipe: Brisket of Beef

1 Brisket of Beef   ? amt of lbs

Using a ” Brown and Serve ” bag ( not the Turkey size), place the brisket meat, 1 lb of baby carrots, 2/1/2 lbs. red potatoes, 1 inch square diced, 1 bottle of French dressing.

Bake at 300 degrees for 4 hours or longer.

Recipe-Spaghetti Leonardo

“ I was raised with home-made spaghetti sauce every week”, one thing is for sure, “  the smell of tomatoes and oregano  and basil is soothing to my soul.” I have re posted this recipe from  Kelly at the Spunky Coconut;  many  of her recipes are gluten-free.

Spaghetti Leonardo

Add to Crock pot:

4 cups chopped vine-ripened tomatoes

4 Italian sausage (casing removed)

1/2 an onion, chopped

1/4 tsp garlic

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS:

Set to 4 hours high.

After cooking throw in about 3 cups fresh chopped spinach to wilt.

I also added a drizzle of organic extra virgin olive oil, and a few cranks of fresh ground pepper.

Serve over noodles. I use Tinkyada.

She writes the reason why  she’s  calling it “Spaghetti Leonardo” .  Whilst looking for an Italian name, and who better to honor than this hero, Leonardo DiCaprio. No, it’s not his acting career, although  his movies are great.   It is  what Leonardo does in his free time. There’s  a link to one of  her  favorite organizations, the Natural Resources Defense Council. Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the board members of the NRDC, along with Robert Redford.  If you can, check them out and give them your support too.

Stuffed Artichokes

Stuffed Artichokes

Ingredients:

4 large artichokes
1 cup dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped black olives
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon chopped capers
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
4 teaspoons grated Parmesan for topping

Directions:

Trim the artichokes as described above, removing only the tough bottom leaves and
snipping the ends off the others.  Leave the artichokes in the lemon water while you prepare the stuffing. 

To make the stuffing: For the dried bread crumbs we recommend starting with fresh bread crumbs.
Process a few slices of leftover Italian bread in a food processor.  Place on a micro-safe plate and heat on
high at 1 minute intervals.  Stir the crumbs occasionally.  Remove when they are dry and crisp.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, olive, Parmesan, garlic, herbs, capers, red pepper, salt and pepper.
Add some olive oil (4 to 6 tablespoons) gradually, stirring until combined and moistened.
Spoon the stuffing into the center of the artichokes until filled to the top.
Place the artichokes in a baking dish.
Add enough water to the dish to cover the bottom halves of the artichokes.
Cover the dish with foil and bake 1 hour.  Artichokes are fully cooked when you can easily pull out a leaf.
Remove from the oven and increase the heat to broil.
Remove the foil and top each artichoke with a teaspoon of Parmesan cheese.
Place under the broiler until the topping is browned, about 2 minutes.
Place on a serving platter and spoon a little of the juice from the baking dish over each.
Serve whole or cut in half vertically.

Serves 4

NOTES:
Stuffed Artichokes

Stuffed artichokes are one of the most common ways of eating artichokes in Italy. Native to the Mediterranean, the artichoke is harvested year-round, but more than half of the crop is
harvested between March and May.  The Fall crop usually peaks in October.  The ‘vegetable’ that we
eat is actually the plant’s flower bud.  Most people cook the whole artichoke and slip each petal, one
by one, through their teeth until they reach the tender heart which is entirely edible.    If you’re
intimidated by this unusual-looking vegetable, you’re not alone.  But once you learn the simple
procedure, preparing artichokes is easy.

RECIPE

Seasoned Bread Crumbs:


Seasoned bread crumbs are used in the above recipe for artichoke stuffing but
they can also be used as a costing for fried poultry, meat, fish, or vegetables.  You
can store the bread crumbs in storage bags in your freezer for up to a year. 

4-5 cups coarse bread crumbs
3/4 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese
1-1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients until blended.

Saint Lucia Day is December 13, 2010

Saint Lucia day is December 13, 1010 and my dad’s cousin Lucy’s birthday is today!

Happy birthday, cousin Lucy!

Saint Lucia Coffee cake wreath:

Saint Lucia Wreath

A Saint Lucia coffeecake is the traditional offering on Dec. 13. The rich dough is colored and flavored with saffron. Either a large wreath or a plate of individual buns — formed in the shapes of wreaths, crowns and cats — is perfect for a holiday brunch or when guests come to call. This authentic recipe is from Beatrice Ojakangas’s “Scandinavian Feasts” (University of Minnesota Press). If yours is a small household, divide the dough in half and make two smaller wreaths.

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick ) butter, melted
1 teaspoon saffron threads (a good pinch)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup currants
2 eggs, warmed
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour
1 large egg, beaten
Sugar sprinkles, optional

To make the dough: In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Add a pinch of sugar. Heat the milk and add the melted butter to it; cool until the mixture is lukewarm.

Pulverize the saffron with 1 teaspoon of the sugar, using a mortar and pestle or with the back of a spoon in a small dish. Add 1 tablespoon of the warm milk-and-butter mixture and allow the saffron to steep for 5 minutes.

Add the saffron mixture, milk-and-butter mixture, sugar, salt, currants and eggs to the yeast. Using an electric blender on medium speed, beat until blended. Add 2 cups flour and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of the remaining flour and mix with a wooden spoon to make a medium-stiff dough. Let dough rest for 15 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Knead for 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and satiny. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Turn the dough over to lightly oil the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

To make a braided wreath: Punch the dough down and divide into 3 parts. With the palms of your hands, roll and shape each part into a rope-like strand about 36 inches long. Braid the strands by aligning them vertically and alternately crossing each outer strand over the center strand. Shape the braid into a circle and place on a greased or parchment-covered baking sheet. Pinch the ends together where they meet to seal the strands and to conceal the beginning and end of the braid.

Transfer to the baking sheet. Brush with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles if using. Let rise for about 45 minutes or just until puffy.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the dough comes out clean and dry. Cool on a rack. Makes 16 servings.

Note: To make two smaller wreaths: Divide the dough into 2 parts and braid as above. Place each wreath on a baking sheet, allow to rise and bake for about 20 minutes.

NOTES:
reposted from another blog, POST Gazette.com from Pittsburg.
As far as weather, my mother always says, “whatever Pittsburg, Pa gets, that we’re going to get”; for example SNOW is coming our way, since Pittsburgh has it.

Saint Lucia was Italian

Oddly, Saint Lucia was Italian, a Sicilian martyr. So how did an Italian girl-turned-saint come to be honored in Sweden?

There are several legends about the real Saint Lucia. One of the most common is that she was born of wealthy, noble parents about 283 AD in Syracuse, Sicily. Her father died when she was very young.

When her mother fell ill and her death appeared imminent, the desperate Lucia took her on a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Agatha, where miraculous healings were rumored to take place. The mother was healed and both women embraced Christianity. Together they pledged to use their wealth to help the sick and the poor.

At the time, Sicily was under the rule of an emperor, and Christianity was forbidden in favor of pagan gods. But the devout young Sicilian virgin held to her faith and distributed food to the homeless and starving.

Many of those poor families sought refuge in caves, and Lucia would make her way through the passageways with armfuls of bread. She wore a crown of candles on her head to light the way, leaving her hands free to distribute the food.

Now the plot thickens. Lucia vowed to remain a virgin. But before her father died, he had arranged her marriage into a pagan family, a deal that Lucia had no intention of honoring. Her betrothed, however, demanded her hand as his bride. Lucia flat-out refused. In a rage, the suitor took his revenge and reported Lucia’s Christian faith to the Roman officials, setting up a worst-case scenario.

On Dec. 13, 304 AD, Lucia was led before a court where she was sentenced. But she was one tough cookie. When the guards tried to drag her away, she was immovable. They tried to poke out her eyes, but she could still see. In desperation, the court ordered that she be burned. Bundles of wood were piled up around her and the fire ignited. But she was not consumed by the flames. Lucia was finally killed by the sword of one of the soldiers.

Later she was venerated as a martyr and saint, and the day of her death, Dec. 13, was named Saint Lucia’s Day.

Bringing light to Sweden

Time passed, and the day had no real significance for centuries. As Christianity spread through Europe and into Scandinavia, though, the pagan celebration of Winter Solstice had to be replaced with a Christian celebration. In keeping with “timing is everything,” winter solstice happened to fall on Dec. 13, so Saint Lucia was the natural choice.

The legend of the celebration was cemented when a terrible famine came to the Province of Varmland in Sweden during the middle ages. The poor village was starving to death. But on Dec. 13 of that year a large white ship was seen coming through the night across Lake Vanern, with a beautiful young woman standing on the bow. She was wearing a brilliant white gown, and a ring of light encircled her head.

The country people boarded the ship to find that its cargo was food, clothing and supplies. They quickly unloaded it, and as they carried the last baskets away the people looked back to see that the ship was no longer there.

Probably, it had been a much-needed supply ship from another province. But many felt in their hearts that it was a gift from Saint Lucia, and as the story spread, celebrations of Saint Lucia’s Day began. Even after the calendar was reformed and winter solstice fell on a later day, the 13th of December remained the celebration of Saint Lucia.

Visiting Lucy and family in Vermont, 2008

Tomato-Pomodoro, origins and pasta sauces

Recipes:

What is Italy without the tomato? The history of the tomato.

The tomato was first brought to Europe in the sixteenth century from voyages of discovery to Mexico and Peru.

The tomato was first known as ” pomme d’amour or ‘love apple’ because it’s iron and vitamin content seemed to impart a lusty vigor.
The name eventually became changed to pomme d’oror ‘golden apple’, evoking memories of the Hysperides myth, and in Italy the name Pomodoro is still used today.

In Italy, one can find at least four types of tomatoes in local markets during the summer. The unripe orangy-green are used for salad, the large round red are mainly stuffed with rice. The tomato used for sauce is the San Marzano, the plum tomato that is also tinned and exported all over the world. Even I have seen the San Marzano Italian brand on the shelves in my local grocery stores.

In the south the small round cherry tomato is used for pasta sauce.
In the cities, the Italian housewife buys fresh tomatoes daily throughout the summer to make her sauce. And in September large crates of tomatoes are sold by the roadside (oro rosso or red gold).
Then whole families of grandparents, fathers, mothers children gather together to make sauce and bottle it for the winter. The washed tomatoes are put through a simple apparatus that removes skin and seeds. The resulting puree is poured into clean mineral water bottles and a leaf or two of basil is added before they are capped and sterilized in a seething cauldron of boiling water. This is carried out in the open air and if you drive through the countryside, you may see the red colour on the grass and earth of fields from the tomato skins and seeds thrown out by the primitive pulping machines.
This filtered puree is known as passato, and even today when it can be purchased bottled, there is pride and pleasure in this personal preparation for the cupboard of one’s own sauce.

In Puglia and Magna Grecia, there is an ancient method of drying tomatoes in the hot southern sun which is still used today. You can find these dried tomatoes in small glass jars in specialty shops.

Tinned, peeled tomatoes known as pellati are also used to make pasta sauce and are the first choice of most cooks outside of Italy. Even the same variety grown in Northern climates would not have the same taste, and it would be a mistake to use. Always use tinned Italian tomatoes in preference to a fresh Northern variety.
To use fresh plum tomatoes, remove the skins by plunging them ito boiling water for a few minutes. Allow less cooking time, becuase there will be less water to evaporate.

There are many different versions of tomato sauce and every Italian family has its own favorite. Some prefer to leave the garlic and onion whole, removing the garlic at the end of frying time.
Some cooks add a small piece of celery chopped with the onion and garlic, others ad celery and a chopped carrot. There are families that add a spoonful of brandy to the finished sauce like the Italian habit of adding Brandy or other liqueurs to the morning black Espresso coffee.( which is called caffe coretto or ‘corrected coffee”!). Others add a generous amount of good red wine.

No two tomato sauces are ever identical This is generally accepted and in Sicily , there is even an expression to describe a changeable personality: Cambia sempre come la slasa- ” He is always different like a sauce”.


Tagliatelle o Spaghetti al Pomodoro

500 g/ 1 lg tagliatelle or spaghetti
30 ml/ 2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
2 400 g/ 14 oz cans Italian plum tomatoes
1 sugar lump
salt and black pepper to taste
60 g/ 2 oz ( 1 cup) freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Directions:

Heat the oil and gently fry the chopped onion and garlic until softened. Cover the pan to prevent browning. Add the tomatoes and their juice , sugar, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and cook on a high flame, uncovered fro about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sauce is reduced and thick , check the seasoning , then pass the sauce through the meduium disc of a food mill . ( although not authentic, you can also use an electric blender or food processor to save time.) I like the familiar old scraping type sound as the tomatoes are pressed through the food mill that my maternal grandmother and mother used as I rotate the handle first one direction and then the opposite.

Cook the pasta , following the directions on the packet very carefully to avoid overcooking. Drain the pasta and add half the freshly grated cheese, stirring thoroughly. Then add the sauce. Stir well, add the rest of the cheese and serve.

Penne Al Forno con Pomodoro e Mozzarella
Baked Penne with tomato and cheese

This is a favorite of my family at get-togethers.

500 g/ 1 lb penne or other short pasta
tomato sauce ( see recipe above)
50 g / 2 oz ( generous i/2 cup ) freshly grated Parmesean cheese
300 g/ 10 oz mozzarella cheese
120 ml/ 8 tbsp toasted breadcrumbs

Directions:

Cook the pasta for half the time given in the packet/ box directions and drain.
Put 120 ml/ 4 fl oz of the tomato sauce on one side and mix the rest with the pasta.
Add one third of the freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Butter an oven-proof dish and put in half the pasta. Cover with thin slices of Mozzarella, the reserved tomato sauce and half the remaining Parmesan.
Add the rest of the pasta and cover with the remaining Parmesan
mixed with the breadcrumbs.

Bake in a hot oven 220 degrees Celsius/ 425 degrees F. for 20 minutes.

Penne alle Olive
Penne with Olive and Tomato Sauce

My mother still has fond memories of her father’s favorite gift at Christmas time, a huge tin of black olives; grandpa ( pop-pop) loved to eat black olives.

500 g/ 1 lb penne or other short pasta
30 ml/ 2tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 small chili pepper 5 ml / 1 tsp dried chili pepper flakes
800g/ 28 oz tinned Italian plum tomatoes
200g/ 7 0z large black olives
parsley, and salt


DIRECTIONS:

Heat the oil and fry the chopped garlic and chili until garlic turns golden brown.

Now add the tomatoes with their juice and cook for 20 minutes. Add the chopped, pitted black olives and salt to taste.
Recently on cable television, I watched “Lidia” of ‘Lidia’s Italy” on how to crush an olive.
With wide knife, gently press down on one olive at a time, remove the pit and put the olive pieces aside, the add to sauce recipe.

Cook the pasta, following the packet/ box directions carefully to avoid over-cooking.
Drain, turn into a heated serving dish and stir in the sauce. Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top.

Source:

Cookbook: The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces by Diane Seed 1987

My mom’s Spaghetti sauce, Foodie Friday

MOM’S SPAGHETTI / MARINARA SAUCE

img_2999.jpg

Mom’s Marinara sauce recipe and meatballs

On one of the last warm days of August, I craved the taste of homemade meatballs simmered in home-made sauce, so I spent my afternoon cooking this recipe.

Inhale, and  as you do, imagine the smell of tomato sauce simmering on the stove, it is my favorite comfort food along with pasta.

   Growing up in my house,  every Saturday, my mom had a huge stockpot of tomato sauce simmering on the stove, all afternoon it seemed.   For a snack , mid-afternoon, while this was  simmering, we’d get a small plastic plate, place a piece of Wonder bread, (white bread) , and ladle some tomato sauce on it, slice it up and eat  it that way.   Sauce and bread!  My mother’s sauce  was delicious just  like that;  we couldn’t wait for the meatballs.  LOL.

Mom’s Spaghetti sauce

Into a large stock pot, add:


2 (28 ounce) cans Tomato Puree
1 can water
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 small onion

1 stalk of celery with leaves
1 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1 potato ( raw)- Cut-up and cleaned (a thickening agent)
1 tsp basil

I added 2 cloves of garlic, whole and 1 raw carrot that was scrubbed to the large stock pot.
oregano
parsley (add at the end of cooking)
dash of olive oil
1 pinch of baking soda

Directions:

Cook on stove on low heat for 3 – 4 hours. If sauce gets too thick as cooking, add water.

After simmering one hour, add cooked meatballs, or sausage or cooked pork chop with bone in.

Meatballs:

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb ground pork or veal
1 egg
1 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
chopped onion or 1 TBSP Lipton brand Onion soup mix
ketchup
microwave 5 minutes and turn.
or cook in iron pan on low to medium heat slowly and turn until all sides browned.

Today, I baked the meatballs in a 350 degree F. oven on a cookie sheet with a little canola oil for 20 minutes. Then after draining meatballs on paper towels, I placed in the tomato sauce and left to simmer on the stove for 1 hour on low heat.

< Mom’s Tomato Sauce recipe-by “luvsclassics”

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