Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Dear Alton:

Yes, real Italians do, too, simmer their meatballs in 'red sauce' (or gravy, as I grew up calling it). What we never did in my family was waste time with the searing or baking, we let the flavors meld together in the pot.

Please watch with the generalizations. Thank you.

A First Generation Sicilian-American fan

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Hooray for fall!

I can tell fall is coming - I mean, beyond the fact that it's been raining for 2 days and nights now and it shows no signs of stopping and we've been told to keep an eye on the Little Conestoga. Ick. Flooding.

Anyhow, how do I know fall is coming? I want to cook. Bake. Chop things. Simmer things. The house right now smells of curry and apples and pumpkin and soon, I'll add a roast to the olfactory sensations.

Dinner tonight: apple-butternut squash soup, roast with carrots and potatoes and a crustless pumpkin pie. Beef is defrosting now for a hearty stew tomorrow, to be served, I think, in acorn squash halves. That really depends, though, on what time we get back from the baby's baptism.

Photos will come soon. Right now, though, I'm content to sit here, sipping my coffee and savoring the scents of the season.

20:14: And here are the photos. I put absolutely no thought into plating the meal, because my husband had just come in from driving close to 10 hours in the pouring rain and he seemed to be a weeeee bit hungry.

Beef, potatoes, carrots and beer bread with a bowl of apple-butternut squash soup:

And we were quite content, even with the splenda in the crustless pumpkin pie.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Tuna salad or wheatberries... not a tough choice!

Today was one of those days where I ended up doing a lot more than I expected. About 12:30, I was in the city when I realized I still had to do my grocery shopping and I had yet to eat more than the three brazil nuts I have every morning for the selenium they contain (it helps stave off seasonal adjustment disorder... but that's another post).

Happily, Central Market was open, so I decided to duck in there and grab something quickly before hitting the supermarket. I did find a small organic produce stand - everything looked lovely, but I didn't stop to look for long, since I had a schedule to keep. Most of the stands were jammed with people on their lunch breaks, so I found a smaller one that was fairly empty. No wonder. The choices were rather limited and, since I didn't feel like wearing tuna salad in the car, I went with the wheat berry, pecan and grape salad.

It was actually quite good, but it could have done without quite so many green onions. They overpowered every other ingredient in there, including cilantro! Bits of red and green peppers were flecked throughout and the grapes added a happy bit of sweetness to it. I'm trying to find a recipe at least somewhat similar to this, but I think I'm going to have to eat a lot of experiments to figure it out. Poor me, right?

Not a bad lunch to grab on the go, though I will admit to eating it mostly at long red lights. I know, I know - not good. But at least I wasn't text messaging!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Tamale Pie

Back to more cooking with the family. My husband loves making tamale pie. He and I tend to putter around in the kitchen together for about an hour or so, preparing it, chopping, dicing, sauteeing and baking. It's always been very enjoyable. Now with Roo's new interest in cooking, we decided to make it a family affair. She did well with everything until the onions, but even then, she chopped through her tears.

Here it is, cooling off after coming out of the oven. We use a roasted corn meal for that dark color and the taste is amazing.

We modify the recipe more than a little, adjusting it to our heat levels. American cookbooks tend to be on the lower end of the heat scale and that just doesn't work for our family. What most consider hot, my husband doesn't even notice.

After years of making this, I think we've gotten the mix down pretty well, but we're still always changing this, that or the other thing. It's never quite the same, and that is part of the fun.