12 Aug 2013

All American Week

Last week was pretty all American. What can be more American than Forrest Gump, shooting guns, and baseball (fortunately not at the same time)? Monday we went to the Crystal City outdoor big-screen to watch Forrest Gump. We brought our usual picnic favorite of fancy pepperoni, goat cheese, and french bread. 

"Mama always said life was a like a tupperware full of grapes" ... or something like that

Then on Thursday I went with a friend to the NRA shooting range to practice our zombie apocalypse plan. Since this was the first time I've ever shot more than a 22 caliber, I'd say I did pretty well. 

Take that, you brain eating zombie man!

Safe from the zombies,  we dedicated the whole day Saturday to the great American pastime. Lunch: Hot dogs and Field of Dreams.

And dinner at the Orioles v Mariners game. We sat in a suite arranged through Hillary's work (free crab cakes!). It was a great game too. 5 home runs, and more than a few amazing plays. 

For those of you following along at home, that would be numbers 14 and 16 on our 2013 Summer Bucket List!

8 Aug 2013

Good Eats

Since wrapping up our cooking/baking bucket list at the end of 2012, we don't post too many pictures of food anymore. Rest assured, we're still cooking and just as much as ever!

Giada's Fresh Tomato and Goat Cheese Strata with Herb Oil

Spiced Salmon Kebabs

One Hour Focaccia from Crunchy Creamy Sweet

Table for Two's Creamy Orzo with Chicken Sausage

I like blueberries. A lot.

Red Pepper and Feta Quiche 

5 Aug 2013

Nonna Carollo's Spaghetti Sauce

This is it, guys.

The moment you've been waiting for.

(Patience is a virtue, eh?)

I am finally, for the first time EVER, publishing my great-grandma's spaghetti meat sauce (or gravy, as Italians call it.) Some people refuse to share family recipes. I, frankly, think that's ridiculous. If I know of something fantastic, I'm going to share it. I want people to enjoy good food. 

Nonna (Grandma) Carollo's Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients

  • Equal parts ground beef and ground pork.  It you are making more than a normal batch,2 parts ground beef, 1 part ground pork.
  • Tomato paste (1 small can per pound of meat)
  • Tomato sauce (1 small can per pound of meat)
  • Spaghetti meat sauce such as Prego (1 extra tall can/bottle per pound of meat)
  • Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup per pound of meat)
  • Butter, oh magical butter (2 Tbsp per pound of meat)
  • Garlic powder, onion powder, sweet basil, and oregano.

Directions

  • Prepare meat and drain
  • Add tomato sauce and paste
  • Add garlic, onion, sweet basil ad oregano and mix in well*
  • Add the prepared sauce
  • Cook for at least 2 hours on very low**
  • Add sugar to taste and parmasan cheese***
  • Shortly before serving add butter and let it melt into the awesome deliciously of the sauce****

*Eye ball it. I know, that's probably infuriating to read to people who aren't big cooks. There is honestly no measurement for this. It's almost wrong to try to measure it. Sure, I could really break it down, but that's no fun. You have to learn what you like to smell and taste at some point, folks. This is your chance. EMBRACE IT!

**Cook for 8 hours, if we're keeping it real. This sauce is going to be even better the next day after it's sat in the fridge all night.

***The sugar takes the bitterness out of the sauce. You'l like it. The cheese is just good. Don't skimp on calories here.

****DO NOT, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL GOOD THINGS, SKIP THIS. I will find out, and be really upset. There are some undeniable truths across the world. One of them is that butter is a blessing to just about every dish.

Author's Note:

This is, by no stretch of the imagination, an "authentic" Italian recipe. It's an Italian-American recipe. You would be hard pressed to find this in Italy. I should also probably mention, that this is not the only gravy/sauce/deliciousness that all little Italian grandmas make. My grandma (mom's mom) never cared for this sauce (from my mom's dad's mother.) They were from different regions. They had different preferences. If you have a tiny little Italian grandmother, her sauce is probably nothing like this. Again, it's ok. This isn't the end all, be all of sauces.

You'll notice I have no pictures of this. There's a good reason! It's so darn delicious that when I make it, and put it on a plate, I am not going to mess around with the shenanigans that is food photography.

One final note, this sauce freezes beautifully! I suggest ladling it in to a freezer zip bag and lay it flat in the freezer until completely frozen. Then, it's thin enough that you can stack it in your freezer next to the peas and ice cream you're about to eat.