Monday, January 18, 2010


OK, here's our sauce. Use it wisely - it has been known to bend wills and topple governments. The entire recipe follows the picture narrative, so don't worry about jotting the ingredient list along the way.

Hey, "authentic police"! This recipe originated from an Italian grandmother that was then taught to a sweet Polish woman who then shared it with her half Polish/Italian son and then modified again with help from some guy who's family hails from both Germany and the British Isles - so chill! Not a totally pure Italian recipe here - but still amazing!

So, you need meat for this recipe. Vegetarians, avert your eyes, this sauce is NOT for you. Four pounds (yes, four pounds) in total, two of ground pork and two of ground beef. Choose your fat proportion, but if you pick fatty meat, you'll need to drain it once it is browned.

You'll also need to pick up a nice yellow onion - large. That is a knife in the foreground; I didn't say this recipe was easy, I said it was GOOD.

Chop the whole thing, large chunks, probably 1/2 inch cubes. This is a rustic recipe, so you don't have to be perfect with the knife. And yes, the onions are a required ingredient. I cannot vouch for the recipe without them.

Crush yourself three garlic cloves. We are going to use fresh and granulated in this sauce.

Heat up your pan - more heat is better! Brown the meat in batches, in a metal skillet. DO NOT USE A NON-STICK PAN!! It won't allow the meat to brown properly and glaze the pan with all the goodness. The meat in this picture is in process, not brown by any stretch of the imagination.

This isn't brown enough either. This is gray. Keep cooking it!

Too keep yourself busy whilst the meat is browning properly, slice a pound of mushrooms. We used Crimini, but you can use white button mushrooms. Oh, and for you mushroom haters, this is the only optional ingredient. The ONLY one. So, if you hate mushrooms, you'll just have to continue to be patient while the meat browns.

The meat is still browning (again, be patient) so you might as well assemble all the other stuff that's going to go into this recipe. The spices include fresh rosemary (but you can use dried), allspice, nutmeg, dried basil (not fresh), marjoram, oregano, granulated garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, sugar, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Don't freak out, the quantities are listed way at the bottom, after all the pretty pictures; taken by moi, by the way.

Yes, I meant it when I said nutmeg. In sauce. It's crazy, but it works!

OK, now that I've distracted you for several minutes, you can see properly browned meat and how all the delicious little bits stick to the pan...

And what it looks like when deposited into the sauce pot. Oh, did I tell you that your kitchen would not only smell heavenly at this point, but that it would also begin to be a mess?

And we are going to clean the pan now. With red wine. One you would like to drink. Cooking wine is VERBOTEN. If you don't drink, bribe a neighbor to sneak into the wine store and secret a bottle into your cupboard. The alcohol, she's gonna burn off. And at the same time, all the delicious brown bits should be swirled off the bottom and sides and whisked into the sauce pot with the PROPERLY browned meat (remember, brown = delicious, gray = yucky).

This is what your pan will look like once deglazed with the wine. Almost spic and span!

Heat that pan back up. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to generously coat the pan. Then add the onion you chopped what seems several hours ago.

Cook until translucent and add the crushed garlic. Stir for just a few moments after adding the garlic - we don't want it to brown, tastes bitter if brown - then add to the sauce pot.

Next you are going to add what seems to be an impossible amount of spices. Go to the list at the bottom of the narrative to see. You'll add all the spices, the sugar, salt and pepper. This is what the mixture should resemble. There is spice everywhere!

Then you can smear the tomato paste into the mixture. Make sure that you add enough to make it look nice and red. Sometimes you'll need part of a third can to have enough - as long as it looks like this, you are good.

Next, mix in the crushed tomatoes and sauce.

Starting to look really good now! You'll hardly believe how wonderful your house smells at this stage.

Smell and taste!

This is about how it should look...

Look away, mushroom haters! Add the pound of mushrooms you sliced to the sauce.

Stir. Cover and simmer on low heat for at least an hour, preferably two. Then turn off the heat and let set over night (no, you won't die from food poisoning - but in case you are worried, you can refridgerate at this point). DO NOT EAT IT RIGHT AWAY - it must rest.

OK, next day rolls around and you find some rigatoni from Umbria in your pantry...or some other large pasta from the store that will grab some of this thick and spicy sauce. Boil some water, cook some pasta. If you can't have gluten, buy or make some polenta - tastes just as good and is a nice twist.

Set yourself a pretty table, invite over some friends.

Pour the pasta into a nice bowl.

And pour some of your amazing sauce onto the pasta! Oh, and reheat that sauce before you do this, because cold sauce on hot pasta is just, well, never mind.

Enjoy! Drink wine, have great conversation, make some memories!

Ingredient listing:

2 LB ground beef
2 LB ground pork
1 cup(ish) of good red wine for deglazing the pan
1 large onion
Olive oil for the pan
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 LB mushrooms (your choice)
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped finely (or 2t dried)
3 tablespoons granulated garlic
1/4 cup dried oregano
3 tablespoons dried basil
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
2 teaspoons thyme
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cans tomato paste
2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
4 15oz cans tomato sauce
2 hugs and a big kiss, because what is a recipe without love?

And don't forget. BROWN THAT MEAT!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Become Active - Vote OBAMA!

Anyone who is Jewish, Catholic, Agnostic, or Gay should be very afraid of what this Palin woman represents.

These folks are lunatics and unless we vote, one will be VERY close to the White House.

Have a look...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

300 Words

The Next Day

It was the light that finally woke her. Reaching her leg, it warmed and tickled, “Get up, silly.” She opened her eyes to sheer curtains of blue and white toile, framing a view of blue sky streaked by the faintest of white clouds. The bedroom, still cloaked in more shadow than light, was comfortable, cozy. A small dressing table, white, carved simply with soft curves stood next to the window. In front of its mirror, on top of the desk, stood pictures in frames and a hair brush. A large brimmed straw hat hung from a corner of the mirror. It moved gently in the soft breeze coming from the window.
She sat up in bed and smiled. Her feet landed on the soft woven grass rug as she got up and walked to the window and looked out. The ocean smell reached her as she caught sight of her first wave crashing on the white sand beach. In the distance, she could hear the sound of a dog barking happily. Reaching to the bedpost, she pulled on the sun dress hanging there, its cool cotton fabric resting on her shoulders as she pushed her arms out through the short sleeves. The hat? Well, it was sunny and she did love hats, on it went. Glancing in the mirror as she headed for the door, she stopped.
There, grinning back at her with an upside down smile was a surprise. She didn’t remember the last time she had looked in the mirror to a happy result. Blonde streaked hair framed a heart shaped face with high cheekbones. Clear green eyes looked back at the reflection. Slender arms, legs gave way to a modestly curved figure that, she recalled, could turn a head.
With that, she giggled and ran out of the cottage to the shore. She ran. And laughed.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Intruder Alert

I travel quite a bit. I'm never sure what adventures await when I get home. My arrival home yesterday evening started with a call when I was still a few miles away.

"Where are you?"
"I'm just passing the highschool, I'll be home in a few minutes."
"OK, then I won't do anything, we have a visitor. Copper is very excited."
"Who is it?"
"Just come in the back yard when you get home."

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Friday, December 08, 2006

More Age Defining Events

First things first. I had a great Thanksgiving this year. Not only did the turkey and stuffing come out great, but I got some fantastic news! My little sister is gonna get remarried and move out of my folk's house. Yes indeedydoodahday, this is fabulous news. They can start enjoying their retirement again.

This lovely photo of my little grand niece demonstrates my excitement exactly:

By the way, don't tell anyone, it's 'post to be a secret!

OK, on to the second age defining event of the year. My little brother retired from the Navy after 20 years of service. How did that happen? Weren't we just pushing each other down the stairs, pulling each other's hair out, slapping each other around?

It was a great ceremony that they put on. I guess the Navy has the market on valuing it's members. All the folks paying tribute to my brother were warm in speech and kind in words. Helps that he deserves it, of course.

But, I'm still too young to have a brother, much less a little brother, retiring from anything.

Oh, and another of my nieces turned 18. Happy birthay sweetie, it was good to see you. I'll always cherish your phone call on Thanksgiving with the bestest news of the year!

But I'm too young to have 6 neices and nephews that legally qualify as adults. Too young, I tell you!

But alas, I also have a new grand nephew. Fertile bunch, we!