sauces

How to Make Pesto (plus a bit of a rant)

March 19, 2013
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A few years ago on a trip to Rome, I met an American woman living in Milan who is married to an Italian man. She mentioned how her mother in law is so strict about the provenance of her food that she would never even consider eating pasta al pesto outside her home region of Genoa. At the time, I simultaneously scoffed at the idea and sat in awe of the level of conviction it takes to adhere to one’s beliefs regarding food in that manner.

Because I typically grow about a dozen basil plants every summer, I make batches of pesto and freeze them to eat throughout the year. What would her mother in law would think of my pesto? It’s not traditional in its execution, but the ingredients are (most of the time). She would probably be horrified that I use a food processor instead of mortar …

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Goat Cheese and Spinach Ravioli with Creamy Mixed Mushrooms

February 4, 2010
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When I was a kid and into my early twenties, my mother and I would make home-made ravioli a couple of times a year, especially at Christmas. She would make the dough herself and we’d roll it out by hand into giant circles, with me holding one side of the stretchy dough to keep it from springing back. I’m not sure why, but it’s been a long time since we’ve made ravioli and I had a hankering to do it again. This time though, I wasn’t in the mood though to roll out the dough by hand. Plus, I wanted a new kitchen toy; the KitchenAid Pasta Roller Attachment for Stand Mixers

So, being the ever frugal one in my house, I went around and gathered up all my husband’s change. The man leaves it everywhere; in jars, on counter tops, in his pants pockets. Does he think it …

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How to Make Basic Marinara Sauce

September 1, 2009
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There are as many recipes for tomato pasta sauce as there are Italian grandmothers. My Sicilian grandmother used to make her sauce every year from the tomatoes in her garden. Much of the time the sauce had meat in it but I don’t think it was ever exactly the same twice.  A child of the depression, my grandmother would throw into the pot whatever she had on hand; scraps of a roast, pieces of cooked pork, sausages, rinds of parmesan cheese. You never knew what you’d find in the sauce, but it was always good.

This is really a base pasta sauce recipe, meant to adapt to whatever you want it to be. Like meat in your sauce? Add a tough cut and let it cook down to make a Bolognese. Want to keep it vegetarian? Enjoy the recipe as it is or add some diced up vegetables. Like …

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Salmon Cakes with Spicy Yogurt Remoulade

June 1, 2009



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I grilled some wild Sockeye salmon a couple of nights ago and had a few cooked pieces left over. I was going to just toss it in a green salad and be done with it, when I thought, why not try something different? When I checked my ‘fridge and pantry, I had all the necessary ingredients to make salmon cakes.

Traditionally, crab cakes or salmon cakes are served with a remoulade. According to my copy of The New Food Lover’s Companion, a remoulade is a mayonnaise based sauce with “mustard, capers, gherkins, herbs and anchovies”. I’ve also seen it with the addition of ketchup, resembling 1000 island dressing. I wanted something lighter and with a bit of zip, so I came up with a spicy yogurt sauce influenced by the more traditional remoulade.



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Rolled & Roasted; Herb Pork Loin with Port Wine Balsamic Sauce

April 28, 2009

Perhaps my timing is not good here. Am I being insensitive posting a Pork recipe during this time of Swine Flu “crisis”? I don’t know…

I made this roast for Easter Sunday dinner, well before all the drama started. I had intended on cooking lamb, but at the butcher they would only sell me a minimum of half a leg which was just too much for 4 people. So, seeing the pork loin, I decided to go with that.



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