Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Caesar Salad and Homemade Croutons (for 6 or 50)

There are salads... and then there are salads.

Caesar Salad is a classic.
And a potential slapstick comedy routine.
Who could forget Lucy trying to make one while in a moving trailer in
the 1954 movie The Long Long Trailer?

Even though Lucy's movie was one of the major influences on my life, I'd never gotten around to making a Caesar Salad.
No, I don't know why.

Charmaine Bucco, Artie's better half, also has a chapter in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
Charmaine worked in their restaurants Vesuvio and its successor, Nueovo Vesuvio.
Her chapter is called Cooking for the Whole Famiglia.
And she isn't kidding.
Her recipes come with ingredient listings for your usual 4 to 8 and for 50.

I can relate to recipes for 50.
When I was a kid I'd been to quite a few multigenerational family gatherings.
Fifty was about an average family get-together crowd.
And I'm not counting pre-schoolers or infants.

These gatherings were usually in the summer, when we could sit outside.
McMansions weren't around in the 1950s.
Even if they were, we'd probably have been sitting outside.
We kids were in charge of turning the baby lamb on the spit.
Ah… those where the days.

Charmaine's recipe for Caesar Salad is fine as part of una bella mangiata.
A great meal.
Caesar Salad can also be a meal in itself.

Especially if you're still trying to get rid of those holiday pounds.

If you're making a salad for 50:
Place the prepared lettuce into a large clean plastic bag or two.
If you can fit 2 heads of lettuce in a bowl, toss it with 1/4 of the dressing.
Refrigerate the remaining dressing and prepare more salad as needed.
Yes, that's how they do it in restaurants.

                        Caesar Salad

Serves 6                                                                     Serves 50   

For the Croutons
Preheat oven to 325º F

Cut into 1/2 inch thick cubes
6 slices Italian bread                                                4 to 5 loaves
Place the cubes in a single layer on cookies sheets.

Drizzle with
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil                                 2 Cups
Toss the cubes well.
Bake, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
The bread should be a golden brown.
Set the croutons aside.

For the Salad

Place in a saucepan
1 large egg                                                                      8 large eggs
Cover with cold water.
Over medium heat bring to a boil.
Cook for 1 1/2 minutes.
Drain and cool egg(s) under running water.  Peel.

In a large bowl combine
1 large garlic clove, very finely minced                8 cloves
4 anchovy fillets, drained and chopped               5  2-ounce cans
Mash them into a paste.

Beat in
the prepared egg(s)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice                                         3/4 Cup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce                          3 Tablespoons
Salt and pepper to taste

Gradually beat in
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese                         4 Cups
1/3 Cup extra virgin olive oil                                  3 Cups
Taste for seasoning.

Wash, dry and tear into bite-sized pieces
1 head romaine lettuce (about 1 1/4 pounds)    8 heads
(for salad for 50, see above)
Toss the lettuce with the dressing.
Sprinkle with the croutons.
Toss again and taste for seasoning.
Serve immediately.

Would I make Caesar Salad again?
No, I don't know why it took me this long to try it.

One recipe down.  Forty-eight more to go.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Minestrone using Canned Vegetable Soup

Carmela's, excuse me, Paulie's Chicken Soup with Orzo is a fine, homemade recipe.
I'm sure everyone's got a version of the recipe in the family.

But, sometimes you want, no... need, soup in less than 3 hours.
No problem.

Time to visit the shrink, Dr. Jennifer Melfi, M.D., M.A., M.F.T.
And just as much in a rush as the rest of us.

There's a fine quickie soup recipe in Jennifer's chapter Rage, Guilt, Loneliness, 
and Food in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
It tastes homemade.
And if you shove the cans down deep in the recycling bin, it'll be your secret.
Dr. Jennifer Melfi is good at keeping secrets, isn't she?

If you're using canned soup that needs water, add the water before heating.
Two cans, with water added, will leave you with about 38 ounces soup.

This recipe was originally designed to serve two.
I doubled it.
Leftover soup is always good.
And even quicker the next day.

                        Melfi's Minestrone

Serves 4

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil.
a pinch of salt
1/2 Cup orzo or other small pasta
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is tender, about 4 minutes.
Reserving some of the water, drain the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, heat in another pot
2 19-ounce cans vegetable soup (or soup and water)

While the soup is simmering, stir in
1/2 Cup chopped ham
the cooked orzo
Add some of the cooking water if the soup is too thick.
Turn off the heat.
Stir in
4 Tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Serve hot.

Would I make Melfi's Minestrone again?
And I didn't learn about this recipe from her.
Ma worked full time at Lily Tulip.
You think she didn't use short cuts?

One recipe down.  Forty-nine more to go.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Winnipeg Bound in 1975 by Margaret Ullrich

Today is the first full moon of 2013.
The full moon usually means the end of a moon's cycle.
In 1975 it was the end of the cycle of our living in British Columbia.

We had just been through a rather strange few months.
The previous July we had gone camping in Alberta.
Saw the Stampede in Calgary… camped in the parks… toured Edmonton.

We liked Edmonton quite a bit.
We even toyed with the idea of moving there.
But, Paul had said he had a secure future with Carolina Publications.
Since we were in our twenties, a secure future sounded really good to have.

So we returned to the basement suite of our duplex in Surrey. 
Surrey in those days was barely more than a giant farmer's field.
I went to work for an accountant and did payrolls for lumber companies.
Paul went back to work at Carolina Publications.
We had our plans.

Well, as the saying goes, Man plans and God laughs.

Within a few weeks British Columbia went into one of its bust cycles.
Layoffs in the lumber industry meant my employer wasn't doing payrolls.
Reduced advertising revenues meant Carolina Publications had to cut back.
Paul and I were both unemployed.

But we were young and Paul was in the union.
There were union jobs available in Winnipeg.
No problem.  We'd move to Winnipeg.

Armed with a half dozen submarine sandwiches, we traveled by CN rail to Winnipeg.
It wasn't a luxury ride like the one we enjoyed for our fortieth anniversary last April.
We were sitting in coach all the way across the Rockies.
That's something that should only be done by folks in their twenties.

We arrived in the morning and went to a rather seedy motel.
Well, it was cheap.
Since we'd been living in British Columbia we didn't exactly have clothing warm enough for Winnipeg in January.
Well, we were young and hardy and in too much of a panic to notice.

The day after we arrived Paul had his job interview and was again employed.
We celebrated by going to the movies.
It was about a burning skyscraper.
Perfect… it reminded us things can always get worse.

After another two days we found an attic apartment.
A third floor walkup which had one room and a kitchen.
Thanks to the sloping ceiling, Paul couldn't stand up in half of it.
Hell, a preschooler couldn't stand up in half of it.
We shared the bathroom with an elderly woman who lived across the hall.
None of that mattered. 
The landlord allowed pets.
We paid the rent for February so no one else could take it.

Within four days we had redesigned our future.
It was time to return to Surrey.
Slight problem - CN had gone on strike.
We had to refund our train tickets and go to Greyhound for bus tickets.
Train or bus didn't matter.
It was another trip where we had to sit all the way across the Rockies.

Armed with another half dozen submarine sandwiches, we headed back to Surrey.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Uncrate the Sun at Winnipeg Mardi Gras by Margaret Ullrich

Winter in Manitoba...
If you're of a certain age, and weren't a snowbird, you remember when Eaton's held the Uncrate the Sun event every winter at about this time.
For a few days we'd pretend we were someplace warm.
Spain... Mexico… warm, with different, spicy food.
I mean, how many pyrogies can anyone eat?

Last week Paul and I attended a food tasting event for Winnipeg Mardi Gras.
A sampling of what they'll be serving at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
It was a bit like Eaton's Uncrate the Sun.
The weekend before we'd had freezing rain, followed by a blizzard.
Did we enjoy a couple of hours of New Orleans Mardi Gras warmth and fun?

What is Mardi Gras?
... a traveler has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi Gras in New Orleans. - Mark Twain

Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, the last night of eating rich food before the Lenten fasting.
Whatever… we loved celebrating Mardi Gras in January.

Winnipeg Mardi Gras takes place on February 15 and 16.
It just misses being on Fat Tuesday on February 12.
So what?
We're in Manitoba.
How many winter events get postponed because of the weather here?

Winnipeg Mardi Gras happens on the weekend right after Valentine's Day.
Make this a special Valentine's Day and go to Winnipeg Mardi Gras.
Experience an evening in the Big Easy without leaving town!
Valentine's Day at Mardi Gras - a two-fer!
What Winnipegger doesn't love a deal?

The Festival du Voyageur starts the same weekend, but it goes until the 24th.
You still have plenty of time to see it and have a bowl of pea soup.

We enjoyed Fried Oyster and Cheese Po' Boy Sandwiches, Crawfish Étouffée
Deep Fried Pickle Spears, Southern Sweet Potato Fries, Louisiana Crab Cakes, 
Cajun Carbonarra with Spicy Sausage and Chicken, and New Orleans Shrimp Creole.

The food had been professionally prepared by the Convention Centre staff and a cook from the Met theatre's new Metropolitan Restaurant.
They did an excellent job of preparing the dishes.
They were also very friendly, eager to answer questions about the ingredients.

Think Cajun means red hot chilli peppers?
Afraid you'll have a four alarm fire in your stomach?
Don't be.
The food was well seasoned but not overwhelmingly hot.
Craving a fiery experience?
There were bottles of hot sauce available at each station.

The Deep Fried Pickle Spears were interesting.
Be warned: pickles are mostly water.
After frying they were like solid steam.
Nibble, don't chomp down on it.

Cajun Carbonarra has a definite garlic kick.
If you're celebrating Valentine's Day, share a dish.
Just saying... 

And to drink?
We sampled Fireball Whisky, a blend of cinnamon and whisky.
Delightful… do try it!

Want to come to Winnipeg Mardi Gras on February 15 and 16?
The general admission tickets are $16.00 and can be purchase through

Come, put on a set of Mardi Gras beads, eat, party and enjoy!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Homemade Chicken Soup with Orzo

Paulie had a point about soup warming collective cockles.
I mean, it is January.
Another nice thing about soup is it is a budget stretcher.
Like I said, it is January. 

My Ma usually balked at the prices charged for chicken breasts, legs and thighs.
So she'd buy whole chickens and cut and cook the pieces she wanted.
The parts she didn't want, like the wings and backs, she'd store in the freezer.
They weren't great to eat.
In those days wings were not considered a snack item.
But they were great for making soup.

In Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook, Janice Soprano's chapter Sunday Dinner 
has a great soup recipe.
One that I actually believe her Ma made.
I can remember my Ma making this, too.
It's easy, filling and uses up bits and pieces, like the celery sitting in the drawer.
And those wings and backs.

Livia's recipe doesn't use the giblets.
If you like them, use them.

A word about soup…
It isn't like baking a cake.
If your chicken is on the small size, the soup won't explode.
Ditto for if you have more of one vegetable than another.
Or if you add a few cups of frozen vegetables 15 minutes before it's done cooking.
You've just created a new recipe.

                        Chicken Soup with Orzo

Serves 6

Rinse well
1 4-pound chicken
1 pound chicken backs and wings  
Place the chicken and parts in a 6-quart pot.
cold water to cover the chicken and parts
Over medium heat, bring the water to simmer.
Reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes.
Skim off the foam and fat that rises to the surface.

2 medium carrots, washed and chopped
2 celery ribs, washed and chopped
2 onions, chopped
6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley (1 Tablespoon dried)
6 whole black pepper corns (1/2 teaspoon ground)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Simmer for 1 1/2 hours (2 1/2 if you bought a stewing hen).
Add water, if the bird shows above the surface of the water.

Remove the chicken and parts and place them in cold water a few minutes.
Discard the skin and bones and cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Return the meat to the pot.
Reheat over medium heat.
8 ounces orzo or other small pasta (or rice), cooked
Check the seasoning.
Serve hot.

Would I make Chicken Soup with Orzo again?
It's January in Winnipeg.
You have to ask?

One recipe down.  Fifty more to go.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Obama, Death, Ma and Emeril Lagasse by Margaret Ullrich

Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. 
The inauguration was one of the world's most watched events.

A New Birth of Freedom, a phrase from the Gettysburg Address, was the theme to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth year of Abraham Lincoln.

January 20, 2009 was also the day my father died.
It wasn't totally a surprise.
He had been in poor health for many years.
But, it was still a shock.

January, 2009, was a strange month for our family.
Within a few weeks four other elderly relatives also died.
Then, a few months later, in October, my mother died.
The day of Ma's funeral, our last dog, BoBo, died.

Sometimes families just have a year like that.
That's life.

A few weeks before Ma died I had started my blog Winnipeg is Better Than Chocolate.
It was a way to continue the Community Cupboard aspect of the show Sophie Kolt and I had done on the University of Winnipeg radio station CKUW.

Then, about a week after Ma and BoBo died, I started this blog.
I don't know why I did it.
At first it was just a place to write my thoughts.
Turning 60, deaths, thoughts… just another personal blog.

December 2009 brought a very different Christmas to me.
A few years earlier Ma had gotten interested in the cooking shows.
Along with the recipes, she was trying new ingredients, too.
I usually sent Ma the Christmas recipe brochures that I found in the stores.
She enjoyed reading and trying a new recipe or two.
Not sending her brochures of recipes in 2009 made her death more real to me.

That December Paul and I were browsing in the mall. 
Just doing something normal in a very un-normal year.
In a mark-down bin I found the cookbook Entertaining with The Sopranos.

About mark-down bins…
During the 50s Ma sewed most of my clothes.
Every weekend we'd shop the mark-down bins in fabric stores in lower Manhattan and in Jamaica, Queens.
Ma never bought fabric that had to be cut from a bolt.
She had trained me to always 'take a look' at bins of sale items.
So, she knew I wouldn't be able to ignore that clearance bin of books.

Back to Entertaining with The Sopranos...
The photos of the meals brought back lots of memories.
I bought the book and planned to cook my way through it.
Carmela's ingredients were a little more expensive than what Ma would have cooked.
So, I thought it would be fun to compare Carmela's and Ma's recipes and post about them.

Maltese living in Canada, Australia, Britain and beyond love Ma's recipes, which remind them of what their Moms had cooked.
Within a few months Ma was being googled for her recipes.
During her life Ma had only used the computer for playing solitaire.
She now has a fan base!

About a year after Ma had died, I had a dream.
Ma was still being Ma, having a hand in things.

One of Ma's favorite chefs was Emeril Lagasse.
Yes, Mr. Bam!!
Ma really got curious about New Orleans.
She had said that she wanted to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.
Sadly, she never got the chance.

I'm Turning 60 is now a food blog.
I'm a member of Manitoba Food Bloggers.
We bloggers are invited to food events.
In return we're expected to write about them.

Last week Paul and I attended a food tasting event for Winnipeg Mardi Gras.
A sampling of what they'll be serving next month.
We had fun and enjoyed the food.
I think Ma, through us, also enjoyed Winnipeg Mardi Gras.

Thinking about that dream I had a couple of years ago...  
It wouldn't surprise me if Ma had a hand in our being there.
Nope, it wouldn't surprise me at all.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Potatoes and Eggs Sandwiches / Potato Omelet

No, I didn't forget.
So you can stop e mailing.

A little while ago I mentioned that Paulie Walnuts had said that he makes the guys a potatoes and eggs sandwich to improve their morale.

He also said:  I like to cook for my friends and associates at work. On a cold day down at the shop, I'll cook up a nice beans and 'shcarole soup and warm our collective cockles, so to speak.

Why he didn't work for Artie instead of Tony we'll never know.
He wrote a half page on Rules for Sanitary Cooking and Cleaning.
Maybe Artie didn't measure up.

Anyway, without further ado, here's Paulie's Potatoes and Eggs Sandwiches from his 
chapter My Nucci in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
And you know why I gave the credit to Carmela.
Clean as Paulie is, he just doesn't have the image Carmela has.

                        Potatoes and Eggs Sandwiches

Serves 4

Cut in half
3 medium potatoes, peeled
Slice each half into 1/4-inch thick slices.
Pat the potatoes dry with a paper towel.

Pour into a large skillet
1/4 Cup olive oil
Heat the oil over medium heat.
It should sizzle when you put a piece of potato in it.
Place the potatoes in the oil.
Cook, turning frequently, until the pieces are tender, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with

8 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste
Pour the eggs over the potatoes.
When the eggs have almost set, turn the potato / egg mixture.
Continue turning the mixture and cooking until the eggs are done.

Cut a lengthwise slit in  
1 loaf Italian bread
Pull out the soft part.
Fill the bread with the potato / egg mixture.
Cut the loaf into 4 sandwiches.
Serve hot or warm.

Would I make Potatoes and Eggs Sandwiches again?
Yes and no.
I've cooked the potato / egg mixture dozens of times.
And served it on a plate, with toast, for a brunch.

Paulie's talking about his Ma and this recipe reminded me of Ma's Spaghetti Pie.
Which I also served on a plate.  
Without the toast.
And so should you.

One recipe down.  Fifty-one more to go. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Bistecca Pizzaiola, Steak Pizzamaker's style

It's too soon to pull out those turkey leftovers.
Every time you go near the freezer, some wise guy starts to cluck.
The gang wants meat.
So, let 'em have it.

Cooking The Neapolitan Way in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook, was written 
by Ms. Natalie Del Greco, a Newark librarian.
She gave a nice bit of history about Naples and its food.

She described Neapolitan food as being straightforward.
Neapolitans were once called mangiafoglie, or leaf eaters, by Northern Italians
because they ate so many vegetables.

Don't worry, this is a meat recipe.
No fancy cuts.
It can use whatever you have on hand.

I find it works well with frozen meat patties.
Frozen patties may not be tradition Neapolitan fare.
But it's a safe bet you have them in the freezer next to the leftover turkey.

If you told the kids this is meat Pizzamaker's style, a slice of mozzarella on 
each serving would be a good idea.
Saves a lot of pointless discussion.
You know what I mean.

                        Bistecca Pizzaiola

Serves 4

Pat dry
4 small tender steaks

In a large skillet heat over medium heat
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Add the steaks to the pan and cook, turning once, until browned.
Transfer the meat to a platter.
Sprinkle with 
Salt and pepper

In the same skillet scatter
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
Cook for 1 minute.
1 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
pinch of crushed red pepper
salt to taste
Bring the sauce to a simmer.
Cook for 20 minutes.
Return the meat to the sauce.
Cook, turning the meat once, until they are hot.

This could be served with pasta, rice or potatoes.
Burger buns would do, too.
Think of it as a distant cousin of Sloppy Joes.

Would I make Bistecca Pizzaiola again?
Along with plenty of vegetables.
Let's not forget Neapolitans were once called mangiafoglie.

One recipe down.  Fifty-two more to go.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Amaretti - Almond Macaroons (Cookies)

Everything in moderation.
Including moderation.
After the holidays a meal just isn't a meal without a dessert.
It's just too shocking to the system to cut desserts cold turkey.
Life is stressful enough.

Eat a cookie for mental health.

There's a nice simple cookie recipe in Janice Soprano's chapter Sunday Dinner 
in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
Almond Macaroons.

The recipe also uses that almond paste that didn't get used during the holidays.
And the candied cherries!
What can I say?
It was meant to be.


Makes 36

line 2 large baking sheets with foil        
preheat oven to 350º           

In the large bowl of an electric mixer combine
8 ounces almond paste
1 Cup sugar
Beat until blended.
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
Beat until very smooth.

Dampen your fingertips with cool water to prevent sticking.
Scoop 1 tablespoon of the batter and gently roll it into a ball.
Place on prepared cookie sheet.
Repeat with remaining batter, placing the cookies 1 inch apart.

Into the top of each cookie push one of
36 candied cherries or whole almonds
Bake 20 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned.
Cool a few minutes on the baking sheets.
Using a thin metal spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks.
Cool completely.
Store in airtight containers.

Would I make Amaretti again?
Sure, what's not to like?
The recipe is easy and fairly low calorie.
And it uses up that dumb almond paste.
As does Carmela's recipe for Pignoli Cookies.

One recipe down.  Fifty-three more to go.  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Peppers and Eggs Sandwiches

Bought more peppers than you used for the marinating peppers recipe?
No problem.

Back to Paulie's chapter My Nucci in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
But it's a great way to use peppers.

If you'd like to be a bit neater, you can dice the pepper strips.
Diced peppers are also nice in a salad.

I will get to the potatoes and egg sandwich recipe.

                        Peppers and Eggs Sandwiches

Serves 4

In a large nonstick skillet heat 
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch strips
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch strips
salt to taste
Cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes, until they are browned.
Cover and cook for 5 minutes, until they are tender.

While the peppers are cooking, beat 
8 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste
Pour the eggs over the peppers. 
Let the eggs set.
Turn the peppers and eggs.
Allow the eggs to set.
Stir and cook until the eggs are done.

Cut a lengthwise slit in
1 long loaf Italian or French bread
Pull out the soft middle.
Fill the bread with the peppers and eggs.
Cut into 4 sandwiches.  Serve warm.

Would I make Peppers and Eggs Sandwiches again?
Of course.
It beats the hell out of Cheese Whiz.
Yes, I will get to it.

One recipe down.  Fifty-four more to go.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Pork Chops with Vinegar Peppers / Garlic Hints

Paulie Walnuts is a bit of a Mama's boy.
He said he often made the guys a potatoes and egg sandwich to improve their morale.
From the way he acted, who knew?

Paulie's chapter My Nucci in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook has easy recipes.
I'll get to the potatoes and egg sandwich recipe later.
This recipe is a handy way to use the leftover marinated peppers.
Paulie does get a bit sentimental about this meal.
...never have there been better times in my life than, in her later years, just the two of us, Nucci and Paulie, sitting down to an evening meal of pork chops with peppers and garlic and laughing about the day's events.

Paulie also has a few hints on using garlic:
  • For a mild garlic taste, use it whole.  Hit the clove with the flat side of the blade and put it in the oil.  You can remove the garlic before serving.
  • For a medium garlic taste, slice the clove razor thin.  Remember the prison scene in Goodfellas?
  • For a strong garlic taste, finely chop so it will disperse through the food.   
  • Never use garlic presses or dried garlic powder.

Paulie sprinkles salt and pepper on the chops before they cook.
Salt tends to draw out the juices, making the meat drier.
Your choice when you want to salt your meat.

                        Pork Chops with Vinegar Peppers

Serves 4

Pat dry with paper towels
4 pork rib chops, about 1-inch thick

Heat in a large skillet over medium high heat
1 Tablespoon olive oil
When the oil is very hot place the chops in the pan.
Cook the chops 5 minutes on each side.
Lower the heat to medium.

Scatter around the chops
2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
Cover the pan
Cook for 5 minutes more.  
You want the chops to be slightly pink near the bone.
Transfer the chops to a platter and keep warm.

2 Cups mild pickled sliced peppers
2 Tablespoons of their juice
pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Spoon the peppers over the chops.  Serve immediately.

Would I make Pork Chops with Vinegar Peppers again?
I prefer finely chopping the garlic.
Try it, you'll like it!

One recipe down.  Fifty-five more to go.    

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Roasted Pepper Salad / Broiled Pepper Salad

Even Janice Soprano has a salad recipe in her Sunday Dinner chapter 
in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
I know, Janice doesn't look like she would like salads.
But, maybe it was from her Hippie days.

I also find it a little hard to believe this was a recipe from Livia.
From what I remember of the 50s, green peppers were the only ones available.
But, I'm not going to argue with Janice.

I do remember my Ma using a large fork to hold a pepper and roast it over a gas flame.
Ma also sometimes toasted bread by placing it on the grill above the gas flame.
Those where the days when toasters were 'one size slots fit all'.
More often not.
But, I digress...

If you use a combination of peppers, the colors will make this a festive dish.
The recipe serves 8.
You can either adjust the numbers or place the leftovers in the fridge.
They are marinating, after all.

                        Roasted Pepper Salad

Serves 8

Have the broiler set up so that the peppers will be 3 inches from the heat.
Cover a broiler pan with foil.
Place on the pan
8 large red, yellow or green bell peppers
Turn the broiler on high.
Broil the peppers, turning them frequently, until they are charred all over.
Put the pepper in a large bowl, cover with foil, let cool.

Place the peppers on a plate so you do not lose the juices.
Cut the peppers in half.
Pour the juices into a bowl.
Peel the skin off the peppers and discard the seeds and stems.
Cut the peppers lengthwise into 1-inch strips and place them in a serving bowl.
Strain the juices over the peppers.

Add to the peppers
1/3 Cup extra virgin olive oil
6 fresh basil leaves torn into pieces or 1 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
Let marinate at least 30 minutes before serving.

Would I make Roasted Pepper Salad again?
Sure, but I do miss my old gas stove.
Broiling just isn't as much fun as watching the peppers cook over a flame.
It was like making S'mores.
But, I digress...

One recipe down.  Fifty-six more to go.   

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Tuna Salad with Green Beans and Tomatoes ............ Salad Niçoise

There's a recipe that reminds me of Salad Niçoise in Jennifer's chapter
Rage, Guilt, Loneliness, and Food in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.

Don't panic at the fancy French name.
It's another raw salad, alright.
It's just something that can be served to non-dieters, too.
It has a bit of heft to it.

Oh, about Salad Niçoise  ( French pronunciation: niˈswaz )…
It is a salad of tomatoes and green beans topped with tuna and anchovies
and dressed with a vinaigrette.
It is served with or without a bed of lettuce.  The tuna may be cooked or canned.
Hard-boiled eggs and Niçoise olives are common accompaniments.
Julia Child introduced it to Americans a few years ago.
Traditionally the salad included raw red peppers, shallots, and artichoke hearts,
never potatoes or other cooked vegetables.

Well, I've added leftover boiled potatoes and nobody complained.
I even used mayonnaise instead of the vinaigrette.
It's a very forgiving recipe.

In other words…
Use what you have on hand, prepare it any way you wish and enjoy.

                        Tuna Salad with Green Beans and Tomatoes

Serves 2

In a large bowl place
tuna, with its oil, from one 7-ounce can
If it's a chunk, break it into pieces.

2 medium tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered
3 or 4 thin slices red onion, quartered

Sprinkle with
pinch of dried oregano
1 - 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
pinch of salt
pepper to taste
Toss gently.

Arrange on a platter
8 ounces green beans, cut into bite sized pieces, cooked
Top with the tuna salad
Garnish with
lemon wedges
Serve immediately.

Would I make Tuna Salad with Green Beans and Tomatoes again?
Salad Niçoise is an old favourite.
And I can remember watching Julia Child make it on her show.
Bon appétit!!

One recipe down.  Fifty-seven more to go.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Arugula and Parmesan Salad / Arugula Information

This is another easy salad recipe from Jennifer's chapter
Rage, Guilt, Loneliness, and Food in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
This recipe reminds me of an old Fred Astaire song:
"You say tom-AY-toe, I say tom-AH-toe."

Arugula goes by a few different names:
salad rocket, roquette, rucola, rugula, colewort.
That's just in the supermarket.
Let's not get into the scientific names.
No, it's not in the witness protection program.

Arugula is a nice enough veggie.
It just isn't as famous as romaine lettuce.

Arugula recently got involved United States politics…
In 2008, when Barack Obama mentioned arugula during a speech to some Iowa farmers, he was criticized as a "cultural elitist". The Economist branded Obama's supporters as "wine drinkers" and Hillary Clinton's as "beer drinkers".
Obama's political opponents claimed that arugula was unknown in Iowa, but the fact check website Media Matters For America listed farms and markets in the state where it could be found.

Arugula looks like a longer-leaved and open lettuce and is eaten raw, in salads or as a garnish, as well as cooked. It is rich in vitamin C and potassium. The flowers (often used as an edible garnish), young seed pods, and mature seeds are all edible.

Arugula has a rich, peppery taste and an exceptionally pungent flavor.
So, you might want to taste first before adding the pepper.
And you can have wine or beer with your salad.

                        Arugula and Parmesan Salad

Serves 2

Cut off the stems of
1 bunch arugula, that has been washed and dried
Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl whisk together
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Add the prepared arugula and toss well.
Pile the salad onto 2 plates.

With a vegetable peeler, shave over the salads
a small piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Serve immediately.

Would I make Arugula and Parmesan Salad again?
Just don't ask me what I drink with this salad.

One recipe down.  Fifty-eight more to go.