Monday, January 02, 2012

Kitchen adventures

Although I cooked a couple of dishes for the Christmas dinner at Bill's, you may have read on Facebook about the dinner I canceled at the last minute because I fell and split my forehead open the morning of the dinner. But that was just over two weeks and twelve stitches ago and my head is healing nicely though I shall bear the mark of Voldemort forever, I fear. Still, I live!

I toyed with doing an early dinner on New Year's Eve and sending everyone home early but my energy was not that high and folks I talked to were leaving town or staying in. So the next meal will be this coming Saturday. With most of the guests from the one that was canceled.

The table is already set since I have today off and could do it, including ironing the tablecloth.

It will be the revival of an old tradition of mine, cooking spaghetti on the Saturday closest to Epiphany. I love making a rich sauce full of Italian sausage, ground beef, mushrooms, onions, garlic, tomatoes, herbs, spices, and red wine. The pasta is a minor excuse for eating the sauce. Simmered for at least four hours. It is not done unless I can set a wooden spoon in it at an angle and the spoon stays there. Dang, I look forward to it.

This will be the farewell to Christmas season as I am leaving the tree up until then.

Now, as to the party that wasn't, I still had all that food that needed cooking so I made the pork stew with prunes, carrots, fennel, brandy, and cream the next day. And the devil's food cake with buttercream frosting. Just had one guest for that meal and ate leftovers all week. Here is the cake.

I doubt I will do that much work often (of course the cake and icing were from scratch, and there's a pound of butter in the icing) but it was a fun adventure. And I will make the cake again.

That's the news from Desert Farne. May you all have a 2012 rich with blessings. I wish health, employment (unless you can afford retirement), love, joy, and adventures to you all.

--the BB


Phil Freyder said...

Paul, the spaghetti sauce sounds like a monsta. Can you lay the recipe on me without revealing any cherished family secrets?

Paul said...

No secrets. I make it without a recipe.

Paul's Spaghetti Sauce

Brown separately one pound of lean ground beef and one package of Italian sausage broken up (your call: spicy or sweet).
Saute a shitload of sliced mushrooms in butter until they cook down and start to caramelize.
Chop and saute a large onion with hot pepper flakes, adding minced garlic at the end.
Toss all those in a large heavy pot with several cans of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, sundried tomato paste.
Toss in a couple tablespoons of basil, at least one tablespoon (I use more) of anise or fennel seed, somewhat ground.
Simmer for three hours, add about a cup of dry red wine, salt to taste.
Simmer until as thick as described in the post.

Forget the spaghetti. This and course bread will do. lol. Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano when served. Of course.

it's margaret said...

Paul! I hope your Volde-mark is healing well --I am so sorry for you!!! The Spaghetti sounds wonderful! --I'll try it, too!

Blessed New Year to you!

Paul said...

I am healing well but shall bear a raffish scar. The bear of mystery.

Margaret, I wish you and Joel and Mr Witty a truly stupendous 2012, as I am sure it will be. Traveling mercies! And I am going to sic St Joseph's wife on him if he doesn't get to work for you.

it's margaret said...

We are sitting in a coffee shop right now, cuz the house is showing --we've never shown on a Friday afternoon before --so I decided to pack the basement --and I got in to it and had emptied all storage and moved EVERYTHING out and around and made gargantuan piles... and then we get the call. I left an apology note... maybe the chaos will do the trick! Thank you for your prayers --we are not Discouraged... but we are discouraged.... if you know what I mean.