Monday, November 4, 2013

Additional Recipes for Newspaper Column

Cooking with kale in Provincetown - Caldo Verde - Portuguese kale soup
Making Fried Green tomatoes - soak in buttermilk, coat in cornmeal and flour.  Fry

Picking Apples in the Hudson Valley - making caramel applesauce; wine baked apples; and just eating them


Hello, Thank you to the readers who've asked where I've been.   I've circling around the Northeast since we last met.  And thinking about you and a new post - BUT.  There's always a "but" - isn't there?   I need to deliver a weekly food column for the Hudson-Catskill Media group and sometimes it takes all the food news out of me. I also have a few other projects that I'm working on - etc. etc. etc.

I promised the readers of the newspapers where my column is featured that I would add some recipes that are part of  the Timballo di Maccheroni  recipe in November first's column.  There just wasn't enough room to include everything .

So, here are the recipes for those of you who have read the column - and the column for you who haven't yet read it. 

RAGU NAPOLETANO  (Arthur Schwartz - "Naples at Table", HarperCollins, 1998)

Schwartz says, "This is a contemporary recipe for ragu.  If you read the old ones you would probably never cook ragu...some old recipes have three kinds of fat...and olive oil for browning the meat.   There are recipes, though rare, that also throw butter into the mix."

Makes 4 cups sauce, enough for 1 1/2pounds pasta, serving 8

1/2 pound well-trimmed pork cut in large chunks, or sweet Italian sausage
1/2 pound lean stewing veal, cut in large chunks
1/2 pound well-trimmed chuck or shoulder, cut in large chunks
1  medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup hearty red wine
2   28-ounce cans peeled plum tomatoes (not drained)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
big pinch hot red pepper flakes

1.   In a 4- to 5-quaert pot or stovetop casserole, combine the meats (except sausage , if using, which gets added later), the onion, and the olive oil.   Place over medium heat and sear the meat.  It will immediately exude juices.  Keep cooking, stirring frequently, until the meat juices have evaporated and the meats and the onions are light brown, at least 10 minutes.
2.   Add wine and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the wine evaporates.  The meat will be a much darker brown now.
3.   Pass the tomatoes through a food mill- directly into the pot if you like - and stir them into the meat.   Add the sausage, if using.  Add salt and hot pepper and stir again.   Simmer gently for 2 1/2 - 3 hours.  Stir every 15 minutes or so, but after about an hour, before stirring, skim any fat off the surface that you consider excess.  (If the meats are lean, there is usually no more than a couple of tablespoons of fat, and you'll want to leave it in the sauce.)   Also, every time you stir, remember to stir down any sauce that will have condensed on the side of the pot just above its surface.   When done, the ragu will have a dark color and a thick consistency.
4.   Let the sauce cool slightly, but strain out or pick out the meat while it is still warm.  Check for salt and pepper.
5.   Serve the sauce very hot on pasta or use it in other recipes as indicated.  The meat can be served as a separate course, or on another day.  Both the sauce and the meat can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week, much longer in the freezer.    After a week of refrigerator storage, if it is necessary to keep the sauce longer, bring it to a simmer, then refrigerate it again.   It will need to be reseasoned when reheated for use.


3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter
1 large egg
5 to 6 tablespoons milk

Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, then add the butter cut into 1-inch pieces.  Pulse the flour mixture and butter together until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  In a small bowl, beat together the egg and the lesser amount of milk, then pour it into the work bowl.    Pulse a dozen or so times to mix thoroughly, then let the motor run a few seconds, until the dough gathers into a ball.  If the dough seems dry and doesn't quite hold together, add a little more milk.  Remove the dough from the food processor bowl and place it on a board.  Knead it a few times.  Let it rest under a kitchen towel.  Divide the dough into two portions, one about 3/4 of the dough for the bottom of the timballo/drum, the remaining 1/4 for the top crust.  Form two 1-inch thick disks, wrap them in plastic, and refrigerate (to rest) for at least 30 minutes.  (If refrigerated longer, return to room temperature before rolling).

SUSANSIMONSAYS:    I'll try to be more timely with future blogs.  We're approaching shorter, darker and colder days.  The kind of days that make being in front of a hot stove one of the more comfortable - and pleasurable -  places to be.

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