Monthly Archives: September 2009

Spaghetti Alla Carrettiera – my favorite!

carrettiera1This dish is the epitome of freshness.  Use sun-ripened tomatoes when in season.  During the off season, I recommend Pomi brand chopped tomatoes.  I will include a picture of the package at the end of this recipe. 

1/2 pound spaghetti

5 large garlic cloves

1 bunch fresh basil

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 carton (25 ounces) Pomi chopped tomatoes, drained (or 28 ounce other brand chopped tomatoes, drained)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water, salted.  Cook approximately 7 – 9 minutes.  Drain well.

While the pasta is cooking, chop the garlic and remove the basil leaves from their stems.  Slice the basil leaves into long, thin strips.

In a large skillet, combine garlic and olive oil.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant, not brown, approximately 1 – 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper and increase the heat to medium-high.

Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat stir in the basil, add the spaghetti.  Toss and serve.

Pomi tomatoes are from Parma Italy and are 100% Natural – no artificial flavors, no preservatives, no water added or citric acid.

pomi tomatoes



Filed under Entree, Pasta, Uncategorized

Spaghetti with Garlic and Olive Oil

spaghetti-aglio-olio-e-peperoncinoThe official name of this dish is Spaghetti Con Aglio E Olio.  It’s such a simple dish and easy to make.  This recipe will impress with flavor, but won’t make you a slave to the kitchen. 

1/2 pound spaghetti

5 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped

chopped or crushed red hot peppers, just a dash, optional

Salt and Pepper

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water for 8 – 9 minutes.  Drain well. 

Chop the garlic, combine the olive oil, garlic and red peppers into large skillet.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant, but not browned – approximately 3 – 4 minutes.

Add the cooked spaghetti to the skillet and toss briefly.  Add the parsley and season generously with salt and pepper.

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Filed under Entree, Pasta

Fettuccine Alfredo

alfredoOne of my sons is a Sous Chef the other has a limted repertoire of dishes he cooks.  This recipe is simple, delicious, and requires few ingredients.  This is for you Blake.

Personally, I prefer Linguine over Fettuccine.  Splurge on the best quality Parmesan cheese for this simple, luxurious dish.  Balance its richness with a simple salad of Boston lettuce and watercress with a red wine vinaigrette dressing.   You can always add grilled shrimp, chicken or salmon or left over cooked bacon to this recipe at the end.

9 ounces fresh Fettuccine or Linguine

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup heavy cream,

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 clove garlic, minced, OPTIONAL

salt and pepper to taste

basil, chopped to sprinkle on top of the dish once it is finished, optional

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until tender, but still firm.  3 – 4 minutes.  Drain well.

While the pasta is cooking, combine the butter and cream in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring often, until the butter is melted and the cream is bubbly.  Remove from the heat.

When the pasta is cooked and drained, add it to the skillet and toss over low heat, lifting the strands to coat them with the sauce.  Add the cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper and toss well.  Continue to toss over low heat until the cheese is mixed in and melted and the sauce thickens and coats the pasta well – approx 1 – 2 minutes.  If you are adding any type of cooked meat, do so now and toss gently once or twice.  Serve immediately.  Makes 3 – 4 servings.


Filed under Entree, Pasta

Chicken and Dumplings – The old fashioned way!

Gladys Bryan made the best chicken and dumplings I have ever eaten.  She taught me how to cook them the old fashioned way and I try to put as much love into making chicken and dumplings as she did.  This is her recipe.  

You want to be careful that you don’t boil all of your liquid out before you get your dumplings in it. 

1 chicken, cut into pieces  (during the holidays you can get a fresh hen)
2 quarts cold water (always put your raw chicken in cold water – you’ll get a much richer broth)
1 tablespoon salt
1 whole red or white onion
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 stick butter and 1 can evaporated milk

  • Add the chicken to the stew pot.
  • Add salt, onion, carrot, celery, and black pepper.
  • Cover with cold water and bring to a low boil. 
  • Foam will form on the water as it begins to boil. 
  • Skim the foam from the water.
  • Stew chicken until tender with the salt, onion, carrot and celery ribs, about 40 – 60  minutes after liquid gets to a low boil.  Cooking time depends on the size of your chicken or hen.
  • Remove the chicken from the broth and discard the vegetables. 
  • Cool and remove chicken from the bones. 
  • Cut or pull the chicken into desired-size pieces.  
  • Add pepper and butter to broth and heat to simmering.  Broth should look peppery and taste great.
  • Add 1 can evaporated milk to broth.



2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup shortening

5-7 tablespoons cold water


  • Work the dough and roll out on a floured surface.
  • Roll out the dough very thin about ⅛”. 
  • Cut into 1″ wide strips and let dry for about 30 minutes.
  • Before adding your dumplings to the milk broth, add a touch of grated nutmeg to the broth.  
  • Add the chicken pieces and heat.  (Broth needs to be several inches above the chicken for the dumplings to have enough room to cook.) 
  • Add the dumplings to the low boiling broth a few at a time to keep the broth at a boil. 
  • Cook 10 minutes in the low boiling broth.  (If you boil your broth too high, your dumplings will disappear or clump together.)
  • Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes and serve.


Filed under Celebration, Chicken, Entree, Holiday, Soup

Grandmother’s Chocolate Pie

chocolate pie

Who doesn’t remember their Grandmother’s chocolate pie?  No matter how many pies she would make, they would be eaten to the very last bite.

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons cocoa  (I lean toward more a milk chocolate than dark chocolate.)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk  (1 can evaporated milk and add water to equal the 2 cups)

3 slightly beaten egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 – 9″ pie crust, baked

In a sauce pan combine sugar, flour, cocoa, and salt.  Stir in milk.  Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly – cook for 2 more minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir small amount of hot mixture into your egg yolks, immediately return to hot mixture – cook another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat again and add butter and vanilla.  Pour into a baked pie crust.  Spread meringue on top of pie and bake at 350 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes.  Cool and enjoy!


Filed under Celebration, Dessert, Holiday, Pies

Roasted Tomato-Serrano Chile Salsa – Taste Test Winner

roasted-tomato-salsa-21We are big salsa nuts at our house; we like it spicy and fresh.  Traditionally, salsa is made with Roma or Plum tomatoes because they are meatier and have less water content.  You can use any type of tomato for salsa; just know that your results will vary with different types.  (I used regular garden tomatoes for this salsa.)

Roasting your tomatoes, garlic, and chiles set the flavors apart.  It really does make a difference in the flavor.  I also use a lava-rock mortar to make a paste from the roasted garlic, chiles, and salt.  If you don’t have a mortar, you can do the same thing on a cutting board.  It’s a simple first step. 

Lay the tomatoes on a baking sheet and place about 6 inches below a very hot broiler. Place your garlic and chiles in this pan.  Put a little salt on them before you roast.  Roast until tomatoes are blistered on one side, about 6 minutes; with a spoon or pair of tongs, flip the tomatoes and roast on the other side for 6 minutes.

  • 1 pound (2 large round or 4-6 medium round or 6 to 8 plum) red, ripe tomatoes (Hint:  should fill a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup)
  • 4  fresh Serrano chiles  (approx. 1 ounce of chilies)
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt for roasting
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt for salsa
  • 1 small (about 3 ounces) white onion, finely chopped
  • A generous 1/3 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar

Add the tomatoes to a blender or food processor and pulse a few times until you have a coarse-textured puree.  Add the roasted garlic and Serrano chile paste, salt, and vinegar to tomatoes.  Mix and add chopped onions and cilantro.  Best if it sits for a couple of hours. 

Notes:  Roma or plum tomatoes will make a thicker salsa.  Very ripe round tomatoes will make a thinner salsa.  If you use more tomatoes, increase your chopped white onion.  Serrano chiles are supposed to be 5 times hotter than jalapenos – I don’t think they are.  I prefer Serrano over Jalapeno.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

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Filed under Celebration, Dip / Spread / Sauce / Seasoning, Mexican, Spring, Summer