Sauce

Buttermilk Pancake Day

One of the first newspaper food articles I ever wrote had to do with Shrove Tuesday (tomorrow, February 28th), a holiday my family doesn't celebrate, so at the time I didn't know that it is also Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), and in food circles -- Pancake Day!

Live and learn. It seems that in days gone by, when the Catholic Church imposed stricter rules during Lent, fatty items such as eggs, butter, milk and so on, were forbidden from Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins, until Easter. So the day before Lent everyone tried to eat up all the fats in the house.

Hence, the eating of gras (fat) on that mardi (Tuesday).

What's a delicious, filling, welcome and wondrous way to include eggs, butter, milk and stuff?

Pancakes!

I've made all sorts of pancakes: German Apple, Oatmeal, Lemon-Cottage Cheese and others. But plain old buttermilk pancakes are simple and always fluffy and full of down home pleasure.

Maple syrup goes on top, for sure. But homemade apple sauce is a bit different, less sweet and so easy to make. I like to mix apples and pears for sauce during the winter because there are so many pear varieties available. 

Happy Pancake Day. Mardi Gras. Btw, this also makes a nice dinner on a meatless Monday.

Buttermilk Pancakes with Apple-Pear Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • butter for frying the pancakes
  • Apple-Pear Sauce

Melt the 3 tablespoons butter and set aside to cool. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. In a second bowl mix the egg, buttermilk and melted, cooled butter. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ones and mix to blend them but do not beat vigorously. Preheat a griddle or large saute pan over medium heat. Lightly butter the pan before cooking the pancakes. When the pan butter has melted and looks foamy, slowly pour about 2 tablespoons batter (for small pancakes) or more (for larger pancakes), leaving space between each pancake. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until bottom is lightly browned and bubbles form on the top. Flip the pancakes with a rigid spatula and cook for a minute or until the second side is lightly browned. Serve with Apple-Pear Sauce.

Apple-Pear Sauce

  • 4 apples
  • 3 pears
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Peel, core and slice the apples and pears and place the pieces in a saucepan. Add the cinnamon, stir, cover the pan and cook over low heat for 25-30 minutes or until the fruit is soft. Stir occasionally during the cooking process. Puree the ingredients in a food processor with a hand blender. Serve hot, cold or at room temperature. Makes about 3-1/2 cups.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

Love Livornese

One of our favorite restaurants dishes is some-kind-of-fish Livornese style. Ed and I both like the tangy components -- olives and capers -- and how they give so much extra flavor to the more typical tomatoes and garlic red-sauce. 

Somehow I never made Livornese sauce at home, until recently, when I saw a great looking hunk of halibut in the market and decided to dig right in and try it out.

It was absolutely perfect. I used Aleppo pepper, because I like the hint of smokiness that it has, but crushed red pepper would be equally good.

 

Roasted Halibut Livornese

  • 1-1/2 pounds halibut, about 1-1/2-inches thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cut up black imported olives
  • 2-3 teaspoons capers
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or crushed red pepper)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the fish in a lightly oiled baking dish. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add the olives, capers, white wine and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes or until soft. Spoon the sauce over the fish. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of the fish, or until cooked through.

Makes 4 servings

Comforting Pasta Amatriciana

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When you feel let down or sad you need to do something special to help cheer yourself up.

Some people shop, some go to a spa for a facial, some exercise like crazy (when my brother was going through a divorce he ran super marathons -- 110 miles!)

To say that the election of 2016 was a disappointment for me is a huge understatement. 

I need cheering up, and my favorite coping mechanism is: eating. Mostly potatoes. So one night I had two baked potatoes for dinner.

But now I need real, actual food, a regular dinner entree. Something more substantial and also comforting. 

Pasta! 

With red sauce. AND smokey with (I use Jack's Gourmet Facon) bacon and (I used Jack's Gourmet Sweet Italian Beef Sausage) sausage. And a little gentle (chili pepper) heat.

Bucatini Amatriciana!

Yum.

Celebration-worthy.

Kosher Pasta Amatriciana

  • 4 ounces kosher beef or lamb bacon, chopped
  • 3 ounces kosher Italian style sausage, diced
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 3 pounds tomatoes, chopped (or use canned tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound cooked bucatini

Cook the bacon in a large saucepan over low-medium heat until lightly crispy. Add the sausage and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the meats are browned. Remove the meats with a slotted spoon and set aside. Pour the olive oil into the pan. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the garlic, cook briefly, then add the tomatoes, parsley and red pepper. Return the bacon and sausage to the sauce. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Pour over the pasta, toss and serve. 

 Makes 4 servings

 

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Some people are lucky enough to grow tomatoes and by this time in August the vines in their gardens are hanging low with red, ripe, wonderful stuff waiting to be picked.  Some of those lucky people have so many tomatoes they don’t even know what to do with them.  I am not one of those people. As I have  written , I got two measly little tomatoes from the plants I tried to grow in my backyard.   But a friend took pity on me as she does every year. Because this happens every year. She nods her head at my pathetic little tomato patch and brings me a whole harvest from hers. I am so lucky to have her in my life (for many reasons).  I know what to do with those tomatoes too. After having my fill on  sandwiches , eating them with avocados and  stuffing  and baking them as a side dish, I make red sauce for spaghetti.  Red sauce made with fresh tomatoes is an entirely different thing than the kind made with canned. I am not saying either is better. Just different.  See for yourself. This recipe is really easy:  Fresh Tomato Sauce     16-18 plum tomatoes or 8 large tomatoes  3 tablespoons olive oil  1 medium onion, chopped  1 large clove garlic, chopped  3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil  salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste     Heat a large pot of water. When it comes to a boil, add the tomatoes. Cook for 20 seconds. Drain the tomatoes under cold water. Pierce the tomato near the stem end with the tip of a sharp knife and pull back to remove the skin. Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise and squeeze out the seeds. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Add the tomatoes, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15-30 minutes, or until it has reached the desired consistency. Makes enough for one pound of pasta (about 3 cups)      

Some people are lucky enough to grow tomatoes and by this time in August the vines in their gardens are hanging low with red, ripe, wonderful stuff waiting to be picked.

Some of those lucky people have so many tomatoes they don’t even know what to do with them.

I am not one of those people. As I have written, I got two measly little tomatoes from the plants I tried to grow in my backyard. 

But a friend took pity on me as she does every year. Because this happens every year. She nods her head at my pathetic little tomato patch and brings me a whole harvest from hers. I am so lucky to have her in my life (for many reasons).

I know what to do with those tomatoes too. After having my fill on sandwiches, eating them with avocados and stuffing and baking them as a side dish, I make red sauce for spaghetti.

Red sauce made with fresh tomatoes is an entirely different thing than the kind made with canned. I am not saying either is better. Just different.

See for yourself. This recipe is really easy:

Fresh Tomato Sauce

 

16-18 plum tomatoes or 8 large tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large clove garlic, chopped

3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Heat a large pot of water. When it comes to a boil, add the tomatoes. Cook for 20 seconds. Drain the tomatoes under cold water. Pierce the tomato near the stem end with the tip of a sharp knife and pull back to remove the skin. Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise and squeeze out the seeds. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Add the tomatoes, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15-30 minutes, or until it has reached the desired consistency. Makes enough for one pound of pasta (about 3 cups)