Marcella Hazan Tomato Sauce

It’s been a long time friends… 2016- rough stuff.  But I’m digging out- which means cookbook club is back in full swing and I’m celebrating with a blog post.  (gasp)

We had our first meeting in AGES last night and a couple people were raving about Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce.  It’s ease, it’s flavor, etc.  I was sold.  Especially since I don’t have the book yet and was able to locate the recipe online compliments of the New York Times.

Four ingredients:

  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Butter
  • Salt

One thing I shared last night is that I occasionally volunteer at The Pantry cooking school.  Rumor is that they tested every canned tomato they could get their hands on.  Their favorite tomatoes are…


You can buy these at the pantry if you’re in Ballard- but I found these at Big John’s PFI.

This recipe is truly easy.  My can of tomatoes was so big I did 3.5 times the recipe-

Cut onions in half…img_2212

Dump in your tomatoes and sprinkle some salt.


Simmer for 45 minutes.  Marcella has you add the butter before the simmer- but Randie told me to do it at the end yesterday- so that’s what I did.


And done!

Let me tell you- the flavor is so much better than the sum of its parts.  I’m not even sure what makes it so good- the mouth feel- the simplicity- it is truly delicious- and what’s better is I have some to tuck away for a rainy day (which I’m sure we will have many)


I made a quick pasta and it was a family hit.


If this is an indicator of things to come, I’m going to be a happy lady.


Posted in comfort food, Italian, Main, pasta | 1 Comment

Walnut Bread

I decided to make the “Renewal” menu at the end of the book- Date Night In.

For us, making the menu was inspired totally by the Chocolat Chaud dessert that my Son wanted for dinner.  But I decided might as well make the rest.

I’ve been baking a lot of bread lately, and was a little dubious about going away from my current favorite crusty bread recipe- but decided to give the Walnut Bread a go.

I will say- ingredients- super easy.  Nothing weird.  AND I love that you just throw all the ingredients in a bowl, mix, and let sit overnight.  No fussing with transferring to a new bowl, waiting for yeast to activate- anything.  VERY easy.  You do have to plan a day in advance- but everyone plans dinner a week out- right?  (joke)

Day two:  Dump bread onto floury surface- and you sort of tuck and twist like making a boule until you have a nice round loaf.  That gets Transferred to a flour-towel bowl.   (Never tried this technique before.)  This is for the second rise while your dutch oven heats up.




Then the tricky part.  Transfer your dough to the dutch oven- I did mine on parchment paper.  Directions didn’t say to do that- but I couldn’t help it.  Had to.  My dough totally stuck to my flour-towel and created a weird surface on top of my dough-ball.  I was also worried that all of the jostling would affect the rise situation- but no matter-into the oven it goes.  Fingers Crossed.

It came out lovely!  (Lumpy top aside)


A few notes:

  • Next time, I’m going to try letting it rise in a parchment sling instead of the flour towel.  We’ll see…
  • I was pleasantly surprised at how walnutty it was throughout.  I thought that it would taste like a loaf of bread with walnuts in it- not the case.  All the dough seemed to soak up the walnut flavor.  Yum.
  • For me?  Salt.  I think a generous amount of Maldon salt on top of the loaf would have made it even better.

I would make again if I needed this sort of a loaf.  Won’t be replacing my standard because it isn’t quite as versatile- but it is definitely worthy of adding into the rotation.






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Chocolat Chaud

Tuesdays I cook with my Son.  Usually it’s enjoyable- sometimes painful- but it definitely gets him to try a greater array of foods, and I feel like I’m doing a service by helping to create another person who can find his way around a kitchen.

He gets to pick what we make- with parameters.  This week, I had said we are making our Tuesday dinner from our new book- Date Night In.  Pick anything from this book…

Parameters should have been tighter.  As he chose Chocolate.  Who can blame him?


This is a drinking chocolate… and it IS delicious.  I understand why the author, Ashley Rodriquez, touts it as one of her favorite desserts.  Rich, warm, just the right size, and dangerously easy to make.


For anyone who can think back to 2005 it really reminds me of Starbucks Chantico Drinking Chocolate.  The product ultimately failed- probably due to the six ounce size that Americans couldn’t quite understand- and that it was a dessert- that you drink?  I shouldn’t get a Venti?  What?  But it did have an addicting quality.  At the time, I had a house guest who would crave it so badly in the night that I would wake up nearly every  morning to some evidence of a very late night Chantico run.

The author said that she first had this dessert ten years ago… makes me wonder if she was doing late night Chantico runs too… probably a coincidence.





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I feel mildly guilty that the wonderful book, Jerusalem, got zero time on the Blog.  I actually cooked from it a TON and really enjoyed how healthy everything was without feeling like I was sacrificing any sort of flavor or enjoyment.  I used spices I had never used before, techniques I had not done, and I am certain that I will go back to it again and again.

So- I’m sorry Jerusalem.  You deserved better.  But at least I took a few pictures from our lovely dinner we had on Sunday…

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Lemon Bucatini with Roasted Kale

It has been a long time since I’ve done a post.  The cooking and photos haven’t slowed down.

We have a new book our club is doing- Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady.  I can’t wait to try so many recipes in this gem- so I think we should get started.

I picked the Lemon Bucatini because I had everything on hand- so it came together very quickly.

I will say, I never grow tired of roasted kale- and this was no different.


I did not read the notes section of the recipe first (mistake)- it says to use a thin peeled lemon- which as it turned out I didn’t have.  So, I attempted to take the pith off with a knife- which I was both unsuccessful at, and slow.  My quick dinner turned a little more labor intensive.  IMG_7732

At any rate- the lemon and some cream, and egg gets whirled in the blender and combined with the cooked bucatini.  IMG_7735

Roasted kale on top and BAM- dinner!


This dish was met with mixed results.

Mason- didn’t like it.  (not surprising)

Mark liked it- but didn’t rave.

I thought I didn’t get enough of the pith off.  Next time I would take the zest of the lemon- then toss that in the blender with just the flesh.  I think it would have been more successful and heavens knows a lot easier.

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Raspberry Ricotta Pancakes

I almost didn’t include these because I lost focus during the cooking process of these little guys and never got photos of the end result… but they were good enough to get an honorable mention even though my photos are incomplete.

I feel like there is something special about a new breakfast recipe.


I have breakfast standbys usually- something that I know everyone will like- so I rarely try things that are new.


It should be noted.  These are called, “pancakes” but I don’t think they are much like a pancake other than the shape and look. IMG_5248

The texture once they are cooked is sort of amazing.  It looks like a pancake.  Feels like a pancake.  When you bite into it- it’s more soft- almost like biting into warm ricotta… which I suppose it basically is.  IMG_5251

A lot of wet ingredients- not much dry.  I was surprised at how pink the batter was- and a little worried- but when cooked, it loses it’s pepto glow.

For a discerning audience I would make these again.  They felt somehow special.  I wish I had a photo of the end result to show you.  I was too busy eating to be bothered.  Next time.

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Cayenne-Pecorino Potato Chips

Just a brief post-  Who doesn’t love a homemade potato chip?  I made these for a side with the caponata subs one night.


The difference between a homemade chip and a store bought- vast.  Especially when they are straight out of the fryer and still warm… amazing.  IMG_5163

My one critique- way too much salt.  I made the mistake of making the pecorino, salt, cayenne mix and putting it ALL on.  WAY TOO MUCH SALT.  I had to brush off each individual chip- which somewhat detracted from my enjoyment.  But the pecorino and cayenne was nice.  Would make again – may be with a quarter of the salt to start and then add in as needed.

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Mario Dinner

Sunday, some of us got together for a mid-term feast.  Having never done this before- I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  I will say- it was delicious…and more importantly FUN.  Will definitely do again.

Everyone signed up for a portion of the dinner and we ate in courses- Gluttonous?  Yes.  But it was a fitting end to Thanksgiving Weekend.


carrot frittelle with feta cheese and prosciutto, goat cheese and green bean rollups-

IMG_5264 IMG_5268

Minestrone Genovese (with a few modifications)- healthy and satisfying.


Sweet Pea Risotto-



Chicken Saltimbocca, Kale Gratin, and Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes.  I wish I had a picture of this plate… I’d lost focus at this point.  For future reference, we all agreed that the potatoes were WAY too salty.  On a fork with gratin and mushrooms- still tasty.



Finally, because we hadn’t consumed enough- lets finish off the evening with the Honey Walnut Cake- just the right amount of citrus.  Yum.


For everyone that came- thanks!  it was fun.  For those who were unable to make it- we will do it again- AND I for one really encourage group cooking.  Food is better when shared.  🙂

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Caponata Sub

I have a tendency to avoid eggplant.  The meaty texture and somewhat mild flavor makes me wish I were eating something else- but the photo on the page combined with my unnatural love of sandwiches made me think I really needed to try this dish.

The sauté has eggplant, celery, onions, pine nuts and dried currants.  IMG_5167

Add tomato paste, spice, and pop it on a roll with some provolone and pecorino gives you this…


Pop in oven to melt together… and in my case it came out looking pretty unappetizing.  BUT it was REALLY tasty.  Didn’t miss meat- loved it.  I actually ate it for lunch four days in a row.  I ran out of the left overs and made it again.  Really good.  Just the right amount of spice for me!


So imagine that mine turned out looking like this….


Because that’s what it tasted like.

Recipe can be found here.

I just went to the store for more eggplant.  Really.

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Chicken Pot Pie

OK- these aren’t really chicken pot pies.  I had made a Turkey for Amy’s birthday and had a ton of leftovers- seems like the perfect time for some Turkey Pot Pie!

I don’t have much to say about this- other than this is my new favorite pot pie recipe.  The crust is especially flaky and delicious.  It’s made with Swiss Chard which makes me feel like I’m eating something nutritious… even if it makes it look a little green.  It also shows how sloppy I am at pouring these in the bowls.


Mason was sure he wasn’t going to like it.  Of course.  But even he enjoy a few bites before declaring it was too spicy.  (which makes no sense)


I made eight of these little guys and put most in the freezer for a delicious dinner in a pinch.


Do yourself a favor and make this today.  (I am… again)

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