Home

This Sausage is the Best!

2 Comments

I’ve never flat-out endorsed a product on this blog before, but, hey– it’s my blog and who’s to stop me? I encourage those of you who enjoy good old country-style sausage to try the Homestyle brand, if you can find it.

Here in Maryland, we’ve only found it at our local Giant store. It comes in mild and hot flavors, and the hot is indeed hot, but I love them both and so does Patty. Here’s the website for the company; there are some good recipes there:

http://www.homestyle-foods.com

Having grown up in North Florida, where folks take pride in the sausage they serve their families and friends, we hadn’t been able to find anything like a home-style sausage since we moved to Maryland. When we visited Callahan, where our family farm is, we’d bring back a stash of the good stuff made and sold locally in that little town, but that was not a convenient or permanent solution. Once we discovered the Homestyle-brand sausage, we were so pleased.

If you enjoy old-time country sausage, I bet you’ll enjoy the Homestyle brand sausage. Their website says that the company was started by a Georgia state senator and, since his death, its been a family-run enterprise. They offer a great product and deserve to succeed.

What they are offering for sale is the real deal.

It’s Just The Best Spaghetti In The Whole World; That’s All

1 Comment

One place our family went to a lot when I was a kid was Madame Turci’s Italian Restaurant in New Orleans. The man and woman who ran the place were famed opera singers in Italy in the 1920s. I understand that the restaurant closed down in the early 1970s. Too bad; it was super!

A friend from the Shorpy.com nation (Hi, Colleen!!!) found for me a recipe for the spaghetti sauce they served at Turci’s; she found it here:

http://www.nomenu.com

The site has, among other interesting info about New Orleans food and restaurants, over 600 recipes you can try!

Here’s the Turci’s spaghetti recipe from that wonderful site. My daughter is reluctant to cook with chicken innards, but I’m encouraging her to try cooking it anyway. It’s a two-day process.

Spaghetti Ala Turci

  • Stock:
  • 1 small whole chicken (gizzards, liver and heart reserved)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 onion, cut into chunks
  • Leafy tops from 1 bunch celery
  • Stems from 1 bunch parsley
  • Sauce:
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • Gizzards and heart from the chicken above, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb. ham steak with fat, finely diced
  • 1 8-oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 28-oz. can whole Italian tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • Meatballs:
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly-grated bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 12 sprigs fresh parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten into a froth
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 lbs. spaghetti

1. Put all the stock ingredients into a saucepan with 1/2 gallon of water. Bring to a light boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 90 minutes, uncovered. Strain the stock and set aside. Put the chicken into a food storage bag and into the refrigerator.

2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy, large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove a fistful each of the ground veal and ground pork (put the rest into the refrigerator). Add the meats to the skillet, along with the chicken gizzards and heart. Let the meat brown well, then break it up with a kitchen fork. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

3. In a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat, heat the remaining olive oil until it shimmers. Add the onions, celery, and garlic until they get soft.

4. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the tomato paste and the pureed tomatoes. Cook for about ten minutes, stirring constantly, until it gets thick and noticeably darker in color.

5. Add the chopped ham and the browned veal and pork. Continue to cook and stir for another three minutes.

6. Add 5 cups of of the chicken broth, and the thyme, basil, and oregano. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Cover the pot and let it simmer for for two hours. Stir the pot, scraping the bottom well every twenty minutes or so.

7. After two hours, turn off the heat and let the pot cool for a half-hour. Spoon the contents into a large bowl or food storage container. Put it into the refrigerator overnight to let the flavors come together.

8. The next day–about two hours before you’re ready to serve–put the sauce back onto the stove on low heat. If it seems too thick after it warms up, stir in add a little more chicken stock.

9. Pull about two cups of chicken meat–a blend of white and dark–from the chicken you used to make the stock. Slice it if necessary into pieces the size of the tip of your little finger.

10. Make the meatballs next. Combine the salt, pepper, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and parsley with a fork. Wet your hands with cold water, and combine the remaining ground pork and veal with sprinklings of the bread crumb mixture and the beaten eggs. Handle all of this as gently as possible, rolling the meatballs into rough spheres about an inch and a half in diameter. Cracks should show around the outside. Gentle!

11. Heat 2 Tbs. of olive oil in a skillet until it shimmers. Drop a few of the meatballs in. Every few seconds, roll them around (gently!) until they’re browned all over (not cooked all the way through). Remove and drain. Keep going until all the meatballs are cooked.

12. Add the meatballs and the chicken to the sauce. Simmer for an hour, stirring only very lightly (to avoid breaking the meatballs). Add the mushrooms, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook another fifteen minutes.

13. Cook the spaghetti until still firm (six minutes or so). Drain and put it into a big bowl. Ladle about two cups of the liquid part of the sauce over the spaghetti and toss to coat. Serve in big bowls with the remaining sauce on top.

Serves eight to twelve.

Jimmy Can Cook!

Leave a comment

Actually, I can’t cook worth a hoot, but I was able to concoct something that is attractive and darned tasty and have decided to brag about it.

This year, I grew, from seeds, four varieties of peppers: ampuis, Anaheim, cherry and cowhorn. These, according to the website I ordered the seeds from, are spicy but not hot peppers. So it seems. Here they are in their little starter pods:

And then as seedlings on our back deck a month and a half later:

And as they are today:

Of course, I now have an abundance of peppers on my hands and am compelled to do something with them. Thus my little cooking experiment.

Background: My wife, Patty, is a phenom at cooking among other things and I am not. I sustained myself through college, in that pre-microwave age, by toasting bread and dumping whatever Boil-In-Bag item I had in the freezer on top of it. If I was feeling ambitious, I’d throw a slice of American cheese on top. Vegetables? Canned corn, pork-and-beans or spinach would be about as far as I would attempt.

But this year, faced with a bumper crop of peppers, I knew I had to come up with something to do with them. Patty flatly refused to cook with them, as she doesn’t like hot or spicy foods. So . . .

First I made some pepper vinegar with my cowhorn peppers, laced with some red-pepper flakes and a couple of other peppers from my crop. Worked great, but only used up a small number of peppers.

Then, crazed with that success, I created this concoction of provolone cheese, sliced peppers, mozzarella cheese and anchovies. Isn’t it great looking?

Tastes great, especially when placed on top of Triscuit crackers.

Recipe: A layer of provolone slices in a Pyrex dish (put down some Pam spray first), add the sliced peppers, then a layer of shredded mozzarella topped with a can’s worth of flat anchovies. Bake for 25 minutes at 350° and then hit with the broiler for a couple of minutes.

Try it and thank me later!

No Frogs Were Harmed In The Making Of This Stew

Leave a comment

As many of you know from experience, Patty is a talented and skilled cook. Tonight she’s made something called Frogmore Stew.

She’s made it several times before, but this is the first time that she explained to me what it was. So I pass this on to you! Yes, you sure get what you pay for when you visit THIS blog!

Patty said this is also called Low Country Boil. Her version, as you can see, uses baby Yukon Gold potatoes.

I looked it up on the Net and this delicious dish was developed by a fellow in Beaufort, South Carolina in the 1960s. He was using up leftovers when cooking for his fellow guardsmen, and then brought the recipe home with him to the seafood market he ran in the town of Frogmore, on St. Helena Island.

Here’s a recipe from the What’s Cooking America website, which also has the history I just provided, but Patty has her own way of making Frogmore Stew. I love it!

Frogmore Stew

Yields: 8 servings

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 15 min

Ingredients:
1 1/2 gallons water

Juice of one (1) lemon

Salt to taste 
3 tablespoons

Old Bay Seasoning

2 pounds sausage (kielbasa, etc.), cut into 1/2-inch slices

10 to 12 ears of corn on the cob, broken into 3-inch pieces

4 pounds uncooked shrimp in shell

Preparation:
In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, add the water, lemon, salt, and Old Bay Seasoning; bring to a boil.

Add sausage and gently boil, uncovered, five minutes. Add corn and cook and continue cooking an additional five minutes (begin timing immediately, don’t wait until water is boiling).

Add shrimp and cook and additional three minutes longer. Remove from heat, drain immediately, and serve.”