Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Shredded Beef Sandwiches with Aus Jus

Crockpots do make cooking easier. However, if you aren’t careful instead of a tender, juicy cut of meat, you can wind up with a mushy, flavorless mess. Here are the ways to avoid that.

The biggest mistake most people make is overcooking. You can’t put in anything, leave for work, and return 9 hours later to a nice meal. The easiest way to solve that problem is to monitor the pot. But if you must do that why even use a crockpot?  Invest in a crockpot with a timer. They are more expensive, but so worth the extra money. Set the timer for 30 minutes less than the recommended time. Sitting in the warm liquid will finish cooking the meat.

The next mistake most people make is starting with the wrong cut and type of meat. Don’t cook chicken in a crockpot. No matter what anyone tells you. Don’t. People lie. Start with a cheap, fatty cut of beef. More expensive cuts fall apart. Cheap cuts become tender when cooked low and slow. Cuts such as chuck, brisket and bottom round are perfect. A bonus is that you save money. Always sear the meat before placing it in the pot. It doesn’t hold in the juices, as some believe, but it does add complex flavors and keep the meat from being gray.

Most veggies cooked in a crockpot are going to fall apart. Root veggies like carrots, potatoes, rutabagas and parsnips are good choices for slow cooking if you leave them in big hunks. Other veggies can be used for flavoring, but don’t expect to be able to serve a piece of broccoli or a mushroom that you cooked for 5 hours.

Fresh herbs become flavorless when cooked for too long. Dried herbs become muddy and bitter. The secret? Add any herbs you are going to use an hour before the dish is done.

Never add dairy or rice to a crockpot. Rice becomes a gummy mess and dairy curdles. If you are making beans, use dried beans and don’t add any salt or sugar to the pot until the beans soften, otherwise they never will.

This recipe follows the rules and is very tasty.

Crockpot, Shredded Beef Sandwiches with Aus Jus
Servings:  4
Time:  Cook-5 hours 30 minutes, Active time: 30 minutes, Sandwiches in about 6 hours
Hardware: knives & cutting board, measuring cups & spoons, skillet, tongs, plastic container, crock pot, strainer, saucepan, gloves, a bread knife, a baking sheet, small owls or ramkins


  • 2-2 ½ pounds chuck roast
  • Olive oil for the bottom of the skillet
  • 2 large onions (4 cups)
  • 16 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups low sodium beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon prepared spicy mustard
  • Large loaf of French bread
  • 8-1 ounce slices of gouda cheese
  • Horseradish sauce (I like Boar’s head)
  • Salt & pepper

Remove the roast from the fridge. Pat it dry and salt liberally. Set aside. Wash and slice the onions, mushrooms and garlic.
Turn your crock pot on high. Pre-heating the crock helps cook your food evenly.
Add oil to the skillet on medium high. Add the sliced veggies and cooked until softened. This will take about 7 minutes. Place half of the veggies in the plastic container and the other half into the crock pot. Put the saved veggies in the fridge.
Turn the pan up to high.  Add the roast. Sear the roast on all sides. Add the roast, Worcestershire and stock to the crock pot.
Cook on high for 5 hours or until the meat is fork tender. Don’t overcook.
At the 4th hour mark, not before, add the thyme and mustard to the juice in the pot. Test the meat for doneness. Measure the mustard before you open the lid. Complete this step as quickly as possible and replace the lid.
When the meat is ready, remove it from the pot and allow it to cool enough to handle.
While the meat is cooling, strain the liquid in the crock into the saucepan.  Taste and adjust the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes.
Place the reserved veggies in the microwave and heat up for a minute or so. You just want to warm them.  
Using your gloved hands, shred the beef. Discard any fat or gristle.
Pre-heat the oven to 400˚.
Slice the loaf longways, but not all the way through, like a hotdog bun. Then cut it into four individual buns. Assemble the sandwiches on the baking sheet by heaping the meat on the bread then topping the meat with some of the veggies, then topping that with two slices of cheese. Bake, open face, for 4 minutes or until the cheese melts and the bread is crispy. Generously top each sandwich with horseradish sauce and serve warm. Pour the aus jus into the small bowls and give one to each guest for dipping.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Saltimbocca alla Romana

Saltimbocca is Italian for ‘jump in my mouth’ because it is so wonderful that is does. It can be made with chicken but I decided to go old school and use veal. I made this for our Valentine’s celebration. It is perfect for celebrating because it takes no time to make so you can spend more time with your sweetie. It is also delicious and looks complicated but could not be easier. The method that I have used, with veal and sage, is Saltimbocca alla Romana. You can call it that because that sounds all fancy.

You can use chicken if you don’t like veal or it is out of your price range. The steps are the same, just pound the chicken cutlets flat. You can also substitute the sage for basil. And you can use broth or white wine instead of Marsala. The dish is very versatile, but wonderful no matter what.

Servings: 4-6
Time: Cook-20 minutes, Active time: 30 minutes, Saltimbocca in about 35 minutes
Hardware:  2 plates, tongs, a large deep skillet, measuring cups and spoons, whisk
  • 1+1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 pound veal scaloppini (ask the butcher to slice it very thin)
  • ¼ pound prosciutto (sliced as thin as possible)
  • 1 cup fresh sage leaves
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup Marsala
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • Salt 
Saltimbocca alla Romana

  1. Clip the stems from the sage leaves. Lightly salt the veal. You won't need much salt because the prosciutto and the butter are salty.
  2. Work with one scaloppini at a time. Lay 2 or 3 sage leaves down the length of the veal. Then lay a piece of prosciutto on top of the veal. Press down as hard as you can. It should adhere. Do this for the rest of the slices.
  3. Place the flour in one of the plates. Press the veal down into the flour. Make sure to press the prosciutto down.
  4. Heat one tablespoon of butter in the skillet on medium high. Place the veal, prosciutto side down into the hot pan. Just allow the veal to brown, only cook for a minute or two. If the pan is hot enough the veal should brown right away. Use the tongs to flip it and brown on the other side. Remove to the other plate. Don’t crowd the veal. You may need to cook in batches.
  5. When you have browned all the meat, add the other tablespoon of butter to the pan. Whisk in the Marsala and stock. Allow it to come to a boil, whisking the entire time. Boil until the wine reduces by half, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to simmer.
  6. Return the veal to the pan and simmer to desired temperature, but for no more than 5 minutes.
  7. Serve over angel hair pasta or creamy risotto.

Friday, February 3, 2017

South of the Border Wings

South of the Border Wings

More wings!!!! More pantry shopping! A package of taco seasoning and a jar of taco sauce proved to be magic. You probably have these ingredients in your pantry now, so if you have waited until the last minute to plan for your Super Bowl party these South of the Border Wings to the rescue.

Servings:  Dozen wings
Hardware:  Kitchen scissors, measuring spoons and cups, a small bowl, tongs, a baking sheet, a cooling rack (or foil), a sauce pot, wooden spoon
Time: Cook-50 minutes, Active time: 10 minutes, Wings in about an hour


  • 12 wings
  • ½ stick of butter
  • 1 package of taco seasoning mix
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch Cayenne pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 8-ounce jar of your favorite taco sauce
  • Crushed tortilla chips for garnish

  1. Use the kitchen scissors to separate the flaps from the drummettes.  Also, snip the points from the flaps.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 400˚. Place the cooling rack over the baking sheet.  If you don’t have a cooling rack, just line the baking dish with foil.  Spray liberally with cooking spray.
  3. Place the butter in the bowl and microwave for 40 second. Mix the taco seasoning, paprika, cumin and pepper with the softened butter.
  4. Rub the mixture all over the wings. Lay the wings in a single layer on the cooling rack place in the oven.  Cook for 40 minutes. If you prefer crispier wings turn the broiler on for 5 minutes or so. Make sure to monitor them so they don't burn. Turn the oven off and leave in the warm oven for 10 minutes.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, place the taco sauce in the pot and warm.
  6. Remove the wings from the oven and toss in the warm sauce. Sprinkle with crushed chips. Serve warm.