Sunday, October 28, 2012

Stormy Sandy's Sunday Sauce

So, just like Irene, we are in for a doozy of a storm. Fortunately this time I already have my flashlights, thanks to buying up the last two from my local hardware store over a year ago. I just picked up some granola bars, filled pitchers with water, and have my iPad juiced up in the event that I lose power.

It cracks me up to see people stocking up on booze like white wine and beer when, unless you have a cooler when you lose power, there will be no way to chill it! I also love how people stock up on toilet paper but forget about some other essentials. Ummm...if you don't have power or water, how are you going to flush? These are the things that concern me. When it comes to choosing between showering or flushing, I am going to pour that spare bucket of water into my toilet tank. Trust. (TMI?) And now I am fattening up for the impending doom by making and eating a vat of buttery tomato sauce drenched pasta because honestly, granola bars are going to get old fast.

Stay safe out there!

Buttery Tomato Sauce
(The Ski House Cookbook)

1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with juice, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Cooked pasta of choice

1. Add the tomatoes, garlic, butter, onion and a large pinch of salt to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook uncovered at a low, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes have reduced.

2. Discard the onion and taste for seasoning. Toss the tomato sauce with 1 pound of cooked pasta such as spaghetti or penne and serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Makes about 3 cups sauce.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Living in a tiny NYC apartment comes with many challenges. Like having to jump over your couch to get to the kitchen. Or not having couch. Or a kitchen. Since I actually do have a small slice of a kitchen that is far too close to my bed, I find that I avoid cooking anything that generates (week long) lingering smells like bacon (ahhh...), or fish, or any meat cooked in a pan on the stove top. So it goes without say that because I also don't have an outdoor space to call my own, grilling is totally out of the question. 

Fortunately I have come to the conclusion that many recipes that suggest grilling as a cooking method, can be adapted for the kitchen-bound home cook. I was recently given an awesome cookbook called Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book which is very exciting because I am a huge fan of all things BBQ. I must admit that I was initially a little sad to think that I wouldn't be able to make any of the recipes at home. Au contraire mon frere!  There are a ton of things that I can make at home and simply pretend that I am outside enjoying the summer breeze with a glass of sweet tea. The pork roast recipe below is meant to be cooked over charcoal, but I made it in the oven with absolute success. Cooking with the combination of a dry rub and barbecue sauce immediately made it taste like I was having the real thing. I can't wait to try some more!

Roasted Pork Loin with Apple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
Adapted for the oven

1 (2 - 3 pound) boneless pork top loin roast
1 teaspoon olive oil

Dry Rub
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons onion salt
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Place the pork on a work surface and brush all over with the oil. In a small bowl, stir together the dry rub ingredients. Apply the dry rub to the pork evenly, patting so that the rub adheres.

2. Transfer the pork loin to a  roasting pan or baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° F and continue cooking for an additional 45 - 50 minutes, or until the pork's internal temperature reaches 145 ° F. Baste with some of the sauce during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Let the pork rest under tented foil for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serves about 6.

Barbecue Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup diced onion
3/4 cup coarsely grated peeled apple
3 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup cola
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke

1. In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 4 minutes. Add the apple, bourbon, salt, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and cumin and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Remove form the heat and set aside.

2. In a large nonreactive saucepan, add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add the apple mixture and stir well. Simmer for 2 minutes and then remove form the heat. After cooling, transfer to an air tight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 3 cups.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fall Back

It's my favorite time of the year. There is a chill in the air, the leaves are turning and there are pumpkins everywhere. Don't forget to save the seeds when you are carving your jack-o-lantern. Roasted pumpkins seeds are a simple and super tasty treat!

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds, from 1 - 2 large pumpkins
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste

1. Rinse the pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out the pulp and strings. (This is easiest just after you've removed the seeds from the pumpkin, before the pulp has dried.) Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Place the pumpkin seeds in a medium bowl and add the olive oil and salt. Stir to coat.

3. Add the seeds to a baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Bake at 325° F until toasted, about 45 minutes,  stirring every 15 minutes.

4. Let cool and store in an air-tight container or enjoy immediately!