2010
06.10

When I came to Rhode Island almost 40 years ago, my exposure to Italian cooking had been limited to Chef Boy-ar-dee spaghetti from a can, I kid you not.  I used to try to make spaghetti sauce by using copious amounts of tomato sauce and paste. The result was the consistency of white school paste, the taste wasn’t that much better, I know I’ve eaten both. One of the things that I have learned well is the simplicity of how to make an delicious pasta sauce with few ingredients.

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2010
05.05

My wanderings with Jack, canine companion and sous-chef extraordinaire, allow us to make friends throughout the neighborhood. Valerie works at the package store up the street. This has become a favorite stop on our walks. Jack is always welcome to visit and knows there is always a Slim Jim waiting inside and a special greeting by Valerie. Thanks Val for your kindness and treats, Jack dedicates this recipe to you.

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2010
04.28

I grew up in a very small town in Southwestern Michigan. Dowagiac was as idyllic as a northern Mayberry. There was a place where my mother would sneak me off to eat tref (non-kosher) decadent sumptuous barbecue ribs, Bertha’s BBQ. My parents were great friends with Bertha and she often graced our dinner table. We were eight in total; my parents, my paternal grandfather and five siblings, there was always room for one (or two or three) more at the dinner table and all were invited. I remember eating Bertha’s ribs thinking that this was the most wonderful food that I had ever tasted in my five years on the planet and even at five I knew it was a forbidden food, but my mom said it was okay…so I ate. These were fall of the bone pork ribs, slow-cooked with a sauce that stuck to your fingers, face, down the front of your clothing, and kept your stomach sated for hours.

In the seventies I moved to Providence, Rhode Island and threw all precautionary food ethics aside to discover on Broad Street, Wes’ Rib House. A hole in the wall that turned out ribs, BBQ chicken and sides that would make you salivate at the mention of the restaurant’s name. Wes knew what he was doing; he would be in the restaurant at 3 a.m. to start the process for the lunch crew. Wes’ ribs secret: slow low heat roasting.

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2010
03.18

You have pizza dough …you say, “Now what?” Foccacia, of course!  Foccacia is nothing more than pizza dough that has been allowed to rise twice. Truly! Yes, once pizza dough rises and is rolled out; it can be left to rest and rise again. Yeast has a likeness to one of Sir Winston Churchill’s quotes, once the yeast has been activated, “Never, never, never, never give up!”

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2010
03.15

hot from the oven

I am not a baker of breads; in fact, I’m on the most wanted list for murdering yeast. Pizza dough, however, never has found out and has allowed me to make it over and over. And I do! Pizza dough is extremely versatile and forgiving. Once one conquers pizza dough there is a plethora of recipes that can be made with it. Pizza dough is not just for pizza but one can make: foccacia, calzones, flat breads, dough boys, and yes, believe it or not, even little donuts from it! This week I am going to explain the little nuances of pizza dough and how to make foccacia. Foccacia is nothing more than pizza dough that is allowed to rise twice and then one can adorn it with a myriad of toppings or not. In subsequent posts I’ll be taking on the bigger picture, but for now, let us learn about yeast and how we can manage to keep it alive and rising.

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2010
03.08

There is an amazing little restaurant on Federal Hill, in Providence, Rhode Island, called Angelo’s Civita Farnese. Nothing fancy but delectable dishes like none other. There was one dish that I ever coveted from there, Veal & Peppers. How did they accomplish the sauce that was so thin and rich in meat flavor? Why was the veal so tender that one could cut it with a plastic fork? I tried and tried over literally years to duplicate Angelo’s veal, with no success. Undaunted I would attempt to recreate and then end up going to the Hill to get what I had failed.

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