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Sunday, February 1, 2015


Surprised? me too! I have always claimed I only eat meat once a year...but what one will do for love. Over the past eight years of marriage I cannot remember that my spouse actually requested a specific dish.  He might ask for something that would go with a nice Barolo, or his favorite Pinot Noir, but he never said "Jo, I have been thinking about that dish we had in Tuscany, in that restaurant that is in the big canvas print in the dining was a pasta dish with meat.  I would really like that tonight. Do you think you could make it?"  I had not made a "really special dinner in a while, and given that he was recently retired (his second full week at home), I decided I would. And it might be fun to spend a significant portion of my day in the kitchen.  I had been missing that...A glass of wine, peering over cookbooks, preparing the ingredients and chatting to whomever was in ear shot!

First though I had to find a recipe and then go to the grocer. I figured if  was going to eat the dish, I was at least going to find a good recipe that called for the finest beef. And accompany this with a good salad and new veggie dish.

The salad: "Bender's Tomatoes" I added the diced purple onion to the dressing of evoo, balsamic vinegar, and fresh ground pepper. I drizzled it on the sliced and chopped Ugly Tomatoes and topped with crumbled blue cheese.

Side: During my exploring for a recipe for bolognese I found a recipe for garlicky green beans. It is from "Cooking for Two", a recent gift    
from  daughter #3 (only because she is the youngest,  son-in law, and  the newest grandson (a real cutie).
The recipe started with  something I have not done before, in fact never saw it in a recipe - Microwave the garlic, evoo, and dash of sugar until garlic is soft (30-60 seconds). Heat the oil  in a skillet and add the beans. The recipe called for water but I used chicken broth, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Add the remaining oil and garlic and cook covered for another two minutes. Uncover cook another three minutes. Off heat stir in vinegar (I used balsamic).

The Entree: Pasta Bolognese. This recipe was adapted from The Silver Palate, and two on-line versions by Grace Parisi and Anne Burell.  Back at the grocer I chose two tenderloin filets and asked the butcher to grind it. If I was going to eat it, it was going to be good stuff!

 I soaked dried porcini mushrooms in boiled red wine. I sautéed the ground tenderloin,  removed from the large skillet and set aside. I added a tad of butter and sautéed  carrots, onions and celery. An Irish chef  referred to this as "sweating the onion, carrots and celery." I added to the skillet, proscuito, garlic, chopped shitakes, and the softened dried mushrooms. I  put all the ingredients in a food processor and briefly blended them and returned to skillet, adding bold beef stock, red wine, plum tomatoes with sauce, fresh thyme, salt, fresh ground pepper, basil and oregano. I simmered this for about an hour. With five minutes remaining,  I stirred in tomato paste. The bolognese was served over pappradelle pasta. Quite good, and spouse thoroughly enjoyed it.
The wine:   2004 Brunello DiMontalcino La Fiorita.  During his first week at home my spouse checked out wine internet sites.
  He found a great bargain on some very pricey wine and ordered two bottles. We do not collect wine, we drink it.   It was beyond excellent!! I am certainly looking forward to the second bottle.