Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hello! Katelyn’s mom here. I love to cook, especially Italian food. I am a horribly messy cook—I use every bowl, every pan, every wooden spoon and measuring cup in the kitchen when I cook. It looks like a war zone when I am done. I thought I’d write about a few of my favorite things and then end with my best recipe. Enjoy!
The Best…

…eating experience I ever had was at a Cuban restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale. The food was really good, but what made it such a great meal was the personal attention showered on us by the owner. We’d never had Cuban food before and sort of threw ourselves at his mercy. We told him we weren’t really sure what to order and he brought us an array of appetizers, main dishes and desserts. I think my favorite part of the meal was the delicious homemade sangria we started with and the flan (Mmmm, flan) we finished with. This was the first time I really understood the importance of hospitality when serving others.
…meal I ever ate in a restaurant was in a specialty restaurant on a cruise ship. I know the food on a cruise ship is free, and we had to pay extra for this meal, but it was worth every penny. It was fabulous! It was a steak house. The service was impeccable—we had a person who brought the bread, another who kept our water glasses full, a sommelier to suggest the best wines to compliment our meal. In my opinion, a filet mignon is one of the best things to spend serious cash on!
…dessert I’ve ever had is the Chocolate Dream at Carrabba’s (A rich fudge brownie brushed with KahlĂșa, and layered with chocolate mousse, fresh whipped cream and homemade chocolate sauce). I believe the best time I ever had that was when we were celebrating my son’s engagement to his (now) lovely wife. She earned her way into the family that night ($5 bets anyone?)
…meals I eat with my kids are Kentucky Fried Chicken with Michael and Moo Shoo Pork at North Garden with Katelyn.
…tool in my kitchen is my kitchen shears. I use them to snip herbs, cut chicken wings and pie dough. I even use them to cut paper in a pinch!
…time I have ever had cooking was with Michael, Beckah and Katelyn for my 50th birthday. They planned the whole thing as a surprise. We made homemade raviolis in my kitchen. We made dough on the marble countertop (the eggs tried to get away from us). It was before we had a ravioli press, so they were all different shapes and sizes. Michael made a quick tomato sauce and meatballs while we fed the dough into the pasta machine—again and again and again. Michael also made a cassata pie (Italian cheesecake) for dessert, which is one of my favorites.
…meal I make is sausage cacciatore. It is my “go to” meal for company. It ALWAYS comes out delicious and makes the house smell so good as it cooks. Here is my recipe:

 Sausage Cacciatore

6-8 Italian Sausages cut into bite-size pieces (with my kitchen shears) (Preferably homemade sausages from your local Italian store)
1 lg (28 oz) can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15 oz can tomato sauce or puree
2 medium peppers chopped into bite-sized pieces (I like to use one red and one green)
8-10 whole mushrooms cleaned and sliced – you want them to be chunky
1 lg onion, chopped
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp dried basil
Salt & pepper to taste
¼ cup Olive oil
½ cup  red wine

In a very large frying pan heat olive oil, add cut up sausages until just browned and remove to a bowl. 

Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add onions, peppers and mushrooms. Cook until they just start to soften.

Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce/puree, herbs, salt & pepper. Add a little bit of water—maybe a ¼ cup. Add in the sausages, including the juices left in the bowl. Bring to a boil. Cook for 30 minutes covered at a low boil. Add the wine. Mix well.

Slant the cover so steam can escape and let simmer for 1 ½ hours stirring occasionally. If it seems a little watery at the end of that time, take the cover completely off and let it simmer away the excess liquid. Serve over pasta.