Sunday, May 6, 2012


Macaroni aka Pasta e fagioli or even Pasta Fazul meaning pasta and beans has been taken with a large bit of leeway by Italian Americans. Growing up we had Pasta e faioli every other night or every night at Grandmas( I should not discriminate though as this grandma was German American who of course spoke fluent Sicilian!) Yes at Granny's it was "Pasta And" no  matter the entree I think her Depression Era background played into this as she wanted to make sure it seemed everybody was fed. Well this Pasta e fagioli was turned into whatever veggie might work that night. This created a never ending pasta bowl at my grandparents' house and this did rub off on mom....I have introduced Macaroni and Peas now here's Broccoli and pasta now you should get that the idea with some garlic,olive oil,pasta and veggie there is always easy fresh food to make.

Pasta e fagoli (Broccoli)

1lb Macaroni (Anything works with Broccoli)

7 cloves of garlic (More to taste)

1 cup of cold water

2/3 cup Olive oil

two punches of salt

punch of pepper

1 head of Broccoli(large or two small)

Heat the water to boil add punch of salt and cook pasta per instructions but don't drain (This should ideally be cooked at the same time as the Broccoli)

Heat the Olive oil in a large sauce or frying pan and cook the garlic for two minutes on low heat 

(don't brown it)

Add the Broccoli and the cup of water to the pan bring to boil and cover cook for 9-10 minutes on a

 low heat

Take the pasta pot drain the(not the pasta) water till just below the level of the pasta add the contents 

of the pan, possibly more water depending if you like it soupy or not.And the punches of pepper and salt mix well

Salt to taste add your favorite grated cheese and enjoy!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dining Out

I just read seen an article on Yahoo about a family locked in restaurant for not paying tip. This reminds why I love to cook and don't dine out too much and really don't miss it much either. About ten years ago I was staying in a hotel and there happen to be a Japanese restaurant next to it and a hospital next to the restaurant ...,maybe the hospital was a sign. Well my friend invited my son and me to dinner there and we ordered Sushi and Tempura . Also my friend ordered soup and my son inclined to his choice had the same ,I however didn't feel like it. The waiter however thought I might and offered complimentary soup for me. Well they brought out the soup and it looked like a mushroom soup with clear broth. Upon tasting it however something was off just slightly ...,I ignored (I am up there with Zimmern in strange food choices so.)it and ate my dinner.Halfway through the floor fell out from under me I got ill in the bathroom and told my friend we had to go. By the time I was in the car I was debating whether he should drive me over to the E.R. as I was violently ill.Well my friend knew I was sick and did not leave a tip as it looked like food poisoning. As he came to car with my son half the crew of the restaurant was chasing him out the door including the chef for the tip!I am sitting in the car hacking my guts out and here are these Japanese people screaming at him in half-Japanese half-English tip tip TIP! Suffice to say we did not pay the damn tip. And after thirteen hours praying on my knees in front of the porcelain god all was better. Now I am not scarred for life or anything I have gone out many many times since but always with just a tad of apprehension about paying the tip.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Aluminum in the Pots!

These pots here are my main "stock"pots the same ones my grandmother used for all her cooking years ago. Now I am not advising anyone to use Aluminum pots I choose to use these sometimes. There has been for years stories of Aluminum and Alzheimer's and while I will not say for sure which is what I know while my grandmother died from it the connection is supposed to be fiction. I just enjoy the smell's of having a big pot of something cooking for hours on the stove. Right now it is a tasty ragu(no not out of the jar!) made out of meatballs and pork I will probably post a good right up on that if anyone is interested. Personally though on pots I prefer my mother's gift to me a Faberware Stainless steel stock pot from the 70's the bottom of it is about as thick as manhole cover!
I ahve never been a huge cast iron fan while I do like using cast iron I am not an advocate for daily use as I have enough trouble maintaining a decent cutting board lol.(Actually I need a new one.)
The background picture is of myself on a beach off of the Hudson River near Kingston. I like this pic as I have spent thirty six of my forty one years living on or near this river. Having boated on it ,fished in it and swam in it you might get a clue to as why I like this picture it's not because of the guy in the hat (me).

  Anyhow I love to cook and most days cook from "scratch" meaning from ingredients like fresh vegetables,spices and meats etc. I admit though I don't always do so my grandmother cooked out of a can and there is nothing wrong with that for quick great meals. Even as a kid my mom would take short cuts or even buy some canned soup and tuna for Friday. However she did make about 2/3 thirds of her meals from "scratch" and still does today. I have started growing great veggies like squash and tomatoes over the last few years and my food in the summer and fall is so much better with vegetables or even fregetables when they are in season. I will post more recipes in the future this will be a weekly if not daily blog we'll see.

New Blog New Recipes

Hello my name is Rich I am starting this blog because of all the bad recipes I see on the internet. For years I thought of writing a cookbook but I think I may have to wait a bit longer for that. And besides blogs are so much fun who could resist. Well my history with food is as home cook with some experience working in Mom and Pop eateries and pizza parlors. My grandfather was a good cook and worked as a short order cook during the Depression he also was born in Sicily. He and his wife my grandmother introduced me to the wonderful world of pasta along with my equally astute mother. This pasta thing on the internet bothers me as every week there is some watered down "cheese" recipe for some kind of penne. When I was a kid if asked about Penne we would have said who's she? Seriously though I think many of these quick recipes for pasta are highly unhealthy and unoriginal. So I'll offer my own to for your enjoyment a bit healthier and maybe a tad colorful. I would introduce the most basic and easiest of these with the fact that my aforementioned grandmother would make you eat this even if we had went to McDs and brought home burgers. As a child forced to eat a pasta seemed odd at best but today it makes more sense then I could have realized at age 6. My grandmother obviously was nutritionally minded without knowing it! Well here goes my basic pasta dish for you that should be easy for anyone.

Spaghetti and Peas (or any old pasta but no Penne please best with small pasta or broken spaghetti)

1lb of dry pasta
1 can of peas (the good brand not cheap store brands) or 1 bag of frozen peas
1 medium onion
5 cloves (more or less but more is better) of garlic
two punches of salt (rough tablespoon in the palm)
punch of pepper
1 cup olive oil (not extra virgin )
1 1/2 cans of tomato paste (two if you like it red)
1 tablespoon of oregano and one of basil (dry or fresh as it's best!)

Boil 6 quarts or better of water with one of the punches of salt in it in a large stock pot

When the water has boiled toss in the pasta (Cooking time depends the pasta used however since this more of  soup we want that pasta very Al Dente as it will soften in the broth)

in a large sauce pan heat the olive oil to medium low heat

Dice the onion very small into tiny pieces and place into the hot sauce pan cooking for several minutes of course don't burn them so depending on your pan or heat source lower if needed.\Chop garlic and toss in with onion for minute.

Then take paste out of the cans and place water in the cans to get all that good red into the pan.Add oregano and basil.

The water will help not burn things trust me so let it cook for about 10 minutes then drain most of the water out of the pasta without removing the pasta from the pot. Take the contents of the saucepan and put in with the pasta and between 3 and 4 cups of water.(The reason behind variation is some like it soupy some do not.)

Let it sit for few minutes and enjoy with some grated cheese Viola!