Thursday, February 28, 2013

Jack Nicholson's Favorite Sauce

I was on a used cookbook hunt yesterday and was successful.  As I sifted through oodles of cookbooks, some in good shape, some ragged and well-used, I came upon the unusual!  I love finding a cookbook that I've never heard of, or one that has an interesting twist.  This book was it!  When would you ever expect to see Jack Nicholson's face on the front of a cookbook?  Cooking for Jack is a collection of low-fat Italian recipes compiled by Tommy Baratta (with his sister Mary Lou).  These delicious Italian recipes are the foods that helped Nicholson lose 25 pounds between the movies Hoffa and Wolf.  This is Jack'c favorite sauce.  Enjoy!

Tomato-Basil Sauce I
(page 157  Cooking For Jack by Tommy Baratta;  Simon and Schuster 1996;  ISBN 0-671-53560-9)

Olive oil cooking spray
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, grated
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 32 oz. can Italian plum tomatoes
1/4 C dry red wine
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
2 TBSP chopped basil

1.  Coat a large nonstick saucepan with cooking spray.
2.  Add onion and carrot and saute',stirring for 2 minutes.
3.  Add garlic and saute' for an additional minute.
4.  Add juice from canned tomatoes and wine and bring to a simmer over low heat.
5.  While sauce heats, cut each plum tomato in half and and rinse away seeds under cold, running water.
6.  Cut tomatoes into strips and add to saucepan.
7.  Stir in seasonings.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
8.  Stir in basil.
Yield:  About 3 cups

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Very Special Southern Batter Bread

I hope your week is going well;  mine has been hectic, to say the least!  I had my house "staged" for pictures this week.  Now, that's an interesting process!  We had small piles of things from each room that were to be removed for the photo session.  My little rejected items, like players on some home-decorating team, sadly didn't  'make the cut.'  Stagers evidently don't care for throw rugs, cute items that sit on a surface or large baskets (anything that takes away that open-airy feeling).  When they finished, my home, devoid of anything very personal, looked spacious...mission accomplished!  I enjoyed seeing how they placed the furniture, and took notes for future reference.  They were very good at their job and moved quickly from room to room.  The whole process took only two hours;  finding places to store away the rejects took longer.  Thanks to Wendy and Julie, our home is ready for it's close-ups!

Today I've got an old Texas recipe to share.  It's for a batter bread that can be made quickly and popped in the oven.  This recipe was dictated verbally to Rachel Allen by Judge James Christopher Paul who established the first bank on the plains of Texas.  His home was called "The Square House."  I found this in The Square House Museum Cookbook.

Very Special Southern Batter Bread

1 pint milk, scalded
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 scant TBSP butter
3 egg yolks, well-beaten
3 egg whites well-beaten
7 heaping TBSP flour
4 heaping TBSP white cornmeal

Add butter to scalded milk,  whip yolks until light and add dry ingredients, alternating with hot milk.  Fold in beaten egg whites.  Butter a baking dish and place bread batter in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes (until browned on top and sides).  Be sure it is completely done.  It will be a velvety texture.  Serve hot.  It is delicious for breakfast with maple syrup.
                                                           ~Texas Square House Museum Cookbook 

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Batter-Fried Apple Rings

I can't tell you how happy I am to be sitting here in my little "writer's nest."  Although I've enjoyed the excitement of preparing to move for my husband's new job, I'm not one who loves being on a plane four times in one week.  Well, actually, I dislike the whole airport process much more than the flight, itself.  Looking at the view from an airplane window, however,  is an experience that never gets old for me.  Being able to look down on the city of Dallas and then ranches, trees and roadways from the air is like playing "Where's Waldo?" from on high;  I always spot something different each time.  This time I spotted the Texas Motor Speedway!
While we were on the trip, I had a delicious twist on the "traditional  breakfast sandwich" that I would like to share.  The Hyatt offered a breakfast bar each morning that included many healthy options, my favorite was an open-faced whole-wheat English muffin with  egg white, mushrooms and fresh spinach topped with a slice of smoked provolone (which had been placed under the broiler).  I plan use this recipe here at home!
Another breakfast idea that I'm sharing today came from my files.  If you pair this unusual and quick (portable) breakfast item with some little link sausages, everyone will be happy...and on time!

Batter-Fried Apple Rings
(General Mills recipe card  1971)

1 C Bisquick baking mix
1 egg
1/2 C milk
2 medium apples,  pared and cored 

Beat baking mix, egg and milk with rotary beater until smooth.  Grease griddle.  Cut apples crosswise into 1/8 inch slices.  Dip slices into batter.  Cook on hot griddle until golden brown, turning once.  Serve hot and, if you wish, with syrup, jelly or confectioners' sugar.  Makes about 2 dozen rings.  Note:  Can add cinnamon or nutmeg to the batter.

Adventures in Texas:  I can't wait to see the new sculpture exhibit at the Kimbel Museum in Fort Worth!  There was a really nice article about it in Sunday's paper.  Also, the Broadway play, Memphis will be at Bass Hall this week.  Also, The Black Watch Band is playing at Bass Hall on Tuesday evening!

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