Grandma’s Sunday Sauce

 

Recipes and favorite dishes handed down from generation to generation hold special places in our hearts. Scents and sounds of certain dishes being prepared can transport us back in time instantaneously.

Just the other day, I was flipping through my great-grandmothers hand written recipe book. Each page is like a precious photograph dating back to a beautiful and simpler era. I especially enjoyed the paragraph below, which includes instructions on how to test your ovens temperature. At that time coal was used to keep the flame hot, and there were no fancy temperature gauges.

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In my husband’s family, Grandma Jean is the go-to household for a fantastic home cooked meal. For as long as can be remembered Grandma has been the hostess for every special holiday. A signature dish is her Sunday Sauce with Meatballs.

Born into an Italian family in 1927, Jean truly enjoys to cook for her family. I really think the love she puts into her sauce is the reason it’s so hard to replicate. Jean has been making this sauce for seventy years, since the age of seventeen. Recently I spent the afternoon with her to learn the secret of her delicious Sunday Sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

I am so happy that I was able to spend this time with Grandma. Not only did I learn how to make a delicious sauce, but I was transported through the traditions of her family over the past Eighty Seven years.  Priceless!

I will share the recipe for Grandmas Sauce in my next post….well,  to the best of my ability, as she cooks without measurements and fancy gadgets……..

(You can find the complete recipe for Grandmas Sunday Sauce in the thoughts section below.)

Fresh From the Catskills!

Over the past year our family has fallen in love with upstate New York.

When you have young children it is a wonderful escape, that doesn’t break the bank, and is simple to get to!

On many of our trips to the Catskills we have stopped at beautiful roadside farm stands. Each time bringing home fresh vegetables, syrups, jams, pickles and cheeses.

Below are photos from our “field trip” to the Brovetto family Dairy in Harpersfield NY. (Schoharie County). We couldn’t get enough of their cheese….so we went to visit the cheese house to see how its made and for some additional tasting! What fun! It didn’t take much convincing for the butcher to agree to carry Harpersfield Farmstead Cheese at R&S Meat Market. It’s simply delicious!

What’s even more wonderful than the taste of the cheese itself, is the story of how it began.

Corinne and Ron Brovetto were originally from Long Island, NY where they were raising their four children. While searching for a better way to spend more time as a family they were drawn to the Catskill mountains. With the help of family and friends they slowly built their barns and cheese house which includes a cheese cave built into the side of a mountain. Over the years their business has grown to include a herd of 68 dairy cows (30 of those are milkers).

Every Wednesday is cheese making day. Ron wakes up at 3am to start the process of cutting the curd. The cheese making process is a family affair and will last until 11pm. It takes 4000 lbs. of milk to make 400 lbs. of cheese. Wow!

Click on each photo below to see the cheese making process:

This Burger Gets Five Stars!

There are few things more all American than a delicious burger grilled on your backyard barbecue . In my quest to become a better cook, I have realized that the outcome certainly does start with the quality of the ingredients you start with.

This half pound burger is made from freshly ground, all natural, grass fed painted hills beef. The taste and light airy texture of these burgers make them crave-worthy.

Serve these mouth watering burgers on a fresh brioche bun with melted american and spicy pickles……gourmet all the way!

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IMG_2440 Painted Hills grass fed half pound burgers, rubbed with olive oil and sea salt. Heat your grill to 400 degrees. Turn all burners to medium heat just before you place your burgers on the grates. cook 5 minutes per side until the meat thermometer reads 160 degrees fahrenheit. (10-12minutes)

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Potato’s in chip form….a breakfast food?

The latest dilemma in our household would be keeping food in the fridge. It seems that the boys have reached the age where anything and everything is a snack, and they are snacking all day long!

Last week my oldest was chowing down on a bag of Kettle chips at 9am. Yep! Potato’s in chip form…a breakfast food in his book.  I sent him back to the kitchen…anything…even tuna on a roll….had to be better than chips. (And yes, he ate a tuna salad sandwich instead.)

When I ask the  butcher to bring home dinner, I now need a dozen sausage links instead of six. Eight pork chops instead of 4…and if steak’s on the menu…wait for it……one  per kid! No joke-

Now, the change of eating habits amongst the troops, has certainly made it a lot more fun to cook…at least we are out of the chicken tender and fries stage. But at the same time, it’s quite exasperating!

My thoughts are, let’s get these boys into the kitchen! This pasta salad happens to be a favorite and is simple enough for them to make themselves. AJ, be prepared to learn how to make your favorite pasta salad:)

 

AJ’s Favorite Pasta Salad:

 

 

 

A simple way to fancy this up would be to use whole pitted Kalamata olives instead of the canned version, and fresh mozzarella balls (halved) in place of the low moisture mozzarella. Delicious!

(By the way Liz, this recipe is also for you. I know you think that “it’s easier” if we make this yummy pasta salad…but I think you would actually have fun doing it!)

Taste the difference

R&S Meat Market invited Chef Steven from D’Artagnan to educate our customers on the difference of all natural beef, pork and chicken. Chef roasted, grilled and demonstrated carving and slicing techniques. He discussed why Natural Beef from Painted Hills, Berkshire, and Crystal Valley Farms tastes so different.

Our customers were able to sample Berkshire Slab bacon, Painted Hills Rib Eye, NY Strip Steak and beef sliders. Berkshire Pork, and Crystal Valley Chickens were grilled and roasted.

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Berkshire all natural slab bacon. Taste the difference, less salt, no nitrates. Sliced to your desired thickness.

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D’Artagnan Crystal Valley all natural whole roasters. Chicken that stays tender and juicy. No antibiotics, No Hormones.

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Chef Steven educated our customers about the difference of all natural, free range chickens. Steve showed us how to roast and carve a whole chicken to perfection. Simple and delicious, healthy too!

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Painted Hills Farm produces beef that is born, raised and harvested in the U.S.A. No added hormones, no antibiotics. 100% vegetarian diet. Grass fed, Grain finished.

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This Painted Hills Rib Eye Steak is rubbed with olive oil, salt & pepper. Grilled over a medium heat to perfection…no sauce needed!

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Painted Hills Rib Eye Steak, sliced across the grain.

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Painted Hills all natural ground beef is used to craft a delicious beef slider….a burger with a light and airy texture.

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R&S Meat Market will custom order any D’Artagnan product that you are looking for. Most items available for you the next day.

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Painted Hills all natural beef sliders.

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Chef Steven demonstrates how to carve a roasted chicken.

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A fan favorite from the tasting was the Berkshire Bone in Pork Chop. Tender and juicy with melt in your mouth flavor. Grilled in just about eight minutes.

 

Whistlin’ Chicken

As it turns out, two days of hunting down an article about grilling whole chickens, has made it much easier to tear it out, and bring the chicken to the table.

I’m happy to say…..grilling a whole chicken was simple and fancy too!

My butcher recommends a D’artagnan all natural roaster. I marinated the bird in buttermilk for 2 hours, turning it at the halfway point. Don’t Skip this step, it keeps the meat super juicy!

Pre-heat that grill! Over a medium heat, sear the bird on all sides for a total of twenty minutes. Reduce the grill to medium low heat ( 350 degrees if your grill has the handy temp gauge). Grill the chicken for 45 minutes to 1 hour, mopping every 10 minutes with your favorite barbecue sauce. I used Whistlin’ Dixie from Wild Thymes.

The chicken’s whistlin’ when it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees…(use the meat thermometer ….it works every time).

Remove the bird from the grill and let sit covered with foil for 5-10 minutes.

Carve and enjoy!IMG_2314

 

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IMG_2290 So good! The kids will eat it:)

What’s for dinner?

Today, I give myself permission to rip pages out of a perfectly good magazine.

I’m concerned I may have a deep seeded issue.

I can spend hours pouring through fancy cookbooks, Food & Wine magazine and back issues of Martha Stewart. In my mind I plan out the perfect meal to prepare for my hungry family. I fantasize about the spectacular dinner party I will roll out.

Yet, all of these gorgeous meals and fancy moments remain trapped between the pages of these neatly organized books.

What is wrong with me that I cannot bring myself to mar these insubstantial stacks of paper so that I may explore their deeper potential?

Yes, I know….pardon my dramatics……but really now; am I alone?

Today’s the day- I will hold my breath and tear my way towards culinary greatness…

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