Thursday, March 31, 2011

Big Night-Part 2

It was Saturday afternoon.
I was in the kitchen, preparing to make
a meal like none other.
A meal that requires a lot of preparation...
A glass of red wine and a
fabulous cookbook to keep me company.
(see part 1 to this blog if you're just joining the party)

So cookbook in hand, I set off
to make the homemade ragu...and not just any ragu,
but Ragu Tucci...a well loved family recipe.

Lots of fresh ingredients, simmered for hours
with fantastic results.
I also made homemade meatballs, and prepped and chopped
for Sunday's dinner.

Fast forward to Sunday afternoon...
add three pounds of ziti pasta.

One dozen hardboiled eggs.

Bring on the fresh dough.

By the way...
this is not something I'm particularly good at.
As a matter of fact...I kind of suck.
Some poor little Italian grandma
probably rolled over in her grave muttering
profanities under her breath.
This is something I need to work on...a a whole lot.

I do however have a solution to my problem.
Spend a few months in Italy.
Learning at the source is always the best way, isn't it?

A girl can back to reality.

I did finally manage to get a nice...if somewhat 
sticky dough into a ball and let it rest.

Now that little ball of dough that you see in the
 background is supposed to be rolled into a 
30 inch diameter circle... answer...bring out the muscles in our family.
Thanks Chad!!

Much huffing and puffing later we managed to get
the dough rolled out big enough to put into
our enamelware basin.
The large basin conducts heat really well,
which leads to even cooking and browning.

Now the fun begins...
First comes a layer of pasta,
cooked very al dente and tossed with that
outstanding ragu, made yesterday.

Then comes salami...

And provolone cheese...

Remember those hardboiled eggs...

Homemade mini meatballs...

Freshly grated Romano cheese...

Keep layering until the pan is full...
topping off with more ragu.

Then fold the dough up to cover up what's inside...
and into a 350 degree oven it goes for about 1-1/2 hours.

Open a very nice bottle of wine...
(this one brought home from Italy last year)

And after much waiting...
Oh and by the way...the house smells divine at this point.

One beautifully browned Timpano!

I was so nervous to invert the pan and take it off...
but thankfully it browned beautifully and didn't spring a leak!

You slice into it like a pie,
exposing all those wonderful layers of
pasta and meat and cheese.

It was outstanding!
When you got a bite that had a piece of egg and salami,
mixed in with that homemade sauce and the cheese that was 
all melted and gooey...
the dough that enveloped it, fresh and slightly crunchy.
There really are no words to truly describe it,
except to say that it was our 
Big Night!

One happy cook...
with one very special cookbook.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tickle Me...Retro!

Wednesday March 30th

I just wanted to take a moment 
to say thank you
for all the lovely birthday wishes yesterday.
The comments, emails and convos that
you took time to send, with all your sweet wishes.
You truly made me smile and 
made my day that much brighter!

So from me to you, a great big

Tickle Me Tuesday
 time again

Want to know what it's all about,
click here to find out.

Today is my birthday!
Yep that's right, one year older.
It's not so bad really...well unless I say the number out loud.

I thought it would be fun to spend a
Retro Birthday...
a wishing one of sorts.

So if I had my druthers today...
I'd start my day off with a fabulous cup of coffee
in one of these!
How fun and I absolutely love the color.

Then of course I need to dress the part...
so this is perfect!
A pair of white flip flops and I'm all ready.

Ready for what?
A picnic seems in order...
a little wine and cheese,
and I'll tote it all to the park in this
fabulous vintage picnic basket!

After a leisurely lunch,
I think I'll be ready for a little reading or maybe
a birthday nap...
Could you think of a more perfect spot...
What a gorgeous chair!


Then I'd like to lift the lid on this
groovy vintage cake tin
and blow out some candles!

Vintage Decoware Cake Tin

So those are my
Retro Birthday Wishes!

Want to see more
Tickle Me Tuesday finds,
then hop on over to
Yes Teacher

Wishing you all a Happy Tuesday!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Big Night-Part 1

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon.
One of those days when you just don't feel like doing anything.
So we decided that's exactly what we would do.
We crawled into bed and turned on the tv.
Flipping through the Netflix instant play choices,
we came across this...

Have you seen it?
We hadn't,
but a quick read through the description,
and seeing that it had Stanley Tucci, Tony Shaloub and
a host of other well known names we figured
we'd give it a go.

Boy are we glad we did!
Talk about laughing...
It is a quirky tale about two brothers trying to save
their failing Italian restaurant.
You can read more and watch a trailer here
or find an in depth plot summary here.

Stanley Tucci wrote the screenplay for the movie,
and the movie features some of his family's recipes.
And it's those in particular that really got me excited.
If you've seen the movie you'll know what "special dish"
I'm referring to and if you haven't,
then I'm going to leave you in suspense until Part Two.

The cookbook isn't in circulation anymore, but I managed to track down
an ex-library copy that someone was selling online.
It's a fantastic book!!!

So armed with the cookbook,
and this....

I will be spending the weekend in my kitchen,
attempting to have our very own
Big Night!

Wish me Luck!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tickle Me Figs

It's that time of the week again...

Want to know what it's all about,
click here.

I love figs!
They are one of those things that I never seem to tire of.
Fresh ones are to die for.
Bare naked...yum!
In a salad...delicious!
Wrapped with prosciutto and drizzled with balsamic...coma inducing!

The trouble with the fresh ones is that they aren't
around at the markets for very long.
Then I'm stuck with the dried ones...
which are ok for cooking with but not so great for snacking.

Then I found this...

It comes from Turkey and it's fabulous!
So fresh tasting and not too sweet, just a hint.
It's great on toast,
a dollop in plain yogurt,
and the other night with a little brie cheese and a baguette.
Did I mention, I love figs?

So that's what has been tickling my snacking fancy this week.

Want to see more,
then head on over to my bloggy friend Sarah over at
Yes Teacher
to read some more
Tickle Me Tuesday posts!

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Plan B

St. Patricks Day.
I'm all prepared to make corned beef and cabbage.
I do every year.
Well for some reason, this time,
I guess everyone in the area decided
to do the same thing.
No more corned beef at the local market!
Did I miss the corned beef stampede memo?
Plan B it is.

I happened to be flipping through the local paper
the day before and the food section
had a great page filled with Irish dishes.

All featuring Kerrygold butter and cheese.
If you've never had Dubliner, it's delicious! 
Kind of sweet and nutty, a bit of an aged bite,
truly rich and wonderful.

So I decided on the
complete with cheesy mashed potatoes.
I mean how could you go wrong!

The sauce had Guinness and Kerrygold butter,
onions, carrots and thyme.
Kerrygold butter has the most beautiful golden hue.
It is rich and flavorful and well worth 
the little extra splurge.

Bubbling goodness, fresh from the oven!

It tasted heavenly...
You could taste the richness of the butter and cheese.
For a moment I felt like I was wandering the green pastures of Ireland...
Ok, well maybe that's a wee bit of a stretch but you get the idea.
It didn't set up quite as thick as I would have liked,
but it didn't affect the taste any, and
the boys went back for thirds!!
I know it's a hit and a definite "make again"
when that happens.

A handful of simple, honest ingredients.
Plan B turned out to be an A+!

Wishing you all a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Going Green

Tickle Me Tuesdays
is back for another round.

Want to know what it's all about,
find out here

This week it's all about

I mean St. Patty's Day is just a couple days away...
Corned beef and cabbage and
 maybe a Guinness!
Yum...I can taste it already.

In the meantime though...
how about a green shake?

It's got a cult following...
I think you either love it or hate it.

I happen to LOVE it!!
Takes me back to being a kid,
it was a special treat that I 
still enjoy every March!

Did you know that the 
Shamrock Shake
has a very special story behind it?
Take a minute and read how very special
 this shake really is.

So tell me...are you a green shake fan or not?

To find out what's been tickling
some other bloggers fancies this week,
head on over to
Yes Teacher
and check out some other cool posts!

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, March 11, 2011


Memories are funny...
they get triggered by sights, smells and foods.
They have a habit of just showing up
 on your doorstep unannounced.

I spent a lot of time at my Grandparents house
 growing up in Canada.
They were immigrants from The Netherlands,
and with them they brought a lot of home.
I grew up eating many Dutch foods and treats,
amongst them black salty licorice, 
and Beschuitje, sometimes also called 
rusks or crispbakes.
It is a twice baked bread.
They are round, light, airy and crumbly.

My grandmother always kept them in a blue delft jar.
I can picture it sitting on her counter.
Traditionally they are served as a breakfast food,
with butter and chocolate sprinkles 
known as chocoladehagel.

My grandparents lived in the country,
 and I would spend hours playing
 outdoors on their property.
When I would get tired or my 
Grandma just called me in, 
guess what was always waiting as a snack?
Beschuitje with dark chocolate sprinkles and a glass of milk!
It's one of many fond memories
 of time spent at their house.

I haven't eaten it in ages, let alone seen it.
We have a new international grocer in our area,
and being a cook, I had to check it out.
It's a fantastic market,
it will be leadin to many blogs about
recipes I couldn't attempt before because I
could never find the ingredients.
As I was wandering, what did I spy on a top shelf but
beschuitje and chocoladehagel!
I truly couldn't believe my eyes.
I had to stand on my tippy toes just to reach it,
and reach I did!

I came straight home,
took out two beschuitje, 
the butter and the box of sprinkles.
The smell as I opened the packages
brought back a rush of memories.

And the first bite...
That familiar airy crunch, the creamy butter and
 those rich chocolate sprinkles melting in my mouth.
I was back in my grandparents kitchen,
sitting at the table, legs dangling
 because my feet didn't touch the floor.
I was 6 years old again.

"Grandma, can I have just one more please?"

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Elsies Flat

Update: 3/9
Special Offer in the comments
make sure you check it out!

It's that time of the week again...

Not sure what it's all about,
find out here.

This week I'm all about dressing up in the kitchen...
Check out these fantastic aprons!
Meet Linda of 
on etsy.

Perfect for all you coffee lovers out there!

Or maybe something a little sweeter is more your style,
then check out this adorable 
Tootsie Pop Apron!

Or perhaps you need something for the 
Grilling Guy 
in your house...

Classic cars or maybe a favorite sports team...

Linda's aprons are so bright and colorful,
they'd be sure to cheer up any time spent in the kitchen
or out at the BBQ.

Her shop is named after her great grandmother
who lived a building that was known as the Flats.
How very creative!

So whether you need something for yourself,
or a great hostess gift,
check out
the next time you want
 to make a statement in the kitchen!

Want to see more 
Tickle Me Tuesday
finds, then hop on over to 
and see some more.

Happy Tuesday!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...