Friday, October 30, 2009

Marie Clare Smith: The Next Generation of Cooks

Marie Clare Smith moves with grace, confidence, and speed as she makes pumpkin chocolate chip mini-muffins (recipe below) in her Oakland kitchen. With her mom, Karyn, working on dinner in the background, Marie Clare checks out the recipe, reaches for the flour, the sugar, cracks the eggs, opens the can of pumpkin, stirs the mixture together, adds the liquid to the dry ingredients, squishes everything together with her hands when she realizes that her spoon is not up to the task, fills the muffins tins, bakes them, and tastes the results. She dances through the process, focused and relaxed, carrying on a conversation with me and her mom. She is a very experienced cook. But get this: Marie Clare is thirteen years old.

It started seven years ago when Marie Clare, then six, pulled up a chair to help her dad, Neil, make pancakes for the family’s Saturday breakfast. At nine, she was making dinner of pizza or macaroni tuna salad for herself when her parents were going out for the evening. Brennan, her brother, would join her if he liked the menu and if it went with ketchup, his favorite condiment. Noticing how much Marie Clare loved both cooking and earning money, Karyn started paying her $10 for each family dinner she prepared. The plan worked for everyone: Karyn got a night off (sort of); Marie Clare added another dinner to her repertoire and increased her shopping fund. Recently she’s started cooking meals for family friends when they come for supper.

So what’s for dinner? She might make potato latkes, Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Eggplant Parmesan, Potato Chip-Crusted Fish with Tartar Sauce or her famous Salmon Pockets (salmon wrapped in puff pastry with lots of dill) which she invented by combining the best of two recipes. Usually she’ll include a side vegetable like green beans, some bread, always a salad, and dessert if she has time.

Her passion for cooking has been nurtured and encouraged in a number of ways:

1. Her mother is a wonderful cook and is willing to let her experiment and use the kitchen. This is big. The only thing Marie Clare can’t do is cook over an open flame when she is by herself. Everything else is fine. Karyn says “Knives were never a concern to me. Fire worries me a lot more.” She adds, “If she is cooking with friends, she needs to clean up the kitchen. If she is cooking for the family, we take over the clean-up duties.”

2. She has access to a lot of good cookbooks, some written for kids, as well as her mom's recipes. Teens Cook and Teens Cook Dessert by sisters Megan and Jill Carle are favorites.

3. For three summers she has gone to Sprouts Cooking Club led by Karen Rogers, where the kids learn skills and cook food with area chefs and then have a chance to “jam” in the kitchen, creating recipes of their own. This past summer she was a Counselor in Training and may assist Karen in a café she hopes to open. At King Middle School in Berkeley she has also taken cooking and gardening classes with her friends in the Edible School Yard which her father started with Alice Waters when he was the principal.

4. I must confess that I am Marie Clare’s doting fairy godmother, supplying her over the years with way more treats than her parents might allow. On our very first outing together, we went to SFMOMA. After a quick tour of a gallery or two, Marie Clare shyly expressed a desire for some food. We purchased a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Fish Ice Cream--my effort to suggest something healthy was unsuccessful--and she proceeded to eat most of it while we sat on Union Square watching the scene. What do you think she remembers about the trip? You got it. The ice cream. From then on food dominated our activities together. We ate a lot of superb ice cream and chocolate, frequenting Lulu Rae and Fenton’s Creamery in Oakland, Ici in Berkeley, and the Scharffen Berger chocolate factory (closed I’m sorry to say).

Now at thirteen, she no longer needs the indulgence of a fairy godmother; she is fully capable of providing herself with just about any treat she might want. So what am I to do? Of course I will continue to support her culinary enthusiasm or any other enthusiasm for that matter. I can write about her on my blog. Perhaps I can also become her cookbook editor or her publicist or her biggest fan or watch her on the Food Channel. When I asked her in an off hand way if she might want a career in cooking (Who but an indulgent fairy godmother could ask such a question and get a civil reply?), she said she had absolutely no idea. Being a baker is out because of the early hours. But she might be a chef or maybe a lawyer. “I have a lot of time to decide,” she said.

And finally I asked her what she would tell kids who wanted to learn about cooking. She said, “Cook what you like to eat. Enjoy eating it. Have fun.”
Not bad advice for any of us.

Seasonal Sweets: Pumpkin Muffins and Apple Crisp

Karyn’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Here is Karyn's and Marie Clare's recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. Marie Clare also makes a fabulous Maida Heatter Cow Town cake for birthdays, cupcakes with various delicious fillings, chocolate tarts, pumpkin pies, brownies, many muffins, hot chocolate sauce for ice cream, and eclairs with custard filling. Much more too, but you get the idea.

1 2/3 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ground ginger and ground cloves)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin (canned)
½ cup melted butter, cooled slightly
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat over to 350°F. Butter your mini-muffin tins or insert paper liners.
2. Mix flour, sugar, pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
3. Break eggs into a second bowl. Add pumpkin and butter; whisk until well blended.
Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Pour the egg/pumpkin mixture over the dry ingredients and fold in with a rubber spatula until the dry ingredients are moistened. Or mix with your hands. Don’t over-mix.
5. Spoon the dough into the muffin tins.
6. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins puff up and spring back when touched in the center.

[The recipe doesn't say how many it makes. I would guess 2 dozen mini-muffins.]
As made by from Karyn's friend, Geri, and now by Marie Clare

Apple Almond Crisp
The apples for this crisp came from my backyard in Sonoma. I picked them and used them immediately. Talk about local. Talk about fresh. Can't get any better.

7-8 cups firm, peeled, cored tart-sweet apples, cut in 1-inch chunks
Note: 1 apple yields about 1 cup of chunks I’ve found.
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest or zest from 1 lemon
3-5 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar or a little more to taste
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt

½ cup sugar
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon or coriander or both
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut in ½ –inch pieces
¼ cup chopped candied ginger or dried cranberries
1 cup sliced almonds

Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or crème fraiche

1. Place a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Grease a 2-quart ovenproof glass or earthenware casserole that is at least 2 inches deep.
3. In a large bowl, mix the lemon zest and juice, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. As you peel, quarter and chunk the apples, add them to the bowl and stir so the lemon juice can prevent their turning brown. If needed, add more lemon juice and/or sugar; the amount will depend on the flavor of your apples, so taste them. Place the apples in the casserole.
4. To make the topping: Stir the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt together. Cut in the butter with a food processor, a pastry cutter or your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the ginger and the almonds.
5. Cover the apples evenly with the topping and bake for 50-60 minutes until the juices are bubbling and the top has browned. Because the back of the oven is usually hotter than the front in most ovens, it is a good idea to rotate the baking dish once or twice to brown the topping evenly.
6. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or crème fraiche.

At least 6 servings
Adapted from Marian Burros’ Cooking for Comfort

Friday, October 23, 2009

Store Lists: More Little Notebooks

I’m about half way through reading  Milk Eggs Vodka: Grocery Lists Lost and Found by Bill Keaggy. He and his friends spent several years collecting grocery lists that people left in their shopping carts or dropped in the parking lot. He has arranged them into categories, like Doodles and Noodles or Chides and Asides. In truth the lists are pretty similar in their brevity, bad spelling, and preponderance of processed food. These little scraps of paper, while fetching and evocative, are not nearly as detailed and organized as my little notebooks. Are you surprised?

I have two such notebooks, one for Berkeley and one for Sonoma. I’ve been using the Berkeley one for ages—maybe since we moved to the west coast 13 years ago. I started the Sonoma notebook in 2005, finished it up last week and initiated a new one today. These notebooks are a little beat-up by the time I’m done with them—what with going in and out of my purse, resting on the child seat of the grocery cart, and finally sitting on my kitchen counter where I can consult the current plans and add items for next week’s shopping. Each page is filled with my scribbles: items crossed out as I throw them into the cart, others circled that aren’t available, and the odd note to myself.

So let me take you through the process. I pull a couple of cookbooks off the shelves, sit in my favorite chair with them on my lap, and start flipping through indexes. Sometimes my choices are based on a hankering (like today I just felt like some red meat) and sometimes on the basis of what is hanging out in the fridge (like the tomatillos I bought recently without a designated use). When I find a suitable recipe (within my capability, time and cost constraints, taste and aesthetic preferences), I jot it down on the right hand side of the page, along with the cookbook (Mastering the Art… becomes MAFC) and page number. On the left hand side, I list the ingredients I need to make the recipe. I repeat the process until I have two or three meals planned. This sounds intense but in fact it doesn’t take very long and I love looking through the cookbooks and imagining good things going into my mouth.

I try to make enough food at any given dinner to give me an additional dinner of leftovers which, fortunately, everyone in this family adores. So three preparations yield at least six meals. Because I don’t like to eat the same thing two nights in a row, I often alternate leftovers with freshly cooked meals. For example a typical week might look like this: Cook 1. Cook 2. Leftover 1. Cook 3. Leftover 2. Eat out. Leftover 3. You get the idea.

Taking the time to plan the menus and shopping about once a week suits me just fine. I am fortunate to have farmers markets and good supermarkets in easy reach. I love knowing that at the end of the process we are provisioned for the week and that once I start cooking, I’ll have everything I need. Most of the time.

Dang, I forgot the milk.

End of Summer Tomato Tart

Tomato Cheese Tart

Pie crust for a low-sided 12-inch pizza pan, partially baked and cooled
12 ounces Swiss, Emmenthaler or Gruyere cheese (or other melting cheeses), cut in thin slices
2 or 3 large tomatoes, cut into ½-inch slices
7 medium roasted tomatoes (14 halves)
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil or 3 tablespoons finely cut fresh basil (in chiffonade*)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Coarse salt for garnish

1. Sprinkle the fresh tomato slices generously with salt and place them on a cake rack to drain for about 30 minutes. Pat them dry with paper towels.
Drain the roasted tomatoes if they have been sitting in their accumulated liquid.
2. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
3. Arrange the cheese slices, slightly overlapping, in the bottom of the cooled crust and place the drained or roasted tomatoes side by side on top. Sprinkle with a few grindings of black pepper, the dried or 1 tablespoon fresh basil and the grated Parmesan cheese.
4. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 25 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the top of the tart is lightly browned. If the top isn’t quite brown enough, you can put the tart under the broiler for a minute or two, watching it carefully.
5. Sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of basil chiffonade just before serving. Serve hot or warm.

4-5 servings
Adapted from the Time Life Series Food of the World M.F.K. Fisher's The Cooking of Provincial France.

*To make a chiffonade, stack basil leaves on top of each other. Roll the leaves lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/8th-inch slivers. The end result should be a pleasing tangle of basil-y goodness.

Pie Crust

For a 12-inch pizza pan with low sides:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut roughly into ½-inch pieces
7 tablespoons ice water or more if necessary

1. Combine the flour and salt in the container of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the butter and flour are blended and the mixture looks like cornmeal, about 10 seconds.
2. Add the ice water to the mixture. Pulse until you see the mixture coming together. If it doesn’t after a couple of additional pulses, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it does.
3. Dump the contents of the container onto a sheet of plastic wrap and mold it into a ball. Flatten the ballot a disk; bring the plastic up around the dough to cover it completely. Either freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes. (You can also refrigerate the dough for a day or two or freeze it almost indefinitely.)
4. Sprinkle a smooth countertop or a large board with flour. Unwrap the dough and place it on the work surface; sprinkle the top with a little flour. If the dough is hard, let it rest a few minutes to warm up just a little.
5. Roll with light pressure, from the center out. Continue to roll, adding a small amount of flour as necessary, rotating the dough occasionally, and turning it over once or twice during the process. When the dough is about 1/8-inch thick, place your pan upside down over it to check the size. You want your circle of dough to be about 2-3 inches bigger than the pan it will go into.
6. If the size is correct, move the dough into the pan by folding the dough in half and placing the fold in the middle of the pan. Carefully unfold the dough and press it gently into the outer edge of the pan.
7. Trim the extra dough about 1 inch above the rim. Fold the dough above the rim in half (to ½ inch) and crimp with your fingers to make a decorative edge. With the scraps, you can fill in any part of the circle that’s missing.
8. Place the pan in the freezer for 10 minutes or the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Partially Baked Pie Crust

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
2. Prick the dough all over with a fork to help prevent the crust from poufing. (You’ll see what I mean when it happens.)
3. Tear off two pieces of aluminum foil. Press the sheets crossed over each other to conform to the dough, especially on the sides. Weight the foil with a pile of dried beans or rice, pie weights, the bottom of a 12-inch spring-form pan or a tight-fitting skillet or saucepan—anything that will sit flat on the surface and hold the dough in place. Sometimes I just do the foil and don’t weight it with anything and it’s just fine. The pouf goes down.
4. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven; remove the weights and foil. Prick the bottom, once again, with a fork.
5. Bake for another 4-5 minutes or so until the crust is just starting to turn a light brown and the bottom looks set.
6. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food, Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and M.F.K. Fisher’s The Cooking of Provincial France.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dining in Comfort

There are just a couple of things that make for a good dinner party: the conviviality of the guests, the food, of course, and a pleasant, comfortable ambiance. I am pretty attuned to the first two factors but the third one does not come naturally to me. I often unconsciously choose appearance over comfort. And this leads me to talk about dining room chairs.

I have a friend who has strong opinions about dining room chairs. To his mind, they are a conspiracy to keep chiropractors in business and to shorten dinner table conversations which he would very much like to prolong. At my house, he is able to sit through the main course and perhaps a salad course, but at his limit, he bounds to his feet saying “These are the worst dining room chairs in the world. You need some chairs like mine.” We move to the living room for dessert and at last he can find some comfort for his modestly padded behind.

So, you might ask, what are these remarkable chairs he wants everyone to buy? They are vintage Hermann Miller office chairs, a version of which you might be sitting on right now in front of your computer. They are good-sized, with arms and rolling casters, upholstered in durable fabric in a variety of colors, many of which he has. He bought them used maybe eight years ago from a discount office supply place in Emeryville. His six surround a table which could seat ten or more people.
There are a couple of disadvantages for the typical dining room. These chairs take up a lot of room. You need to have a large table and an even larger room to incorporate chairs this big. On carpet, they don’t roll particularly well. And on hardwood floor, they can leave roller indentations. In my opinion, they are not destined to show up in a House Beautiful photo spread for the latest in dining room fashion.

But he’s absolutely correct: they are the most comfortable dining room chairs you could ever want. You and your dinner guests can linger over the food and a good conversation as long as you or they desire, comfortable and padded in every regard.

I’m probably not going to trade in my chairs for his rolling variety. But I have been led to consider other possibilities better suited to comfort and perhaps stylish and pretty at the same time. Ideas?

Menu 11: New Mexican Stew and Cornbread

I need to visit New Mexico once a year. Primarily I need to see my dear friends Anne Sigler and George Muedeking who left the Bay area a couple of years ago and now live in the East Mountains outside of Albuquerque. But there are a couple of other reasons as well. I have to see the sky. Living as I do in urban areas, I don’t see enough of the sky from one horizon to another and I need it; my spirit needs it. And then there is the food. I love New Mexican Green Chile stews. This year I had an excellent one at the café at Acoma Pueblo some ways south of Albuquerque. The café’s stew replaced the tomatoes in the recipe below with chicken stock and added a little more heat, but in all other ways was like this one. Just lovely. The café served it with plain white bread. I think flour tortillas and especially the Lemon Cornbread are great along side the stew. A friend of mine fancies the cornbread crumbled into the stew.

Pueblo Green Chile Stew

2 pounds boneless pork butt or shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon olive oil, butter, lard, or bacon fat
1 cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 fresh tomatoes, cored and chopped, or 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt plus more to taste
1½ teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder or to taste—this provides the heat
¼ cup chicken stock, if necessary
10 poblano (sometimes called pasilla) chiles or Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped—these are fresh, green and mild
Note: You can do these ahead. In a pinch you could use canned chiles.
1 yellow summer squash or yellow zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into ½-inch slices
1 green zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into ½-inch slices
1 ear fresh corn, kernels removed
1 bunch cilantro, leaves removed and chopped
Sour cream

1. Place part of the pork cubes in a plastic bag with the flour. Shake around and remove to a plate. Continue with the remaining cubes until all are lightly dusted with flour. Add more flour if necessary. Place on a plate.
2. Melt the fat, whichever you choose, in a large, heavy skillet or sauté pan. Add as many pork cubes as will easily cover the bottom of the pan with some space around each cube. Don’t crowd. Turn until all sides are golden. Remove the browned pork from the pan and place on a plate. Repeat with remaining pork, adding more fat if necessary.
3. In the same pan, add the onions and garlic; cook until soft and all the golden crust (flour which stuck to the pan) from the bottom has been dislodged and mixed in with the onion.
4. Place the meat, onions and garlic in a large stew pot. Add the tomatoes, salt, oregano, cumin, coriander, and chipotle chile powder. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and cooked. Add stock if the mixture is too thick.
5. Add the green chiles, the yellow squash and zucchini and simmer for 30 minutes or until the squash is nicely tender but not falling apart, adding a little more stock if necessary.
6. Five minutes before serving, mix in the corn kernels and half of the chopped cilantro. Simmer until the corn is cooked. Taste for seasoning.
7. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with a bit of the remaining chopped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream. You can put bowls of sour cream and cilantro on the table and help yourselves.
Serve with flour tortillas (which would be traditional) or Lemon Cornbread which is not traditional but complements the stew nicely. With the stew, I would omit the blueberries in the Cornbread.

4-6 servings
I started with the recipe in The Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s Santa Fe Kitchens: Delicious Recipes from the Southwest, but made a significant number of changes.

Lemon Cornbread

1 egg
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon soda
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter an 8 x 8 pan and set aside.
2. Whisk together the egg, zest, lemon juice, butter, and oil in a pitcher or small bowl. Stir in the buttermilk.
3. Mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
4. Make a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet mixture into the hole. Stir gently but thoroughly to combine. Fold in the blueberries if you wish. Do not over mix. Scrape batter into the prepared pan.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Or eat right away.

If you have any leftover cornbread, you can slice a piece in half, lightly butter each half, toast and smear with honey.

Makes one 8 x 8 pan or about 9 servings
Adapted from The Junior League of Honolulu’s Aloha Days Hula Nights

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Andrea Davis: Suburban Farmer

Andrea Davis grew up in rural Maryland. Her family had a backyard garden, but no one could have predicted that by the time she was a second semester freshman in college, she would know her life’s path: she wanted to farm. And now, not all that many years later, it has come to be: she has her Quarter Acre Farm in Sonoma, California where she grows her vegetables and sells everything she produces both to us at the Friday morning Farmers Market and since the end of June, to Mondo, a pub on West Napa Street. At 26 she is a suburban farmer and a sustainable grower.

But let’s back up for a moment. How did this happen?

Her first big step was choosing to attend Hampshire College whose 200-acre working farm in Amherst, Massachusetts lured her in. Quickly she decided to major in Sustainable Agriculture, taking classes in ecology, anthropology, and rural studies and working on the farm. She apprenticed summers at a farm in Maine to test herself and her decision. The hard work only made her more certain.

She wrote her senior dissertation on a nutritional analysis of a seasonal diet in the Pioneer Valley (the three counties surrounding Amherst), with two weeks worth of meals for each season. She developed the recipes and tested their nutritional value. But she also organized them into a cookbook, Local Delectables: Seasonal Recipes for the Pioneer Valley which an Amherst printer published.

She got her degree in 2005 and moved to the Bay area. This area met her two criteria: no snow and plenty of people who “get” sustainable agriculture. After a short stint at the Oak Hill Farm flower shop in the Ferry Building, she found a job in Sonoma at the (now closed) General’s Daughter. When the chef saw that she had a degree in agriculture, he asked her to start an herb and tomato garden behind the kitchen in addition to her other tasks. She agreed and for the first time got her hands into the rich Sonoma soil.

The Quarter Acre Farm

She also started looking around for some land. Jesus Hernandez who sells flowers at the Farmers Market told her to call Leo McMillan who leases him land on East MacArthur on the outskirts of town. Leo and Andrea got together, walked the land and he agreed to lease her a quarter acre beginning in Spring 2009. She already knew what to do: order seeds, build a greenhouse, prepare the land, plant, transplant, stake, weed, water, harvest, wash, and sell. She set to work using all her sustainable growing skills.

To her “sustainable” means employing techniques and methods that can continually be used without adversely affecting the land. It means improving the soil with horse manure and sawdust shavings, putting in winter cover crops such as fava beans or red oats to replenish the soil, spraying the plants with fish emulsion and kelp, rather than chemical fertilizers, to give the plants a little bit of an extra boost, careful watering with drip tape from a pond on the land.

She is very pleased with her results from this first year. She understands that she’s still making friends with the land, learning what grows best in this particular micro-climate and eco-system. She already knows some changes she will make next year. Expanding is not one of them. For now she will continue working at the girl and the fig and farming her Quarter Acre. She dreams of being able to make all her income from farming and would love to have five acres of her own at some point. She also wants to try her hand at suburban homesteading. But that’s another story.

Two End-of-the-Summer Pastas


¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan plus more to grate at the table
Note: If you need to grate your Parmesan, do it first in the food processor before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
4 packed cups fresh basil leaves
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
½ cup pine nuts (you can substitute slivered almonds)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt to taste

1. Combine the cheese, basil, garlic, and nuts in a food processor and process until the mixture is well combined.
2. Add the melted butter with the motor running and up to 1/3 cup olive oil. You can also add a small amount of water if the pesto is too thick. It should drape nicely over a mound of pasta without being runny. Add salt to taste.
3. Serve with hot drained pasta. You can pass more cheese at the table.

4-6 servings
Adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook

Puttanesca Sauce

1 can (2 ounces) anchovy fillets, undrained
12 garlic cloves, pressed
2 cans (28 ounces each) plum tomatoes
4 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded saving the juice
I place a sieve over a small bowl and seed the tomatoes into the sieve, allowing the juice to dribble through to the bowl. I stir the seeds to get as much liquid as I can into the bowl.
There is no need to be this obsessive.
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup capers, drained
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry red wine
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
½ teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
¼ cup balsamic or red wine vinegar

1. Place the anchovies and the garlic in a heavy large sauce pan or sauté pan. Mash thoroughly into a paste over low heat. Use a knife and fork to cut into pieces if necessary.
2. Add the tomatoes, capers and olives; stir over medium high heat.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. With fresh tomatoes and their juice, it might take two hours depending on their juiciness. The sauce should be nice and thick.
4. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve over thin spaghetti. Traditionally this dish is served without cheese, but who’s stopping you if you want it.

Note: You probably won’t need salt because of the saltiness of the anchovies, capers and olives. But taste to make sure.

6 servings
Adapted from Julee Rosso’s Great Good Food