Monday, November 14, 2011

Meatless Monday- Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce

I originally saved this recipe on the FOOD52 website. I then took my very sweet time trying it, which the only mistake made here was in my procrastination. After googling this recipe I found it was written about everywhere. So as I kept telling myself I would get around to making this sauce, it seems everyone else was more on the ball. This is sure to become a fast favorite. Quite a hearty meatless recipe.
When I was growing up, my mom would always ask us, (me, my brother and sister) what meal we wanted prepared for our birthday dinner. My brother and I were quick to choose spaghetti. My mother's sauce was so thick, you could eat it with a spoon. Since our birthdays' are just a month apart, it may have been part conspiracy on our part, since we knew we would technically be getting her delicious spaghetti sauce twice within a month's time. I remember the care and technique she put into perfecting her sauce. When I first made Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce, it took me right back to my childhood days. It was like that scene from the movie ' Ratatouille', when the critic tastes the Ratatouille and his mind goes right back to his childhood and the version his mother made for him. Needless to say, if you can achieve that moment in anyone, your recipe is a guaranteed winner!
Really, let's not procrastinate another moment....

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce

1 28 0z. can of whole peeled tomatoes- preferably organic ( I have also used crushed)
1 medium onion- peeled, cut in half
5 T. unsalted butter
Add salt according to your preference

Combine all ingredients in a stock pot. Let simmer for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour. May simmer longer. I found that the longer it simmers the thicker the sauce becomes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Candy Cap Bread Pudding

In Ireland, bread pudding is a common Christmas treat for breakfast. Makes sense to combine day old bread and a few other ingredients capturing a perfect harmony of spice and custard. My grandma had a recipe for Irish bread pudding that is amazing. She was proud of her heritage and I would say this recipe was a perfect representation.
I modified the original recipe to include candy cap mushrooms. This mushroom smells of pure maple syrup and is a great addition to any dessert, breads, waffles, pancakes ,custards and ice cream. These mushrooms are small, delicate, red brown mushrooms that become more intense when dried and add a maply rich flavor. They bake in perfectly disguised for those that would never trust such a feat from a mushroom. My Candy Cap Mushrooms were a sample courtesy by Marx Foods.
Start a tradition during the holidays this year with Candy Cap Bread Pudding. Your house will smell scrumptious and you won’t feel the stress of a demanding recipe. This rich, sweet bread pudding can be prepared ahead and baked on Christmas morning after Santa has arrived, or as a delicious treat to serve guests stopping in during the holidays.

Candy Cap Bread Pudding:
1 loaf of French bread – ripped into bite size pieces, preferably day old
¼ cup dried candy cap mushrooms (
3 cups cream
¾ whole milk
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
5 organic eggs
½ cup light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup golden raisins

1.Take a 2 quart pan and bring cream to a scald. Take pan off heat. Infuse Candy Cap mushrooms for 1 hour.
2.Butter 9x13-inch baking dish. Tear up the bread and place it in the dish. Whisk the eggs with the milk, cream/mushroom mixture, sugar, vanilla, butter, salt and spices, in medium bowl to blend; pour over bread. Sprinkle the raisins over the mix, and working with your hands, fold them in to incorporate them evenly through the bread. Press down on bread to make sure it gets moistened completely. Cover with foil and chill overnight.
3.Place foil-covered dish in cold oven. Set oven at 350°F and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until pudding is puffed and golden, about 30-35 minutes longer. Spoon pudding onto plates. Could serve with a sprinkle of chopped, toasted nuts, or with a slathering of butter and warm maple syrup.