I’ve always enjoyed Italian food. I was raised on it, around it and in it. I became her sous chef before I even went to grammar school. She had me grating cheese, making meat balls and cooking pasta. Even though I didn’t like to eat, she was training me to cook and instilling an insatiable appetite for a Nice’a Meat Ball.
My Mom (grandmother) raised me, and as moms back then were prone to do, she would tell us all to eat. In my case, health problems as an infant, resulted in my being anemic and less then enthusiastic about food. Mom used her willy ways and cooking skills to nurture me back to health. Today, I fight weight gain … but not very convincingly (lol)
At different points in my life, I passionately wanted to open an Italian restaurant. Part of my reason was simply the love of food, and part of my reason was for profit and part of my reason was to pay tribute to my Mom! However, as often happens in life, I was dissuaded from my dreams by the family, accountants, and lawyers.
Frankly, they scared me to death. They simply said most restaurants fail. They also showed me that I would literally work myself to death! Imagine, they said … up and at the market by 6AM, work all day to prepare, cook, serve and clean up … ending the day about 11PM. Then, get up and do it again, with even more work and longer hours on weekends and holidays. The dream disappeared, but didn’t go away.
Well, now I am determined more than ever to open that restaurant, however I have come up with a way to avoid the work, eliminate the expense and provide it for free to my customers! My new restaurant concept is a bit different, the customers do the work, save me the effort and I can provide it all for free … 24/7, 365 days/year! How you say, well get them to shop and buy it all, then make, serve and clean up.
Are you kidding you say, well compare the cost of dining out to home cooking as well as teach them to do it? And I say, let’s do it all online at PapasRecipes.
You say, what will get anyone to do all that work? I say, that’s the easiest part. If you build it, they will come.
All restaurants are based on the basic premise that the dish should be priced at 3 times the cost to have the business work. Well, if you can eat at home for 1/3 the price of a restaurant (and eat better in the comfort of your own home)!
Up to now I assumed everyone knew how to cook, and simply needed a recipe … and Papa’s Recipes provided that to our visitors. Now, we’ll be adding another dimension, that is the complete “Cookbook” of recipes including our procedures, photos and costs for our own recipes.
Mom and Me are going to teach you how to cook, not just give you a recipe. Mangia!
Look for our new page “Made by Me and Mom, with Love” The decor is simple, it’s yours. All we’ll be doing is adding a new Category and using it with our current categories so you can easily find the item you want. Naturally, we’ll continue to include the recipes, but we’ll also be adding our photos and costs together with the recipes. Our recipes will include the regular category and ours, i.e., “With Love”
We’ll also be adding a photo video, so that the viewer can view/print the recipe and watch the photo video for inspiration and company. We use our iPads and Notebooks as our recipe box. You too can use yours to cook or even shop to review the ingredients.
We promise to only include those items we have prepared, not just recipes. We will now also limit our library to only those home made and recommended by us. Hopefully, the photos and simple costs will motivate you and others.
Finally, we haven’t really cared about comments and suggestions. Now, we want your feedback, criticisms, suggestions and your own contributions to our library. This will allow others, and us, to benefit from other people’s feedback.
Be aware, this is truly an Ristorante Italiano, complete with the songs, memories and music of yesterday’s gone by.
Please be patient, it will take time to get each new recipe published. These items will only be new, that is made fresh for our restaurant. Our first dish will be an entree “Pasta and Meatballs”, a long time favorite of mine.
Me and Mom
A tasty shrimp dish
1/2 lb shelled shrimp, deveined. Marinated in:
1/2 tsp kosher salt (1/4 tsp table salt)
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp cooking wine
1 tsp sesame oil
3 scallions, cut into 2″ pieces
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup thin celery sticks
1/2 cup thinly sliced white onions
1 1/2 tbl soy sauce
1 1/2 tbl Chinese black vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 lb dried noodle or 1 lb fresh cooked noodles
- Marinate shrimp in a small bowl. Boil enough water to cook noodles. Follow instructions on package of noodles for cooking time.
- Heat 1 tsp cooking oil (canola, veg, peanut) in a wok or large pan on high heat. When oil hot but not smoking, add shrimp. Fry until color of shrimp changes. Remove and set aside.
- Add a touch more oil to wok and when oil is hot, add scallions and garlic. Fry 15 seconds. Add sliced white onions. Stir well, fry 30 seconds.. Add celery and fry vegetable mixture until white onions are slightly softened. Celery should still have a nice crunch.
- Add soy, vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir well. Add shrimp back into wok. Cook until shrimp is cooked through, about 30 seconds (depends on size of your shrimp).
- Add noodles, mix well and when noodles are heated through, it’s ready. Taste. If needs more seasoning, add a touch more soy and black vinegar.
Crock Pot recipes are fantastic for busy people.
1 1/2 pounds lean, boneless pork loins, cut into cubes
8 ounces canned pineapple chunks in unsweetened juice, undrained
1 medium red or green bell pepper, cut into squares
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups cooked rice
- In 3 1/2- to 4-quart crock pot, combine pork, pineapple, bell pepper, brown sugar, ginger, vinegar and soy sauce. Mix well. Cover; cook on LOW setting for 6 to 8 hours.
- About 5 minutes before serving, in small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons water and cornstarch; blend well. Stir into pork mixture in crock pot.
- Cover; cook on HIGH setting for an additional 5 minutes or until thickened. Serve pork mixture over rice.
- Prepare rice 25 minutes before serving.
- Makes 4 servings.
2 Rib-eye steaks
1 small container baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cup red wine (I used Cab)
2 tablespoons butter
2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher or sea salt and pepper, or steak seasoning to taste (I used a steak seasoning that contains kosher salt)
Bring steaks to room temperature on the counter. Preheat a large skillet. Season steaks with salt and pepper or steak seasoning. Drizzle pan with olive oil and add steaks to pan.
Brown steaks on each side, cooking just shy of desired doneness. Turn heat to low. Remove steaks from pan and add mushrooms, butter and garlic. Saute until mushrooms have softened. Add red wine and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce by half. Add a splash more of wine and add steaks back in to pan turning and covering in sauce.
Serve steaks topped with lots of mushroom sauce.
Recipe courtesy Tony DiCenso, owner, Rino’s Place in East Boston, MA
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Made to Order
Rino’s Special (03:08)
Check out Rino’s on TV
4 (4-ounce) thinly sliced veal cutlets (scaloppini)
4 (4-ounce) thinly sliced chicken tenderloins
2 ounces all-purpose flour
1/2 cup olive oil
12 shiitake mushrooms cleaned and stems discarded, then sliced
6 ounces oyster mushrooms, trimmed
3 ounces porcini mushrooms chopped
4 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons brandy
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 stick butter
Chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.
Pound the veal and chicken into 1/4-inch thick slices, between sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Add the flour to a large shallow dish. Dredge the veal and chicken in the flour.
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to low heat. Add veal and chicken and brown on 1 side only. Add all of the mushrooms and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the oil from the pan, add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the brandy and carefully ignite it with a long kitchen match to burn off the alcohol. Stir in the heavy cream and butter and let the sauce reduce for 3 to 4 minutes. Ready to serve.
Arrange 1 piece of veal, 1 piece of chicken and 1 shrimp on each serving plate. Top with some mushrooms and sauce and garnish with parsley. Can be served over pasta, if desired.
Really enjoy using Crock Pots, easy to put in the ingredients and let it cook while you enjoy the day.
Great to prepare ahead, then cook it in time for you to eat.
Adding link to some external recipes, i.e., http://www.thecountrycook.net/2013/03/25-favorite-crock-pot-recipes.html
We already have a category for “Slow Cooker”, that will list our recipes too.
We also just added this link to our recipe links, looks like something worth checking periodically.
This is a two step process. One step is to cure or corn the beef, and the next step is to cook it. You can make traditional corned beef and cabbage boiled dinner, you can make corned beef hash, you can make Reuben sandwiches. If you want, you can add two extra steps, smoke it and steam it to turn it into incredible pastrami.
Makes. 12 big fat NY Deli sandwiches
Preparation time. 1 hour
Curing time. 5-7 days
About 8 pounds of beef brisket
1 gallon water
1 cup brown sugar, preferably dark
8 ounces kosher salt, by weight
4 teaspoons pink curing salt #1
5 tablespoons pickling spices
4 cloves garlic, smashed or pressed
About the kosher salt. When you weigh salt, it doesn’t matter what type of salt you use. When you measure by volume, there is a big difference because different salts have different grain sizes. I prefer Morton’s kosher salt because it has fewer additives. For more about different salts, read my article on the Zen of Salt.
About the Pink Curing Salt #1. You can skip it and just add 4 teaspoons more table salt, but the meat will be tan in color. and slightly different in flavor.
About the beef. Many delis use the fattier navel cut. You can also use boneless short rib meat, flank steak, tongue, or round, but round can be very thick, so cut in into 1.5″ planks. For that matter you can use any cut you want, but brisket is my fave.
About the pickling spices. You can buy them premixed or click here for a recipe for pickling spices that you can make yourself.
1) Find a container large enough to handle 1 gallon of brine and the meat (you can cut it into pieces as small as 2 pounds). It must be non-reactive (stainless steel, glass, porcelain, Corningware, or food safe plastic). It cannot be made of aluminum, copper, or cast iron, all of which can react with the salt. Do not use garbage bags or a garbage can or a bucket from Home Depot. They are not food grade. Do not use a styrofoam cooler. It might give the meat an off flavor and you’ll never get the cooler clean when you’re done. Food grade zipper bags or Reynolds Easy Brining Bag for Turkeys work fine. A reader, Reid Garner, says he lines a 5 gallon plastic bucket with a Large Reynolds Oven Bag. It fits perfectly and the bucket makes it easy to move the brine in and out.
2) To make the cure/brine, mix all the ingredients except the meat in 1 quart very hot water. Add 3 quarts very cold water.
3) Take the meat and remove as much fat as possible from the exterior unless you plan to use some of it for pastrami. Then leave a 1/8″ layer on one side. Because corned beef is cooked in simmering water, the fat just gets gummy and unappetizing. But if you plan to then make pastrami from it, you will be smoking the meat and in that case the fat gets succulent and lubricates the sandwich. I like to buy a full packer brisket and separate the point from the flat, and cut the flat in half when making corned beef or pastrami. That gives me 3 manageable hunks of 2 to 4 pounds each. If you leave the point attached to the flat beneath, it will be very thick and take longer to cure.
4) Add the meat to the brine. It will float, so put a plate or bowl or another non-metallic weight on top of the meat until it submerges. The meat will drink up brine so make sure there is enough to cover it by at least 1″ or else you’ll find the meat high and dry after a few days. Refrigerate. Let it swim for at least 5 days, longer if you wish, especially if the meat is more than 2″ thick. You will not likely need more than 7 days, but once it is well cured, it can stay in the brine for several weeks. I don’t know the limit, but I’ve left it in there for a month. Move the meat around so touching parts get exposed to brine for the first week, and then you can ignore it. When you are done, the exterior of the meat will be pale tan and if you cut into it, it should not look too different than normal raw meat, just a little pinker.
5) Now decide which path you want to follow. You can make traditional corned beef and cabbage boiled dinner, you can make corned beef hash, you can make Rockin Reuben Sandwiches, or turn it into Close to Katz’s Pastrami.