Friday, May 22, 2015

A LEGAL LADIES LUNCH AT LA CUCINA


I think a routine has just been established.  Once a month Patience and three of co-workers from WRH&S arrive at La Cuccina Renzulli for a mid-day repast.  The first time they were here the ladies were smart enough to praise the meal and the cook with unabashed enthusiasm, and basking in their praise I would have said yes to twice weekly lunches.  Fortunately their request was a modest monthly lunch date.  As busy as I am, and I am a very busy man – busy, busy, busy – you would think this is a burden for me; it is not.  I quickly realized that here was an opportunity to enjoy pasta and sausage in the middle of the day, a pleasure shared by my guests.  I suppose I could serve something other than the food of the gods (at least my gods), and I probably will, but it won’t be easy.

Let my say that the fact that my wife’s coworkers are three lovely women has no bearing on any of this


For our first lunch we had the treat of all treats, Spaghetti with Sunday gravy made with sausage and Chicken.  This month we enjoyed Tortellini soup with white beans and sausage.


INGREDIENTS:

1.     Cheese filled Tortellini
2.     Great Northern beans (Cannellini or other white beans can be used)
3.     Italian sausage cut into bite size piece
4.     Beef broth
5.     Olive oil
6.     Butter
7.     Onion and garlic chopped
8.     Celery and carrots chopped
9.     Dry Basil and Oregano
10. Tomato paste- about 2 tablespoons
11. Salt and pepper
12. Red pepper flakes - optional
13. Grana Padana Cheese

PROCESS:

Brown the sausage in oil, remove and set aside.  In a large pot heat the olive oil and butter and add the garlic, onions, carrots, celery, and red pepper flakes, and cook until soft., about 4-5 minutes.  Add the sausage and the tomato paste and mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the beans, the broth, and the seasoning.  Cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes.  (Mine simmered for almost 2 hours.)
Bring the soup to a boil and add the tortellini, cooking as directed on the package.

Serve with grated cheese and fresh Ciabatta bread from Kirchhoff's.

COMMENTS:

Life sometimes makes tough demands on us.  Being the tiger that I am, I am willing to go that extra mile to meet those demands.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

CAPE MAY NJ 35 YEARS AGO

I spent a lot of time with my sketchbook and camera in Cape May in the late 1970s and early 80s.  My favorite place was the Back Harbor area, small and undeveloped and home to funky, interesting places.

Cafe Ole

Back Harbor Wharf

Lady Grace

They were exciting years for me.  Every drawing, every sketch was a new adventure, taking me one stop closer to a dream I was almost afraid to dream.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


5-5-15  Spaghetti w Leek, Zucchini, and Anchovies



This dish has its origins in Wisconsin.  During our week at the whippet nationals in Oconomowoc, our motor home, along with many others, was parked in the  resort hotels parking lot.  Within walking distance was a small strip mall with several stores, including a rather up-scale looking Good Will store which had a large used book section easily seen from the sidewalk.  Of course I had now choice, and went in to check it out.  Much to my delight there was a collection of cook books in which I found thee two oversized books, in great condition, priced at $1.75 each.


 The Pasta book had a recipe for the Leek-anchovy sauce which I found interesting.  I thought it could be improved with the addition of a little wine and tomato paste.  I also cooked the vegetables over high heat long enough for them to begin browning, giving a rustic flavor to the meal.

INGREDIENTS:
1.     Olive oil
2.     Garlic- pressed
3.     Anchovy fillets – 3- finely chopped
4.     Leek  white and light green part thinly sliced
5.     White wine
6.     Basil fresh or frozen
7.     Tomato paste – 1 tablespoon
8.     Salt and pepper
9.     Spaghetti

PROCESS:

Mix the garlic and chopped anchovies with 1 tablespoon of white wine, then cook in olive oil until the anchovies dissolve.  Add the Leek , Zucchini, salt and pepper, and Basil and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to brown.  Turn down the heat, add a splash of wine and the tomato paste, mixing thoroughly.

Add the pasta to the sauce, plus pasta water as needed.  Drizzle with olive oil and serve with grated Grana Padonna cheese.

COMMENTS:

I had a lot of misgivings about this…until I tasted it.  It turned out to be a winner.  I loved the rustic appearance and taste, the combination of Leek and Zucchini with the Anchovy base is incredible.

NOTE – for all Anchovy haters – they add a richness to the flavor without an Anchovy taste.  Patience always tells me not to tell our guests when I use Anchovies in this way.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Shadow Boxes THE I&O GLASS WORKS

In the few years prior to our move to Paducah, I began creating shadow box constructions, an understandable extension of my interest in model railroading.  I ended up making 12  boxes over a period of 4-5 years. As expected, several were based on railroad themes, and many of them were whimsical in nature.  Today I am posting the first of a series  devoted to celebrating the American entrepreneurial spirit.

 I & O Glass works 

The Insufferable and Obnoxious Glass Works is one of my favorites, and to fully appreciate it you have to read the signage.  It measures approximately 20x26x4", has an open front, and has a light behind the valance.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

BEHIND PADUCAH

"By their backsides you will know them."  Someone, somewhere, at some time must have said something like this