Family Recipes Cookbook

The cookbook I never got around to finishing…

Hot Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce 10/19/2013

Filed under: Karin DeArmas,Kayla DeArmas,Main Course,Stove Top — kdearmas @ 10:17 PM
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My mom cooked almost every single night. She was/is a really a good cook and thank god she did or I don’t know if I would have the habit of cooking as much as I do. Not everything was gourmet nor did it need to be. But I’ve evolved several of her standard recipes over time.

Thing is, back then, we didn’t have to obsess over high fructose corn syrup, gargantuan amounts of sugar and sodium, and god-knows-what-else was in our food. My mom could take ground beef and spaghetti sauce, season it up, pour over pasta, and it was a really good meal! A decade later it didn’t taste the same.

What did my mom do?

Ground beef, spaghetti sauce, all kinds of Italian seasonings to taste (oregano, basil, parsley, stuff like that).

What do I do now?

Ingredients (I’ve provided the minimum, though really it’s to your preference how meat or veggy; thick or thin you like your pasta sauce to be):

  • 4 Hot Italian sausages (pork or chicken sausage will work fine); you can cut them or just squeeze them out of their casings (I prefer the latter)
  • 2 cans canned tomatoes (so much better if you can yourself otherwise use organic canned tomatoes)
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • Sautéed sliced mushrooms, chopped onions, and chopped green and red peppers (about half a pepper of each); you really need the green and the sweeter red pepper though you can substitute orange or yellow for the red. There really is no substitute for the green.
  • ½ large onion
  • 2-4 garlic cloves per your taste for garlic (I love garlic so use 4)
  • 1 cerrano pepper, chopped finely (you don’t want to bite into a big piece of this pepper)
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Liberal use of Italian seasonings including oregano, basil, parsley, Italian seasoning mix
  • Other seasonings such as a bit of turmeric, thyme, and marjoram


  • Brown the sausage first, then add the mushrooms, onions, peppers, and garlic. Mash it all together to break up the sausage.
  • Add the canned tomatoes and let simmer until lightly boiling (do not over boil)
  • Add the brown sugar and do not let carmelize
  • Add the tomato paste to thicken to your preference.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add more canned tomatoes, canned tomato sauce, or water (though I think water thins it too much)
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Simmer until thick to your preference
  • Serve over pasta* with crusty bread (if you eat bread) and a side salad (my favorite salad dressing recipe to come)

*Any kind of pasta will do though I prefer capellini or fusilli.


Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon 09/30/2013

This is pretty much Julie Child’s Beef Bourguignon recipe. Which I love.  And would make more often if it weren’t so damned complicated to follow. Then one day I was making it and realized the recipe itself isn’t that complicated or difficult, just the way it’s written in the book is so damn hard to follow. Then I remember I’m dealing with Bitch Julie (who I love, but I hear her screeching voice in my head every time I get frustrated by one of her instructions). It’s not that she isn’t an amazing chef and provides detailed instructions. It’s that it’s so freaking hard to just extract one recipe from her book without having mastered all the previous ones. You have to flip back and forth and look stuff up. No wonder that crazy lady who wrote Julie & Julia is crazy.

So I decided to re-write the way the recipe is written and provide my instructions on how I make it less frustrating and confusing to make this. Because Beef Bourguignon is amazingly delicious and should be made more often. It’s also delicious as left overs so the time put into it usually guarantees you two additional nights of not having to cook. I am not trying to improve upon Ms. Julia in any way (how could I?) but only provide enough forethought should you decide to tackle this recipe. Oh, and remind myself what to do in 4-5 months when I try this again.

A few rules I follow:

  1. Don’t try this if you don’t have a dish washer. Unless you love washing dishes by hand. The only way to do this is to use lots and lots of dishes.
  2. Start with a clean kitchen and an empty dishwasher. You will need it.
  3. Prep all your ingredients in advance. ALL. Every garlic mashed, every tablespoon of flour put out in its own little bowl. Every onion and carrot sliced and put in their own bowls. Herb bag prepped ahead of time. Beef dried (do not forget to dry the beef or you will hear Bitch Julia screaming at you when it doesn’t brown like it’s supposed to). Butter sticks cut up in the right amounts for each step. Everything set out in neat little bowls ready to grab at just the right moment. Yeah, it uses a lot of dishes. Hence rule #1. But it will be so worth it.
  4. Clean up as you go! Normally I’m not like this. But in this case, take every bit of downtime in this recipe to clean up. Otherwise you will have a disaster of a kitchen just when you’re ready to pour that glass of wine and relax before the final steps of the recipe. Which ruins the mood of accomplishment you get when you make it through this recipe.

Cooking equipment you have to have:

  • A casserole (like a Le Creuset)
  • A skillet
  • A large sauce pan: you can use this for cooking broth, then cooking the bacon, then the sauce, then the potatoes (I make various variations on my smashed potatoes); there is enough time between each step to clean the sauce pan so you can reuse it
  • A colander or sieve (preferably one that fits nicely over the large saucepan)
  • A slotted spoon
  • A sharp chef’s knife

Cooking utensils it’s very very nice to have:

  • A fat skimmer
  • A garlic press
  • Lots and lots of bowls.

Other items of note:

  • Ingredients: Don’t skimp. You are not going to go through all of this only to use sub-standard ingredients. Go organic (or trusted local) and grass-fed sustainably farmed beef.
  • KNOW YOUR OVEN! The recipe says it will take 3-4 hours for the beef to cook. My oven does it in 2. It says simmer the onions for 40-50 minutes, my stovetop takes 30. Don’t just throw it in for the 3-4 hours. Check every hour for tenderness to gauge your oven.
  • “Healthy” substitutes: You’re on your own. This is French cooking so I don’t know why you’d try to find lower calorie ways to do it. Otherwise don’t try it IMO. This dish is one of your rewards for regular healthy habits. Trying to reduce the calories of a dish like this probably means you shouldn’t be trying it at all.

Time commitment: I like to make this on a cold and rainy day and I pretty much commit my day to it. But so you know, here is how the time commitment breakdown looks:

  • 1 ½ – 2 hours of prep time before you even start cooking anything.
  • 45 min – 1 hour of initial cook time
  • 1-2 hour (depending on your oven) break (hint, this is when you start the clean-up process)
  • 15 – 30 min of next stage cook time
  • 1-2 hour break time (more clean-up time)
  • 30 minutes finish time to bring to table

Where I’ve deviated from Ms. Julia without her voice screaming in my head and without dire results, I’ve noted with an asterisks and the reason below.

I’ve grouped the ingredient list by two ways here. One is by type which is how you’d make your grocery list. Then I followed by grouping ingredients in the order they are used in the recipe.

Meat Vegetables Staples Herbs/Spices
6 ounces bacon* 1 carrot, sliced 2 tablespoons flour Salt and pepper
3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes 1 onion, sliced 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil ½ teaspoon thyme
2 cloves mashed garlic 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy) A crumbled bay leaf
18 to 24 white onions, small* 4 cups brown beef stock* Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered 1 tablespoon tomato paste**
3 ½ tablespoons butter

Here’s how you’ll need the ingredients in order of the stages of the recipe:

Getting the casserole started Pearl Onions (or shallots) & Mushrooms Finishing the Sauce
6 ounces bacon* 18 to 24 white onions, small* ½ cup stock if needed
3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes 1 ½ tablespoons butter (for onions) Salt and pepper
1 carrot, sliced ½ tablespoons oil (for onions)
1 onion, sliced ½ cup of stock
1 tablespoon olive oil Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)*
Salt/pepper 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered*
2 tablespoons flour 2 tablespoons oil (for mushrooms)
2 tablespoons butter (for mushrooms)
3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
2 ½ to 3 ½ cups brown beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste**
2 cloves mashed garlic
½ teaspoon thyme
A crumbled bay leaf

Getting the casserole started

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Remove bacon rind (see below about bacon substitution)* Cut bacon into sticks 1 ½ inches long. Simmer bacon for 10 minutes in 1 ½ quarts water. Drain and dry.
  3. Sauté bacon in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
  4. Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat bacon fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon on the side.
  5. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.*
  6. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole with the onions and carrots and toss with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  7. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.
  8. Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).
  9. Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
  10. Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.
  11. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind (see *1). Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.
  12. Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours (KNOW YOUR OVEN!). The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

Pearl Onions (or shallots) & Mushrooms (While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms; I do this in the second hour of the beef cooking; if you’re oven actually takes the 3-4 hours, I recommend doing this in the 3rd hour)

  1. Heat 1 ½ tablespoons butter with one and ½ tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.
  2. Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.
  3. Add ½ cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.
  4. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.
  5. Wipe out skillet and heat 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.
  6. Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

Finishing the Sauce & Casserole:

  • When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve or colander set over a saucepan.
  • Wash out the casserole and return the beef, bacon, and onions/carrots to it. Distribute the cooked pearl onions (or shallots) and mushrooms on top.
  • Skim fat off sauce in saucepan (this is where a fat skimmer really comes in handy; otherwise use a spoon but it’s not as easy).
  • Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises (I actually do it for longer than 2 minutes but I like a slightly thicker sauce). You should have about 2 ½ cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

– If too thin, boil it down rapidly.

–  If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock (this is why you keep about a ¼ – ½ cup stock in reserve).

– Taste carefully for seasoning.

  • Pour sauce over meat and vegetables.
  • Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.

Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes (recipe and link to follow), noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

Substitutions and Comments:

­   *1: Original recipe calls for “One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon” but I don’t generally have chunks of bacon in my fridge. I don’t think I’ve had catastrophic results just using 6 ounces of cut up bacon.

­   *2:  I have used pearl onions when available, which is what the recipe calls for. When I can’t get pearl onions, I have substituted shallots. I’ve had French people not notice the difference or even prefer the shallots.

­   *3: Seriously, you want to throw out delicious bacon fat? There’s a step later about skimming fat that’s perfectly appropriate but throwing out delicious bacon fat at this stage is heathen and you should be shot.

­   *4: If you make your own beef stock, great! If not, I recommend Better than Bouillon.

­   *5: I keep these handy for homemade tea and herb pouches. Reusable and washable.

­   *6: For mushrooms I personally like shitakes. But crimini are perfectly fine, too.

**Recipes like these that call for a single tablespoon of tomato paste are so annoying because then you have to open a whole can of tomato paste for only one tablespoon then figure out how to use the rest of it within a week or so before it goes bad. I plan on making a pasta sauce within three days to use up the rest of the tomato paste.


Zucchini Tian 07/31/2012

Filed under: Adrienne DeArmas,Fall,Main Course,One Dish Meals,Oven,Sides,Summer — dearmasa @ 9:35 AM

© 2010, Martha Rose Schulman.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Total time: 60 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

From the July 31, 2010 Splendid Table).

This is a classic Provençal gratin, one of my favorite dishes from the region. It’s bound with rice and egg, it’s great cold or hot, and if you have more summer squash than you know what to do with, look no further.


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 to 3 large garlic cloves, to taste, minced

2 pounds zucchini or other summer squash, cut in 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme

1/2 cup Arborio rice, cooked

2 eggs

3 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (3/4 cup)

1/4 cup breadcrumbs (fresh or dry)


1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Oil a 2-quart gratin dish.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir together for about 30 seconds, until it begins to smell fragrant, and stir in the squash. Cook, stirring often, until the squash is translucent but not mushy, 5 to 10 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the thyme and rice, and remove from the heat.

3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Beat in 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cheese. Stir in the zucchini mixture and combine well. Scrape into the gratin dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top. Drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is browned and the gratin is sizzling. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.


Farro with Greens, Carmelized Onions and Vegetarian Chorizo 06/03/2012

Makes 3 servings as a meal, more when served as a side dish


1 cup farro (rinse and soak for 20 minutes)

2 cups kale and beet greens (and stalks), chopped

1/2 onion, diced

4 tablespoons garlic

2 cups vegetarian stock (I use Better than Bullion)

1 cup crumbled chorizo flavored tofu “sausage”

3-4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

splashes white wine

  1. Place farro in a bowl and rinse with cool water, allowing farro to rest for 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Turn on teapot for boiling water if using bullion for vegetarian stock. If using homemade stock, put two cups in a pot and heat, but don’t boil. The stock will need to be warm when you add it to the rest of the ingredients. If making bullion, make sure the stock is still hot before adding.
  3. Prepare vegetables: dice the onion, press the garlic (if not using prepared), wash and chop the greens and stems.
  4. in a 3 quart pot with a lid, add half the olive oil and heat on med-low. Add diced onion and carmelize, approximately 10-15 minutes. Add garlic (more or less as desired). Stir as needed. When the onions are soft and the garlic is starting to stick to the pan, add a splash of wine to deglaze. Add the greens and stir until greens are bright green.
  5. In a separate frying pan (just after you added the greens to your pot), add remaining olive oil, heat on med-high, and add crumbled “chorizo” tofu. Fry until crispy on the edges, but don’t burn. Your greens should be bright green now.
  6. Add “chorizo” to the greens mixture in the pot and stir. Drain the farro, shaking off any excess water. Turn up the heat to med-high, and add the farro. Stir until well mixed. Add the vegetable stock and stir until the water starts to boil around the edges. You shouldn’t need to add salt, but I did add some ground pepper before reducing the heat to low and covering the pot. Cook, covered, for 20-25 minutes. When done cooking, stir and serve. Depending on your stove and your interpretation of low, you might need to increase or reduce the cook time, but it’s done when the liquid is absorbed by the farro. Enjoy!

TradeWinds Coconut Meatballs & Curry Rice 07/18/2011

Filed under: Adrienne DeArmas,Main Course,One Dish Meals,Stove Top — dearmasa @ 2:21 PM

Coconut Meatballs & Curry Rice Serves 10-12

4 lbs Ground beef
1 1/3 cup unsweetened grated coconut (sweet is ok too)
6 tbls (90ml) soy sauce
4 eggs
3 tsp salt
3 tsp pepper
3 tsp curry powder
2 tsp sambal oelek ( if unavailable use 1 tsp thai red curry paste)

1 beer (un-chilled)
1/2 (125ml) cup water
2 tbls Gravy mix (1 sachet)
¼ cup butter Pre heat oven to 400f/200c

Fry meatballs in large fry pan in the butter until browned, transfer meatballs to large pyrex in oven, when all meatballs are in the oven, in the same frying pan add gravy mix/water and the beer, cook until thickened slightly, pour over meatballs bake meatballs and gravy until the meatballs have completely cooked.

3-1/2 (52ml) tbls olive oil
1 large onion
5 tsp curry
2 tsp sambal oelek (if unavailable use 1 tsp thai red curry paste)
1-1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tbls pepper
2 cups rice
4 cups (1 ltr) water

Meanwhile to prepare the rice, chop the onion and sauté. Try not to get them brown but keep them glossy.
Add the spices and rice.
Stir carefully over medium heat, about 3 minutes.
Add the water. Stir once thoroughly and let it simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and leave covered until serving.

Serve molded rice, meatballs and gravy on platters


Vegetarian Option:

Take a can of black beans drained and reserve the juice. 1/4 cup shredded coconut (sweet is ok but I used unsweetened)

2 TBSP soy sauce

Maybe some olives maybe a bit of humus

1/4 cup flour( maybe more, check consistency)

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp curry powder (I used yellow but use whatever you have)

2 tsp Sambal Olek ( or something spicy)

2 TBSP oil

Add more flour breadcrumbs or oils as neccesary, should be able to make balls that don’t flatten when you set them down. Mine were still a little sticky when I was done. I refrigerated for a few hours to firm them up but you don’t have to, then fry in a pan.


“I Fall to Pieces” Beef Stew 11/25/2010


Serves 4


Beef Stew:


3 pounds Chuck roast, cubed

2 beef shank with marrow

2-3 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes

1/2 cup bacon, cubed

1/4 cup carrots, brunoise

1/4 cup celery, brunoise

1/2 cup onions, bruinoise

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons flour

6-8 cippolini onions, peeled, halved

1 cup carrots, large chunks

2 sprigs thyme

1 bay leaf

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1.1/2 cups beef stock

3-4 cups red wine (dry)


1. Pat meat dry and season generously with salt, pepper and korean red pepper flakes, try not to weep as meat must be dry in order to brown properly

2. Fry bacon cubes till crisp, remove, pour off half the fat set aside, resist the urge to do a shot of bacon fat with bacon bits, it will do you no good.

3. Brown meat in bacon fat, do this in batches, you don’t want to crowd the meat, it needs space (sob), set the browned meat in a bowl so to catch any juices

4. Pour off a bit of the beef fat and add mirepoix (carrots,celery. onion), bay leaf & thyme, season with salt & pepper and sweat

5. Add tomato paste, push the mirepoix off to the side of the pan and make a little solo area for the tomato paste, push and prod it a bit till it starts to turn rusty in color, when that happens mix it all up together

6. Sprinkle flour over the veg and stir that a bit to cook the flour

7. Add in carrot chunks, cippolini onions and any bacon bits left over from your constant snacking. Stir that in as well

8. Pour a small bit of the beef stock in to the pan, just enough to get all the fond, really get in deep to get to the bottom of it all

9. Add beef chunks along with all of the juice that may have seeped out

10. Add remaining beef stock and whatever wine you have not guzzled along side the bits of bacon.

11. Cover, put on back burner and let it stew, simmer for about 3 hours..on low. Go out and get your nails done or go to best friends house, do something constructive, do not stare at it willing it to be done whilst drinking more wine or eating bacon.

12. It will be done when the meat is soft and welcoming, the marrow has oozed from the bones and the onions have disintegrated in to gooey sweet bits.

13. If you’ve got it in you.. this would be wonderful with buttery mashed potatoes…though you could add a few cube potatoes in about 2 hours in to the cooking time if you like.


Parsley Lemon Horseradish Gremolata:


1 cup chopped parsely

2 tablespoons lemon zest

1 tiny garlic clove, smashed to pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon korean red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons fresh grated horseradish

squeeze, lemon juice

fleur du sel


1. Combine everything but the fleur du sel.

2. Sprinkle a bit over bowl of warm stew, add flurry of fleur du sel..relax enjoy…


MaryAnne Golon’s Perfect Turkey & Stuffing

Filed under: Adrienne DeArmas,Main Course,Oven,Stove Top — dearmasa @ 8:29 PM

Stuffing Recipe

21 ounces of herb seasoned stuffing mix
1 1/2 cup of all natural chicken bouillon or homemade seasoned chicken stock
melt 1/2 lb of butter and set aside in a small bowl
2 ounces of mild sausage (optional) cooked and broken into small pieces
Two large stalks of celery minced
1 turkey liver cut into small pieces
A tsp. each of salt, black, and red pepper

Saute in a frying pan until soft the following:
3/4 to 1 cup of finely minced onion
2 heaping teaspoons of finely minced garlic
3 tablespoons of butter

Remove that mixture from the pan and place in a large mixing bowl that you already have the loose stuffing, spices, and celery in.

Saute (in more butter) at least the equivalent of 4-6 ounces of thinly sliced mushrooms until very soft.

Add mushrooms to the large mixing bowl. Add 1 very well beaten egg.

In a food processor or blender, mix the 1 1/2 cups of chicken bouillon with the turkey liver.
Add that mixture to the large bowl, then the melted butter, and mix thoroughly with your (clean) hands!

The turkey:

Wash thoroughly and pat dry with paper towel inside and out.  Cover all exposed skin with a light coat of salt, pepper (and red pepper if you like the tangy taste)
Stuff the cavity with the finished stuffing mix described above. It will be overflowing, but stuff it packed.  If you have extra, put it in a small casserole dish and cook it alone for at least an hour at 350 degrees towards the end of the turkey cooking time.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the stuffed turkey in the oven with a thermometer placed as deep as you can inside the stuffing and be sure not to touch a bone on the inside of the turkey as that will throw off the thermometer…
Bake for two and a half hours covered either with a lid or with tin foil.
Then uncover the turkey and baste the breast and skin every 20 to 30 minutes with the juice from the bottom of the pan for the duration of the cooking time.

The cooking time is 20 minutes per pound of turkey or when the thermometer reaches 165 degrees.

If the skin starts to get too brown before you are near the end of the cooking time, you can recover the bird.  It seals the juice inside.