Where do I begin?

I mentioned in my previous post, that I have decided to write a cook book. Why not, right? I’m currently unemployed and have lots of free time. I LOVE cooking and am good at it. So where do I begin?

Last Thursday I had my mom over for dinner. She loved the Pasta with Pepperoni! I told her of my interest in writing a cook book. She thought it was a good idea and said I should reach out to my cousin (a few times removed) Bob. Bob has written a number of books and they have been published. I also learn that he is not the only published writer in my family. So apparently its in my genes to do this. Besides the fact that I share a birthday with Julia Child. I have writing in my genes. Thank goodness my mom’s cooking isn’t in my genes (hi mom).

First thing Friday morning I emailed my cousin Bob. Letting him know what my plans are for writing a cook book, what his thoughts were, advice he had and of course… where do I begin? Bob wrote me back right away with lots of wonderful advice. He highly suggested that I purchase the most recent edition of the Writer’s Market. It lists publishing companies, informs you how to write queries and much more.

Lucky for me, I was already heading to the mall Saturday to try on a pair of Kenneth Cole 925 shoes. Rumor was that they are the most comfortable shoes in the world, and everyone believes what they see on Good Morning America. Needless to say, the shoes fit horribly. The salesman said oh they stretch out and then they are really comfortable. Ok, no thank you. I ran over to Barnes & Noble and picked up the 2010 edition of the Writer’s Market so I can begin this project.

I’m very excited to begin. I have lots of ideas already and have been compiling some information already. Haven’t started the book yet though. I reached out to a number of publishing companies and magazines inquiring about who I can contact to pitch a cook book idea to, as well as any freelance editor of contributing writer positions. I received a few responses. Sent out a few resumes. Plus I received some detailed information for what to do once I have gotten a bit further with my book.

I’m very excited about my project and hope you will stay with me along the way.

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Pepperoni Marinara Sauce

Everyone has their own spin on a marinara sauce. It’s all about what your preference is. I prefer pepperoni in mine. It adds a nice spicy kick to the sauce plus the pepperoni is just tasty. My recipe is based loosely off my mother-in-law’s recipe.

Here’s the dish:

olive oil

2-3 garlic cloves

28 oz. tomato puree (I prefer Tuttorosso)

pepperoni stick

Italian seasoning to taste

oregano to taste

crushed red pepper flakes to taste

salt & pepper to taste

I start off with a hot pan and drizzle some olive oil in it. I then mince the garlic and let it brown a bit in the pan. I cut up the pepperoni stick in chunks and add it to the pan. Let the pepperoni brown up but be careful not to burn the garlic. Add your tomato puree and seasonings and stir. Cook on low heat for at least 2 hours.

Before your ready to eat, cook your pasta according to the directions on the box.

Nick is making me mention this:

I always keep the can of tomato puree near the stove filled halfway with water and keep my spoon in it. Nick’s mother does this, his nana did it, everyone has done it. Neither one of us has any idea what the reasoning behind it is. However, I will continue to do it. If you know the reason, let me know.

Enjoy!

Julie, Julia & Katie

I’m inspired!

Last night Nick and I went to see Julie & Julia and might I say what a movie. As you may know, my birthday just passed (August 14th) and Nick mentioned around that time that Julia Child and I share a birthday. Jokingly I said “that explains a lot”. But it really does. Sitting in the theatre with my popcorn and various candies of sorts I realized, my life really mimics that of both Julie & Julia in the film. Everything from the love of cooking to the relationship with my husband.

I walked away from the theatre thinking 2 things. 1 – I should wear pearls more often. They are so classy. And 2 – I should write a cook book. I can’t share everything with you, because then nothing would be a surprise, but I have lots of ideas already. I even emailed a few publishers today. So if you know anyone in the industry, let me know. Or if you have any recipes you’d like to share with me, please feel free to contact me.

I’m so excited about my new venture. Not only is it something I’m passionate about, but it will keep me occupied until I find full time employment. (Sidebar: I have a promising interview next week.)

Beef Brisket with BBQ Sauce

I thought for sure I had blogged about this before but apparently I haven’t. I absolutely love my Better Homes & Garden Cookbook!

This is not the first nor will it be the last time I make the Beef Brisket recipe from this book. Not only is it so easy, it is very tasty. Plus, it tastes even better the next day. You can make this dish and pair it with a side or we like to put it on potato rolls and eat it as a sandwich.

I follow everything in this recipe to a tee except for the cayenne pepper. Who doesn’t love a crock pot? Enjoy!

http://www.bhg.com/recipe/beef/beef-brisket-with-barbecue-sauce/

Puttanesca Pasta

Recently I bought Luigi Vitelli Tomato Puree and there was a recipe on the side for Puttanesca Pasta. So I made it last night for the first time and it was a success. Both Nick and I really enjoyed this meal and I paired it with Pillsbury Garlic Rolls. You can use any type of pasta you would like, I happened to use Rigatoni since that is what I had in my cupboard.

Here’s the dish on how to make it:

Serves 4

3 or 4 Garlic Cloves (smashed)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 can (28oz.) Luigi Vitelli Tomato Puree

2 Tblsp Capers

4 Tblsp Black coarsely chopped (Gaeta or Kalamata type preferred)

10 sprigs fresh parsley (minced)

salt to taste

crushed red pepper to taste

Saute garlic in olive oil until golden brown. Remove garlic. Add capers and black olives and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, parsley, salt and crushed red pepper and cook over a high flame for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I used 4 garlic cloves and used a jar of inexpensive kalamata olives. Don’t forget to remove the pits from the olives before you chop them. This is a very easy meal to make and very tasty. Enjoy!

In Love With Gnocchi Alfredo

Not only is this dish delightful on your pocket it is so incredibly delicious and easy to make. Tonight I made Gnocchi Alfredo for dinner. A recipe I got from the magazine Taste of Home. The magazine is filled with tons of great recipes, many of which are very affordable.

Both Nick and I loved this meal. Nick says its up there with my Garlic Fettuccine Alfredo and Chicken Cutlets. So I know it’s good.  I will say it is very filling so make sure you have lots of room in your belly.

Here’s the dish:

Prep Time: 20 mins.

Makes 5 servings

2 lbs. frozen potato gnocchi

3 Tbsps. butter

1 Tbsp., plus 1 1/2 tsp. flour

1 – 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Dash ground nutmeg

1/2 lb. sliced baby portabello mushrooms

Minced fresh parsley, optional

Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, melt 1 Tbsp. butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cool and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the stir in cheese and nutmeg until blended. Keep warm.

Drain gnocchi. In a large heavy skillet, cook remaining butter over medium heat until golden brown (do not burn). Add mushrooms and gnocchi. Cook and stir 4-5 minutes or until gnocchi are lightly browned and mushrooms are tender. Serve with sauce. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

Some addendum’s I made to the recipe… I used heavy cream instead of milk. Since we are not big fan of mushrooms, I did not use them. I also did not use parsley on the top of the pasta. I typically grate some extra cheese to put on top of the plated pasta. It did need a bit of salt and pepper as well as some extra cheese. I would leave that up to the individual because it is personal taste.

Let me know if you make this meal, I would love to hear your feedback.

Sausage and Peppers and Onions Oh My!

Tonight’s dinner is Nick’s moms recipe for sausage, peppers and onions. It was so easy to make and very tasty. Needless to say we ate ALL of it.

Ingredients:

Italian Sausage

1 Onion

1 Green Pepper

Olive Oil

Good Seasons Zesty Italian dry seasoning packet

Here’s what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 (or 400 depending on your oven). In one casserole dish place your sausages and fill it up about half way with water. I used Italian Chicken Sausages. Slice the onion and green pepper. In another casserole dish combine the onion and green pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and half a packet of Good Seasons Zesty Italian dry seasoning. Cook  side by side for 45 minutes.

When timer goes off take both dishes out. Place sausages on a plate and let cool for a few minutes. Add about half of the water that was in the sausage to the dish with the peppers and onions. Once the sausages are cool enough to touch, cut them into pieces. Put the pieces of sausage and the remainder of the Italian seasoning packet in with the peppers and onion. Stir it all up, making sure to scrap up any pieces stuck to the bottom of the dish. Put back in oven for another 30 minutes. Grab a Kaiser or Italian roll and ENJOY!

Unfortunately I did not make enough for any leftovers. Next time I will plan on using 2 packages of sausages, 2 peppers and 2 onions. This is also a great dish to make and carry in either a crock-pot or casserole dish and bring to a party. Who doesn’t love sausage, peppers and onions?