Spaghetti Supper pasta sauce

10 Nov

Fifty years ago today, my grandmother, Antoinette Reardon, started a fundraiser at our grade school called the Spaghetti Supper. She made a pot of our family recipe red sauce and fed a roomful of people who had donated money. (That actually describes my childhood, but without the donation part.)  The fundraiser made us feel like famous people in our tiny town of Crown Point, Ind., and people still talk of my grandma in these revered tones and marvel at how great the food was. So in honor of her, my mom, Maureen, cooked a big batch of sauce for her store Dunning’s Market before heading over to the supper with her brothers and sisters. By the way, mom is one of 11.

Here’s my mom’s take on the sauce, from her own mouth:

In honor of the 50th anniversary of St.Marys Spaghetti Supper (which my mom started) I made “quick” spaghetti. It makes about 8 quarts, cut it in half if you want less.
Here is what you will need:

2 pounds ground chuck
1 pound chunk of pork (pork shoulder)
2 cups fine  grated picorino romano cheese
2 small onions diced
8 cloves garlic chopped
1 cup fine chopped flat parsley
3 cans imported tomato puree (2.2 pounds)
1 can imported whole tomato (2.2 pounds)
1 cup fresh basil leaves (stack on one another and roll then slice”chiffionad”)
1 tsp sea salt (fine)
olive oil (extra virgin)
heat pan with 3-4tbsp oil and sautee onions until transluscent
push to the side and add pork ..brown on all sides.
add chuck and garlic and brown thru
add parsley and basil
add tomatos(crush whole tomatos with hands )
add 1 1/2 cup water
add salt
bring to boil the turn down to low simmer and cook for 4 hours stirring frequently.
stir in one cup grated cheese reserve the rest for the table
cook pasta of your choice (we like a small penne or thin spaghetti) drain and
top with sauce and serve
be sure the onions are translucent. if not they will taste burnt and you can taste them in the sauce
and then you will have to start all over. That is what happened to me today but since I was making it for my sibilings I was certian they would be able to taste it and totally call me out.  I could not take that chance of family humiliation so…..I made the recipie twice!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

6 Nov

O.K. I know this site is technically about my mom’s cooking advice, but when you need baking help, the truth is, it’s really my grandma – my dad’s mom – who knows best. Mom’s side of the family is more about cooking from your gut, grandma likes specifics. The woman is a baking genius, and she has piles and piles of recipes she’s collected and perfected. Her Christmas cookies are legendary, just wait for those.

So anyway, here we are: I needed a recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies, and I called her. She dug around, called me back and said: “Now, these are really, really good. There are  few simpler recipes I pulled out in case, but these are the ones I always make.” I jotted down a few notes and behold! Grandma Long’s oatmeal raisin cookies.

What you will need:

Oven on to 375 degrees

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup regular sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg ground

3 cups uncooked oats

1 cup raisins

Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, the sugar, butter, egg and vanilla in the other.

Combine them and add the raisins.

Bake for 8-9 minutes for chewier cookies

Bake 10-11 for crispier cookies

FYI, my grandma likes chewier cookies.


Hello world!

4 Nov

I call my mom almost every week to ask her how to cook something, and whether it’s hot chocolate or stew or scallops she always knows. Maureen, that’s my mom, owns a food store on the south side of Chicago. But more, we come from a family who knows how to eat. We talk about it all all the time, we cherish it,we relish it. We have recipes handed down generation to generation, from her great grandmother and down on to me.

The other day as I was dialing the phone to ask mom whether I could use white wine instead of red to braise beef, (the answer is yes, but also throw in a little balsamic vinegar) I started to wonder whether other daughters and moms did this too, in this time where it a lot of women my age don’t knowhow to cook. Or they consider it a hassle and not a thrill.

At any rate, the blog was born. I’ll be listing the things I call mom for and then adding the recipes as I go, and I’d love to hear from anyone who does this as well. What do you make? What do you love that your mom makes?