A bite of nostalgia in every mouthful!
Whether or not any family recipes actually are worthy of culinary accolades, family recipes are little bites of nostalgia, all tucked into a fat laden casserole or boozy fruitcake with way too many prunes. As a budding epicurean at the age of 2, my parents “go to” meal for us was….. breaded pan fried calf brains. Yes, calf brains. When my twin sister and I had developed enough vocabulary to inquire as to what was for dinner, ( and actually understand the response) my parents eventually told us, calf brains. You can imagine the response. Apparently we had been eating calf brains for our entire early life but for some reason, we decided it was inhumane and downright disgusting to feast on of the choicest parts of the baby bovine. All that aside, there were some stand out, “healthyish” family recipes that are most definitely worth of culinary accolades and seeing that we just celebrated my father’s passing with a grand feast complete with all his favorite go to’s. ( minus the calf brains! ) it seems fitting to include them in my blog.
Roasted Red Pepper breath bomb
Be sure that every guest at your party partakes of this so no one is left wondering who has the worst garlic breath and do a tooth check as the herbs like to sneak into the receding gums and spaces in people’s teeth. Breath Bomb = loaded with good garlic 🙂
Served with fresh crusty bread, sliced –
2 pounds red peppers- roasted, skin removed
( brush with oil, char under broiler until bubbly and skin is visibly charred, if the kitchen starts smelling like roasted red peppers, this an indication that they are ready to go- check every 2 min or so. Remove from oven, put into a bowl, cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap- check back after you prepare the other ingredients and the skins should slide right off. For some reason, this is a very satisfying task ensuring that your charring was perfectly executed)
2 cans anchovies – minced
10 cloves minced garlic
combination of garden herb bounty: parsley, marjoram, thyme, basil- all or just one-
1/2 cup really good olive oil
4 TBSP capers
Combine everything but peppers, pour over peppers that have been cut into strips, enjoy!
Papa Hamory’s World Famous Anchovy Pasta
Let’s face it, anchovies get a bad rap. One of the first questions I ask any guest who wants a caesar salad, anchovies or no anchovies? Some people are just downright squeamish at the sight of a hairy little salt bomb on their salad.
Loaded with umami and that certain “je ne sais quoi”, despite the little bones which lend to its slightly “hairy” texture, these melt away when crushed up with one anchovies favorite accompaniments- garlic. This simple pasta dish is made with only 5 ingredients and is one of our family’s absolute favorites. In fact for my daughter’s 10th birthday, my daughter’s ultra picky friend ( for whom we had equipped ourselves with some mac n cheese for) came to party with us and Anja had special ordered her favorite family dish, Anchovy Pasta. Little Anna ( Anja’s early childhood bestie) bravely sampled the dish and then even took seconds and thirds. The parents had to dine on the mac n cheese as we had assumed the kids wouldn’t touch the anchovy pasta.
2 cans anchovies, drain oil into dish, keep aside-
mince anchovies until completely pulverized (a fork and knife work perfectly on a cutting board after oil is completely drained off and reserved)
1 head or 15 good sized garlic cloves – minced ( a small food processor does the job well- not a paste, but diced so keep track of the texture if using machine)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 roma tomatoes, flesh diced, tomato gel reserved- insides discarded
1/2 cup freshly cut marjoram and/or basil
1 egg, beaten
1 pound linguine, spaghetti or rigati
cook pasta in salted water, when cooked to al dente, drain quickly and add 1 egg, quickly combining hot pasta with an egg to coat pasta.
Heat reserved oil from anchovies, add olive oil and garlic, cook until fragrant- careful not to burn. Add anchovy, with the back of a wooden spoon, combine garlic and anchovy. Lower heat and careful not to put too much heat. Remove from heat.
Combine hot egg coated pasta with oil, garlic anchovy mixture. Add freshly diced tomatoes and fresh herbs. Garnish with crushed red pepper and freshly grated Parmesan.