I used to think I was a pretty good cook - but then I hired chefs. It's amazing how one's perspective can change.
No, I really do alright in the kitchen. Some of it comes from years of "practice," but the most important reason is probably survival. I married a guy who loves good food and whose mother is an unbelievable cook, which is an understatement in itself. Self taught, she grew up in New Orleans where good food is worshiped like a god, but she is also a hardworking perfectionist who not only won 26 club championships and had 5 hole-in-ones but she devoured cookbooks - primarily Julia Child. This incredible lady is amazing (and by the way is also named Alice) and at 80+ still cooks a lot at home for her husband because it's just "so much better" than anywhere they can eat out.
Well, my favorite Sunday afternoon is to never leave the kitchen. I go from project to project, keep the kettle hot for refilling my tea, and turn on TCM for old movies to keep me company. Then I go to town at the stove.
This home recipe is a Sunday family favorite, what we call ”bruschelone," the family name for "Braciole", a Italian version of stuffed rolled beef. This is Alice (1)'s recipe and it is so basic you can personalize it with your own family favorites. At our house, of course I use a Wagyu flank steak (available at the Emporium in Roanoke) and with all of its incredible marbling, it cooks up beautifully.
At this time of year, I like to start with a very simple roasted tomato marinara using a boatload of tomatoes straight from the garden. I de-core and quarter them and put them in our huge iron skillet with some olive oil and jalapenos and roast them for about 4 hours at 425°. The length of time depends on how many tomatoes you're using and how fluid you want the marinara. I usually cook it down so it's a little thicker, and I add liquid later if I think it needs it. Once it cools I blend it. I use some for now and freeze the rest for later.
Here is Alice (1)'s recipe for Braciole. (I confess - I make it even simpler by using packaged Italian seasoned breadcrumbs but don't tell.) I don't know if my iPhone photography does this justice but the dinner wins kudos from a hungry husband and now (almost) holds its own to Alice (1)'s - but I'm fine with that.
Blog by Alice (2)
Addendum: In speaking with customers Jo & Dave - I have learned this is truly a Sunday recipe - favored on Sundays by families they have visited in Italy. Grazie!