Recipes and the stories around them: some are family generated and modified throughout the generations, others are taken and modified from recipe books, magazines and cooking classes I have taken. All of them come with a related story and user friendly instruction. Most of all, they all come from a passion for great food that uses fresh, mostly healthy ingredients, and a love for the people that they serve.
Several months ago, my father was diagnosed with cancer and life as I had known it was drastically changed. Memorial Sloan Kettering has saved his life and, thankfully, we just celebrated his 80th birthday.The pain and desparation of the experience prevented me from cooking and celebrating or giving any of you a laugh with the anecdotes of my life and the recipes that made those occasions infamous in this blog. It's been a tough struggle and an extremely difficult few months but I am happy to say that I'm back!
So here's what's been going on:
My youngest daughter, Noelle, got engaged in November and I threw the newly betrothed couple a party in January with all homemade hors d'oevres. Dad was on the mend at that time so the bash was a perfect way to purge. My next blog is dedicated to that joyous event so stay tuned.
Ryan turned 1 and though I didn't cook anything exotic for that celebration, Noelle made Elmo and Cookie Monster cupcakes and it was a memorable day. Check this out!
I decided it is time to pursue the direction in my life that I have always loved: catering. I'm starting off small with my sauces, my brother's stromboli's and Noelle's cupcakes and I've got a name - da casa mia - from my house, or "homemade" in other words. What my brand has that others don't is purity in the ingredients I use, the individual touch put into each item and the sincere dedication to the providing foodies and busy working folks alike with the best tasting foods they will spend their hard earned money on. The website is currently under construction, the packaging is at the printer's and the tastings will hopefully be on the horizon at local delicatessans and specialty food stores.
Dedication to high quality is probably the most important ingredient so to prove to myself that my sauce would be considered as such so I could prove it to you, I purchased a jar of Bolognese Sauce, one of 6 that I will be marketing, from the culinary mecca, Williams Sonoma. The packaging was great and the label boasted of the high quality of the beef used, the nutritional facts, and the methods for refrigerating or freezing the unused portions. Everything about the product seemed pretty authentic so I paid my $16.95 (wow!) with the intention of buying and sampling the other "authentic" sauces like alfredo, all'amatriciana, tomato basil and carbonara and cracked open the jar last week. The smell alone belied the purity and authenticity of its label - the taste pretty much like what I expected a jarred sauce to taste like, although I am a virgin bottled sauce eater: chemicalily, acidy, metallic. Not a taste I am used to, not one I would attach my name to, and certainly not one I would expect my friends to buy. Dedication to high quality from a high end shop like Sonoma's isn't pure folks.
Save your money for the da casa mia sauces! Oh hell, make them yourself - you have the recipes!