Making Umberto's Gravy and 38 days till Cooking Kick Off

I am one lucky camper (expression only, I HATE camping) But lucky because several years ago I attended Umberto Menghi's cooking school ,Villa Delia in Tuscany. Had a smashing time.And ever since,his cookbook,Umberto's Kitchen/The Flavors of Tuscany has played a starring role in my menus and dinner parties.

Well,tonight was the night to get out that well worn book. The target:Salsa di Carne ( Meat Sauce or..... Gravy, as Tony and his crowd called it on the Sopranos) Page 148. But back to "lucky". Because Bacon Boy to the rescue. Seems I now have this new addiction. Its called "Twitter". Bacon Boy sez that I'm having an affair. With Twitter.

Recipe supplies are on the counter in my kitchen. But I'm nowhere to be found. Since gently typing away on a keyboard makes little sound. But takes an inordinate amount of time,apparently. Because when I emerged from my office Bacon Boy stood smiling in the kitchen,gravy cooked to perfection and waiting for my doctoring....the gravy was waiting for it,that is. Not Bacon Boy....(we're not going THERE)

Twitter might be my new best friend . But Bacon Boy is partner o'perfection.

Doctor Saucy's bedside manner was applied to Umberto's recipe. It went like this.( Hope you don't mind,Umberto). 3/4's of the cooked sauce gets blended up in the blender. And then mixed back into the chunky sauce. Presto.Lovely consistency. Then about 1/2 cup of cream is added and mixed through. Taste it just in case another 1/4 cup or less of the cream is required.The "patient " is pronounced "cured ".

BB and I munched it down with lots of parmesan, some dried chillies and perfectly cooked tagliatelle. An arugula salad and garlic bread rounded things out. Oh. And a fantastic Amarone.........

Pssst "Also a few squares of Lindt milk chocolate for dessert" adds B.B. (Shhhh)


A fellow tweeter on Twitter tonight called it "Mastering the Art of Magazine Cooking". I love it!

This Tuesday Babette, Ace, Gary and all their partners join Bacon Boy and myself at my cottage for a little group retreat and pre-October 1st "rah rah" session. Also attending will be another indispensable friend to the group known to us as Meister.

What WILL we cook? Will we change any of our plans for our cook-a-thon October 1 launch date? Will we add anything new? Stay tuned for my next update

Hugs from SAUCY

P.S. Did I mention that I love Twitter?

Rhubarb Custard Pie

Flash. This is a gem. My good friend pieinthesky makes the best rhubarb custard pie on the planet. Maybe the universe. Please, please p-i-t-sky girl , click the "comments" word below this entry and give us your recipe. Plus tell us how to make the crust. Our growing list of readers thanks you!!!


Another LOBSTER Tale....

With a month and 20 days to go before project GOURMET magazine recipe start date , things are already starting to cook..... However the dream team members remain calm.... they don't REALLY know what they are in for come Oct 1......

None of the core four have yet decided to revise their "names ". Except Ace. And he just wants me to clarify that Ace is only short for his full name : "Aceson". Seems that the day his birth certificate was filled out , the registry clerk, a well known "alky" in the small town where Ace was born ........ Well, the clerk meant to write "Jason" for Ace's birth name. But it was high noon when little Ace poked his head into this world and that clerk had already worked her way through a pint and a half of straight lemon gin , so "Aceson" became his name of record. ( Ace's mammie and pappie knew the clerk ,felt sorry for her ( she'd had a tough life married to "Dink" Liscomes for all those years) so they let the spelling mistake stand)....

And that brings up the next point. Quickly we are assembling a "cast of characters". A medley of recipe testing comrades. A group, ready to volunteer to assist in dividing up the calorie consumption task. A gaggle of devoted friends , up for eating as required . A fabulous bunch. Look out for them (and other to be "named" folks) in the "comment" section of the blog. And/or in the "followers " list.

A few introductions. A regular group of recipe testing participants will be owners of some of the unique businesses located downstairs in Saucy's ( remember, that's me) condo building. One charming group of unique businesswomen will be known in this blog as the "Fixlets" . Another dynamite woman who surely must have a PhD in her craft will be known as the "Russian".

Then there's the lovely group of 3 dear friends gathered at my table tonight for grilled seafood and caesar salad . " My Sweeties...ya might a loved the shrimp,salmon and scallops cause,yeah...( say it like Bret)..."yeah"... Bacon Boy did an absolute A1 job at the BBQ. But wait till you see the GOURMET delights comin your way starting in October...." This dynamic group of three , now looking forward to those culinary treats, will include the one,the only "Doctor Sam Spade ; the lovely and talented "ACE girl "( name not to be confused with Ace boy of Aceson) and the other one and only " Beer Can Man".

And here's a challenge to my illustrious three amigos sitting at my dinner table on Sunday night. You know who you are... Heartily chowing down on juicy spiced ribs and chicken. What will your names be as you comment on the blog? As you help test various treats from the 12 Gourmet magazine recipes?
Please put a comment on the site with your nom de plume and identify yourself from Sunday August 9th. Can't wait to hear from you. Can't wait to see you soon at another dining extravaganza!!!

Wow. This is gearing up to be a lot of fun. Involving a ton of people!

O.K. Its getting late. But first....a lobster tale ( snort!...pardon the pun) before I sign off for the night.

So. I got these 9 friends coming for dinner on August 1. And I'm hosting and preparing the feast in a town NOT KNOWN FOR LOBSTER. So I'm sayin...... " Self....go down to that famous farmer's market and talk to that guy born on the Eastern Seaboard who now sells fish to the city folk and get him to cook lobsters at his store for your dinner party. ( they stink way too much when you cook 'em at home) Then put those orange bugs in your fridge until you serve 'em up that night with some of the best fixins ever."

So I did.

I made grandma's potato salad. ( I roasted in a 450F oven, mini baby reds and chopped the cooled tators in half. I mixed 'em with finely mashed hard boiled egg( 4 cups potato to 4 mashed eggs). I added 1/2 lb chopped fried,drained smoked bacon, 2/3 cup minced celery,1/4 cup very tiny red onion pieces, full fat Hellmans mayo to taste and appearance(Yeah....I like that full fat stuff) ; then mix 'er all up with s&p to taste, a bit of lemon zest and finely snipped chives sprinkled on top ). Done. Presto. A hit with every crowd.

Then I roasted green beans and drizzled those little suckers,now at room temp, arranged on a platter ,with Thai red chili sauce diluted with some white wine. I created a tray of sliced field tomatoes with mozzarella di bufala campana, fresh basil and 10 year old balsamic. I roasted asparagus and topped them with some lemon and minced avocado. I had three kinds of homemade breads including corn bread. I provided salmon for non lobster lovers. I made dipping sauces in addition to melted butter for the lobster including chipotle mayo,wasabi mayo, curry mayo and seafood sauce. Dessert was decadent,way too much( I have that habit) and l8r. Same with the appies except they were sooner....

The table was country supper chic. The guests were salivating. The music was C&W at its best with a little Budda Bar to mix it up. The trough of lobsters was presented to the diners. We sat down. We passed the bowls. We started to crack open those delicious critters. Mass anticipation. First , snap off the tail.... But....what's wrong...?? What's this....... O-M-##*%-G........That grey stuff is supposed to be.....curdled.......not runny like !!!!........E--YEWWWW......Those lobsters might be orange on the outside but they are TOTALLY RAW on the inside. O-M-G.

So we ate vegetarian that night. Except for the salmon people. ( There were 2 of them and no, we did NOT steal salmon from their plates....I think we were in the midst of raw lobster shock....the green tamale stuff was "day glo, runny ,raw,green slikquid "....) And it was too late to order in the Colonel....

So I ask you dear this a preview of "what's to come....?" Naw.......

That's, that's all folks.....for now

Big hugs from

P.S. Guests from August 1. Please , create a name and join up with comments and followers. The more the merrier. And yes, the fish market was most apologetic and gave me a refund ! Thanks for being at my table. There WILL BE a rerun! Of cooked lobsters,I mean......


How IT ALL Began....

Inspirations are a gift. They come my way like Christmas presents. Regularly from various sources..... books, magazines, television programs, movies , something a friend says.... you name it . And not only am I inspired , I act on these motivations.... often , or as much as I can, or when appropriate....

Well, its happened again. And during a time when I least expected it. But then I never REALLY expect it.....

So I am reading Vanity Fair; the recent one with Heath Ledger's picture on the cover. I come across the article about Julia Child. Fascinating. Of course, I do LOVE to cook.....

Then a day or so later I am reading a book of short stories" Secret Ingredients" written by a bunch of food writers from the New Yorker . There it is again. This time a piece written by the kitchen wizard herself, Julia Child. ( I'm using the word "wizard".... the "feminine" version of this noun is totally inappropriate!) I'm loving her writing and the article. But that's that.... nothing more yet.

Next I'm grabbing a bottle of water at the Toronto airport en route to Paris. Books surrounding me in the store. My eyes settle on one. Julie and Julia. Meryl Streep on the cover. Hmmmm. What's that? I buy it on impulse.

OMG. I'm hooked. I can't put it down. "Sit back. Enjoy business class " says Bacon Boy. "Can't ,reading...", sez me. And that's how it all began.....

I didn't stop till I finished the book. I loved it. The whole idea of it. The cooking. The blog. The fun of it. The hassles. The tears and the laughs. And I wanted to do it myself. Because I was( am) fully caught up in the energy of Julie Powell's experience. Because of how much I enjoy cooking. Creating. Feeding my friends. My loved ones. Because I crave the challenge of it all. Because I like to write. Because. Because. Because.

HOWEVER.... I can not cook the same things and in the same way as Julie did in her project. No way. That won't do. I had to come up with my own thing....It took the rest of my time in Paris to figure it out. That and a conversation with good old Ace when I arrived home. ( More on Ace later, but note for now.... as of the date of this blog entry, he is debating the use of the name "Ace" . So that might change....I will let you know .)

O.K. Here is my plan.... its become "our" plan,actually:

 We, the lobstersandwich gang. The four of us. Have a secret vice. Not everyone knows about it. It is not obvious during the daytime . But mostly at night. That's when IT comes out. That "side" of us that we explore when we return separately to our homes. It is.... ok... it is an addiction.... all right, I said it.

All 4 of us. Each and everyone. Are addicted cooking. We love to cook. Simple as that.

So together we have made this plan. This vow. Since we do it anyway. Every night. Like clock work. We cook. Now we will cook with a new purpose. We will challenge ourselves with this project. And we announce it now , BEFORE AUGUST 6 when the movie Julie and Julia hits the theaters.....

Starting OCTOBER 1, 2009 and for a full 12 months going forward ( yeah, 12 months, sez Bret..... love that Flight of the Conchords tv show.... Hey reader,if you are into that show say it with Bret's accent each time you read a reference here in this blog, ok? "yeah")

WE WILL COOK each month EVERY RECIPE in the index of GOURMET magazine. For 12 whole months starting in October we will do this. And that's a lot of recipes !

Specifically. Once Oct 1 arrives we start cooking the entire October issue. We will cook in our separate homes. Sometimes we will cook or eat together, but not always. We will sometimes cook and invite friends. We will have parties or feed our families or eat alone. Anything goes.

We will NOT EACH cook every recipe. But among us EVERY recipe for the month ( in the month) will be cooked. Sometimes more than once. And we don't have a precise plan of execution. Except the rule of "the entire month in the month". We will.... see how it all unfolds!! For twelve full months in a row!!!

Plus. Each month the magazine reviews a cookbook. Well we will purchase that cookbook and make one meal per month out of that book. And that dinner we will cook and eat together at my place.

We will write about the whole experience here,on this blog "lobstersandwich"

We have a plan to deal with the calorie overload( and potential consequences). We are hiring a trainer. ( trainer's name to follow) To meet with us once a week. To advise,consult and coach us. We'd like to at least "look the same as we do now" one year into this adventure. It CAN be done.....

Another plus.We know a bunch of fabulous , fantastic restaurant owners ( FFRO's) in our town.
One just offered their private dining room( equipped with a kitchen) anytime they are closed and we want to host some of our cooking by way of a larger dinner party. That wonderful FFRO said" Think of it as your "downstairs living room, Saucy"...( that's me," Saucy"). I said "okey doaky and thank you very much because we will be taking you up on that one.... Are you in,readers? Get your name on the list..... "Yeah,get ur name on the list" said Bret)

By the way dear reader. I am writing this intro to my blog while I am flying to Toronto on a day when the sky is crystal clear but the turbulence is gut wrenchingly horrid. ( And me, a very nervous flyer) So here is a statement on my enthusiasm for our project :

I am so excited. So psyched to get the blog up and running and the project launched. I am writing away ,plane jerking left ,right, up, down. A lot. And my boyfriend/partner "Bacon Boy" only has 4 arm bruises from my death grip instead of the usual 10. ( After a choppy plane ride with the panicked me, ( "Oh (sob) honey,"I squeak ,"we are going to DIE.....") He ( my B.B.) regularly needs a visit to his chrio, Dr. Jake, for at least a minor adjustment.....)

I want to introduce to you the cast of characters in this adventure. But a few things first.

Why GOURMET MAGAZINE? Well.... the recipes are usually great, reliable, user friendly, scrumptious, lip smacking.... I have subscribed to the publication for over 10 years ( actually, the time is much longer, but I'm not telling). I greatly admire Ruth Reichl , the editor. I am a big fan, I guess..... I know.....and she totally inspires me. I have never met her but her amazing energy comes through in every line she writes. ( Plus Bacon Boys sez "She's hot")

And isn't it just the greatest to be able to say" We cooked absolutely everything in the magazine for a full year" What a feat. Everyone knows and loves that magazine.( Thank you Ruth, and all the contributors)

We are saying to ourselves. Look. We work all day and then cook dinner almost every night anyways. So no big deal. We are doing what we do regularly,but with a new focus. ( We are such an optimistic bunch)

The cast of characters( names not all finalized at the time of this writing so subject to change WITH NOTICE):

Your primary author and cook,me, "Saucy"
My 3 trusty sidekicks in cooking"Babette", "Ace" and "Gary".

Not to mention our partners,wives or husbands whom will occasionally contribute and always support. Mine,of course, is "Bacon Boy". ( B. B. is a sweetie and a looker) .Babette is married to "the hunk" Martin. Ace lives with and is now embarking on a "long distance" romance with the lovely and talented" Katie". And Gary. Gary met and married the ravishing and accomplished "Annie". Also within the group there are friends, children,relatives,pets and more on all that l8r.

So, to our readers. Greetings from us all. Please log in and read and comment as we gear up for our October 1st launch. ( And here's a little request , even if you know our real identities ..... Let's NOT mention them in the blog or in your comments. A little mystery never hurts !!!) A warm welcome to and a large cheer for LOBSTERSANDWICH *.

*Oh. We will have many views,ideas and recipes for the ultimate lobster dishes. Aside from our GOURMET magazine cooking. Just as a little extra. ( because obviously, we need a few extras!)

For instance,a week ago I made THE PERFECT lobster roll. It coulda been a sandwich. I brushed the outside of a top split hot dog bun with some homemade garlic butter( ok to use store bought in a pinch). I broiled the bun. I bought perfectly cooked lobsters from the market . I chopped up "large" chunks of tail ,claw and knuckle meat. I sucked out the legs as I worked.( B.B. has a snapshot of me suckin on a leg like a bubble gum cigarette., you cannot see it.... its only for Bacon Boy... ) I mixed up the meat with some Hellmans (full fat,please), some fresh squeezed lemon juice, chopped fresh chives and a tiny bit of finely chopped celery and s&p. ( almost forgot to mention the celery) And Presto. Stuff the mixture in that warm bun. Yum. OMG.... Its some good,you.... Try it.

Big hugs from