Well worth the effort.

Tomato Sauce
5 Roma tomatoes (skinned)*
2 TBSP tomato paste
2 TBSP olive oil
½ cup dry red wine
1 can of tomato sauce

• (To skin a tomato cut an X on the top and bottom of the tomato, drop in boiling water until the skin starts to come off, rinse in cold water and pull off skin, chop tomatoes)

In a large cast iron skillet sauté tomato paste in oil, add the chopped tomatoes. Cook on low for 2 hours. Periodically mash the tomatoes with a potato masher. After an hour of cooking when the water from the tomatoes has evaporated, mash the pulp again add ½ cup of red wine. Later add the can of tomato sauce and flavored olive oil and warm a little on low then cool.Tomato Sauce from the Vine

One big batch of fresh San Marzano tomatoes

Run the tomatoes through a tomato miller. This mill machine separates the seeds and skin from the meat. This yielded exactly 56 oz. of meat.

In a large pan, add all the these ingredients.

1/3 cup olive oil
Pinch of red pepper flake
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
56 oz. milled tomato meat

In a small food processor chop:
½ onions
4 garlic cloves
1 TBSP fresh oregano
1 TBSP fresh basil
1 TBSP fresh mint

Cook all on a low temp until the water evaporates and the sauce gets thick. Maybe 3 hours or more on low.  Refrigerate overnight.

In a food processor, several pulses don’t over work:
2 cups of flour
Pinch of salt
3 eggs
Tad bit of olive oil

Knead the dough. Cut into six quarters, run through a pasta machine on setting 2, then 4, then setting 6. This will yield 6 pasta pieces.  Boil in water 1 minute. Remove and set aside.  You might not need all this pasta but it better to cook more so you are not short.

Slice the eggplant ¼ inch – 6 pieces. In a baking sheet paint olive oil on both sides and cook in a 350ᵒ oven for 10 minutes.

Italian Sausage Meat

½ Lbs. ground beef
½ Lbs. round pork
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. paprika
1 pinch red pepper flakes
½ tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. Italian seasoning (herbs)
1 TBSP olive oil

Mix together in a large bowl. In a large pan add the oil and lightly brown the meat. Set aside.

4 or 5 leaves of fresh basil chopped
1 – 15 oz. container of ricotta
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs

In a large bowl mix all ingredients.


In a 2 ½ quart Corning Ware casserole dish layer as follows:

1st Layer – sauce, then pasta
2nd Layer – sauce, ricotta cheeses mix, pasta
3rd Layer – sauce, eggplant, pasta
4th Layer – sauce, meat mix, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese

In a 350ᵒ oven bake Lasagna 1 hour, let rest for 5 minutes and serve.

As of 8/28/21

Baked Cod with White Cheddar and Parmesan Cheese

2 cod fillets
½ cup mayo or Kewpie (Japanese mayonnaise)
2 green onions
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup grated White Cheddar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Mix mayo, green onion, Parmesan, cheddar cheese and Worcestershire sauce. 

Oil small 8” square baking dish cook the fish.  Bake oven to 400°.  Baked fish 15/20 min.

I served this with garlic and olive oil couscous.


Maque Choux (Corn Vegetable Stew)


This is a purely Cajun dish. But, up here in the Midwest there is wonderful sweet corn. In fact, the best sweet corn I ever ate. In my garden there are enough veggies and fresh herbs around to make a fresh Maque Choux (corn vegetable stew). The corn came from a farmer nearby.

Most recipes call for a meatless Maque Choux. I add a little sausage for flavor. My mother used to make it that way. Other recipes I’ve seen use andouille sausage, bacon or tasso (Cajun ham). You can spice this up all you want.  I’m not a big cayenne pepper fan.

I want the browned meat b/c I will use the meat “fond” for added flavor. As you know a “fond” is a French term that means “base” from remaining bits of meat. But, there are many versions that do not include meat as it is served as a side dish. I will serve this as a main dish.



10 oz. Turkey, Beef and Pork Kielbasa (Brown sausage in olive oil)
1 TBSP olive oil

6 uncooked fresh ears of corn – cut the corn using a sharp knife digging into the cob and getting the milk of the corn (There is no way you can do this without getting corn on the floor.)

Mirepoix Trinity (Used at first for the natural sugar and flavors)
½ cup quarter chopped celery stalks, I prefer the center stalk
1 cup or 1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup of green bell pepper, chopped

2 cups diced tomatoes – I used one Roma and one yellow
¾ cup scallions (green onions)
1 garlic clove minced

~3 to 5 TBSP unsalted butter
Thyme – fresh
Kosher salt (pinch)

Dash of white wine
½ cup of chicken stock


Cooking Directions:
• Lightly brown the sausage in olive oil and remove
• Add the (Trinity) onion, celery, bell pepper and sauté four minutes. Add the dash of white wine to release the fond while sautéing and scraping the bottom of the pot
• Add the butter and melt
• On low heat add the corn and mix until the corn is buttered.
• Add thyme, return the meat, pinch of salt, ½ cup chicken stock and cook covered on medium heat 15 minutes
• Watch the pot, don’t let it over cook
• Add the remaining ingredients and cook another 15 minutes on medium to low heat. Add more chicken stock if necessary (There should only be just enough fluids to steam the corn and release the corn milk)

100_6878As of 8/21/21

Smoked Cupcake Chicken in Garlic Honey Sauce

4 chicken thighs
4 TBSP butter


4 cloves garlic crushed
4 TBSP honey
1 TBSP chicken broth
1 TBSP rice wine vinegar
1 TBSP soy sauce


In a small saucepan reduce the honey glaze until thick.

Cut the knuckles off the chicken with poultry sheers or trimming sheers.  Cut away any excess skin and fat.  Place the chicken in the cupcake tray and add one TBSP of butter on top.

Smoke chicken thighs in apple wood for 2 hours at 250° smoke.  Remove and install the chicken after draining away the excess juice and oil in the pan.

Place the chicken back in the muffin tin and cook in a 450° oven and another 20 minutes.  Add the honey sauce and cook another 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let stand 5 minutes let the honey glaze


As of 8/15/21

Stuffed Bell Pepper du Jardin (of the garden)

5 green bell peppers (from the garden)
½ lb. ground beef
½ lb. ground pork
1 cup of rice cooked
1 can of your favorite tomato soup
1 onion finely chopped
½ bell pepper finely chopped (from the garden)
1 celery stalk finely chopped
3 scallions finely chopped
2 garlic cloves (from the garden)
1 stem fresh sage (from the garden)
1 stem fresh thyme (from the garden)
1 stem fresh oregano (from the garden)
1 stem fresh rosemary (from the garden)
Olive oil
White Cheddar Cheese
Parmesan cheese

Cook rice.

Lightly brown meat, then drain and rinse.

On medium low heat sauté green bell, celery and onion.  Add the meat and mix. Add the can of tomato soup.  Add a little water (1/4 cup).  Mix the remaining ingredients, salt and pepper and mix well.

Cut the tops off the bell pepper and hollow out the ribs.  Stuff the pepper.  Bake 50 minutes at 350° and remove.  Add the cheese on top and bake another 10 minutes.