Ditalini’s Oxtail Soup

When I was a kid, living in Germany with my USAF family, one of my favorite dishes was ochsenschwanzsuppe — oxtail soup, a thick and flavorful beefy broth. In later years, married and living in the USA, I’d sometimes pick up a package of Knorr Oxtail Soup Mix, surprisingly good for an instant soup mix, […]


Photoblog: an Italian Family Dinner

Yesterday Ditalini and her Aunt Radicchio made three pounds of gnocchi and a big pot of sauce.

Gnocchi (from Ditalini’s family recipe)

When it comes to rolling and shaping gnocchi, there’s some twist of the wrist thing I never quite mastered, but Aunt Radicchio, now the matriarch of Ditalini’s Italian-American family, passed the secret […]


Photoblog: Dinner with Friends

Crouton dusted off his braised beef short ribs recipe for yesterday’s dinner. This is the one where the ribs cook in a 200°F oven for 11 hours, a recipe he originally learned from Poulet en Crote’s son, a professional chef. Appropriately, Poulet was one of Crouton and Ditalini’s guests.

The honored dinner guest was Radicchio […]


Slow Braised Short Ribs

Slow braised short ribs with garlic mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus

This dish is from Hugo Ortega’s Backstreet Kitchen cookbook. I prepared it for a cooking club dinner the other night, and it was a hit. Although it may appear complicated, it’s actually easy to prepare (if you don’t count peeling the cipollini […]


Moroccan Meatball Soup

Moroccan meatball soup

A friend posted a photo of this soup on Facebook. It looked good, so I asked her to post the recipe and last night cooked up a pot for Ditalini and me. It didn’t take long to make, maybe half an hour to get the meatballs ready, maybe 20 minutes for […]


deMenthe Thanksgiving 2013

We were all here for Thanksgiving: Crouton & Ditalini, our son Baguette, daughter-in-law Truffle, and grandson Pesce, along with our daughter Escargot and her boyfriend. Underfoot, of course, were Mortadella & Ubriaco, along with Baguette’s dog. Our poor old cat spent the day hiding in a closet.

What a great feast we had! Relishes, turkey […]



Hasenpfeffer is also known as braised rabbit in spiced red wine sauce, but the literal translation is “peppered hare.”

We made this dish often when we were first married. That was more than 40 years ago, and rabbit was not as hard to find as it is today. We found some at a local butcher […]


Ditalini’s Family Meat Sauce Recipe

This is the real stuff, a family meat sauce recipe from the Veneto region of Italy, handed down to my wife Ditalini from her family, the della Fagiolis. I’m sure the recipe changed as it adapted to life in the United States, but when Ditalini and I visited the old folks in Vittorio Veneto back […]



It’s time to address comfort food, and what could be more comforting than meatloaf?

Neufchatel’s meatloaf with broccolini

My mother used to make a simple, basic meatloaf. We all loved it. Ditalini makes meatloaf too, but hers is fancier: she puts a roll of mozzarella cheese wrapped in sliced ham into the center of […]


Year-End Wrapup: More Holiday Gluttony

Ditalini and I drove to Las Vegas with our daughter Escargot and doggies Mortadella & Ubracio to spend Christmas with our son Baguette, daughter in law Truffle, granddaughter Biscotto, and grandson Pesce. All the deMenthes together again!

Of course the holidays are all about eating. Baguette activated Fortress of Smoke™ Las Vegas, and when we […]