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 […]


Thanksgiving 2012: the Gluttoning

Green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, smoked brisket, turkey & gravy (cranberry sauce, alas, forgotten), Mandarin orange salad

And I’m not even going to mention the deserts: Truffle’s lovely cheesecake, pumpkin pie, apple pie. Nor the appetizers: beer-boiled shrimp, cheese, olives, crackers, homemade giardiniera relish (thanks again to Truffle). Let’s just say we […]


Crouton’s Crockpot Pulled Pork

I had some home-made pulled pork at a friend’s house last month and decided to try it myself. My goodness, even Ditalini liked it. I’ll definitely do this again.

Crouton's pulled pork (with cole slaw)


4 lbs pork shoulder or butt 2 large onions 8-10 oz ginger ale 18 oz barbecue sauce




Crouton’s Red Curry with Beef

Lately I’ve kept the cupboard stocked with coconut milk and a supply of red, green, and Penang curry paste. Because if you have those basics — and some rice — you can make a nice Thai curry out of whatever other ingredients you have laying around.

Until last night, I’d used chicken or shrimp in […]


Boeuf Bourguignon à la Julia Child

I finally tackled a long put-off project, the famous boeuf bourguignon (beef stew in red wine with bacon, onions, and mushrooms) from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

This is a recipe you’ll need to study and understand before you start, especially if you’re going to prepare it by yourself. You’ll need […]


Best Smoked Brisket Yet

Twice now, I’ve smoked beef briskets, describing the process here and here. Each time I used a slightly different approach: first with a dry-rubbed brisket, second with a combination of dry rub and mop.

On the Friday after Thanksgiving at my son Baguette’s house, I went back to the first technique: dry-rubbing the brisket and […]


Ditalini’s Paprika Schnitzel

Ditalini made paprika schnitzel last night. Served with fried potatoes and salad, this is one of our favorite meals. I’m certain there are schnitzel recipes that are more authentic and difficult to make. This one is easy, and just as delicious.


6-8 thin pork or veal cutlets flour, salt, pepper, paprika 2 eggs 1/4 […]


Crouton’s Taco Salad

Taco salad is pretty generic, and ingredients vary depending on taste and what’s on hand. It’s a great one-dish meal, and easy to make. Here’s how I do it:


1 lb ground beef 1 pkg taco seasoning 1 can chili beans iceberg lettuce, shredded red leaf lettuce, shredded red onion or scallions, chopped […]