Watch “Penne Pasta with Garden Vegetables.” on YouTube


Goetta, it’s a Cincinnati Thing!



I started eating goetta as child when I would visit Cincinnati for two weeks during the summer. I immediately fell in love with goetta! We didn’t have this in Chicago, or my favorite fast food Skyline Chili. Oh how I looked forward to my visits to Aunt Boo and Uncle Bob’s for the summer. The moment we stepped off the bus Uncle Bob would take us straight to Skyline or United Dairy Farmers (another Cincinnati original). Now Cincinnati has Graeters Ice Cream which I am particularly fond of. I don’t think I would have stayed here if weren’t for these four things! So what is Goetta? Goetta is a German breakfast sausage made from ground meat, oats and spices.

To cook goetta, you just treat it like sausage. I fry my goetta in a cast iron skillet with a very small amount of oil. I like my goetta cooked about medium crispy with over medium fried eggs.

Tips for preparing goetta

Slice goetta thin, about a 1\4 inch using a very sharp knife.

Do not let the slices touch each other in the pan… They will stick together and become one!

Once in the pan, don’t mess with it. Leave it alone until it gets golden brown.

And lastly. Never, ever, ever cook goetta without a shirt on! Goetta has a tendency to pop and explode while cooking. It only takes one pop of hot goetta on your chest to learn your lesson.

Homemade Vegetable Beef Soup; Recipe

I made some changes to this recipe. I’m roasting the the stock ingredients for the stock now

Truality Bar and Grill

Feels like home!

Homemade Roasted Vegetable  Beef Soup

My mother made a version of this when I was a kid growing up on the Northwest Side of Chicago. I can remember coming home after playing out in the snowstorms with frozen limbs to a nice hot bowl of this soup. I took my mothers original recipe and made some changes and additions to come up with my own. One of the changes was to make my own beef stock using beef shank and shin marrow bones. The stock really makes the broth very rich and hearty. I substituted frozen mixed vegetables for fresh and added celery. This is an all day event if you make the stock the same day. This is one of my favorite recipes inspired by my mom.

Ingredients for the stock:

5-6 pounds beef bones (shank, shin bones with marrow, soup bones)

Roasted Ingredients Roasted Ingredients

6 -8 sprigs…

View original post 606 more words

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Spaghetti and Meatballs (Baseballs); Recipe

Spaghetti and Baseballs!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Baseballs!

Simply one of the most satisfying meals I’ve ever made. The over-sized meatballs with the addition of ground lamb make this even heartier. I received some great feedback from some tough critics.

Ingredients for the meatballs (Baseballs)

1 pound ground sirloin

1 pound ground pork

1 pound ground lamb

2 large eggs

4 sprigs basil chopped

3 tbsp chopped parsley

1 large onion finely chopped

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

5-6 thick slices firm white bread crust removed

1 cup whole milk

4-5 cloves minced garlic

3/4 pound fresh mozzarella cheese

6 cups Eric’s “Awesome Sauce”

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

1 pound spaghetti

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Let ground meats come to room temperature. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add onion, garlic, basil, parsley and black pepper. Saute for about ten minutes or until onions become translucent. Don’t let the pan get too hot. Remove from heat and let cool for about 20 minutes.

Break bread into small chunks and place in a bowl and add milk. Use your hands to squeeze out the excess milk. Combine meats, eggs, Parmesan cheese, bread, cooled onion mixture and salt. Mix with your hands and form into baseball sized meatballs. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil. Brown meatballs turning once. Remove browned meatballs and place into Dutch oven containing sauce. You may need to do this in two batches. There may be more meatballs than can fit in your dutch oven. If this happens, simply use a large baking dish and cover with sauce. Cover Dutch oven or place foil over baking dish and cook in oven for 45-60 minutes. When the meatballs are almost done place chunks of fresh mozzarella on each meatball and return to oven uncovered until cheese is melted.

Prepare spaghetti as directed adding plenty of kosher salt to cooking water. The water should be as salty as sea water.

Cover spaghetti with sauce and one meatball on your plate. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and more Parmesan cheese.


Meatball Sandwiches

For meatball sandwiches prepare smaller meatballs and cook the same way. Just buy some Italian bread and cut into sandwich length. Top with thinly sliced fresh mozzarella, Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Ingredients for Eric’s “Awesome Sauce”

25 ounces chopped tomatoes

25 ounces tomato sauce

1 white onion

4-5 cloves minced garlic

3 tbsp chopped parsley

3 tbsp chopped basil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 tbsp olive oil

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add onion, garlic, parsley, basil and black pepper. Saute until onions become translucent adjusting heat so they don’t brown. Add chopped tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Adjust heat to allow a mild simmer. Cook with the lid almost covering for approximately 2 hours stirring every 15 minutes. don’t let this burn!

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin; Recipe

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

I wanted to cook something special for some friends at work. I was going to bake brownies or cookies but one of my friends has some food allergies… What better way to get around that than pork wrapped in pork. This was absolutely delicious; we devoured these tenderloins in a matter of minutes. I promised them the recipe so here it is.


Two pork tenderloinsBacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin 1

1/2 pound good smoked bacon

1 bunch fresh sage leaves

Fresh ground black pepper



Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

Pepper tenderloins on all sides. place sage leave on all sides of tenderloins. No need to completely cover with sage; a little goes a long way. Wrap bacon around tenderloin. Place on a rack on a flat foil covered baking sheet or shallow roaster pan. Place uncovered in oven and cook until internal temperature reaches 145-150 degrees. Let tenderloins rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Tip: Place wrapped tenderloins with the bacon seams on the bottom so they don’t unwrap while cooking.

This recipe couldn’t be easier. Enjoy!

Crown Pork Roast with Mashed Potatoes; Recipe

Heaven on a plate!

Heaven on a plate!

Crown Pork Roast with Mashed Potatoes; Recipe

The other day I was shopping for groceries when I saw this magnificent Crown Pork Roast at the meat counter of Fresh Market in Cincinnati. I was supposed to cook Smoked Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin but when I saw this I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’ve been wanting to do this for quite some time and I have an abundance of fresh herbs to use from my garden. About 19 years ago while camping in Mercer, Wisconsin My son’s mother (while pregnant with Chris) and I went for dinner at The Club 51 on Highway 51 that runs straight up the middle of the state. I’ve had many epic meals at Club 51 (one of many famed supper clubs in norther Wisconsin) but this one was truly amazing! Crown Pork Roast with Rosemary Crust. I can’t believe it has taken me so long to replicate this.




5-7 pound Crown Pork Roast bones Frenched

2 Large sprigs rosemary

2 Large handfuls fresh sage

6-7 cloves garlic

1/4 stick butter

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cracked black pepper or more to taste

Preheat Oven to 225 degrees

Let Crown Pork Roast come to room temperature for 1-2 hours on your counter.

Tip: letting your roast come to room temperature allows it to cook more evenly without the center being under cooked.

Cut butter into small chunks and place into a food processor; add remaining ingredients except olive oil. Pulse until well chopped. Add olive oil by drizzling into the top until a loose paste forms. carefully spread the paste over the entire roast. The paste will stick to roast quite well.

Going in the oven.

Going in the oven.

Roast uncovered until internal temperature reaches 150-155 degrees. Insert meat thermometer into the round end of the thickest part of the roast. My roast took about 5 hours but I caution; we are cooking to internal temperature not time. When your roast reaches the desired temperature; place on a cutting board and cover with a large bowl or foil. Let rest 15-20 minutes before carving. I normally start my mashed potatoes when the roast is almost done.

The Gravy & Stock

After the roast went in, I started the stock for the gravy. The butcher gave me the bone trimmings after cutting my roast to order. You can use bouillon but I prefer homemade and I had five hours to let my gravy stock come together.


2 pounds pork trimmings with bones

2-3 carrots with skin cut up

1 large onion cut up

2-3 ribs celery cut in half

5-7 cloves smashed garlic

handful black peppercorns

handful fresh sage

1 large sprig rosemary

1 cup white wine (not too sweet)

Corn starch slurry with water. Follow directions on corn starch package for amounts based on how much liquid the stock yields.

Place all ingredients except wine and corn starch in a large pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for the entire time the roast cooks. Add more hot water as needed to cover. When the roast is resting; drain the stock add wine salt and pepper as needed. Bring to a boil. Thicken with corn starch water mixture whisking as you add slowly. Make sure to keep mixing the corn starch and water so it doesn’t settle.

Mashed Potatoes

This recipe is based on my friend Jon Stiles’s recipe from his cookbook Cooking for Friends Vol. 2. I loved Jon’s recipe and tried it a little different. The ingredients are pretty much the same but the technique is a little different. I add more salt, garlic and pepper to mine but I add them to the cooking water and adjust for flavor after the potatoes are mashed. Jon uses fresh garlic and I used powdered. Jon told me once “don’t get too attached to fresh ingredients, powdered and dried spices are perfectly fine and have their place in the kitchen”.


5 pounds pealed Yukon Gold Potatoes. Do not substitute! Cut into chunks about 1/4 inch thick

Handful kosher salt

1 tbsp ground black pepper

3/4 -1 cup whole milk

2 sticks salted butter brought to room temperature and cut up

1 tbsp powdered garlic

Cover potatoes with cold water and add salt, pepper and powdered garlic. bring to a boil. Cook until tender but not mushy. Drain water and transfer to a mixing bowl. add butter and half of the milk. Mix on low speed until ingredients are incorporated then speed up. Taste; add more milk, salt, pepper and garlic as needed.

Carve roast one rib at a time. Plate and side with mashed potatoes and gravy.

I really wish Jon could have tasted this one… It was magnificent!

%d bloggers like this: