Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Braciole (pronounced Brajole) is my definition of Italian comfort food. This dish is not difficult to put together, but is a bit time consuming. It falls into my 'do-ahead' category which makes it perfect to prepare for a dinner party.
Two .75 lb. flank steaks-flattened to about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thickness
Minced garlic, 4 cloves
Chopped fresh parsley, 2 Tbsp.
1/3 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
1 cup Parmesan, grated
6 silces sharp Provolone
1/3 cup pistachio nuts, coarsley chopped
2 tbsp. capers
6 thin slices Proscuitto
4 cups fresh baby spinach
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 Tbsp. to make a paste with stuffing ingredients

2 lb. crushed plum tomatoes (two 1 lb. cans)
8 cloves smashed and chopped garlic
Bouquet garni*--basil, parsley, oregano
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Heat oil in a large pan or heavy skillet, toss in garlic and cook gently for a couple minutes. Do not brown the garlic. Add the 2 cans of plum tomatoes, bouquet garni, cover and let cook for about 2 hours. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt/pepper. This will make more sauce than you need, but is great left over!
* A bouquet garni is simply a bunch of fresh herbs either tied together or tied into a piece of cheesecloth. Imparts great flavor!
Open your flank steaks and place between sheets of plastic wrap. Pound with a rolling pin, meat pounder, frying pan or any heavy object until the steaks are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch even thickness.

In a bowl mix together the black pepper (I did not use any salt inside as there are quite a few salty ingredients already!), garlic, parsley, basil, pistachios (I have never used pistachios before in braciole, but couldn't find pine nuts. The pistachios were fantastic!), capers, Parmesan cheese. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to this mixture to bind the ingredients.  Place 3 slices of sharp Provolone on the inside of each steak.

Next, spread the mixture evenly then add 3 slices each of proscuitto and finish with a couple cups of fresh baby spinach in each steak. Put as much spinach as you can fit into your steak as it cooks down to almost nothing. Here's the only tricky part...rolling and tying. (If you go to the top left of this blog and put Boneless Leg of Lamb into the SEARCH FOR RECIPES box, you will be directed to a 'how-to' video I made last year for stuffing and rolling boneless leg of lamb. The technique is exactly the same. Or, even easier, click on this link: Cook with Cindy - Food, Fun, and more!: Boneless Leg Of Lamb!)
Starting from the long edge gently roll the steak stuffing the ingredients in as you go. Tie the steaks every couple of inches with kitchen string. I did sprinkle a little salt on the outside of the rolls. At this point you can cover and refrigerate until ready to brown. If you do refrigerate, take steaks out of the fridge for a half hour before browning. To brown: heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large heavy skillet. Place the steak rolls into the hot oil and brown on all sides.

In the same pan, cover the rolls generously with your homemade red sauce. Cover the pan and braise on low heat (just so the sauce bubbles gently) for 2 1/2 hours or more. The longer the meat braises, the more tender it will be. When ready to serve, take the steaks out of the red sauce and let sit for about 10 minutes. Remove the kitchen string and cut the steak into thick slices. Spoon sauce over the slices and serve with lots of extra sauce on the side. I served our Braciole with ziti's with fresh garlic, basil, and Parmesan cheese. The sauce is good on everything!

Enjoy with a glass of your favorite red wine, crusty
Italian bread, a little green salad.
Life is so delicious!

Thanks to all of you who went to the Jauntaroo website and viewed and "liked" my video for the position of CHIEF WORLD EXPLORER! It's not too late if you haven't had a chance. The deadline is September 15th. Go to:


Sunday, September 1, 2013


Enjoying the sun in Spiddal, Co. Galway, IRE, with Galway Bay in the background.
I am applying for the position of CHIEF WORLD EXPLORER with an online travel company called Jauntaroo. This is a 1 year position that involves traveling throughout the world, writing about your experiences and posting stories, photos and video on their website and various social media. I think it could be a blast, but need your help. In order to be considered for the position, I needed to make a 1 minute video which is now posted on the Jauntaroo website. Would you please go to the following link:


view and "like" my video. I have been experiencing some technical difficulties viewing the video, but I believe you can still "like" it even if you can't see it. I think the Jauntaroo website is getting swamped with traffic which may be the cause. There are about 1000 applicants to date and the deadline is September 15.

You are able to "like" me once every 24 hours from now until the 15th of September.

Thank you so much for your support!

I promise a food blog coming soon. I just made a fantastic braciole last night, one of my favorite Italian meals! I will share this with you next time. Until then, thanks again for casting your vote! Here's a sneak preview of the braciole...red sauce is not pictured here, but I think it was the best part of the meal!

Look forward to seeing you in the kitchen soon
for another episode of:

Keep smiling in and out of the kitchen! Happy Labor Day!