Cook the Book: Italian Slow and Savory by Joyce Goldstein


I am a big fan of new traditions. And I am even a bigger fan of Sunday dinner. So why not make Sunday dinner a tradition again??

Making a huge Sunday dinner was what cultivated my love for cooking. When I lived in Atlanta is 2005, we would spend the better part of the day after my long runs in the kitchen getting a fantastic dinner together for family and friends. I learned all sorts of culinary skills, developed my palate and enjoyed some seriously good eats. When I moved away, Sunday dinners ceased to be something that I routinely did. It downright sucked. I have longed to be in a place for long enough to resurrect it.

Recently, I finally got my wish. The Baker (enter stage right) and I, decided that we should start making Sunday dinners on a regular basis. The idea developed when I mentioned that we had received our shipment of wine from Italy and insisted The Baker experience they profoundness that is Vin Santo. We started with the dessert wine and worked backwards to develop a menu. Italian was a must, to go with the Italian dessert wine. Biscotti for dipping in the Vin Santo as they do in Italy. I let The Baker cover dessert since well, just seems a little obvious.... I decided to consult the family collection of cookbooks here and stumbled upon load of delicious recipes that would have worked. One that stood out to me was Braised Tun with Tomato, Garlic and Mint in Italian Slow and Savory by Joyce Goldstein. I had never braised tuna, so I was absolutely taken with the recipe.

We converged at the house on a Sunday afternoon and put our culinary brains, skills and taste buds to work. Though a multitude of culinary sins were committed between the two of us for a whole host of reasons (I blame the bottle of Grgich we opened up while cooking), the outcome was absolutely delicious. We ended up with incredibly flavorful and perfectly cooked tuna. The quick tomato sauce I made to braise the tuna in was chunky and the mint, garlic combination provided a powerfully complex combination. I was delightfully surprised. The Baker took lead on the sides and made a herb salad with homemade green goddess dressing and roasted and stuffed red bell peppers, filled with wild rice and Italian goat blue cheese. My job felt easy once the tuna was in and braising away.

We plated up everything, poured more crisp Grgich Chardonnay and I grabbed my camera for a few shots. The Baker didn't even flinch at my desire to photograph my food and even expertly held the plate with just the right light. He explained he had "a little" experience with people taking food photography and I laughed. Once the food hit our taste buds we were not disappointed. It looked, smelled and tasted delicious.

Dessert was an experience. He brought both "real" and gluten free biscotti and as good our meal was, the Vin Santo was definitely the star of the show. Not to sweet, very complex, absolutely delightful.

Sunday dinners make me happy. It is a nice way to end the weekend, cooking at home for family and friends. I hope to continue the tradition as often as possible.

As for the recipe I tried, I recommend you go grab yourself a copy of Italian Slow and Savory. I have now made several recipes from this book and it absolutely doesn't disappoint!