String Beans with Tomatoes


1 lb. string beans, washed
3 oz. olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced
½ can tomato paste (with ½ can water)
1 small can of whole peeled tomatoes
Salt and pepper as desired (e.g., 1 tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper)


Cut the beans in half. Heat oil in a saucepan and brown the garlic very slightly. Add the tomato paste and water (or peeled tomatoes), salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the string beans, mixing them thoroughly into the sauce. Cook slowly until the beans are tender and the sauce has thickened through evaporation.

Hint: Cook with the cover on at first and then cook the dish uncovered.


Sautéed Mushrooms

Ingredients (the proportions depend on the quantity of mushrooms):

Olive oil or butter (half of each tastes great)
Fresh mushrooms
Garlic, minced
Parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


Brown the garlic in the butter or oil. Add the mushrooms (rinsed and drained of water, or just with the dirt wiped off). Add salt and pepper. Sauté ¾ hour with the cover on. Then stir in the parsley and sauté some more with the cover half off. Cook until all the liquid evaporates.

Note: Grandma Angelina made this the best, and I think it was because she cooked it for a very long time.


Gelsie’s Eggplant

My mother made eggplant several ways, but this no-frying method was her favorite.


1 large or 2 small eggplants, peeled and cut into thick slices
Salt, enough to sprinkle the eggplant slices
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbs. milk
3-4 cups of tomato sauce (see recipes above)
¾ cup parmesan cheese
Up to 1 lb. mozzarella cheese (optional)


Place the slices of eggplant in a colander, sprinkle them with salt, cover with a heavy plate and set aside for 20 minutes, so that water will drain off.

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Combine the eggs, milk, breadcrumbs and salt in a bowl. Dip the eggplant slices in the bowl, so that both sides are coated.

Put the slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet (or sheets) and brown them in the oven for 20 minutes.

Next, grease a shallow (3 qt., or 7 ½ by 11 inch) baking pan and put in a light layer of tomato sauce. Cover with 1/3 of the eggplant slices, then 1 cup of the tomato sauce and a layer of the cheese(s). Repeat the layering. Ideally, the sauce and cheese will be on top.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so until the cheese melts.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Cut into squares and serve with additional sauce and parmesan cheese if desired.


Stuffed Artichokes

This is my Grandma Angelina’s recipe as best that I can remember it.


6 or more tbs. olive oil
8 artichokes
Juice of 1 lemon (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 cups bread crumbs
3 eggs, beaten
½ cup grated cheese
½ cup parsley, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups white wine
Salt & pepper to taste


Rinse the artichokes well under running water.

Cut off the stems of the artichokes so that they will stand up, but save the stems. Cut ¾ inch off the top. Cut the sharp/prickly ends of the leaves.

Pull back the leaves and remove the hairy “choke” in the middle, above the heart, with a small spoon, but do not remove the heart, which is the best part.

Cut off and discard the tough skin of the stems, and chop up the rest of the stems into small pieces.

Rub the artichokes with the lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown, if desired.

Combine the garlic, breadcrumbs, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt (if desired) and pepper to taste, and the pieces of the stem. Then add a bit of olive oil and stir until the mixture is like a paste.

Stuff the artichokes with this mixture, down the hole where the choke was and between the leaves.

Place the artichokes in a large saucepan (Le Creuset, etc.). Add the wine or broth to the pot, and enough water to come up to ¾ of the sides of the artichokes. Drizzle the tops of the artichokes with a small amount of olive oil.

Cover the pot/pan and bring the water to a boil. Cook for 30 minutes or so, until you can easily pierce the bottoms with a knife.

Let cool a bit, and serve. They are even better at room temperature.

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