Saturday, February 18, 2012


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I have written before about cooking with our children. They learn from us in so many ways and I believe taking the time to cook not only for them, but also with them, is just one way to teach our children well.

The time for cooking together with my family has evolved into mostly holidays or special celebrations now that our boys are older: Hunter is 23-years-old and living in Seattle, Washington and occasionally making use of The New York Times Cookbook bequeathed to him by his Nanny, while 16-year-old Daniel is home but  busy with school, hockey, and socializing with friends; usually he is just a blur passing through the house, grabbing a bite to eat on the run, so it is a special time when we do have a chance to cook  together. 

Not long ago I rummaged through the pantry and refrigerator planning a simple dinner that Daniel and I could make together in a short amount of time: Italian bread, pickled garlic, preserved eggplant, artichoke hearts in oil, black olives, cherry tomatos, some homemade pizza sauce (recipe below).  I knew what we were going to make, but confused about the correct terminology: are we making bruschetta, crostini, or just a refrigerator pizza?  I decided to do some research so I could categorize exactly what it was we were preparing.

I discovered along with bruschetta, crostini originated in medieval times when Italian peasants ate their meals on slices of bread instead of using ceramics. The word bruschetta arose from the Roman verb bruscare, meaning 'to roast over coals'. Traditionally, bruschetta is prepared using Italian bread rubbed with garlic and extra-virgin olive oil, dusted with salt and pepper, then topped with peppers, tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, or cheese.

Crostini, also a popular Italian appetizer typically made using slices of French or Italian baguettes, means ‘little toasts’ in Italian. Small slices of grilled or toasted bread are topped with a variety of cheeses, meats, and vegetables, or may be served simply with a brush of olive oil and herbs or a sauce.

The term ‘Refrigerator Pizza’ originated around the same time as the colloquial phrases ‘Refrigerator Soup’ or ‘Leftover Lunch’: are you familiar with the terms? I am sure most Americans have experienced this type of food during their lifetime. It simply means creating a pizza or soup or lunch  by opening the refrigerator and making do with the contents.

For instance, our Refrigerator Pizza is made by using any available bread: english muffin, bagel, leftover Italian, what-have-you. Brush with homemade pizza sauce (recipe below) or anoint with olive oil, top with whatever fixings are leftover in the refrigerator, sprinkle with cheese and toast in the oven.

My conclusion, call it what you will: no matter the title it always tastes delicious!


(Enough for 4 Medium Pizzas)


1 lb crushed Tomatoes

1 Tablespoon minced Garlic

4 oz Tomato Paste

1 Tablespoon dried Basil

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Butter

1 Tablespoon minced Onion

1 teaspoon dried Marjoram

2 teaspoons dried Oregano

Pepper to taste


Over medium low heat sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil and butter for 4 to 5 minutes. The bits should be golden brown and fragrant but be careful not to overcook.
Add the other ingredients.

Simmer the sauce for 15 to 20 minutes.

Jar up and store in refrigerator.  I have found that this sauce tastes better after it rests for a few days.  You can also spoon into freezer bags and freeze for later use.  Freeze up to a year, refrigerate up to 6 months - but I can pretty much guarantee it will not last more than a few weeks.


1 comment:

  1. Great post! That's sweet that you have cooking time :). Bruschetta, crostini, it all tastes delicious to me! Yum :)