T ‘ was the Night Before Martha

by Maris Callahan on September 17, 2008

Tomorrow, I'll be sitting in the audience of the Martha Stewart Blogging Show . I won't be blogging the show live, because I have a very tempermental laptop. But I'll be tweeting. Check me out @mariscalla)!

Anyway. I'll be in the audience along with some other awesome bloggers , as well as my mom, who isn't a blogger but she's on Facebook and I think that's pretty impressive, so I'm bringing her. I thought I'd use my Martha-Show Eve as a good excuse to pay a tribute to the legend herself.

Martha Stewart is more than just a household name. I saw her E! True Hollywood story a few years ago and I was instantly hooked. Not in a creepy way. Just in a, omg-her-kitchen-must be-amazing and a I-hope-I-look-that-good-when-I'm-her-age way.

I'm just like any other fan. I read her blog, I subscribe to Everyday Food in the mail, and I was moderately devastated when Blueprint folded (I didn't think the fashion advice was "gilded." Whatever). So while Martha has inspired me to make craft or two , we can all guess that I spend most of my time browsing Martha's recipes.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes from Martha past. Though SOME of her culinary genius can be complicated, I think for the most part her recipes, tried and true, are simple and usually hit the spot.

Growing up, I liked red sauce on my pasta. My brother, the pickier eater, wouldn't touch red sauce with a 10-foot pole. So if there was spaghetti sauce served in my house, it was often a delectable jarred sauce (and before you go judging, some are NOT half-bad!).

But last year, I decided that it was time to strut my stuff on the stovetop, and I crafted this spaghetti bolognese (a la Martha, of course) from scratch. I didn't realize until recently that bolognese basically means "meat sauce" in Italian and that bolognese sauce is a pretty simple and hearty dish (I also didn't know until 2 years ago that the Empire State building didn't have its own island. It's not like I grew up in New Jersey or something…)

Martha's Spaghetti with Bolognese Sauce: (From Everyday Food)

Ingredients: (Serves 4)
**Note: This serves way more than 4. It makes a HUGE pot of sauce. I would say it serves at least 10-12, if you've got a crowd of big eaters**

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped (3 cups)
3 carrots, finely chopped (1 cup)
6 cloves garlic , minced
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup tomato paste
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree
1 cup milk
12 ounces spaghetti
Finely grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


1. Make sauce: In a Dutch oven (or 5-quart saucepan), heat oil over high heat. Add onions, carrots, and garlic; cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add beef and pork; cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute. Season generously with salt and pepper.

2. Add wine and tomatoes. Bring sauce to a simmer; cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 1 hour. Add milk; simmer until completely absorbed, about 15 minutes more. Season again with salt and pepper.

3. When sauce is almost done, cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente, according to package instructions; drain. Toss pasta with half the meat sauce; save remaining sauce for next day. Serve sprinkled with cheese.

NOW: it' confession time: I kinda have a thing for bar-cookies. Brownies, blondies, you name it. You basically get the best of both worlds in a cookie AND brownie and WHAT COULD BE BETTER? Chewy, fudgy or stuffed with semisweet chocolate chunks – or in this case: big, fat raisins, plump and sweetened with brown sugar.

Martha's Oatmeal-Raisin Bars (From Everyday Food June 2008)

Ingredients: (Serves 16)

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugars, egg, salt, and cinnamon until smooth. Add flour, oats, and raisins; fold in just until combined.

3. Spread batter in prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 bars.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley September 17, 2008 at 3:00 am

Ahh!!!! Martha! I can’t wait! See you there! :)


Jamie September 17, 2008 at 3:00 am

I’m pretty bummed I couldn’t be there! Too short of notice otherwise I would have been hanging out with you ladies!


Anna September 17, 2008 at 3:00 am

That Martha show sounds like so much fun! I can’t wait to hear all about it!


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