Robin asked me to write something on her blog. I was honored because basically I am not a good cook and I am not creative. Editor’s Note-My Ma is a big fat liar, and say liar without the “R”, she is an incredible cook. Back to her story. I taught myself how to cook by using a cook book or by watching my mother-in-law cook. But enough of that already, this is Robin’s blog so I thought I would begin with a story about Robin when she was a little girl. She began to speak at about 5 ½ months old, no kidding, and she hasn’t stopped. A friend of mine at the time said that when kids start to talk that young, they are (the word back then was “retarded.”) handicapped. Little she knew. Anyway, my wedding album was a book that Robin loved to look at and she would get it and show it to company. She was about 3 or 4 at the time. She would talk like she was at the wedding. We finally told her that she was not at the wedding and she was not even born. She was so upset, she cried and cried.
My recipe below is bracciol. At least that’s how we say it. Braciol is flank steak or round steak cut thin horizontally, tenderized by using a meat tenderizer or even a plate held vertically and pounded. I put the meat between two pieces of wax paper or saran wrap when I pound it. Growing up we only had this on holidays, mostly at Christmas, when MaMa (Vincenza) would make homemade ravioli. She would get up at five in the morning to make the ravs and cook her homemade sauce and make meatballs and she would put lamb in her gravy (sauce) because PaPa, my father, for some reason could not eat beef (hello, the hamburger in the meatballs was beef). We would beg her to make bracciol and she would, but doing all the above, it was more work for her. Hers was so delicious. All she did was flatten the meat and use tons of garlic, hard boiled eggs, salt & pepper, roll and tie meat with string, fry it and then put it in the gravy until it tenderized. I think each nationality has their own version of some kind of rolled meat. The Germans roll their beef called “Rouladen.” Robin has that recipe and it is delicious. Today, there are all versions for this recipe. Some add salami, flavored bread crumbs, cheese but here is how I like to make it:
1 slab of flank steak, pounded thin
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
2-3 hardboiled eggs, chopped
Grated parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper
If meat is too big for rolling (which it usually is), cut in half or thirds and make three rolls. Spread flank steak with garlic, chopped eggs, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper, spreading to within an inch to the edge. Roll and tuck edges in as you roll and tie with kitchen string. You can fry them to brown or just bake them in 350° oven until brown, about 20 minutes. Take the juice that it makes and the meat and put in tomato sauce and simmer with your sauce until tender. Let cool, remove string and then slice. Spoon some sauce over and enjoy.
By Rosalie Cannarozzo Klause
Epilogue- When my mom starts saying things like, “I can’t cook, I’m not creative.” I call this the “Woe is Ro” complex. Although my Mom states she is not a good cook or creative, let me make it clear, she is both of those and more. I would not be here at this blog doing what I do if it weren’t for her teaching me how to cook. She taught me and my brother, it was important to her. Maybe because her mother didn’t take the time with her, my own mom felt it important to teach us. I have watched her over the years pull off some tremendous meals, feed dozens of people at once with grace, and cook for us night after night. She is mostly self taught or learned by watching other women cook and asking them lots of questions. Her cake decorating is beautiful. Thanks for blogging for me Ma!