Cousin Cheryl often claims to be an inadequate cook, but every morsel of hers I've ever sampled has been delicious. She did say of late that divorcing her first husband, a controlling kind of guy who liked to hover and criticize while she cooked, had a side of effect of making her a better cook. Maybe because she could follow her own instincts without distraction from some nutty jerk? Maybe. No offense, ex-husband.
So Cheryl's mommy is Italian. Old New York family. I won't name names. Let's just say I've been told not to sit next to the restaurant window when dining out with them. There's some cooking going on there, and no matter what Cheryl says she got the gene.
Since it's tomato season, here's a little beauty from Cheryl I think you might love:
Cheryl says: This recipe an be made with beef or veal, but I prefer the beef. I suppose you could do it with pork chops or chicken, but I haven't had it that way. Save any leftover tomatoes sauce and use it on a macaroni as a side dish.
2 pounds beef -- round steak cut 3/4" thick, or veal rib or loin cut 1/2" thick
1 1/2 pounds fresh or 1 20 oz can of good plum tomatoes
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan or Romano
good olive oil
De-seed the tomatoes, and put them through a food mill (alternately, put them through a food processor, then strain) until liquid but not mushy. Set aside.
Add the garlic, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper to the tomatoes, and stir.
In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium high heat.
Sear the meat on both sides, lower the heat and leave in the pan.
Top the meat with the tomato mixture.
Let simmer on low heat for about 45 minutes, until the meat is fork tender.
Top with the grated cheese.
Serve with a nice rusty bread and a bottle of red wine.