Frank Bruni

21 posts

Chris Pappas RIP

My father-in-law Chris passed away on April 14, 2021. He was a great guy. 

I had known him since I was 16 years old, some 47 years. Longer than most son-in laws get.

In that time I spent quite a bit of time with him in the early years, and then the later years. To say that he treated me like a prince is a gross understatement. In fact, when I was a teenager he let me drive his new car before his daughter, and my future wife. A memory that still makes us both smile.

If one word were used to describe Chris it would be (as the kids say) chill. Easy-going was, I think, his motto. Accepting of everyone and, in his later years especially, grateful for every kindness. I will miss him.

Welcome

Hi, and thanks for dropping by. This site is my personal playground. Here you will find my take on food. politics, and life. Like most, I have had successes and failures, but here I will focus on the positive. Enjoy!

Pork Rolls

Thin slices of pork, salted. (beef can be substituted here)

Filling:

1 lb of ground pork (traditionally pork fat is used so a high fat grind is best)

Parsley a large amount. (Spinach can be used as well)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Salt, Pepper

Combine ingredients to ground pork and then spread onto thin pork slices. Roll pork slices, seal with tooth pick and fry until done.

Pasta with Pesto and Sausage

For the pesto: ( Inspired by Marcella Hazan )

In a food processor add 2 cups tightly packed fresh Basil leaves

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 tbls of Blanched Almonds ( Pine Nuts are traditional)

2 roasted garlic cloves (raw garlic is traditional)

1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano

3 tbls of butter softened to room temp.

Salt ( optional as the cheese is salty)

Blend until mixture resembles smooth paste.

This can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator, however it must be a room temperature when added to the pasta.

For the pasta:

Sautee one Italian ( I prefer sweet) sausage for each person, casing removed and crumbled until browned. Add cooked pasta and combine. Add pesto and combine. Serve immediately.

Bar-B Barn Sauce

The Bar-B-Barn is a legendary Rib Joint in Montreal. This my take on their Sauce.

I Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Apple Sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

3 Tsp Lemon Juice

1/4 Tsp Salt ( or smoked salt )

1/4 Tsp Pepper

1/4 Tsp Garlic powder

1/4 Tsp Onion Powder

1/4 Tsp Cinnamon

1/4 Tsp Liquid Smoke

Combine all ingredients in saucepan and heat until combined and brown sugar dissolved stirring frequently. Let cool and refrigerate. Use on spare ribs.

Politics and what might have been.

Last night I met with a good friend.

He has been a sometime political candidate but has never held public office. I have had, and do have, a great deal of faith in his abilities in that regard. But I got the message, if not loudly, clearly, that he probably won’t run again.

As he well pointed out his prime earning years are the next twenty and if he is to ‘have a life’ it had better be now.

I completely understood. In fact I had, as his friend, advised him to do just that after the last particularly nasty campaign. But as a citizen I was sad. 

I dare say that most of us who consider ourselves politically active (or at least astute) fear that the quality of candidates for political office has diminished in recent years and that many who find themselves elected are long term representatives devoid of the fire that drove them to office in the first place, or political novices with little or no hope of ever making a difference and destined to sit on the periphery of political decision making. 

I fear that unless we as a society can convince young people that ‘civil service’ is an honourable  calling and create a political structure that does not favour incumbents (ranked ballots and term limits would be a good start)  that vocation will continue to slide into an even sadder state.  

As for my friend, I will continue to wish him well and relish the lengthy political discussions we have. But I’ll always wonder what might have been.

Death & Choice

Death is hard.

All of us have institutional, cultural, and religious customs regarding death and “after death” and living up to them in a world of ever changing cultural transition can be emotional. The rub of course is when the expectation of others conflicts with your beliefs. In families this can cause conflict, and in my own case sleepless nights.

My own take is that if you do right by people when they are alive then you have fulfilled your humanity.

Since no one can be sure without doubt what the right thing to do is, each person’s opinion and beliefs must be respected equally. Each person will handle death according to their strengths (and weaknesses) and in the end that`s all the any of us can or should hope for.

 

Sixty years and counting.

August 4th 2017 is my sixtieth birthday.

As I reflect on my life, both personal and professional, I am filled with gratitude at my good fortune. I am surrounded by family and friends the high quality of which, I probably don’t deserve.

So on the occasion my of six decades I’d like to pay back some of my good fortune by sharing some of what I think I have learned. Below are a few of the simple “rules” I try to live by. Most are my own and some are borrowed. I hope that you find at least one helpful.