Monday, February 28, 2011
2‑1/2 ‑ 3 pounds boneless chuck roast
1/2 pound pancetta, cut into 1/4" dice
4 peeled and smashed cloves garlic
1 medium Spanish onion, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 large stalk celery cut widthwise into 1" pieces
1 bunch slender carrots peeled and halved widthwise, then lengthwise (4 longish pieces from each carrot)
2 cups Chianti or other dry red Italian wine
1 cup homemade (unsalted) chicken or beef stock or water
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 sprig rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
egg noodles, cooked and tossed with butter and chopped parsley to serve
1. Ahead of time, salt the roast on all sides, wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight. Bring meat to cool room temperature before proceeding.
2. Preheat oven to 300. In a 6 quart lidded braising vessel, heat pot to medium-high. Swirl a couple of tablespoons of neutral oil in the pan and heat until shimmering. Sear the beef on all sides, turning with tongs until well-browned on all sides. Remove beef and set aside.
3. In a 6 quart lidded braising vessel, heat pot to medium-high. Swirl a couple of tablespoons of oil in the pan and heat until shimmering. Sear the beef on all sides, turning with tongs until well-browned on all sides. Remove beef and set aside.
4. Add the pancetta, onion, celery and garlic cloves with a pinch of salt and saute until vegetables soften. Add the wine, stock, tomatoes, pinch of sugar, pinch of salt, some grindings of pepper and the vinegar. Bring to a boil, scraping browned bits from bottom of the pot into the sauce. Simmer high for a couple of minutes until liquid reduces almost by half. Snuggle the meat back into the pot with the rosemary and parsley, the liquid should come at least halfway up the sides of the roast, add more if needed. Bring to a boil, put the lid on the pot and place in the oven to roast for one hour.
5. After one hour, turn the meat over and replace the lid. Continue to roast another hour. At the two hour mark, turn the roast again and add the carrots, submerging in the pot liquid. Cover and roast an additional 30 to 45 minutes. The roast is done when it is fork tender.
6. Remove the meat and carrots to a platter. Return pot to the burner and on high, stirring, reduce until pot liquid reduces to desired consistency. Check seasoning. Stir in fresh parsley.
7. Serve roast sliced with pot gravy and carrots.
Friday, February 25, 2011
4‑5 cups broccoli florets and tender leaves
3 plump cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound fresh or frozen cavatelli (not the ricotta)
Grated parmesan to serve
1. Bring a large stockpot of salted water to the boil. Blanch the broccoli -- cook more than al dente stage, but not to a mush. Remove and shock in ice water to stop cooking. Keep water at a simmer. Use the same water to cook cavatelli.
2. Heat a large sauté pan with enough capacity to contain all of the sauce, broccoli and pasta over medium. Add the olive oil and garlic and cook over low heat, just to flavor the oil with the garlic. The garlic should not burn.
3. Meanwhile, cook the cavatelli per instructions al dente. Drain into a bowl, and add broccoli, some cheese and the garlic oil. Toss to combine and serve with plenty of grated parmesan on the side.
2 sticks butter (1 cup), room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
2‑1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips or chunks
1. Preheat oven 350°, middle rack. In a bowl, whisk cinnamon into flour. In a stand mixer with paddle, put butter, both sugars, baking soda, salt and vanilla. Beat medium just until ingredients come together as a mass.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated, stopping to scrape sides as needed. On low, add flour and cinnamon and beat just until incorporated. Add chips and beat just until incorporated.
3. On 1-2 baking sheets lined with parchment, drop batter by heaping tablespoon, up to 15 per sheet. Bake 13-15 minutes, turning midway until just golden brown on edges. Let cool on racks.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casing removed
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 28-ounce can Italian peeled tomatoes, finely chopped, juices reserved
2 28-ounce cans tomato puree
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 pounds fresh ricotta
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 Tablespoons finely chopped basil
1‑1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup set aside
1‑1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, shredded, 1/2 cup set aside
2 large eggs beaten
1 pound fresh lasagna sheets or dried lasagna noodles
1. In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil, add the beef, pork, veal and sausage (that has been removed from its casing) and cook until nicely browned. Add garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until the meat is coated. Add tomatoes with their juices and the tomato puree, season with salt & pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened about 1 1/2 hours.
2. In large bowl, combine the ricotta with the parsley, basil, 1 cup of the parmesan, 1 pound of the shredded mozzarella and beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Cook the lasagna noodles. Fresh pasta and no-cook lasagna do not require any pre-cooking. Dry, curly-ridged lasagna noodles only need 3 minutes pre-cooking time: boiled in abundant salted water, drained, rinsed in cold water and dried between towels.
4. Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9-by -13 inch glass baking dish. Line the dish with overlapping noodles. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, sprinkle with a little parmesan and shredded mozzarella then top with 1 1/2 cups of the sauce and another layer of noodles. Repeat the layering 2 more times. Top with noodles and cover with 1 1/2 cups of sauce -- there may be some sauce remaining -- save for another use. Toss the remaining mozzarella with the remaining parmesan and sprinkle over the lasagna.
5. Bake the lasagna for about 45 minutes up to one hour, or until the top is golden and crisp around the edges and the filling is bubbling. Let the lasagna rest for 20 minutes before serving.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
8 slices milk-fed veal cut for scallopine, approximately 1 pound
8 thin slices fresh mozzarella
8 slices prosciutto
8 large sage leaves
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 cup dry Italian white wine
1/2 cup rich homemade chicken stock
1. Salt the pieces veal on each side. Lightly pound each piece of veal between plastic wrap. Lay a piece of mozzarella, then a sage leaf. Lay a prosciutto slice on each piece of veal -- some overhang is fine. Weave a toothpick in and out to secure.
2. Heat a large skillet med-high. Add the oil and two tablespoons of butter. When hot and foaming, add the veal, prosciutto side down in two batches of four. Saute the veal on high each, about one minute each side to brown. Remove to a platter and repeat with next batch.
3. Add the flour to the pan and cook until tan in color. Add the wine and stock to the pan, cooking on high to scrape up brown bits and reduce by half. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining tablespoon of butter. Remove toothpicks from veal, pour hot sauce over all.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
1‑1/2 cups best-quality heavy cream, room temperature
6 Tablespoons best-quality sweet butter, room temperature
1‑1/2 cups parmagiano reggiano, grated powder-fine, plus extra for table service
Few gratings fresh nutmeg
1 pound egg fettucine, the thinnest fresh, or dried pasta nests
1. Start a large pot of well-salted water to boil.
2. In a saucepan, heat the cream to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the butter, cheese and nutmeg and stir to combine. Turn off heat and set aside.
3. Cook pasta until al dente. Turn into a colander, give one shake add to cream sauce. Turn pasta to coat and melt butter. Pasta should be just-coated with a glossy cream. Remove from heat and plate immediately, Passing with extra cheese, if desired.
2‑1/4 cups brewed espresso
1‑1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons plus 1 Tablespoon coffee liqueur
4 extra large egg yolks
1 pound mascarpone cheese
2 Tablespoons sweet marsala
1 cup heavy cream
48 store-bought ladyfingers
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1. Put the espresso, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and 1/4 cup of the coffee liqueur into a heavy saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Whisk until the sugar dissolves, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool.
2. Put the yolks, marscapone, marsala, remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and remaining 1 tablespoon of coffee liqueur in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment and whip on medium speed until light and airy, approximately 7 minutes. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a hand mixer fitted with the whip attachments.) Transfer the mixture to another bowl and clean and dry the stand mixer bowl and the whip attachment, returning them both to the mixer.
3. Put the cream in the bowl of the stand mixer and whip until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the cream mixture into the marsala mixture.
4. One by one, dip the ladyfingers in the espresso syrup and arrange a layer in the bottom of a 13-inch x 9-inch pan. (3 rows of 7 across the width worked perfectly, each layer) Spoon a layer of cream over the ladyfingers. Sprinkle some cocoa powder over top of cream. Dip and arrange another layer of ladyfingers over the cream, with the second layer perpendicular to the first. Spoon the remaining cream over the top.
5. Dust the tiramisu with cocoa powder. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days. To serve, use a kitchen spoon to scoop out portions into small bowls or glass dishes.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
1 pounds link sweet Italian sausage
1 pound meaty lamb neck bone, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 recipe meatballs (see recipe)
1 recipe Braciole (see recipe)
1 large onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
2 Tablespoons basil, chopped
6 teaspoons sugar
3 28 ounce cans plum tomatoes
3 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 can filled with water
1. Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Lightly salt the lamb neck bones. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the neck bones to the pot, sear them on all sides until golden brown. Remove the neck bones and set aside. Add the sausage links to the pan, sear them on all sides and then remove and set aside. Sear the Braciole in the pot as well. Once seared on all sides, remove from the pot.
2. Build the sauce in the stockpot. First add in the onions to sauté for a few minutes. Then the garlic, basil and oregano, add in the cans of tomatoes, water and sugar. Allow the sauce to come to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add back all of the seared meats, as well as the meatballs.
3. Allow sauce to simmer 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally and making sure nothing is scorching on the bottom of the pot. When done to your taste, with tongs, remove all meats to a platter. Stir sauce and reduce if necessary. Taste and correct for salt, if needed.
4. Slice the sausage into serving portions. Remove string from braciole and slice into portions. Leave neck bone to pick through for those who wish to do so.
5. Serve sauce with cooked pasta and grated cheese. Offer platter of meatballs and sliced meats.
6 fat links sweet Italian sausage with fennel, approximately 2 pounds
1 bulb fennel, trimmed, halved, cored, cut lengthwise in thin slices
2 medium Spanish onions, halved, cut lengthwise in thin slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
4‑6 sprigs fresh thyme
1‑1/4 cup rich (unsalted) chicken stock
3/4 cup Italian white wine
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Prick each sausage several times to prevent bursting. Heat a Dutch oven large enough to accommodate the sausages in one layer over medium. Add sausages and brown on both sides – no need to cook through. Remove to a plate. Add another tablespoon of oil and add the fennel, onions, garlic, thyme and salt. Reduce heat and sauté, slowly, until soft, translucent and taking on color -- 10-15 minutes. Add the brown sugar and stir 30 seconds. Add the stock and wine. Bring to a boil and let reduce by half.
2. Put sausages back into the pot and bake 30 minutes. Remove pot, and platter sausages. Swirl mustard into the onions, check salt, correct, and add grindings of black pepper. Pour onions over sausages. Garnish with sprigs fresh thyme, if desired.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
1 single bone cut prime rib, 2 1/2 - 3 pounds, preferably with nice fat cap of at least 1/4" thick
1/4 cup chopped white onion
4 plump garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 Tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1 Tablespoon coarse-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon coarse kosher salt, plus additional
1. The night before: In a processor or blender, pulse to a rough paste the onion, garlic, oil, rosemary, parsley, pepper and red pepper flakes. Rub the roast well with the kosher salt on all sides. Rub the roast with the herb paste and wrap well in plastic. Refrigerate overnight.
2. Unwrap the roast and wipe off the rub with a paper towel -- does not need to be perfect. Bring roast to cool room temperature.
3. Preheat oven to 450°, middle rack. Place the meat, bone side down, in a lightly oiled shallow roasting pan, just large enough to comfortably hold the meat. Sprinkle the fat cap with salt and some grindings of black pepper. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325. Continue to cook until meat reaches an internal temperature of 130 (med-rare), approximately 20-30 mins. (start checking after 15 mins. Let meat rest 15 minutes before carving. Serve with natural juices or a simple horseradish sauce.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large bowl mesclun or other greens
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or a few shavings
1. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, sugar, mustard, oregano and basil. Whisk in the red wine vinegar and season as desired. Whisking continuously, drizzle the oils until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning. You can pour into a jar or container and store in the fridge until ready to use. Just remember to shake or whisk again to combine all the ingredients.
2. Place greens in a large salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing over top and toss to combine. Sprinkle in some grated Parmesan and toss again. Serve immediately.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
1 pint beautiful strawberries, trimmed and sliced lengthwise
2 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons sweet Marsala wine
8 large egg yolks (organic best)
1/4 cup plus two tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon sweet Marsala wine
1 Tablespoon of the strawberry juice
1 pint heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 Tablespoon sugar
4 beautiful strawberries for garnish
1. Combine the strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan. Turn heat to medium and allow the berries to cook, stirring gently, until the berries exude juices and begin to soften. Add the Marsala, raise heat to bubble off some of the alcohol. Remove from heat -- you want to stop before the berries turn to mush. There should be a nice combination of berries and juices in the pot. Reserve while preparing the zabaglione.
1. Set up a double boiler, bottom chamber heated to lowest simmer.
2. Off the heat, with a balloon whisk, whip together the yolks and sugar in the upper bowl of the double boiler until very well emulsified and beginning to lighten in color. Place bowl over the simmering water and continue whisk/whip the eggs, nonstop as they begin to froth and further lighten in color. Slowly add in the marsala as you continue to whip and incorporate completely. Ladle in some of the juices from the pot of strawberries 1 tablespoon just to infuse the mixture with berry flavor.
3. I know -- your arm is sore -- but keep whipping, removing the bowl for a moment if the mixture looks like it is getting to hot -- you don’t want the eggs to scramble. The zabaglione is finished when the mixture is thick, rich and silken in texture -- it should ribbon from the whisk when lifted from the bowl approximately 7-10 minutes.
4. Place bowl on the counter and give a few more turns with the whisk to cool it down a bit. Fold in a nice dollop of the whipped cream to lighten; fold in remaining whipped cream.
5. In four stemmed martini, wine or coupe glasses, ladle in portions of the strawberries and their juices. Spoon the zabaglione over the berries. Top each with a whole fanned strawberry.
1 day-old bottom half of Pugliese loaf
1 24 ounce can of plum tomatoes or 3 vine-ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded, chopped
4 Tablespoons good olive oil
2 plump garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup torn basil leaves
Crushed red pepper flakes
Chunk Pecorino Romano
6 slices provolone
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Mash the tomatoes, a generous pinch salt, olive oil, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes to taste, and a few grates of both cheeses in a bowl; let rest for 5 minutes.
2. Put bread cut-side up on baking sheet. Top with tomato mixture and any juices. Top with sliced provolone. Grate over pecorino. Bake 10 minutes or until cheese has melted. Broil high until cheese begins to bubble and brown -- quickly!
3. Allow to cool a couple of minutes and cut into serving pieces.
Monday, February 14, 2011
1‑1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1‑1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup milk, room temperature
1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 white, room temperature
1 cup butter, softened cool room temperature
2‑1/2 cups 10x sugar
2 teaspoons milk
Innards scraped from one vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch fine sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°, center rack. Line a 12 portion standard muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In other bowl, whisk together the milk, buttermilk and extract. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment: combine the butter and sugar, beat medium, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides. On low, add the whole egg, increase to medium and beat until incorporated. Scrape down sides, repeat with egg white.
2. On med-low, add the dry mixture, alternating with the wet in three additions of dry, i.e., dry, wet, dry , wet, dry, scarping between additions. Mix just combine on last addition. Mixture will not look completely smooth.
3. Fill liners 3/4 full with batter -- do not overfill or cake will bake slightly concave.
4. Bake 20, 25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean from center. This cake has a flat top -- will not dome.
5. Allow to cool before frosting.
1. Beat the butter until fluffy on medium, stand mixer fitted with whip. Turn to low, add 10x sugar by 1/4 cup until incorporated. Add milk, vanilla bean bits, extract and salt. Increase to med-high, beat a minute or two until light and fluffy.
1‑1/2 pounds (approximate) King crab legs, thawed completely in the refrigerator
1/2 cup clarified butter
2 plump garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Break legs into manageable-sized lengths to accommodate an approx 10" x 8" bake-and-serve dish, With shears, slit open the legs and set aside.
2. In a heated saucepot, combine the clarified butter and cloves of garlic. Bring to a simmer, zest the lemon over the butter sauce and add the parsley. Stir to combine and add the crab. Toss to coat the crab in the butter sauce and cover with a lid. Cook for about 5 minutes.
3. Transfer the crab to a serving bowl. Pour the sauce over top and serve with lemon wedges and crusty bread.
2 halves boneless, skinless chicken breast (approx 6-7 oz. each), trimmed
1 crushed clove garlic
1 small eggplant, 1 pound or less
2 thin slices prosciutto
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (see recipe)
2 large egg
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cups marinara sauce (see recipe)
1/4 pound fusilli pasta, cooked al dente
Few leaves torn fresh basil
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Sprinkle the chicken breast halves with salt, pepper, drizzle with olive oil and turn to coast with the crushed garlic. Let rest while you prepare the sauce and eggplant.
3. In a small saucepot, heat the tomato sauce and warm through.
4. Peel the eggplant and slice across the width into 1/4 inch rounds – you will only need four pieces for this recipe. Place the breadcrumbs and the flour each in two shallow plates. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat. Dip each piece of eggplant first into the flour, tapping off excess, then into the beaten egg, allowing excess to drip off, then lastly, coat in crumbs. Heat a large (12”) skillet over medium-high heat and add 1/4 cup oil. When oil is shimmering gently lay in the eggplant and fry until golden brown on each side. Place on a plate lined with a paper towel and sprinkle lightly with salt. Set aside while finishing the chicken.
5. Heat a cast iron grill pan (or other grilling device) over medium high heat. Grill the chicken breasts on each side until nicely marked but not cooked through. Set aside.
6. In a bowl, toss the fusilli with 1/2 of the marinara sauce – enough to coat well and sprinkle with a little grated parmesan. Place in the bottom of a small, lightly oiled baking dish. Place the chicken pieces side by side on top of the pasta. Top each piece of chicken with a slice of prosciutto, two pieces of eggplant and the sliced mozzarella. Bake until the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked through – approx 10 minutes. You can brown the cheese with a quick turn under the broiler, if desired. Top with remaining sauce and fresh basil.
Monday, February 7, 2011
NEW YORK – Manhattanites may crack jokes about New Jersey, but cable network shows based in the state are chalking up big ratings, the New York Post highlighted Wednesday.
Not only MTV hit Jersey Shore continues to draw record ratings.
Comcast-owned Style Network, now part of NBCUniversal, saw the final episode of season two of Jerseylicious, which features Jersey stylists, become its highest-rated telecast ever and drew 925,000 viewers. The show has doubled its viewership since season one, the Post said, adding that it will be part of the channel’s counter-programming on Super Bowl Sunday.
The Post also highlighted Discovery Communications-owned TLC’s success with Jersey-based Cake Boss, which has led to spin-off The Next Great Baker. The season four premiere of Cake Boss drew 2.4 million viewers on Jan. 31, just shy of the series’ highest-rated episode, which drew 2.5 million viewers, according to the Post.
But not every cable show that puts the spotlight on New Jersey is a big ratings success. Oxygen’s Jersey Couture about an upscale dress salon launched last spring with so-so ratings. A spokeswoman told that Post that the network was still considering a second season.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Cake Boss on TLC has been taking viewers behind the scenes of Buddy Valastro's busy, family-run bakery, sharing the sweeter side of life for three season. Season four of Cake Boss with Buddy Valastro and familiy premieres on January 31, 2011. Two welcome the new season on Cake Boss, TLC is airing a marathon of the series on Monday afternoon and evening.
Buddy's busier than ever at the bakery and Cake Boss back for its fourth season starting Monday, January 31 at 9:00 pm. This season finds the crew at Carlo's Bakery tackling their biggest cakes yet - including a toilet bowl cake that actually flushes, a giant great white shark cake, and a visit from Rachael Ray, who works with Buddy to make a cake for her wedding anniversary. Buddy and wife Lisa are also expecting their fourth child, leaving Buddy worried about keeping up with ever-increasing demands at home and work.
CAKE BOSS is produced for TLC by High Noon Entertainment. Executive Producers for CAKE BOSS are Jim Berger, Art Edwards, Pamela Healey.
19 Kids and Counting - The Duggars are back for fifth season on TLC
Kitchen Boss with Buddy Valastro on TLC
Hoboken City Council will host a public hearing on the city's rent control ordinance, as reported by The Jersey Journal.
Hoboken is the latest entity in line to file for "intervenor status" which would give them legal legs to challenge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the Spectra Energy natural gas pipeline if necessary, the Journal reported.
Buddy Valastro, Hoboken's "Cake Boss," will crown the winner of his reality competition show "Cake Boss: Next Great Baker" tonight at 9 p.m. on TLC.
For the full stories and more, read today's Jersey Journal.
He was 63.
A resident of Carlstadt, the veteran baker is survived by his wife Lucille.
Picinich was born in 1947 on the small Croatian island of Susak and immigrated with his family to Hoboken when he was 16.
His parents sent him straight to work in an Italian bakery where he started out washing pans and soon became righthand baker to the late Buddy Valastro Sr. at the original Carlo's bakery on Adams Street where he worked for 45 years.
It was there where he would meet his wife of 37 years who worked part-time at the bakery after school.
"Carlo's was everything to him," she said. "He was so dedicated. Work always came before family with Sal. He worked hard all his days and he was proud of the product that he put out."
His favorite pastry was a cream-filled lobster tail and Picinich was a stickler for using time-tested, "old-fashioned" baking techniques, as he told the New York Post in a 2008 interview.
The baker is also survived by two children, Danielle Picinich Reinoso and Salvatore Picinich, two grandchildren, four siblings and the employees at Carlo's where he is remembered as a good friend, mentor and honorary patriarch to the Valastro family.
"Sal was like a second father to me and I thoroughly enjoy every moment that we spent together," said "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro Jr. in a statement.
Many of these moments have been preserved on the reality series, including a special episode filmed over the summer in honor of the bakery's 100th anniversary in which Picinich accepted an award for "Employee-of -the-Century."
The premiere episode of the show's fourth season aired on TLC Monday night and was dedicated to Picinich's memory.
Described by his wife as a quiet and humble man, Valastro's sisters Mary Sciarrone and Madeline Castano remember a personal confidante.
"He was very special to us," said Castano. "He was our family. It wouldn't be the same without him... He was a good person to talk to."
The Valastros visited Picinich shortly before his death.
"I said, Sal, now you're gonna go bake with my Dad," Sciarrone said. "I know they're baking up there."
The wake is scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday at Kimak Funeral Home in Carlstadt with a funeral Mass scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday at St. Joseph's R.C. Church in East Rutherford.
Hoboken Now stopped by this evening to see if we could get some more dish on the series and its winner Dana Herbert, the newest member of the "Cake Boss" famiglia, only to find camera crews still filming for the original TLC reality series which begins its fourth season next Monday night.
The "Boss" himself, Buddy Valastro was at the bakery, but unable to speak to the press.
When asked if Herbert would be relocating to Hoboken from his native Delaware, Valastro's publicist Adam Bourcier said: "It's still being worked out."
(By the way, tonight's recap is being featured at TLC.com! You can also visit Facebook.com/CakeBoss for even more dish on the show.)
Who will win $50,000, a 2011 Chevy Cruise, a job at Carlo's City Hall Bake Shop in Hoboken and the title of Next Great Baker?
We'll get to that.
First things first: the last baker's challenge... and it's not so sweet.
On tonight's special 90 minute episode, the three remaining bakers - Corina Elgart, Dana Herbert and Megan Rountree - walked a mile in Buddy's shoes for a day.
And that included a trip down to the basement to clean out the bakery's grease trap which skims the sludge off of the waste water.
Holding back their disgust, the contestants grabbed a bucket, filled them up with the gray, unappetizing substance and hauled them back to Buddy - all in one minute. (Having seen the line outside this bakery even in 30 degree weather, this reporter wouldn't be surprised to find those buckets on Ebay!)
Pulling in 46 pounds of rancid grease, Dana got to the first pick of Buddy's team to help him win the final challenge.
It's go time!
"They have to use their time and my family if they want to win this challenge," said Buddy.
Starting at 6 o' clock the night before, the contestants were responsible for baking 400 cookies, 20 cakes, 20 pies and 200 pastries - all by 7 a.m.
But it didn't stop there. The bakers also kicked out a Hoboken-themed cake for a "very special client."
Mayor Dawn Zimmer, of course. Or, as Buddy called her, "the Boss of Hoboken." (Sources tell us she's watching tonight episode with her family.)
After several hours of planning and baking (and some typical squabbling amongst the "Cake Boss" sisters), Zimmer arrives to give a plug for the Mile Square City - the birthplace of Sinatra and baseball and home to a diverse community.
Seven a.m. arrived sooner than the bakers expected and after working all night long in the kitchen, the contestants were expected to sell, sell, sell as swarms of tourists - many of whom lined up starting at 5 a.m. - flooded the bakery.
Dana and Megan had both managed to crank out an impressive array of pastries, plus a few extras to kick the competition up a notch. Intimidated by the over-achievers, Corina decided to return to the bakery and whip up a few more pastries.
But, sadly, it was too late for the New Yorker.
Buddy shocked the bakers with a surprise elimination mid-way through the episode.
"I'm a baker, but I'm a businessman first," said Buddy as Corina was ushered into the box truck.
On With the Show
Dana and Megan had one last task to finish their Hoboken cakes and deliver them to the DeBaun Center at Stevens Institute of Technology where a live audience of hundreds of fans and their families awaited them.
Zimmer and buddy's mother Mary Valastro were there to judge the final leg of the competition.Courtesy of TLCDana Herbert, 34, of Bear, Delaware won the title of "Next Great Baker" for his version of a Hoboken-themed cake. He will soon join the cast of season 4 of "Cake Boss" which airs next week at 9 p.m.Ultimately, it was Herbert's detailed depiction of City Hall, Carlo's Bake Shop and other iconic Hoboken images on a three-tiered vanilla cake won him the coveted title of Valastro's new protege - despite Zimmer's professed preference for Megan's chocolate cake.
"I want to officially welcome you to my church," said Valastro as he lead Herbert into the bakery in the episode's final shot and issued him a white Carlo's baker's coat. "You are now part of the family."
Tune in to catch Dana on "Cake Boss" season four next Monday at 9 p.m.!
After the first season of the spin-off competition series "Next Great Baker," "Cake Boss" is back in full swing for the fourth season.
Tonight we join Buddy and his wife Lisa during an intimate moment with the OB/GYN as the two looked at ultrasound pictures of their fourth child.
Buddy is inspired to make a cake for Lisa in the shape of a stork holding a baby in a yellow blanket - the perfect dessert for an upcoming party where the Boss and his wife plan to announce the new addition to the rest of the familgia.
The cake must remain a surprise and, because little is sacred in Carlo's Bake Shop, Mauro is charged with helping Buddy keep it that way.
But the stork cake soon becomes an afterthought as the bakers get two high-profile assignments for the week: commissions from Rachael Ray and Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Daytime television's newest darling comes to the bakery (via the back door, of course) to ask Buddy to make her a cake in honor of her fifth wedding anniversary to husband John Cusimano. The Boss decides to make a replica of the Castello di Velona, the castle-turned-hotel in the Tuscan countryside where the couple was wed.
Rice crispy treats, cannoli cream and the usual layer of textured fondant do the job for the castle, while modeling chocolate figures of Rachael and John complete the pretty picture.
In the meantime, it is quickly revealed that Buddy's sister Grace is a huge fan of Rachael Ray, showering her with platters of Italian cookies. Feeling generous - or perhaps pressured by TV cameras - he brings his sister along to come with him to deliver the cake to the set of the Rachael Ray Show in New York City.
In the midst of all the baking, the crew finds time to check out the the Lackawanna Center, an 8-story industrial building just next door to Hoboken in Jersey City and the future site of the Boss' new office suite and state-of-the-art baking facility.
Which brings us to the third cake of the week: a replica of the Circus ring in honor of the Ringling Bros.'s final performance of the season commissioned by Dean the Clown.
For the "Greatest Show on Earth," Buddy must make the "Greatest Cake on Earth" so he and his crew roll up their sleeves to recreate the animals, the clowns and the tightrope atop layers of red velvet and vanilla cake. They even manage to throw in some pyrotechnics with a hoop of fire and modeling chocolate people shooting out of canons.
Buddy and the bakers deliver the cake to the big top where Dean gives it a thumbs up, leaving him to finish his covert operations for the week in time for the family gathering at the Valastro's.
As Buddy and his decorator Ralph are putting the finishing touches on the stork cake, who should walk in but Lisa followed by Mauro who did a rather unconvincing job at informing her that Buddy had already left the bakery for the day.
Seeming unfazed, Lisa asks Buddy a question about an order and walks out of the bakery.
Cut to the family enjoying a Sunday dinner of what appears to be Italian sausage and peppers and Buddy and Lisa tell the family their big news. Once the hugging and shrieking is out of the way, Mauro helps Buddy present Lisa with the surprise of his own and the Boss cuts into his stork cake.
The moral of today's episode, "Cake Boss" fans?
"It doesn't matter what changes we go through. It doesn't matter how the business grows," Buddy says. "At the end of the day, it's about this right here. It's about famiglia."
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Sal Picinich, the baker who rose to fame on the TLC reality show "Cake Boss," has died at the age of 63.
His wife, Lucille, told the North Jersey Record that he died from cancer.
A tribute aired at the end of the Monday night episode of the TLC show, which centers on Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, where Picinich worked for 45 years, originally under "Cake Boss" star Buddy Valastro’s father.
"TLC was saddened to learn of the passing of Sal Picinich, a beloved Carlo's Bakery employee featured on 'Cake Boss," TLC said in an official statement. "We join Buddy Valastro and the entire Carlo's crew in sending Sal's family our sincerest condolences."
Picinich stopped appearing on the TLC show in 2009 when he reportedly started battling cancer.
"The minute he didn't go down to Carlo's Bakery was the minute I knew Sal was starting to feel pain," his wife told the Record.
He briefly returned to "Cake Boss" last year for the Employee of the Century of the Award, which he accepted on the 100th anniversary of the bakery.
Picinich is survived by his two children, grandchildren and his wife of 38 years.
His funeral will be held Friday in East Rutherford.
The fourth season of "Cake Boss" airs Mondays on TLC.
Buddy Valastro's television empire is growing again, with the addition of a daily cooking show set to launch Jan. 24 on TLC.
The host of "Cake Boss" and "The Next Great Baker" will be behind the stove of "Kitchen Boss," a half-hour show in which he'll cook Italian meals.
"The main focus is accessibility," Valastro says. "I want food that takes people back to remembering what their grandmother made, or their mother made."
"Kitchen Boss" will premiere after the finale of "Next Great Baker" on Jan. 24 at 10:30 p.m. On Jan. 25, it will move to 5:30 p.m., where it will continue Monday through Friday.
"Sometimes I watch cooking shows and they say, 'I got this pepper from a canyon in Mexico,'" Valastro says. "Who the hell is going to get that pepper? I want people to go to the supermarket and get what they need."
As with everything Valastro does, "Kitchen Boss" will be well steeped in his family's history and stories. He'll prepare entrees and simple deserts, he says, and along the way will talk about memories of similar dishes while growing up.
"I went to TLC and said, 'I love to cook. All the cooking shows are great, but I don't want to go in like a chef,'" he says. "People don't have that culinary training. I want them to feel like a cook."
The series was shot in a New York studio, not his famed Carlo's Bake Shop in Hoboken.
The new show is the latest in Valastro's rapidly growing "Cake Boss" world. Season four of the baking show begin Jan. 31 at 9 p.m.
Valastro is also talking about a restaurant venture built around his family-flavored food stylings.
"I've always got more tricks, more things, more ideas," Valastro says. "I love cooking."