A middle school librarian, she lives in Merrick with her husband, Jerry.
Can you describe your background and how that influenced your cooking?
My mother was Irish-German, and she cooked mostly German food. In addition to the rouladen [recipe below], I make red cabbage, which is her recipe. But otherwise, I cook Italian, because I married an Italian man.
You've written a family cookbook?
When my children got married, I made them a cookbook of all the recipes that they grew up with. Now, I cook for my husband and myself and, I have to say, it's nice to cook for just the two of us. We eat a lot more vegetables, usually two vegetables every night, plus a protein. And we've cut back on the carbs. I made a book of the new recipes I've discovered.
Any other specialties?
I love to bake. Every week, I make a dessert for my husband so he has something all week long. I make a chocolate cheesecake with a chocolate crust and a chocolate ganache that my family loves. We just moved, but at my old house, we had a fig tree that produced an unbelievable amount of fruit, so I made homemade fig Newtons. We grew blueberries, so I made a lot of blueberry crumbles.
Where did this recipe come from?
This comes directly from my mom. When she made it, it was a special treat, because back then the meat was expensive and the process was labor-intensive.
Any tips for success?
Sear the meat well, because you want the fond, those brown bits in the bottom of the pan, to make a great gravy. And simmer the rolls a long time, to make the meat tender. As the rolls cook, the bacon will flavor the meat and all of the ingredients will meld together so you get a taste of everything at once.
1 (3- to 4-pound) top-round roast thinly sliced into 30 pieces
Ground black pepper
½ cup yellow mustard
1 (24-ounce) jar dill pickles, cut into rounds
¾ to 1 pound sliced bacon, each slice cut in half
1 large white onion, chopped or thinly sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons flour
1. Pound each slice of meat to tenderize it, and so slices are ¼-inch thick.
2. Sprinkle each slice with salt and pepper and brush with mustard. Top with some pickles, a half slice of bacon and some onions.
3. Roll each slice into a little bundle, securing with two toothpicks.
4. Film a large saute pan with canola oil. Heat on medium high. Add some of the little bundles and brown each side. Do not crowd pan or meat will steam instead of browning. Transfer browned bundles to plate. Pour about ½ cup of water into pan and bring to boil, scraping browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour liquid from pan into a heatproof measuring cup, wipe pan with a paper towel and repeat with remaining bundles, browning them and then deglazing pan with water between batches.
5. Return the bundles to the pan along with the reserved gravy. Add enough water to cover the bundles. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1½ hours. If the meat is not fully submerged in the gravy, turn the bundles every 15 minutes to ensure even cooking.
6. When the meat is almost done, remove ½ cup of the liquid from the pan and let it cool. Whisk the flour into the liquid until smooth.
7. Remove meat bundles to plate and loosely cover with foil. Slowly whisk flour mixture into liquid in pan and bring to boil. Cook, whisking, until gravy is thickened, about 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Serve the hot little rouladen bundles with gravy. Makes 4 to 6 servings.