Monday, April 27, 2009

Jeff Woled sent me this via the internet and I present it here, warts and all!!!!


“I know you thought this was Italian, however the prize winning recipe below, taken from the (Woonsocket) Call, is obviously Canuck. Rosie Thibeault ran a luncheonette on Hamlet Ave. and supposedly invented it in 1939. Also, I learned that Dynamites are indigenous to the Woonsocket/Blackstone/Bellingham area. You couldn't, and may still can't, get one in North Smithfield. Bon appetit!” (These are Jeff's words).

3 pounds freshly ground beef (see Note 1)
1 large green pepper, diced, no seeds
1 large red pepper, diced, no seeds
2 medium onions, diced (or 1 Vidalia onion)
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
3 tablespoons butter to saute (see Note 2)
1 cup water (1 1/2 cups if using 5 pounds of beef)
2 -3 small cans tomato paste (or your own sauce from fresh tomatoes)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

In a large saucepan, saute diced peppers, onions and tomatoes in butter until soft. Add the water. Cook for a minute or two until the vegetables are blended. In same pot, add ground hamburger and cook until evenly browned and most of the water dissipates. Using a ladle, spoon off grease from top of the meat. A little bit left is fine but you do not want a lot. Then, add the tomato paste or homemade sauce and seasonings. The consistency should not be too loose or mushy. Add just enough paste to coat the meat. Sample the dynamite. You may want to add a bit more seasonings to desired taste. The dynamite will be stronger if left to mesh overnight, so keep this in mind when adding more seasonings.

The dynamite must sit in the fridge (covered, in the same pot) for a day so that all of the spices blend. It tastes much better when this step is taken. The dynamite can be reheated in the same pot on the stove or on the side burner of a grill. Serve on torpedo rolls (see note 3).

Note 1: You can use up to 5 pounds of meat without the need to double ingredients.

Note 2: We also use 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or canola oil.

Note 3: Calise Bakery or Lil’ General Stores sell torpedo rolls.

The dynamite recipe can also be used as a topping on hot dogs.

Yield: Feeds a crowd.

My comments on this recipe:

I doubt that Rosie knew about Vidalia onions in 1939. Use good old yellow onions first. Vidalias are sweet and cost more than regular yellow onions. Remember, this is supposed to be cheap eats! Most of the homemade dynamites that I have seen also used celery – remember, this recipe is a depression-era attempt at stretching a little meat a long way. I use one or two stalks per pound of meat. Also, neither butter nor olive oil are needed since there is plenty of fat in the ground beef and this is supposed to be cheap eats (I know - I am redundant). Water is not necessary because the vegetables have plenty. I use more veggies than Rosie: equal pounds of peppers and onions to the ground beef (that is 3# of beef, 3# of peppers and 3# of onions). I would not dice the veggies - larger chunks are a better presentation and much more fun. I like to add fresh garlic, more tomatoes (or good canned tomatoes), less tomato paste and plenty of Italian seasoning. I leave out the salt because there is plenty in the tomatoes, beef, celery, peppers and onions. No way would I top a hot dog with this!

Here is what I do:

Start the beef in a cold pot on low to medium heat. As the beef cooks, crumble it into smaller and smaller chunks. Add peppers, onion, celery, tomatoes and spices all together at the same time and cook for hours until the whole shebang is reduced considerably in volume. I go easy on the red pepper flakes, because many folks (especially many older Canucks and children) are repelled by spicy food. I supply extra flakes on the table, as well as Tabasco and other hot sauces, to spark the flames on the tongue.

Alas, most of us have no access to Calise or L’il General stores outside of Woonsocket, so choose a good quality soft (but absorbent) submarine roll. It is important to find an un-sliced roll so that you can slice it on top. Something about side-slicing a roll burns my butt.

Bridge Freezes Before Roadway

Sometimes simple concepts require an elaborate explanation. Sometimes they explain themselves.

In Spring 1971, the Assumption College Greyhounds got to go to Evansville! The basketball team was blessed with skill and luck that 1970-1971 season, beating Holy Cross and losing only to Providence College in Providence during the regular season. The New England Region NCAA Division II tournament was a breeze for the ‘Hounds as we (I was a sophomore) were headed for the National Tournament in Evansville IN. In its time, that season was magical and beating HC was of biblical proportions (all puns intended). You can look it up!

Because it was the first trip for AC to the Nationals (or “Evansville” as most of us called the tournament), much of the college community was scrapping for ways to get to Evansville. One of the faculty, Jim Barbato, announced that he was going and could fit additional folks into his VW bus. Not only was Jim my Geography professor, he was an AC grad himself and just could not pass on the chance to be on the first pilgrimage to Evansville. Somehow, I managed to get the last seat on Jim’s bus. The other five were Jim, Lou, Merc, John and Doreen.

Many stories have emanated from this epic journey. Strangely, all of them are true! This is but one of them. It will not be the last.

The plan was to drive all night to Evansville via I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike and New York Thruway) through Cleveland to I-71, then south to Columbus to I-70, west to Terre Haute to US 41 and south into Evansville. Somehow, in the middle of the night somewhere on I-90 near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, Lou was driving and I was sitting shotgun. I am fairly certain that everyone else was sleeping - dead certain that Jim was.

It was snowing lightly, maybe even sleeting. A sign loomed on the side of the road – it read “Bridge Freezes Before Roadway.” I noted the sign, turned to Lou and asked him “Exactly what does that mean?” “Not sure,” replied Lou. We crossed the bridge. If Jim had been awake, he would have answered the question. He taught Earth Science and Geography at AC. His CB handle was “Weatherman.” He knew about this stuff!

We crossed another bridge. I noticed that Lou, not an excitable person, had noticeably tensed, gripping the steering wheel tightly. I looked at the road, noted that we were driving over a bridge, and that the back end of the bus was approaching on the left (driver’s) side! Lou never said a word as the sweat beaded on his forehead. He eased off the gas and as we slowed the ass-end of the bus slowly receded from my sight. The highway resumed its correct position in front of the bus. Lou finally spoke: “Ya think that’s what the sign meant?” “Dunno,” I answered. “I suppose so.” We drove on into the night.