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Cassell's heading south

I don't doubt that there's dry mustard in Cassell's potato salad, or that it's the secret ingredient. However, that doesn't establish that there's no horseradish in it also. I was at Cassell's again last month and specifically asked whether there was horseradish in the potato salad. I got an immediate "Yes." I first ate at Cassell's in 1968 and I notice no difference in the potato salad since then. Seems to me that if it tastes like horseradish, bites like horseradish, and the cooks tell me there's horseradish in it . . . I gotta believe there's horseradish in it.

Apr 26, 2011
Jack Clark in Los Angeles Area

Avoiding Dinner-Party Wine Gaffes

"Plonk"? I like it, but I had to look it up. "Cheap or inferior wine," is said, "chiefly British." Okay, that one goes on the list with bonnet, lorry, knickers, and 1st floor. Thanks for the British English lesson. :-]

Aug 19, 2010
Jack Clark in Features

spaghetti sauce

Spaghetti Meat Sauce, 24-Hour Simmer, Based on Mom's

This is our Mom's spaghetti sauce with quite a few alterations. She never used wine. She didn't simmer it 24 hours, either. But the taste and consistency is a lot like hers. Rather than being thin and tomato-y, this sauce is thick, meaty, and full of different solid vegetable flavors. This sauce does not pretend to be an authentic Italian spaghetti sauce; I doubt that any Italian sauce is similar to this. But it’s so delicious you may find yourself spooning it over a slice of bread instead of waiting for spaghetti noodles to cook. I think the distinguishing ingredients probably are the green olives, the fennel seeds--and perhaps the red wine vinegar. This recipe is in large quantities because the sauce freezes so well. It even tastes better after freezing, I think. It gets a moderate difficulty rating only because there's meat to brown or perhaps shrimp to peel and a good bit of chopping and slicing to do of mushrooms, celery, bell peppers, olives, and green onions--especially if you make 13 quarts at a time, as this recipe yields. But there is nothing at all tricky about this recipe. If you need to make half of this sauce meatless--or perhaps with ground turkey and turkey sausage instead of ground beef and pork sausage--it is best to start with two separate stock pots, right from the beginning and halve the ingredients into each as you go along. Making all the sauce in one pot and then trying to divide the sauce in two before you add the meat does not usually result in evenly splitting the solid ingredients in the sauce.

Origin: Inis Lemna Clark, San Diego

Alterations By: [Her son, Jack, Idyllwild, California]

Yield: 13 quarts

Prep Time: 1.75 hours

Cooking Time: 24 hours

Inactive Prep Time: none

Ethnicity: Non-authentic Italian

Difficulty: Medium


● (1) 16-qt. stockpot, with lid
● (1) 12-in. skillet, or larger
● (5) 29-oz. cans tomato sauce, Roma, Contadina brand is made with Roma tomatoes.
● (2) 12-oz. cans tomato paste, Roma, Contadina brand is made with Roma tomatoes.
● 3 tbsp. garlic, dried, minced
● 3 tbsp. oregano, dried, chopped
● 3 tbsp. basil, dried, chopped
● 7 medium bay leaves, dried
● 1 tsp. black pepper, fresh, coarsely ground
● 2 tbsp. sugar, optional, but recommended
● 2 tbsp. fennel seeds, coarsely crushed in a mortar
● 1 tsp. chili powder, optional
● 2 tbsp. olive oil *(see alternative below), for browning meat only (there are plenty of olives cooking down in the sauce already)
● 5 lbs. ground beef, lean or extra lean, or substitute ground turkey or seafood
● 1 tsp. salt, for browning meat only (the other ingredients contain plenty of salt already)
● 10 medium tomatoes, vine-ripened or hot-house, quartered
● 1 bunch celery, coarsley chopped
● 2 bunches green onions, coarsely chopped
● 3 large bell peppers, green, red & yellow, coarsley chopped
● 2 lbs. mushrooms, fresh, thickly sliced
● (2) 6-oz. drain wt. can black olives, pitted, halved
● (2) 10-oz. drain wt. jar green olives, pimento-stuffed, halved. Add the green olive juice, too
● (1) 750-ml. bottle red wine, preferably burgundy
● 8 oz. red wine vinegar
● 1-2 cups parsley, fresh, chopped
● 1.5-2 lbs. Italian sausage, sweet or hot (probably sweet), or substitute turkey sausage, or omit entirely

*Bacon and bacon dripping alternative to olive oil for browning the ground beef:
● 1 lb. bacon, fried in the pan, adds a different flavor to the sauce

Side topping:
● parmesan cheese, fresh grated preferred
● parsley, fresh, chopped (optional)


Begin about 24 hours before serving:
1. In the stock pot, heat the tomato sauce and tomato paste over a burner that is one-step cooler than medium.
2. Add the minced garlic.
3. Hold back 1 tbsp. of the oregano and add 2 tbsp. to the pot.
4. Hold back 1 tbsp. of the basil and add 2 tbsp. to the pot.
5. Add the bay leaves, black pepper, and optional sugar (no salt).
6. Coarsely crush the fennel seeds and add them to the pot.
7. Add the optional chili powder. Stir well.
8. In the skillet, add the olive oil and brown the ground beef well with salt and pepper and add it to the pot when browned. (*Or, if you're going with the bacon alternative, above, fry the bacon in the skillet first, chop up the bacon and add it to the pot, then brown the ground beef in the bacon drippings with salt and pepper, and add it to the pot when browned.) Meanwhile . . .
9. Quarter the tomatoes and add them to the pot.
10. Coarsely chop the celery, green onions, and bell peppers and add them to the pot.
11. Halve the black olives and add them to the pot.
12. Hold back about 1/3 of the green olives, halve 2/3 of them and add them to the pot, juice and all.
13. Hold back about 1/3 of the mushrooms (the ones with the larger caps), and thickly slice (three cuts each) 2/3 of them and add them to the pot.
14. Hold back about 1/5 (150 ml.) of the bottle of red wine, and add 650 ml. to the pot. Stir well.
15. When the sauce comes up to a low, slow boil, reduce heat to second-lowest burner setting. Simmer covered like this for 8 to 16 hours.

16. After a total of 8 to 16 hours, stir well, taste, and adjust seasonings (no salt). Stir well. Reduce heat to lowest burner setting and simmer covered until the sauce has been cooking for a total of 20 hours. Go take a walk outside because you're going to love the way the house smells when you come back in.

17. After a total of 20 hours cooking time--but still about 4 hours before serving time--stir well, taste, and adjust seasonings to taste (no salt).
18. Thickly slice the remaining larger-capped mushrooms (3 cuts each, as before) and add them to the pot.
19. Halve the remainder of the green olives and add them to the pot.
20. Add the red wine vinegar to the pot. Stir well.
21. Cut the sausages into two- to three-inch sections, brown them well, and add them to the pot. Stir well.
22. Continue to simmer covered over lowest heat for 4 more hours.

23. A half hour or so before serving, stir well and taste. If you absolutely must add salt, this is the time to do it, now that all the salty ingredients have made their contribution. I'm betting you won't add any.
24. Add the last one tablespoon of oregano and the last one tablespoon of basil.
25. Add the last 150 ml. of the bottle of wine. Stir well. Simmer covered for the last half hour or so while you cook up your pasta.

26. Just before serving, add the freshly-chopped parsley. (You can hold back some to sprinkle on top of the served dishes, if you like.) Stir the pot again very well just before serving. Smother the pasta in this sauce. If you can still see white, you need to ladle on some more. (The photo here shouldn't have any pasta showing.)
27. Serve with parmesan cheese on the side--freshly-grated if you have it, store-bought if you don't.
28. Optional: Serve with some of the freshly-chopped parsley, either on top or on the side.

Makes about 13 quarts. Sauce may be frozen in variously-sized plastic containers. (It tastes even better after freezing and reheating.)
(Revised 2009.02.09)

Feb 09, 2009
Jack Clark in Home Cooking

Cassell's heading south

LOL! That's quite an image! I'm picturing a building full of people. You say, "Cassell's, anyone?" and they all simultaneously make the same face. These are people who "do" lunch, right? :-]

Dec 22, 2007
Jack Clark in Los Angeles Area

Cassell's heading south

Thanks for the recipe! But . . . no horseradish?! They've had me fooled at Cassell's, then, for 40 years. Sure TASTES like horseradish, and bites like it. You sure that's only dry mustard? Ask your Mom specifically about that, maybe? Thanks!

Dec 22, 2007
Jack Clark in Los Angeles Area

Thick and Sticky Barbecue Sauce

Regarding the faux Arthur Bryant's original sauce, which is by far my favorite: If this recipe is supposed to be for the Original sauce, it's missing something--that special "grittiness" that no other sauce has is ground, dried peppers. At least, that's what they told me the last time I was there. Don't know how close the rest of the recipe is, but it's gotta have that grit if it's going to taste like Arthur Bryant's, IMHO.

Dec 21, 2007
Jack Clark in Recipes