Chef Tom – The Big Push

Simple, stripped down, unplugged, call it what you will. This is bachelor food, college dorm eats, too tired to cook snacks, I’m-the-only-one-eating-but-I-still-want-something-tasty kinda food.

From the Master, herself, Marcella Hazan. This is her world famous tomato sauce. A must-have for your repertoire. We’re still in mid-tomato season, so this is a way to get all that peak nutrition in you.

One of my very favorite snacks is called Elote, or Mexican Street Food Corn. I’m giving you the gringo version with parmesan and mayo because they’re easier to source. But if you’re lucky enough to live near a Mexican grocer, go for the crema and the cotija.

Finally, although more snack than a meal, sometimes all one needs is a bowl full of  salt, fat, and crunch. Right?

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

Magic Ragu

Serves 6

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2 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes, blanched as described below*, or 2 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes, cut up, with their juice

5 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half


Put either the prepared fresh tomatoes or the canned ones in a medium saucepan, add the butter, onion and salt and cook uncovered at a very slow but steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until it is thickened to your liking and the fat floats free from the tomato.

Stir from time to time, mashing up large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion before tossing with pasta.


* To blanch fresh tomatoes: Drop the tomatoes in boiling water for about a minute. Drain; as soon as they are cool enough to handle, skin them, cut the core out and roughly chop.


(Gringo-ized) Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)

Serves 6


6 fat ears corn, trimmed of stem and extra silk, left in husk

2 tablespoons mayonnaise (or Salvadoran crema, if you can find it)

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated (or grated cotija cheese if you can find it)

2 tablespoons chili powder

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).

Place unshucked corn cobs on the rack in your oven. Roast for 30-45 minutes.

While corn is roasting, mix the cheese and the chili powder and set aside.

Remove corn and let cool in their husks for 15 minutes. Carefully remove husks and silk. They’ll still be hot.

Coat each ear of corn in a thin layer of mayo and roll in the parmesan cheese mix to coat.

Serve warm with plenty of napkins.

Microwave Potato Chips

Serves 4


1 large russet potato

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt, to taste

On a cutting board, slice the potato into ⅛-inch (3 mm) slices (a mandolin works great here).

Dry the potato slices with a paper towel until there is no more moisture.

Transfer the sliced potatoes to a bowl and lightly coat in olive oil.

Wipe down a large flat microwavable-safe plate with olive oil to prevent the chips from sticking.

Place the chips on the plate in an even layer and sprinkle with salt.

Microwave the chips on high for 6-7 minutes or until the chips just start to brown.

When the chips develop some color remove them from the microwave and slowly peel from the plate. If chips are sticking, they can also be flipped halfway through!

Repeat this process until all the potato slices are cooked.


The Big Push

Love the raw energy of these fellas. Sometimes their notes go sideways or don’t quite reach their destination, and their rhythm can get creative, but they’re so much fun to watch. Reminds me of the thousand start-up bands back when punk was starting that’d pop up like whack-a-mole. These guys have been at it for quite a while now and have put out an EP and a single –  and they continue to tour.  

Here are a few of my fave covers, plus one wonderfully quirky bonus track, just because.

The Big Push – My Generation

The Big Push – Johnny B. Goode (Chuck Berry cover)

The Big Push – Wade in the water / Nina Simone / Trouble so hard

The Big Push – I Shot the Sheriff (Bob Marley) Live in Brighton 2021


The Big Push – Bongo Bong (Manu Chao cover)

Angels in Heaven – Chris Rodrigues & the Spoon Lady


Chef Tom is currently transitioning from Personal Chef to Private Chef. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at


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