Category Archives: condiments
Here’s an easy yet versatile tomato sauce that can be used in a variety of ways. Once you make this sauce and get comfortable enough with it to add your own seasonings and flavorings I swear you will never use another prepared sauce or purchase a jar of prepared tomato sauce.
It starts off with canned tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are a staple in my pantry. As long as I have a few cans around I know that I am never far from a homemade meal. With just a few other ingredients meals can be made in a matter of minutes. If I choose to leave the sauce chunky I can toss it with hot pasta, sprinkle over good parmesan add a side salad and I’ve got a meal way better than any frozen entrée. Puree it, spread over chicken cutlets topped with mozzarella for fast chicken parmesan. Combine the sauce with chicken or vegetable broth add a ton of cut up vegetables and beans and you’ve got soup. Anyway you get where I’m going with this. It’s easy. It’s versatile and it’s also good.
In the grocery store you’ll notice that canned tomatoes are available in many forms-whole, crushed, diced and tomato sauce. Each one serves a purpose depending on the recipe you are using. Even though I used whole peeled-tomatoes for this sauce it would be even easier using crushed tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are available year-round and come in handy when fresh tomatoes are not available.
As I mentioned before I used whole peeled tomatoes for this recipe, only because it lets me decide how chunky I want my sauce to be. Later in the week I pureed the sauce until it was smooth and served it over linguine for a quick meatless lunch. Get to know this sauce then experiment. Add more garlic or oregano. Use fresh herbs. Make it your own.
recipe: everyday tomato sauce
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar(optional)
salt to taste
In a medium-sized saucepan add olive oil until you have a thin shallow covering at the bottom of the pan. With the heat on low add the minced garlic cloves to the oil. Keep the garlic in the oil until it just starts to turn golden, stirring occasionally so as not to burn the garlic.
Add the can of crushed tomatoes to the pan being careful not to splatter. Stir in the oregano and sugar.
Cook over medium low heat about 15-20 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
Hi all! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. By now we all should be recovered from too much cooking, too much eating and too much shopping! I’m not exaggerating when I say I had dessert for breakfast, lunch and dinner three days in a row after Thanksgiving. But no guilt here, I love good food.
I’m still sort of in the recovery stage so a quick post today. As you can see my pictures look a little different. I’ve been playing around with a new App that I fell in love with-Instagram. It works with my iPhone and I’m having fun learning all about it. From these pictures you can tell I’ve got more learning to do.
The pictures are of a very easy cranberry sauce I made-delicious, and a cake that I made using it the day after Thanksgiving. This cranberry sauce (I like to think of it more as jelly) is easy to make and leaves lots of room for your own additions. I used jalapeno peppers and oranges but there are many more possibilities that I’m sure you could come up with.
The cake is butter heaven. It’s an adaptation of a cake from a chef that I really admire. She has a wonderful cookbook and this cake is her version of a rustic spanish cake she had while visiting Spain.I fell in love with the name and anytime I open this cookbook I go directly to the page with this cake recipe, look at the picture and mouth the words.
The cake is a Pastel Vasco with blackberry compote and poured cream. I could say that all day.
I had leftover cranberry sauce so I came up with the idea to put it in the cake instead of the blackberry compote. The cranberry sauce is similar to a compote, only no alcohol, I just added a teaspoon of cornstarch to hold the juices together. I had to do something with the cranberry sauce because every chance I got I kept sticking a spoon into the jar and eating it. I figured making the cake was a better way to utilize the cranberry sauce and everyone would get the chance to have some.
The cake is easy and doesn’t require a stand mixer. You mix it by hand. Though I love my stand mixer I’m all for any cake that can be easily mixed in a bowl and this one fits the bill, because the butter is melted there is no need for creaming the butter and sugar.
If you made this cranberry sauce when I posted the recipe on Facebook and have leftovers-use it. If not it’s simple to make and will last two weeks in the refrigerator.
Recipe: Cranberry sauce and Cranberry cake
Directions for cranberry sauce:
1 bag frozen cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 jalapeno julienned,finely and seeds removed
1 long sliver orange peel, removed from a fresh orange using a peeler
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil,add the cranberries,sugar,jalapeno and orange peel. Simmer until berries skin pops and mixture thickens-about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely . The mixture will thicken more as it sits. Store in jars in refrigerator for two weeks.
Cranberry Cake-adapted,loosely, from Suzanne Goin
2 1/4 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
1 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, plus more to sprinkle on top
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted plus 3 tablespoons unmelted
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 c fresh orange juice,squeezed from 1 orange
3/4 cranberry sauce thickened with 1 teaspoon cornstarch on stovetop-cooled before using
Directions for cranberry cake:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan with the 3 tablespoons softened butter
Sift the flour,and baking powder together in a bowl. Add the salt.
Whisk 3 eggs together in a large bowl. Whisk in sugar,butter, bourbon,vanilla and orange juice. Fold in the dry ingredients and let the batter rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Remove batter from refrigerator and pour three-quarters of the batter into the loaf pan,spoon over the cranberry mixture,being careful to keep it away from the edges of the pan. Top with the remaining batter. It’s ok if some berries show through.
Beat the remaining egg and brush lightly over the batter. Sprinkle a handful of sugar over the top. bake about 1 hour,until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let rest on a cooling rack about five minutes then carefully remove from pan and cool completely on rack.
Note: Suzanne suggests you slice this cake into 3/4 inch thick slices, lightly butter each side with softened butter and toast in a pan over the stove. Once toasted spoon more og the cranberry sauce over and serve with the slightly thickened cream. I hungrily suggest this also.
It isn’t difficult for me to go on and on about the food I grew up eating. It’s as familiar to me as the back of my hand. I could write forever about Thanksgiving meals and explain in detail what appeared on plates from Christmas to Easter. I can write about chit’lins,black-eyed peas,collard greens and cornbread stuffed with cracklings, that never failed to appear at every New Years dinner table. I can write about huge Sunday breakfasts that were precursors to Sunday dinners. I can describe in detail the meal my mother cooked and had waiting for me, when I returned home from the hospital with my newborn son, after I’d complained about having to eat hospital food for seven days.
They are foods that are steeped in family tradition. Passed from one generation to the next. I know because I have had the privilege of eating these foods at the tables of cousins and aunts and great aunts. Food that I have cooked again and again for my own family. I could write about this food with little or no effort and tell great stories to go along with it.
Writing about the food I love to cook now is a different story all together. Only because the food I like to cook now was never a part of my family tradition but hopefully it will be a part of my children’s along with older family traditions.
I begged my mother to make macaroni and cheese. My daughter begs me to make cheesy pasta,don’t be fooled by the humble name, it’s a dish rich with butter,cream and real parmesan cheese.
My sons beg me to make an even richer shrimp dish that is referred to as New Orleans barbecue shrimp and begins by making an enriched seafood stock.
My family is willing guinea pigs. I make something,they try it and if it meets their approval it becomes a part of our family meals.
Had I ever mentioned pesto to my mom or dad they would have both looked at me and questioned what it was. In my house we like pesto. It appears at least once every summer. I think of it as the quintessential summer sauce, it’s quick to make,the ingredients are easy to get and it doesn’t have to be cooked. Pesto is also extremely versatile. I usually make a big batch,freeze some and leave the rest in a container in the refrigerator to be added to other things.
It’s great slathered onto leftover grilled chicken,excellent on pasta,mixed into vinaigrettes for salads,put onto grilled bread for a snack-the possibilities are endless. As long as I have a container of homemade pesto in the refrigerator, I know I won’t be wondering what to eat.I made a quick-lunch by sauteing shrimp and putting it on top of linguine with arugula pesto. Traditionally pesto is made with basil but can be made with herbs and other types of greens. I’ve even seen a recipe for fennel frond pesto which I would like to try. I used arugula because I had some leftover from a salad. Arugula has a peppery bite so it makes a much different pesto than one made with grassy-aromatic basil. I also used pecans instead of pine nuts because they are a good match with the biting bitterness of arugula. That’s another thing I like about pesto-it can be made using different combinations of nuts, greens,herbs and cheeses.
I promise you this will be the easiest sauce you will ever make. A few ingredients and a couple of rounds in a blender or food processor and you’ve got pesto.
It’s funny, I have never made pesto for other family members and only because when we get together we all want food that we grew up with that are familiar to us all. I’ve been thinking it’s time to add to family traditions and the next time we are all together I will definitely be making a batch of pesto.
Recipe: arugula pesto
4 cups(packed) arugula leaves
1 fat garlic clove
1/4 cup pecans,toasted in a pan and chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 good olive oil
Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Eat and enjoy.