Pasta & Ratios, What A Difference Ingredients Make

I bought a pasta roller to compliment my KitchenAid and finally had an opportunity to use it. I keep the machine in New York while I have my KitchenAid and attachments in Somerville. As much as I would like to travel back and forth with my mixer, it’s not a practical option of course. I haven’t made pasta since taking classes at Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Somerville about 9 months ago, and as a result I pretty much forgot what to do. I didn’t have my class recipes on hand and turned to Ratio for some guidance. Having documented successful attempts before (Cooking Through Ratio: Doughs and Batters – Pasta , Cooking Through Ratio: Doughs and Batters – More Pasta) I was confident in the ratio and experimentation based on what I learned during a class at Dave’s.

Just before heading to the gym last night, I decided that I could make some pasta dough and have it rest in the fridge while I completed my workout knowing that when I got back I would be tired and hungry and wouldn’t want to wait for the dough to rest in that state. Cooking for myself, I decided to cut the recipe down by a third. I love pasta, but didn’t want to be a glutton. What could go wrong using a ratio? I would soon find out.

I replaced half of the measured all purpose flour with Semolina. We used a combination of Semolina and Durum at Dave’s, roughly a 50/50 mixture is what I remembered. I really enjoyed the texture and taste of that pasta, some of the best I’ve ever had, and was hoping I would come close despite the use of all purpose flour. This wasn’t to be.

Ratio Pasta with Semolina - Flour

As I made the dough, I could sense that the texture was naturally different. This wasn’t a surprise given the use of a different mixture of flour, but I realized that I had forgotten what it was supposed to feel like or wondered if I could know what it should feel like given a combination I had never used before. While kneading I used the all purpose flour on the counter and soaked up quite a bit.

Ratio Pasta with Semolina - Kneaded Dough

When the visible air pockets were gone, I wrapped the dough in plastic and put it in the fridge, heading out for my run.

Ratio Pasta with Semolina - Rested Dough

When I got back, I broke out the machine, and took the dough out of the fridge. It looked and felt different, not quite smooth and springy, but I had yet to reach the moment of truth.

Ratio Pasta with Semolina - Rested Dough

I cut the dough into portions that I could easily feed through the rollers and started rolling. Disaster struck. The dough did not hold together. It was rough, filled with holes as it spread out and generally fell apart. No matter what I tried, adding more all purpose flour, adding more oil, kneading, it simply did not work out for me.

Plan B was a box of pasta in the cupboard and some leftover sauce I made with cherry tomatoes from the farmers’ market in Union Square. The sauce was definitely a highlight. The tomatoes were amazing.

Ratio Pasta with Semolina - Boxed Penne Pasta

Not all of life is success and learning often comes from failure. I’m confident I can nail the pasta with some changes to the ingredients and ratio of them. It’s obvious that not all flours are created equal or will behave the same way. At least I have a baseline to work with having tried this time.

 

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Cooking Fresh Food From The Union Square Farmers’ Market

Union Square Farmers' MarketI can’t keep using my tiny NY apartment kitchen as an excuse for not cooking. It’s not ideal, but it’s not the worst I’ve seen in the city either. One great thing about New York is that while most living quarters may be smaller than the rest of the world, just about everything else is bigger, this includes farmers’ markets such as the Union Square Farmers’ Market.

The selection can be overwhelming. I spent Monday meandering through the different stalls wondering what to pick up to cook for dinner. I was lucky enough to come across a stall where they were cooking some of their vegetables for people to taste. In New York you need hustle and showmanship and as a result they won my purchase of garlic, sweet peppers and purslane, an ingredient I was not familiar with.

Purslane

Aside from being exposed to new ingredients and supporting the local community, a key benefit to shopping local and at a farmers’ market is that you can talk to the farmers themselves and also learn about how they grow their crops.

Clean Food

At home I tested out cooking the purslane as I had seen demonstrated through a quick sauté in olive oil, along with garlic, onion and the peppers, a little salt and black pepper. The garlic from the farmers’ market is very different from that which you find in the supermarket. This one in particular was sweeter and had a more delicate flavor.Purslane, Peppers, Garlic

I was pretty happy with the result, a repeated this on Tuesday, cooking the purslane a bit longer to get a softer result.Cooked Purslane, Peppers, Garlic, Onion

Wednesday’s farmers’ market in Union Square allowed me to get a fresh zucchini and some cherry tomatoes.Fresh Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

I happily cooked these down in olive oil over low heat with some salt and pepper and garlic.

Fresh Cooking Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

IMG_5838

When cooked through I added this to some penne pasta for a late pasta primavera style (it’s summer) meal.

Pasta Primavera, Fresh Zucchini and Cherry Tomatoes

I feel bad that I used boxed pasta and hope that I can make some from scratch next time. I’m lucky to work so close to the farmers’ market and will make it a point to try out new ingredients as much as I can.

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Cooking Through Ratio: Stocks and the Amazing Things They Allow You to Do – Clear Soups and the Consommé – Beef Consommé

Consommé. One word evokes thoughts of an impossible culinary challenge. I first read about it in Michael Ruhlman’s book The Making of a Chef. Subsequent books also made mention of it and proper technique. I recently saw it made on an episode of Iron Chef on the Food Network and here it was as the next food item to make. Was Ruhlman serious? He expected the average home cook to attempt consommé, something so delicate and refined that it is a frequent cause of a bad practicum grade in culinary school? I haven’t shied away from a challenge yet. It was time to get moving.

The chapter starts with “Clear soups are among the easiest, most satisfying, and nutritious dishes you can make. If you have good stock. Good stock is critical. If you don’t have a flavorful stock, you have to spend all your effort hiding bad flavor of canned or boxed stock by adding all kinds of good ingredients. Any why would you want to put good ingredients into a bad one?” (pg. 105). I wasn’t using boxed or canned stock, but my own that I had made previously. Still the question remained…did I make a good stock? Would the effort result in a good dish?

The ratio for consommé is 12 parts stock, 3 parts meat, 1 part mirepoix and 1 part egg white. As it turned out, I would be using the entire batch of stock that I had made previously. Not only that, but 12 ounces of ground lean meat. Given the delicate process and expense, it’s no wonder why restaurants don’t feature it on menus very often.

I established my mise en place not only to ensure that I did not find myself scrambling for a missing ingredient during a critical stage, but in actuality because it has become part of my cooking process now.

Consommé: Ingredients
Consommé: Ingredients

I filled my stock pot with all of the ingredients save for the stock as it was frozen.

Consommé: Meat, Mirepoix, Egg Whites
Consommé: Meat, Mirepoix, Egg Whites

I turned up the heat at placed the stock on top to melt over the ingredients.

Consommé: Added Frozen Beef Stock
Consommé: Added Frozen Beef Stock

Once the stock had melted, I used a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom and move the egg white away from the sides. I could see that what is known as the “raft” was starting to form.

Consommé: Raft forming
Consommé: Raft forming

When the mixture was at a simmer, I lowered the heat to keep it there. I didn’t want to boil which would cause the raft to break.

Consommé: Raft growing
Consommé: Raft growing

The raft is made up of the meat and vegetables along with the egg whites that collect any impurities as they rise to the surface through the cooking process.

Consommé: Raft formed
Consommé: Raft formed

After about an hour the cooking was done. The raft had really come together, but perhaps most shocking was how much of the liquid had actually evaporated over time.

Consommé: Ready
Consommé: Ready

Using a ladle, I carefully moved the liquid from the stock pot to a large glass bowl being extra careful so as not to break the raft or capture any impurities. The liquid was poured through a coffee filter and metal strainer.

Consommé: First Try
Consommé: First Try

It was amazing how much the liquid had transformed. It was perfectly clear. I opted to refrigerate it over night and save it for tonight’s dinner. When I pulled it out tonight I was also surprised by how much gelatin there was in the consommé as was evidenced by the gelatinous globs that had formed in the bowl.

Consommé: After A Night In The Fridge
Consommé: After A Night In The Fridge

As suggested, I blanched some carrots as garnished, a process I had never performed before and heated up a portion.

It definitely was a light start to dinner and I could clearly see (sorry for the pun) why it is often served as a first course. This was no hearty stew. The subtle flavor was very enjoyable.

Consommé: With Blanched Carrots
Consommé: With Blanched Carrots

With another challenge under my belt I definitely feel like I am learning a lot. Consommé is not likely to be something that I’ll make on a regular basis. Truth be told it was actually fairly easy although expensive when you consider what goes into it with respect to time and ingredients. It’s another great example of culinary lore being more than culinary reality. Stay tuned for the challenges ahead.

consomméconsommé
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Reluctant Sweet Tooth

Meringue and Lemon Curd
Meringue and Lemon Curd

Trying to learn how to cook while staying in shape and not gaining weight is a challenge unto itself. It’s even harder when you learn how to make something that tastes really good and doubly so when what you learn how to make is not good for you and really addictive. Meringues would be this something.

I made them on Friday with the extra egg whites left over from the ice cream I made for my mom’s birthday party, but left the remaining meringue at my parents’ house for them to savor. I needed more egg whites but didn’t want to make more ice cream. After doing some research online, I came across a recipe for lemon curd that would be a perfect companion to the meringues.

I separated the egg yolks from the whites and went to work on the lemon curd using a double boiler created with a pot and glass bowl.

Cooking Lemon Curd
Cooking Lemon Curd

I whisked together the ingredients in a matter of minutes and set the lemon curd in the refrigerator to cool. Now the fun part lay ahead.

I used the meringue method and recipe that I had used before to ensure repeat success. The egg whites were strained into the stand mixer bowl (wiped with lemon juice for acid that would make foaming easier) to remove impurities and weighed.

Straining Egg Whites
Straining Egg Whites

I added a bit of cream of tartar to the bowl as a bit of insurance.

Egg Whites
Egg Whites

I next weighed out 2 parts sugar as required.

Measured Sugar
Measured Sugar

I turned on the mixer at high speed to start beating the egg whites.

Foaming Egg Whites
Foaming Egg Whites

The egg whites started to stiffen up after about 10 minutes at high speed.

Stiffening Egg Whites
Stiffening Egg Whites

The egg whites were beat until they achieved soft peaks.

Firm Egg Whites
Firm Egg Whites

The sugar was added slowly so that it could be incorporated into the egg whites and develop stiff peaks.

Meringues Beaten
Meringues Beaten

The intense white and thickness was quite a transformation to observe as a result of the network of air, protein and sugar that developed.

Meringue
Meringue

Using a spatula a pastry bag filled with meringue which I used to pipe out decent sized meringues onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Meringues
Meringues

The meringues were baked at 220 degrees F for 90 minutes. They need a bit more time so I left them in the oven for another 10 minutes after which they were taken out and allowed to cool.

Baked Meringues
Baked Meringues

These were just as good as the ones I made the first time around, but actually a bit overdone as a result of either my hotter oven or the lack of a glass on my oven door which would allow me to check on things. I need to get an oven with one of those.

Sadly the lemon curd was not to my liking and unlike the one my cousin Andrea used for my mom’s birthday cake. I could still taste a bit of the yolk and it was not as sweet and lemony as I was hoping for.  I’ll have to use her recipe the next time around.

Meringue and Lemon Curd
Meringue and Lemon Curd
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Cooking Through Ratio: Doughs and Batters – Quick Cakes – Crepes

The final quick cake in the Cooking Through Ratio series involved making crepes. Crepes have always had a mystique about them for me. They seemed fussy and delicate and of course are oh so French. They are fun because they can be eaten at any time of day and are a great vehicle for flavor. Depending on the ingredients they are made of they can be used as part of savory dishes, desserts or as they are commonly eaten, breakfast food.

Ruhlman states that a basic crepe ratio consists of 1 part liquid, 1 part egg and 1/2 part flour. They have a higher liquid / egg ratio to flour than pancakes which result in a thinner batter and flatter food.

Last night I went on a run after work with a co-worker that left me winded and utterly tired. My cardio-fitness level has become a sad state of affairs. I needed a dinner that would involve simple preparation while balancing protein and carbohydrates. The crepe was perfect and happened to be next in line for this series. Timing really is everything.

I combined the ingredients which included a bit of salt, sugar and vanilla extract for flavoring and blended them together with a whisk. I chose milk as my liquid for extra flavor over water.

Whisked Crepe Batter
Whisked Crepe Batter

Crepes call for resting the batter for at least 30 minutes. This allows the flour to hydrate, resulting in a smoother batter without lumps of dry flour.

Hydrated Crepe Batter
Hydrated Crepe Batter

So far so good. The moment of truth was upon me. With a hot buttered pan ready to go I poured the batter into the pan. Everything cooked well, but the end result was a crepe that was too thick.

Thick Crepe
Thick Crepe

I added more water to the batter, whisked and after a few attempts with varying amounts of batter ended up with the thin crepe I was looking for.

Thin Crepe
Thin Crepe

After cooling on a rack, I plated the crepes and covered them with butter and maple syrup for another delicious breakfast for dinner meal.

Crepe with Buter and Maple Syrup
Crepe with Buter and Maple Syrup

These weren’t nearly as hard as I had expected. Each one that I made was better and easier than the one before it. There were a few things that I did note. I’m sure that while the milk aided with the flavor, it also added to the overall thickness of the batter. Trying out different combinations and ratios liquids to get the right thickness will help next time around and overall with success.  Simply adding water might be all that is needed. Also using a measured ladle to get a consistent pour into the pan is something I’ll have to try next time around. Dropping the batter in by sight and spreading it out over the entire pan was tough to do.Overall the results were pretty good and didn’t require to much effort, the perfect simple recipe to cook after a hard workout.

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Cooking Through Ratio: Doughs and Batters – Quick Cakes – Fritters

It has been a while since I’ve made a post and it feels good to make another one again. Amazingly I am only about a third of the way through the book and my series, Cooking Through Ratio. Today’s delectable challenge was to make fritters and would be the first time that the book calls for cooking through the use of a liquid by frying using vegetable oil.

The chapter starts with Michael Ruhlman stating, “Every time I make fritters, I ask  myself why I don’t make them more often. Crisp and tender, sweet and spicy. A fritter batter, which is a muffin batter without the butter is a vehicle, like a crepe or dumpling, for a tasty main garnish or seasoning…” (pg. 74). That about sums up everything you can expect and enjoy with a fritter. I have had them before, but have never made them myself. Another great learning experience was about to take place.

Being a vehicle for taste, fritters are nice because they can be custom tailored to fit with the main dish that will be eaten or made to be eaten on their own. The ratio is easy, and the method for combining the ingredients is also. 2 parts flour, 2 parts liquid, 1 part egg, a bit of salt and baking powder and you are good to go. Consider the garnishes and the possibilities are infinite.

Tonight I had some leftover pasta in the fridge along with some ground lamb meat from my CSA. I made the fritter batter by combining the wet and dry ingredients individually and the gradually added the flour mixture to the liquid mix of egg and milk. I then   added some fresh basil and black pepper as a garnish. Pasta, lamb and basil fritters are an unlikely duo, I know, but I had to keep moving forward. While heating the pasta, I fried the fritters. I don’t fry often so getting them to come out right was a bit hard but after one overcooked one I produced passable results.

Basil Garnished Fritters
Basil Garnished Fritters

With a pat of butter, these actually went well with my meal. More basil or any other garnish is desirable so that the taste is more perceptible. These were a lot easier to make than I was expecting and quite tasty. I wouldn’t say that pairing fritters with pasta resulted in a bad combination, but they would be better paired with a protein or depending on what type you make a sauce for added flavor and texture.

Pasta and Fritters, an Unusual Combo
Pasta and Fritters, an Unusual Combo

After a long day at work and a killer workout, my cooking and plating left a lot to be desired, but since tonight I was not only the consumer, but the chief cook and bottle washer I had to let it slide.

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My First Attempt at Ice Cream

Ice Cream: Served
French Vanilla Ice Cream


Having a stand mixer is great not only for the work it saves you but but also for the great attachments you can get. Single use appliances and cookware take up too much space, and where possible I like to purchase items with a lot of versatility. I recently purchased an ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid mixer and have been looking forward to using it, but my main focus has been the Cooking Through Ratio series. My recent experience making Angel Food Cake left me with several egg yolks that I didn’t want to discard. As luck would have it, I had just made a dessert involving crème anglaise in a French cooking class at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. Making crème anglaise was a lot easier than I anticipated and was an easy way for me to use up the remaining egg yolks while also allowing me to use my new ice cream maker attachment.

Just about every kitchen appliance you can buy comes with a recipe or two to get you going. The ice cream maker came with a recipe for French Vanilla ice cream. A quick glance at the recipe and knowledge of crème anglaise made an obvious connection. This French ice cream was really nothing more than frozen crème anglaise. Last night I started just before dinner making the ice cream.

As instructed by the recipe, I scalded some half and half cream in a medium sauce pot on the stove top.

Ice Cream: Scalded Cream
Ice Cream: Scalded Cream

The heated cream was set aside as I got the sugar and eggs ready. In the mixing bowl I combined the yolks and sugar, ribboning them together using the whisk attachment.

Ice Cream: Sugar and Egg Yolks
Ice Cream: Sugar and Egg Yolks

Once the yolks and sugar were combined, I slowly added the heated cream and combined them.

Ice Cream: Cream, Sugar and Egg Yolks
Ice Cream: Cream, Sugar and Egg Yolks

The cream, sugar and egg mixture were poured into the sauce pot to heat up again over medium heat. The recipe called for heating this until small bubbles formed around the edges of the pot, being careful not to boil the mixture. During the French cooking class, Elise the chef instructor cautioned my mother and me to not exceed a temperature of 180 degrees F or the eggs would start to curdle. I got out my digital thermometer and observed the temperature rise steadily as I mixed stirred. 180 degrees were reached, but no bubbles had formed. I wondered if the heat measurement was a result of the ambient heat coming from the stove and not the mixture itself. I made the decision to let it cook longer. The heat rose more and more to about 190 degrees and  instead of seeing bubbles, tiny lumps started to appear. I was 10 seconds away from a pot of sweet scrambled eggs as right after the lumps started to appear, it started to boil. This was not the steady rise that I was waiting for. I had missed the mark.

Ice Cream: Heated Cream, Sugar and Egg Yolk Mix
Ice Cream: Heated Cream, Sugar and Egg Yolk Mix

Immediately the pot was pulled off the heat and the remaining cold cream was added. I put the liquid back into the mixing bowl and stirred on a low setting to cool it down a bit and combine the cold cream throughout.

Ice Cream: Cooling with Added Cream
Ice Cream: Cooling with Added Cream

I didn’t notice any more lumps forming. I further cooled down my original pot and transferred the liquid back into it and mixed in vanilla and a bit of salt hoping to bring the temperature down even more.

Ice Cream: Stirred Cream and Flavoring
Ice Cream: Stirred Cream and Flavoring

The recipe called for cooling the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Thinking twice before covering the pot and putting it on a glass shelf, I poured it into a glass bowl and then placed it in the fridge for cooling overnight. Elise also mentioned that the cooling down of the crème anglaise allowed it to thicken. This seemed like a good thing for ice cream.

Tonight was the easy part. All that was required was pouring the mixture into the mixing bowl to let it churn for 20 minutes. I used a strainer to prevent any scrambled egg bits from entering the mixing bowl. 20 minutes later it was thickened and ready to go. After that I packed up two pint containers and let them freeze for a couple of hours.

Ice Cream: Packed
Ice Cream: Packed and Frozen

Despite the mishap, the ice cream came out really great. Even after a couple of hours it was still a bit soft, but the flavor was perfect. Another waist expander has been conceived.

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Cooking Through Ratio: Doughs and Batters – Quick Cakes – Pancakes

The Cooking through Ratio series continues with breakfast for dinner. I often enjoy a good omelette, fried or scrambled eggs or sometimes cereal for dinner, but pancakes are not really my favorite. Making pancakes was not something which I was really looking forward to, but the ratio was next so I pursued. I have made pancakes from scratch before, but like many things never considered the balance of ingredients that go into them and how they interact to produce the final result.

As the name implies, these are another form of cake made on a pan instead of an oven.  The ratio consists of 2 parts liquid, 1 part egg, 1/2 part fat (butter), 2 parts flour along with sugar, salt, vanilla extract and baking powder.  This produces a thick batter and a cakey pancake once cooked. Pretty simple stuff.

Ironically as I worked on yet another carb laden food ratio, I watched the season premiere of  The Biggest Loser on NBC. It was like a sick joke, but I was able to keep at it reminding myself that the past few weeks of carb overload have a purpose; I am learning.

I combined the ingredients together in a pint measuring cup with the aid of my scale for weighing the dry ingredients. This is probably the thickest batter I have worked with so far. It was much different than the buttermilk pancakes I made previously.

Pancake Batter
Pancake Batter
Pancake Batter
Pancake Batter

The batter was mixed until it was smooth and ladled onto a hot pan with butter. It didn’t spread out at all and cooked fairly quickly.

The result was a flavorful, soft and fluffy pancake. The baking powder proportion did its job here. As mentioned, I usually don’t like pancakes, and especially at restaurants I simply won’t order them. They tend to be flavorless or made up of a texture that I don’t enjoy. Besides, they aren’t mom’s and like most things food related, mom’s are simply the best. These were some of the best I have ever had with respect to flavor and texture. To my surprise, they were actually enjoyable and paired well with maple syrup and butter, standard garnish in the northeast.

Fluffy Pancakes
Fluffy Pancakes

It’s amazing how your taste can change for something can change when it’s prepared in a new and better way. The ratio here was key. The pancake ratio is fast and easy to make, making them well suited breakfast food or in this case dinner. I’ll have to experiment with the liquid part to see if a thinner batter produces results that are better or worse but overall I am happy with the results despite my lack of enthusiasm at the outset.

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Steak with Bordelaise inspired sauce

Steak with Bordelaise inspired sauce
Steak with Bordelaise inspired sauce

I recently happened upon a blog post about making Bordelaise sauce on the Food Wishes blog. I love making steak, but sometimes too much of a good thing can start to be a problem. I tend to season my steak with salt and pepper so as to not overwhelm it with a foreign flavor. I’ve always been suspicious of sauces and what they may be hiding. I truly enjoy the flavor of the meat, especially the subtle flavor of the meat I get from the CSA I am a member of. Chef John of Food Wishes had the perfect answer in Bordelaise sauce. Making a simple and light sauce such as Bordelaise was an easy way to add depth to the flavor of the meat while still being true to it.

Making the sauce was fun and easy. Not having beef stock on hand, I used store bought beef broth. Cringe, I know. To add further insult to injury to French cooking tradition, I also used some open Chianti as a wine instead of a traditional French wine. While going through the prescribed steps was not hard to do, an all important question did come to mind. How do you know when you have it right? and as I previously wrote, even if it is right, does it matter?

An interesting problem with following recipes or with taking inspiration from food blogs is that you don’t have a real live example to compare to, nor do you have the experience of someone who has come before you to guide you through your food preparation. While this is an interesting “gotcha”, the idea is that you are cooking for yourself or others; this enforces the notion of cooking through method and not relying on recipes. Once you have the basics down you are free to cook and experiment however you wish.

Dinner tonight was different, but not too different. Life keeps getting tastier each and every day.

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Free to Experiment, Making Marinara Sauce

Spaghetti with Homemade Marinara Sauce
Spaghetti with Homemade Marinara Sauce

One of the great things about building confidence with cooking is experimentation. Knowing that there isn’t a “right” answer, but many that are subjectively better than others is a great relief. Tonight I was looking for something simple to make for dinner. Spaghetti was among a few choices at the top of the list, but I did not have a sauce. Not wanting to make another white sauce, I figured I could try my hand at a simple red sauce. Over the weekend, I watched an episode of the Barefoot Contessa where she made a simple marinara sauce. It seemed like an easy task and I was inspired to experiment. On my way home, I stopped at the grocery store and picked up a big 28 ounce can of the crushed tomatoes and followed her recipe for marina sauce.

I didn’t have any parsley, so I opted for basil instead; I have some growing in my window sill. Additionally I added more pepper for a spicier result. For a fraction of the cost, I was able to make a sauce equal to or slightly better than other store bought varieties. I have had better, but this one wasn’t bad. The sauce was a bit acidic, probably because of the recipe calls canned tomatoes over fresh which I have found to be much sweeter. I’ll have to try those next time for further experimentation.

Truth be told, cooking shows make everything look so easy. That’s what they are supposed to do. People don’t like complicated. This recipe was no exception and lived up to the simplicity promised saved for one exception. When done, pouring the contents from pan to storage container can be a bit tricky and messy. Also, the sauce tends to create a mess on the stove as it cooks, as tiny drops bubble over onto the stove surface. TV doesn’t like messy and these parts are nicely edited out.

The satisfaction of making a sauce and knowing you can play with the ingredients to suit your tastes has no comparison. The minor inconveniences are far outweighed by the end results. Now I have good sauce in the fridge and freezer which can be easily heated up and enjoyed later as part of another meal.

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