Posted in Food, Recipes, Summer

Today’s Two-For-One

Cook me, baby!

Spent today cooking, cooking, cooking. There must be something I’m trying to get out of my system. Either that, or the huge loads of vegetables we typically collect in the summer are making me feel guilty. Don’t waste that! It’s fresh. It was plucked out of the ground just this morning. You’ve got a freezer, right? Get those pots out, girl.

I took care of two items cluttering my fridge and counters this afternoon. Our neighbors/condo co-owners belong to an organic farm share and kindly shared a huge bag of fresh beets. They’re not fond of beets, but they thrill me to my Polish core. Beet soup. Beet salads. Grated beets. You name it, I love it. I whipped up a humongous batch of  Rydzynski family beet soup, straight out of my grandmother’s kitchen and passed on to me via my dad. Every family probably has a grandmother like this: about 4 feet tall, hair in a bun, black orthopedic shoes and a pot of something on the stove (or in the oven) morning, noon and night. When we were kids we were ritually led to her ancient kitchen, seated onto uncomfortable kitchen chairs and given a plate of something home made to eat. Woe to the kid who didn’t finish it. Hey – people starved to death in the old country. They sure as hell weren’t going to do that here.

I’ll eventually share the recipe. In its current shape it’s a bit hard to decode and I want to play around with the proportions, particularly those of sugar to vinegar. Sweet-sour soups are an Eastern European thing, and they’re really good.

Can you spell borscht?

I also made my second batch of tomato sauce, this time from Marcella Hazan‘s The Classic Italian Cookbook (a real classic. Get it!). She has three fresh-tomato sauces that are absolutely out of this world. They are simply called Tomato Sauce I, Tomato Sauce II and Tomato Sauce III. They vary in the amount of time the tomatoes are cooked. Tomato Sauce I, which I made this afternoon, is the longest-cooking recipe. It’s a simple procedure involving plum tomatoes, olive oil, salt and smidgens of onion, carrot, celery and sugar. I use this sauce to accompany gnocci if I’m having it plain. It also pairs extraordinarily well with chicken. Give it a try yourself and see what you think:

Tomato Sauce I

2 pounds, fresh, ripe plum tomatoes (remove seeds and skin beforehand if you don’t have a food mill)
1/2 cup good quality olive oil
1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
1 – 2 tsp salt, to taste (I use 1 tsp)
1/4 tsp granulated sugar

Wash tomatoes in cold water. Core and slice in half, lengthwise. Simmer in a covered saucepan for 10 minutes. Remove cover and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours more.

Puree the tomatoes through a food mill (if you have one), to remove the seeds and skin. Meanwhile, wash out the pot you were using and add the olive oil. Add the onion and saute until just translucent, not brown. Add carrot and celery and saute for just another minute.

Add the pureed tomato, the salt and the sugar. Cook at a gentle simmer, uncovered or partially covered, for another 20 minutes. Stir from time to time to prevent sticking.

If you try any of the sauces I’ve mentioned, please do let me know. I’d be curious to know what you think of them.

Posted in Food, Recipes, Seasons, Summer

Wednesday’s Cooking Class

In my next life I’ll be tomato sauce

I picked up a honkin’ big parcel of plum tomatoes (seconds, so they were cheap!) at our local farm stand a few days ago and have been gradually transforming them into a variety of different sauces. I made marinara sauce a few days ago, one of my favorite recipes that, oddly, calls for no basil but plenty of garlic and oregano and about a cup of chopped mushrooms. The resulting sauce is light and extremely flavorful. It stands best on its own, over pasta with a main meat course served separately.

I found the recipe years ago somewhere out on the internet. I think it may have been posted on a usenet site, back in the days of 2400 baud modems. I had a Mac Plus back then and felt so very up to date with it!

The old modem and computer are long gone, but I’ve been making this pasta sauce ever since. Give it a try and see what you think.

Marinara Sauce

Use fresh tomatoes, in season, for this recipe

2 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 large cloves garlic, chopped
8 medium, very ripe, tomatoes (peel and seed if desired. I usually don’t bother)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tsp dried oregano
2/3 cup tomato paste
1/4 tsp black pepper, or to taste
1 tsp salt, or to taste

Heat oil in large frying pan or stock pot. Saute onion and garlic. Stir frequently and let cook until the onions are translucent. Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer at low heat for at least one hour, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. The sauce will improve with additional cooking.

Posted in Uncategorized

Marinara Sauce Made From Fresh Tomatoes

Well, it's pouring rain outside and I've achieved an equilibrium of sorts, so I thought I'd share an incredible marinara recipe. Tomatoes are in season, so try this sauce with an armload of fresh veggies from the farm stand or home garden!

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 large cloves of garlic
  • 8 medium, very ripe, tomatoes (peeled and seeded)
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • Salt, to taste

  1. Heat oil in a wide, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Saute the onion and garlic. Stir frequently and let cook until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer at low heat for at least an hour, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  3. The sauce with improve with additional cooking.

Marina Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes @ Group Recipes

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