Leftover Tomato Sauce Week (or: The Week In Which I, at the Age of 22, Finally Stop Spelling Tomato “Tomatoe”)

So I was making me a huge pot of tomato sauce for a week’s worth of new and exciting recipes when I thought to myself, “You know what you haven’t done in a while, Self? You haven’t blogged one word in seven whole months! The tomato sauce you are going to be making doesn’t even look like the tomato sauce you made two whole years ago” 

“You’re right, Self,” I replied, “my poor forgotten readers deserve to see all of this week’s new and exciting recipes to make up for my long hiatus.”

That’s right, Ladies and Germs, its Leftover Sauce Week.

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Behold! The mighty tower of Leftovers!

Today I will show you exactly how to make the most delicious, completely from scratch, tomato sauce you will ever feast your mouth on. From there we are headed into the realm of Veal Puttanesca, beyond the land of Minestrone Soup, deep into the caves of Pasta Bolognese, through the forests of Ragu and past the island of Baked Eggplant before landing on the sacred shores of Homemade Pizza. So throw out that bottle of store bought sauce, cause we’re going on an adventure!

For today, though, we are going to make what can be best described as a metric crap ton of sauce (or approximately 1.1 imperial crap tons of sauce for you inch lovers out there).

For this, you will need:

  • 1 head of garlic with the cloves separated, peeled and sliced
  • 1 3-lb bag of onions, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil, chiffonaded
  • 1 Tbs packed fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 Tbs packed fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 large (28 oz) cans of tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 large (28 oz) can of tomatoes, fine diced
  • 1 large (28 oz) can of tomatoes, pureed
  • Plenty o’ salt, pepper and olive oil
  • One really freaking big pot
  • One sufficiently long spoon
  • One stool (for the vertically challenged)

 

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Aside from being efficient, mise en place looks hella impressive

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium low heat and add the garlic. Saute the garlic until it is ever so slightly golden around the edges and then add the onions and a few hefty pinches of salt. Cook the onions over low heat until they are translucent and have begun to slightly caramelize (about 30 minutes) .

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I tried to get an image from above but steam and camera lenses do not agree with one another.

If, at this point, you see any bits of burnt garlic, pull them out. Add the herbs, all five cans of tomatoes, and the plenty of salt and pepper and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce is cooked (about one hour). 

If, like me, you compose blog posts while you are cooking, be sure to set a timer so that  you don’t forget to stir. If, like me, you forget to do this, add a bit more salt and dried versions of the herbs in the proportions listed above to mask the bitterness and learn to live with the fact that everything you cook for the next week will taste slightly…smokey.

Look at all the sauce!

Look at all the sauce!

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Cook Time: 2 Hours

Enjoy and be sure to join me later this week for Veal Puttanesca!

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Dinner for Three-Caprese Salad with Homemade Mozzarella

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Simply delightful

Well, it seems that I am still a completely unreliable blogger. Some things may never change. Since my last apology for not posting often enough, my wonderful boyfriend and my almost as wonderful best friend and cooking partner have gotten an apartment together. Which leads to the introduction of a new series here at Engineer Food, Dinner for Three, in which me and Larry and sometimes Will prepare a recipe (often from Bon Apetite or the NY Times) and tell you what we think. This being the first installment, however, I feel no need to stick to an established pattern. I’m funny like that.

This time I am going to tell you about a fantastic birthday present that Larry gave me:

Clearly, I was planning on being part of this documentation as evidenced by my wearing an over-sized t-shirt

That’s right folks, a very fancy, Williams-Sonoma cheese making kit. I meant to take pictures the whole way, but I was completely occupied with the whole making mozzarella thing. Sue me. While I was separating my curds and whey and slowly cooking in the microwave. Larry sliced up some tomatoes and bread and retrieved basil from the fridge.

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So damn pretty

Anyway, about 50 minutes after that horrific picture of me was taken, one gallon of whole pasteurized (but not ultra-pasteurized) milk was turned (with the careful addition of citric acid, rennet and some cheese salt)  into one pound of mozzarella cheese.

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Alright, the texture was a little off but it tasted right.

For Caprese Salad:

  • 2 Ripe Jersey Tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 Loaf of Bread, sliced
  • 1 Sprig of Basil
  • 1 lb Mozzarella Cheese (Making it at home optional)
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar

Difficulty Level-Extraordinarily Easy

Before eating, generously salt and pepper the tomato slices.

Cut each slice of bread in half, if they are significantly bigger than the tomatoes. On each half, place several small pieces of mozzarella, a tomato slice, some basil and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Eat with a fork and knife or be a savage and just dig right on in. Enjoy with a light white whine (chilled Chardonnay pictured above).