Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Lazybones Tomato Sauce, Caesar Salad and I Love Food Bloggers

I don’t think I’ve actually stated anywhere on my posts how much I love the community of food bloggers. I love the stories, the recipes and most of all the camaraderie. No other blogger community is as interactive, as sharing of themselves or as fun. With 150 plus cookbooks and as many cooking magazines on my bookcase, easy access to search engines to enable me to find a recipe for any ingredient imaginable, not to mention my own cookbook manuscript, you’d think I had enough resources at my disposal. But the beautiful photos and great descriptions found on my favorite food blogger sites have inspired many of my recent creations and I have a stack of printouts of recipes yet to try.

One other thing I love about food blogging is the myriad of food events from Sugar High Fridays, conceived of by the Domestic Goddess, End of Month Eggs on Toast by Cook Sister, Is My Blog Burnning, Paper Chef from Tomatilla and many more. Even when I don’t enter, I eagerly check for the roundups to see who thought up what. Although I never was one for chain letters and usually delete them from my inbox faster than you can say “DELETE”, there have been a couple of wonderful memes going around and two of my favorites are “5 Childhood Food Memories” (there seem to be many around so I’m not sure who the originator was) and “Significant Cookbooks on Your Shelves” thought up by Ed Charles of Tomatom.

This week I’m using cookbooks I’ve forgotten about (some for good reason – see my custard fiasco, others just because there have been so many additions to my collection they just were hidden away) and recipes from my blogging friends.

I truly am a carnivore, as I’ve said many times, but I try to feed us vegetarian meals at least a couple of times a week – particularly after a weekend of serious eating. Last night we had baked spaghetti squash (the recipe is from One Whole Clove. I love her site, check it out) and a semi – Caesar salad with crusty French baguette.

Because I can never leave well enough alone, I added some grated mozzarella cheese to my own homemade marinara sauce (this one's from my own cookbook) tossed it with the “spaghetti”, sprinkled some additional mozzarella and parmesan on top and put it under the broiler to melt before serving.

Lazybones Tomato Sauce
From Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 mins-1 hour
Makes about 2-3 liters of sauce

2 tin (19 oz) Hunt’s Italiano Sauce (or your favorite brand of tomato sauce as a base - even though I use tomatoes, I like the added "je ne sais quoi" that shortens the cooking time, and boosts the flavor. If you're a purist, just add more tomatoes)
1 tin (28 oz) Pureed Italian tomatoes
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp dried red chilies
1 tbsp dried basil and ½ cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
2 tsp dried oregano and 2 tbsp fresh oregano, coarsely chopped
¼- ½ cup red wine (optional)
Meat option:
1lb Merguez or Italian sausage cut in 2” slices
½ lb cremini (brown) mushrooms, quartered

1. In a Dutch oven (large soup pot),over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in oil until onion is soft and almost clear. Add dried basil and oregano and stir for another minute or so until you can smell the aroma of the herbs. If you are making a meat version, brown the sausages at this point. (See note below)

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer partially covered (see note below) for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

3. After 30 minutes, season to taste and add the fresh basil and oregano. Note: Sugar cuts the acid of the tomatoes and dried red chilies add spice.

* If you are using the sausage and mushroom version, in a separate fry pan, sauté sausage pieces in 1 tbsp of olive oil until they are no longer pink (5-10 minutes). Add them to the sauce, but leave the oil in the fry pan for the mushrooms.

* Sauté the mushrooms for 5-10 minutes or until they are quite golden and there are no juices in the pan before adding them to the sauce.

Tips & Variations

* Whole fresh basil leaves are a nice touch as a garnish. They add flavor and color.

* This sauce freezes well

* Partially covering the pot keeps tomato sauce from spattering everywhere but allows for the sauce to thicken.

Semi Caesar Salad
Prep time 5-10 minutes
Serves 4

2 romaine hearts (the inner, whiter parts of the romaine lettuce, although regular romaine is fine too. I just like the crunch factor), coarsely chopped or torn

1 tbsp mayonnaise (instead of the raw egg)
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard
1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil


Combine all the dressing ingredients in a large serving bowl, adding the olive oil last and whisk until well blended. Add the chopped romaine, toss and serve.

Tomorrow I’ll share the Spicy Adzuki Bean Stew from Fresh at Home (one of those books lost on the shelf and back in circulation)


Joe said...

Thanks for the sauce recipe - I agree about the food blog community. I have been pretty inspired by yours and other sites to continue using new recipes and experimenting.

Joycelyn said...

hi ruth, lazybones tomato sauce sounds truly terrific...thanks for sharing the goodness!

Shauna said...

Oh Ruth, as you know, I feel the same way as you about our lovely community here. What a joy to have you out there!