Thursday, January 7, 2010

Quick Tomato Sauce

About once a month, I raid my mother's bookshelf filled with just about every food magazine she's ever received. She says she "keeps them just in case she needs to find a recipe". There's 500 magazines on that bookshelf...bad for her if she's in a hurry, good for me to find new recipes! Plus, I read food magazines and cookbooks while I eat dinner. This way instead of eating alone, I get to have dinner every night with people like Emeril Lagasse, Dean & Deluca (my ALL TIME favorite cookbook), and Christopher Kimball from Cooks Illustrated (my favorite magazine), where this recipe came from the June 2009 issue. This sauce has a REALLY FRESH flavor right in the smack dead of winter. In the time it takes to open and heat a jar of spaghetti sauce you can make this in the same amount of time, and it's DEEELICIOUS. I guarantee I ate more of the sauce than the pasta**. Enjoy! 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/4 cup grated onion 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 3 garlic cloves minced 1 (28-ounce) can crushed organic tomatoes 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1 tablespoon dried basil 1 tablespoon olive oil fresh ground black pepper salt Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar; increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil; season with salt and pepper. **Cooking pasta for one person is difficult. It seems like I always make too much. So here's what I do with leftover cooked pasta: FREEZE IT in a ziploc bag. To "re-cook", throw it in some boiling water for 1-2 minutes. You'll never know the difference!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cast Iron Skillet Corn Bread

I just realized that it's probably pretty cruel of me to have BREAD as my first posting of the year. With all the New Year's resolutions to loose weight, this will do nothing but tempt you. But it's COLD outside. Not chilly, it's freakin' bitter a$$ cold. I did not leave my house this past weekend it was too cold. I dug deep into my freezer, and found all kinds of stuff to cook, including cornmeal. I've somehow inheirited this trait from my mother that when I open my freezer, it's so full, stuff falls out. I don't know where it all comes from, and I don't know how it got there. But what I do know is that when I'm stuck inside my house for three straight days (because I'm too much of a wimp to go outside in ten degree weather) I will not starve, and neither will you. Also, if you don't own a well-seasoned iron skillet, don't even bother making this because you WILL be disappointed. Where can you get one you ask? Go buy one today, cook everything you eat in it for the next 20 years, then make this cornbread. My iron skillet belonged to my grandmother. It was the ONE thing she owned that I had to have. This is her recipe. This is my mother's recipe. This is my recipe.
1 cup cornmeal (I prefer yellow, but white works also)
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup Crisco (the solid kind, not the liquid...I know, I know, but it's the only way to do it RIGHT and make Granny proud)
Put the Crisco in the CAST IRON SKILLET, put it in the oven, and turn the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
In another bowl, mix eggs and buttermilk, then add to the dry ingredients, stir well.
Once the crisco is melted and your pan is HOT, dump half into the batter, leave the other half in the skillet.
Stir the batter until all ingredients are mixed well, and dump into the HOT skillet.
Bake 30-45 minutes depending on how big your skillet is until lightly browned and crispy.