Archive for the ‘My Kitchen’ Category

From My Kitchen: Homemade Marinara

Monday, October 14th, 2013

My uncle lives on an old dairy farm about 20 minutes away, and we spent some time out there this weekend. The garden is AMAZING. Well, actually, the tomatoes were AMAZING. And I decided to do something about it.

Marinara Sauce Cover Photo

I have a life list- it is ever evolving, but one of the things on my list is to master my marinara sauce. I have not quite done this yet, but I have managed a pretty good start. Read on if you would like to know how I did it…

First, I blanched the tomatoes. To do this, I placed the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, and then placed them in an ice bath immediately after.

Ice bath

 

As I was doing this, I peeled the finished ones, and then cored them.

Prepped tomatoes

Once they were all prepped, I mashed them in a large pot, and divided them into 32 oz batches.

IMG_0904

 

Can you see that mess of red surrounding the containers? YEP! I pretty much painted my kitchen red in the process. Once my tomatoes were prepped, I heated the olive oil, onion and garlic and sautéed for about 15 minutes. I think it is sooo important to use quality ingredients when doing something from scratch like this. The tomatoes used were from my uncle’s garden, and the olive oil is California Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Tiber Canyon Ranch, here locally. ALWAYS use fresh garlic, although the jarred minced garlic is good in a pinch, nothing like fresh garlic.

IMG_0905

I then added the tomatoes, along with salt & pepper and bay leaves. The recipe below also calls for celery and carrots, and although I would definitely use them next time, I didn’t have them on hand this go round, and our harvest box doesn’t come until Thursday. I then simmered for a GOOD 2 hours (also not on the recipe). This is when my sauce kinda went flat… or to the left… or right, but it just wasn’t there.

INSERT HUSBAND: I took a nap (I love my naps). And asked him to “doctor” it up. He added more pepper, some italian seasonings, some sugar and some red wine, and BAM! amazing.

Here is the recipe that I adapted from: Giada’s Marinara Sauce

Things to do different:

1) remove excess water and seeds from tomatoes before crushing and SQUEEZE them dry.

2) sauté fresh herbs with the garlic and onion and add wine to the mix.

3) add an herb bouquet to the sauce while cooking that can be removed to add more flavor.

4) add the vegetables after sautéing onion mixture.

5) be prepared to can instead of freezing the sauce

This is just round 1. As soon as we use all of this, I will be trying again, maybe in spring, maybe next fall.

 

 

From my kitchen: Recipes for early fall

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Here in California, we have a late summer. So when Fall hits, we really are still going to the beach, wearing sundresses & flip flops, and enjoying warm nights. Problem: Fall creeps up on you like you wouldn’t believe. You mean I have to get halloween costumes ready? But its not even cold out yet!!!

So lately, we have been making great use of our BBQ. We got this one mid summer on a whim, because it was such a great deal. It had been built and left somewhere in the warehouse for a year, so when it was put on the floor, it was already marked down from the year before! Yep- we got it for 80 bucks.

Stok Grill

 

I thought I would share a few recipes that are our “GO TO” recipes on the grill.

HOBO STEW

Hobo Stew

1 lb hamburger

seasoning salt and pepper

1 onion, sliced

4 medium potatoes (peeled and sliced to about 1/4 inch thickness)

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1 cup carrot, sliced

1. Tear off four good sized pieces of aluminum foil to make pouches for the “stew”.

2. In the center of each piece of foil, place a 1/4 pound patty of hamburger. 3. Sprinkle meat with seasoning salt and pepper to your tastes.

4. Layer on top of the meat, potatoes, then celery and then carrot.

5. Fold up foil to make a sealed packet. You want it to be “tight” as you don’t want all the yummy juices to run out when you turn them on the barbecue.

6. Place the four packets on a heated to about medium barbecue.

7. Cook 15 minutes on the first side and then turn over and cook 10-20 minutes.

8. Check by opening a packet and making sure the potatoes feel done.

9. When the meat and pototoes are done, remove to a plate and let sit for five minutes meat side down to let the juices run back into the meat.

10. Dump out onto a plate to serve.

11. Sometimes I season the meat like meatloaf before I make the patties and sometimes I serve it with A-1 sauce and or ketchup. The vegetable and the meat compliment each other with their juices. You can add extra potatoes or make the patties bigger — you are limited only by your imagination!

 

CHICKEN, RED POTATOES & CORN

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

very teriyaki marinade

2 ears of corn, shucked

½ cup of butter or margarine

2 tsp sugar

salt & pepper to taste

4-5 red potatoes

2 T olive oil

1 T minced garlic

Marinade the chicken breasts for an hour in the very teriyaki marinade, making sure that chicken breasts are covered. I like to flip the container every 15 minutes or so just to tenderize them.

Prepare corn: cut 2 pieces of foil. Place 2 T of butter at bottom of foil with a teaspoon of sugar, and salt & pepper. Place one ear of corn on top of butter and seasonings and wrap tightly.

Prepare potatoes: wash and dry potatoes. Cut into ¼ inch cubes. Tear off very LARGE sheet of foil, enough to make a pouch of potatoes. Place potatoes on foil, drizzle olive oil over mixture. Sprinkle salt pepper & garlic over mixture, and place remaining butter on top. Secure pouch tightly so that juices won’t come out when cooking (I’ve seen the fire!)

Heat grill, and place potatoes on grill for 15 minutes (they take a little longer to cook). Place chicken and corn on the grill for an additional 20 minutes, flipping half way through.

Plate & Serve!

 

BBQ Leek & Onion Pizza

This pizza was always my FAVE when hitting up the local wine bar. I have found it and adapted it to cooking on our grill. Enjoy!

Leek & Onion Flatbread

2 medium leeks

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or as needed

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 pound purchased pizza dough (I’m a fan of Trader Joe’s brand), at room temperature

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Trim and discard the root ends and the tough dark-green tops of the leeks. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, and rinse well to remove the dirt between layers. Drain and thinly slice the leeks crosswise.

2. Set a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons of the oil followed by the leeks, onions, and salt. Stir often until the onions begin to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool. (If made up to 2 days ahead, cool, cover, and chill. Warm to room temperature to use.)

3. Preheat BBQ grill. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. On a floured board, shape each portion of the dough into a round. Coat each portion lightly with flour. Roll and flatten each piece into a 1/4-inch-thick round, 4 to 5 inches wide.

4. Transfer the rounds to your pizza stone (my BBQ came with one). If the rounds shrink, re-stretch them until they are again 4 to 5 inches wide. Brush the surfaces lightly with remaining olive oil.

5. Distribute equal portions of the leek-onion mixture over each round of dough to within about 1/2 inch of the edge. Top each round evenly with feta cheese.  Sprinkle lightly with pepper.

6. Cook on grill  until the crust is golden brown and firm on bottom, 12 to 15 minutes. Slide pizzas off pans onto a board or plates, and serve hot.

Adapted from Cat Cora’s recipe found here http://www.catcora.com

 

 

Friday Finds

Friday, September 27th, 2013

 FridayFindsLogo

These colors from Benjamin Moore and Young House Love

 

This table from none other than World Market

 

This tutorial for awesome vintage hairstyles… if you don’t follow The Glamorous Housewife yet, you must.

 

This amazing terrarium… My geeky-cheeky husband would love it.

 

Pumpkin Pie ice cream. Yummo! Want to try and make it yourself? Try this recipe!

And last but not least, a little humor (or a lot in my case) #laughedtilIpeed