Saturday, February 9, 2013

You need a red sauce? I'll give you a red sauce.

Happy Month of Hearts and Candy everyone! You may be looking for something to make for the Imzadi in your life, or you may be hosting a party. Everyone loves an excuse to party! I was in a bit of a quandary about this what to get/do for/buy/find/make/idk/what the hell/thisisallcommercialismanyway erm, Holiday. I had an idea about something to buy, but it was shot down. I certainly don't want to have a Homer and the monkey card experience.

Homer: "Don't worry, honey. I've got something really special planned for Valentine's Day."
Marge: "It's not that monkey card I found in the car, is it?"
Homer: (flash back to Homer looking at the Monkey card and thinking Marge will LOVE it because he Loves it.)
Homer: "Wouldn't you like to know!"


I decided on something that can't fail. Food. Even though Dan is not remotely a foodie, there are things he likes to eat. Such as pizza rolls. He gave them up (unprompted!) since they are full of scary unpronounceable not-really food products. So I will finally make him some. Well, they are semi-homemade. I am going to share the part I am making from scratch, which is the tomato sauce. This sauce can also be used as a chili base, or spoon a ladle full over pasta and garnish with cheese. It's a quick one (compared to a sauce simmered all day), it takes about an hour all told. This is a great recipe for your repertoire if you say,
 "I don't know how to cook". *side bar*

Whenever I hear that statement, I feel the Seven Stages of Grief for the speaker.
1.shock and denial
2. pain and guilt
3.anger and bargaining
4. depression
5. working through
Hopefully our conversation leads to both 6. and 7 for us. Acceptance and Hope.

How can you not cook anything? What do you eat? That seems impossible!  I feel terrible that you don't get to eat food made with your own hands! Really?! You cannot cook AT ALL? How about a sandwich? Okay, well Toast that cheese sandwich and you're cooking. A Grilled Cheese Dude! Oh man, that really sucks that you burn bread. Okay, well, have you tried an easy tomato sauce recipe? How about this one! Really, it's simple. Very hard to burn, well okay, not hard to burn, but easy to leave the burned part In the pan and just eat the good stuff. Yes, YES, I would be Happy to come over and help you make it. Phew.

So much emotion inspired by what we eat!*

My XL pizza pocket. I have been cutting off pieces for lunch this week.
If you'd like to make and freeze your own pizza rolls, you can cheat like I did and buy premade pizza dough from the store (TJ's). I'm making 3 kinds, pepperoni/cheese, plain cheese and plain pepperoni. Of course they will all feature the red sauce (recipe below). I am making lots, so we can eat some now and I can freeze some for him to take home. If you have questions about how I assembled the rolls or anything else please make a comment below. You'll have lots of extra sauce, unless you're making chili. I purchased more pizza dough and made Large pizza pockets as well (see above).  Plus I also have 2 small jars in the fridge, so if I want pasta later this week I'm set.

Simple and Pretty Quick Tomato Sauce
Two largish carrots
1 largish yellow onion
10 sticks of celery
10 mushrooms
1 t each salt/pepper (t= teaspoon)
1 T Italian seasoning (T= tablespoon)
4 medium vine tomatoes or 6 Romas
1 large can of tomato paste (16 or 18oz)
olive oil
2 cups of water (or broth)

I used a mini chopper to create a uniform mess of all the veggies.This will speed up the blending later- you want a tomato sauce, so you're hiding the other flavorful mirepoix inside. If you want it to be chunky, chop the veg by hand. Brown the veggies with salt/pepper/Italian seasonings. Once the excess moisture is gone (add olive oil or water if the mix gets too stickin' on the bottom of the pan before the mirepoix is cooked) add your fresh tomatoes and tomato paste. Taste it. Add more seasoning if you want. Also, add garlic to the veg mix if you like it--which I do, it just doesn't like me. D'oh. Add more water or broth if you want it to be thin or if it gets too bubbly while it's simmering. If you feel like it's Too watery, keep the lid off and turn up the heat while stirring until some water goes away. Let it simmer (that's low heat people) for a little bit if you have time, but really it's ready to eat/use right away. Bon Appetit!

Ready to blitz in the mini chopper.

Blitzed and ready to cook down.

My flavors, add chili powder instead of Italian for chili.

Fresh tomatoes if available+paste.

Immersion blend at the end, add water/broth as needed.

*btw, this recipe is actually VEGAN. So go have your little freak out if you need to... otherwise sit down and enjoy your veggies!