Tag Archives: sauce

Dulce.

Remember when I told you that it was my mom’s and MIL’s goal to just hook me up to a machine that feeds me nothing but milk?  Turns out despite how much I try (I don’t really even care to try), I cannot finish a gallon of raw cow’s milk alone (Binks hates milk).  And, I don’t care to.  Not because it’s not delicious.  Not because I have something against raw milk.

But rather, to me – milk is a food, not a beverage.  (It is mom(s)!)  I can only eat so much of it and so often.  I can’t drink with reckless abandon like I do most beverages (namely, water, vodka and wine – not necessarily in that order).

With that said, I can’t bring myself to throw it away.

So what to do with a gallon of milk that requires little attention on my part?  Dulce de leche.

Most dulce de leche recipes you may find simply require you to boil a can of sweetened condensed milk until it caramelizes.  But, I had to take it back to the start.

As it turns out – all you need is milk, sugar, vanilla beans, baking soda and water (<– not quite sure why you need the last two).  Using this recipe, I transformed half of my gallon of milk into a beautiful dessert/sauce/jam product that I will surely make again when I have milk to spare.

This transformed a quart of milk to a mere cup and a half of dulce de leche.

Check out the vanilla bean speck bounty.

The uses for dulce de leche are endless: topping on ice cream, oatmeal; jam on bread, shortbread, cookies; filling in cakes; dips for fruit; etc.

If you find yourself wanting a decadent caramel treat, I encourage you to try this recipe and tell me your uses for this most decadent of treats.

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16 Comments

Filed under Desserts, Favorites, Vegetarian

The Sauce And The Mess

Are you a clean freak?  I am.  I can go INSANE with the cleaning.  And, I do – especially in the kitchen.

I’m obviously looking for affirmation.  So, tell me you’re crazy like me!  Are you?

And nothing – and I mean nothing – messes up a kitchen like making your favorite marinara sauce.  Whether from scratch or Semi Olie-Made, it’s all a mess.  But, what’s a girl to do when all she wants for dinner is to hit up the sauce?  You make it anyway and worry about the consequences after the delicious meal is over.

See my pretty kitchen?  That sauce looks harmless right?

It’s not.  It’s a tomato-licious volcano ready to explode EVERYWHERE.

A closer look only proves my point.  The pot is already spewing and I can imagine the horror and catastrophe to be left behind once it really simmers.  (Are these my actual thoughts when I cook?  Yes.  And, yes – I have problems.  No judgment!)

At this point you may be thinking/pondering of the following:

1.  Why didn’t she just use a bigger pot?  Great question folks!  I have no answer other than – I didn’t think it would get this large.  That’s what she said.

2.  What is that around the stove trim rings?  Don’t know what I’m talking about.  Look again:

This is my NUMERO UNO tip for keeping your stove clean – FOIL!  If you have ever cleaned them, you know it’s a mess.  You have soak, scrub and sometimes repeat the process. 

I tend to cook many meals at one time and it takes a toll on my stove top.  If you’re like me, you know that things get stuck after that much heat.

Wrapping the rings in foil is a trick my mom taught me to ensure that I have one less thing to clean.  I not only wrap the ring, but I also the part under the ring – the cup-like part with the hole in it.  (That’s what she said.)  If you think of the name – tell me and I can delete this whole pathetic paragraph with one word!

Easy keep-it-clean tips/tricks like these help me relax just a little bit more when I cook.  Tips/tricks like these help me relax just a little bit more while I enjoy my favorite marinara sauce.

Marinara Sauce Vegetarian

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) canned tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (12 oz) bag of cherry tomatoes, halved (or you can use regular tomatoes – 1 cup chopped)
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp honey (vegan option: sugar)
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled finely with your hands
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat large (don’t make the same mistake I did) sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Pour olive oil and heat.
  3. Add onions and garlic.  Saute until translucent.
  4. Add fresh tomatoes, honey, salt and bay leaves.  Cook until the tomatoes become soft and the juices start flowing – approximately 10 minutes.
  5. Pour entire can of tomatoes into sauce pan.
  6. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 hours.
  7. 30 minutes before the sauce is done – add the tomato paste, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and black pepper.

Extra:

–  I added tempeh to mine as follows:

  • 30 minutes before the sauce is done, I saute 8 oz tempeh (roughly chopped) in another pan with some olive oil until fully heated inside and a bit browned on the outside.
  • Add it into the sauce about 15 minutes before the sauce is done.

–  This is a chunky sauce.  If you want it to be smoother, run the final sauce (prior to the addition of any tempeh) through the blender.  Or use your immersion blender.

How do you keep your kitchen clean while you cook?  What’s your keep-it-clean tip/trick?  Do you wrap your stove rings in foil?  Are you a clean freak?

11 Comments

Filed under Favorites, garlic, Italian, olive oil, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian

Pizza Cake!

If I had to be honest (which I most certainly almost always am), Binks and I order pizza in about once every two weeks.  When vowing to be husband and wife, we also made a sub-vow to find the best pizza in any city we live in.  The sub-vow helps keep the main-vow strong!  It’s the power of pizza.

We have yet to find the best in Dallas.  For my Dallas/Texas readers, help me on this front!  In Houston, it is New York Pizzeria – hands down.  The original location, not the new trend of Russo’s.  I just want a slice.  Hold the ambiance.

Obviously our pizza addiction sets us back a bit of money every two weeks.  So, in an attempt to keep the addiction home – because people tend to stare when you take it outside – I attempted home-made pizza.

And it was easy as pie.

First, the yeast and the proofing.

What you see is just the beginning stages of proofing.  Let your yeast/water/sugar mixture get really frothy (i.e. look to the very right side of the picture below – that’s all proofing baby!)

Then the kneading.  And, resting.

Rolling.

Resting more.

Showing off.

Topping

Baking.

Done and done!

Nom nom!

The pizza crust is from here and the sauce is from here.

I promise you this is a keeper!

Do you order out? How often? What’s your place/food of choice? What’s your favorite pizza restaurant in your area (make sure you tell me your area)?

31 Comments

Filed under baking, Favorites, olive oil, Uncategorized

Semi Olie-Made

Do you guys watch Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Cooking on the Food Network?  (When I had cable), I used to.  Prior to knowing anything about it, I thought the idea was ingenious.  She cooked the way I cooked way back then.

Doctoring up pre-made food was the name of the game.  And I was a playa!

The one thing I knew best was how to doctor up spaghetti sauce.  Why I couldn’t just prepare homemade spaghetti sauce – I don’t know.  But, let me share.

I don’t like jarred spaghetti sauce.  I don’t know if it’s the massive amounts of sugar they put in there or what.  I can never eat a jar of spaghetti sauce without doing something to it.

Let me introduce you to the ‘something’:

Saute with olive oil over medium heat until soft and caramelized.  (I like my marinara a little chunky so I leave the red bell pepper bigger, but feel free to omit or mince based on your preference.) 

Then comes the kicker – the wine.  Binks and I usually have about half a glass left in the wine bottle that we definitely do not want to waste!  Add it after the veggies are done caramelizing.

Add the jar of tomato sauce and simmer for about 20-30 minutes over low heat.

At this point you can use an immersion blender to puree everything or just leave as is – chunky! 🙂  Feel free to make it your own at this point with the addition of basil or parmesan cheese.

Serve with your favorite pasta!

Perfect quick way to use up that spaghetti sauce in the pantry for dinner!

I would suggest this to Sandra Lee, but then….

….. the Kwanzaa cake episode arrived….

Oh. God. No.

What do you doctor up?  Do you watch Sandra’s show?

12 Comments

Filed under Dinner, Vegetarian