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Ah, I am back for a short post on my second Mother Sauce base, Tomato Sauce or Sauce Tomat.  The French actually developed this sauce (based upon teachings from the Italians) which uses tomatoes as a base.  Needless to say Tomato Sauce is so versatile that its variations are endless!

Make a Tomato Sauce base is quite simple.  I was taught to use fresh tomatoes, but I now often use canned whole and pureed tomatoes.  Honestly, it will be hard for most of your diners to ever know the difference.  This recipe will make around a quart and a half to two quarts.  Hold on to your hats, folks, this will be fast and furious.

Mother Sauce Number Two:  Tomato Sauce

2  oz  Salt Pork

1 medium yellow onion

1/2 tsp sugar

salt and pepper to taste

2  1/2 oz carrots, diced into 1/4 inch cubes

2  oz  real butter   

5 pounds raw tomatoes, quartered (for this recipe I use any large, ripe, red tomato)

1  qt. light chicken broth (or for more of a classic taste 1 qt. of veal broth)

2 small cloves freshly crushed garlic

2-3  oz all purpose flour

Something to remember before you begin is to choose your pot carefully.  You will need a pot that easily holds 2 quarts of hot liquid.  I’d suggest a glass pot or one that has an internal non stick surface.  I suggest this for a simple reason.  Tomatoes are extremely acidic and can readily pull the flavor and particles of aluminum and other metals (like iron) into your sauce.  Believe me, the taste will be affected by the wrong pot!

Alright then, let’s get started.  Begin by placing the salt pork into the pot and rending the fat out of the salt pork (a heavy bottomed pan works best and helps avoid burning).   Add about a tablespoon of water and cover with a lid.  Place heat on medium and check after 5 minutes.  The steam will help the fat render from the salt pork and help prevent burning of the pork fat. 

Once the salt pork is rendered, add in butter, carrots, onions and sweat them over medium heat for 5-10 minutes.  The vegetables should become tender and begin to release their aromas.  As this happens you can sprinkle the flour over the carrots and onions and continue to cook them for a few more minutes.  The flour will work with the pork fat to make a roux.  See my previous postings to learn about a roux.

Add in the tomatoes and cook them with the other ingredients until they begin to soften and release their fluids.  Immediately add in your chicken or veal stock and crushed garlic.  Cover the pot and reduce heat the simmer for about 2 hours.

Finally, cool your broth a bit and put it all through a blender until smooth.  If you want a very smooth sauce, take the blended mixture and filter it through a chinois, finish it with sale, pepper and the sugar. 

Many of you are asking, why the sugar?  Well, sugar will help balance the acidity of the tomatoes.  Try it.  A little sugar on everything is fantastic. 

Once you have you base you can add whatever spices you want to create your dream pasta sauce, soup, or meat sauce.  I highly recommend you take a joy ride into the variations of Sauce Tomat.  Recipes are available in just about every cookbook and across the net.  Enjoy.

Photo Courtesy of:  videoactive.blogspot.com/2008_08_17_archive.html

 

 Photo Courtesy of:   kitchenography.typepad.com

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Good evening all!  Tonight I’ll try to discuss the term savory, not the herb savory.  Got that?  Neither do I.  I had someone ask me the other day, “So, what does savory really mean?”  I just smiled, looked over their shoulder and yelled, “Wow, is that Elvis?”  As soon as they turned I high tailed it back down the street.  That’s what many folks want to do with the term savory–including myself. 

My understanding of the term savory was always that it meant a meatiness flavor to a food.  We now know, thanks to chemists, that savory is actually a flavor received by some receptors on our tongue caused by the breaking down of proteins in food through either aging or cooking.  The amino acid created is glutamic acid or glutamate and our tongue’s taste buds interpret this flavor as something special. 

Glutamic acid is found in many foods, including some cheeses, meats, certain vegetables and, of course, seaweed.  This leads us to the way the term is used today, Umami.  Umami is a popular term in Japan (and now the U.S.) and is often found in fish and seafood sauces.  Thus, we can see that savory has been around forever, but only recently has its importance been truly studied. 

I know I love to add a bit of soy sauce to many dishes as that hint of earthy, meatiness really can brighten up a dish on the diner’s tongue.  Many chef’s would never admit to using soy sauce or fish sauces to add savory to their dishes, but they often do.  In some ways I’m saddened that savory has finally given up its secrets to the science minded in the culinary world, but such is life.  Curiosity has its price–the end of mystery!

Good night fellow spice lovers!

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Evening all.  This beautiful night, cold but precious, we are discussing the fourth category of spice flavors–SPICY.  Spicy for me is a great Dougray Scott movie, some home-made hot garlic and cheese sticks, a warm blanket, a dark room, and a big screen T.V. (so that Dougray’s luscious lip are larger than life).  Well, at least the hot garlic cheese sticks are spicy!

Dishes with a hot zip are spicy dishes and they leave a warm to searing sensation on our palate.  Sometimes the heat hits right away, all over your mouth–in a sometimes unpleasant and frantic way.  At other times a dish has subtle heat and you really feel nothing but an after-lingering heat on the back of the tongue.  Of course, there is a range of experiences between the two.  Honestly, hot spices are one of the most well-known.

Some samples of hot spices would be:

1.  Hot Peppers.  The heat of peppers is measured on a scale.  Peppers range from mild to awful!  The kind of awful that you should be wearing a respirator.  When I grind fresh dried peppers of the medium to hot varieties I do wear goggles, gloves, a respirator, and overalls.  I try to do my grinding out-of-doors so avoid running the family out of the house for a few days.

2.  Hot Garlic.  Almost all of us are aware of the usual types of garlic we find in the grocery store.  Pungent, yes.  But, some garlic is hot.  Personally, I love hot garlic.  I get the great taste of garlic with its zippy flair and the heat of a mild pepper.  Nice.

3.  Mustard.  As we all know, mustards, powdered or wet, can be mild to hot.  There is nothing better than a hot mustard, avocado, honey-ham, tomato, and Havarti dill cheese sandwich.  Try one!

4.  Pepper.  Pepper is such a widely used spice it’s like salt–people don’t even think about its use and flavor.  Peppercorns originated in southern India and they now come in a host of varieties.

5.  Horseradish.  This spicy root was grown by my father no matter where we lived.  He loved fresh ground horseradish root on meat, potatoes, as a dipping sauce–just about everything!  I appreciate its many uses, but my favorite is in a great home-made cocktail sauce!

Well, those are my examples of the hot spice category.  Be ready for our final category in Episode VI:  Amalgamating. What?  I tell you what, you won’t find a more exciting cooking site on the entire web.  ; )  Keep an eye on my etsy page and take a look at the new promotions there.  A special gift of beauty and class awaits you all!  Also, don’t forget to glance at the recipes every so often.  My next one will be my secret (not any  more, Linda) recipe for making my Dougray Scott, Evening at Home, Spicy Cheese Sticks!

Eat on, my friends.  Eat on!

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