The Pandemic Pantry – Basic Quick Tomato Sauce

 

“We’re cleaning out the freezer.  We have plenty of leftovers to eat up.”

…said She Who Must Be Obeyed.  Since this Executive Order was issued the frozen stockpile of meals has been gradually dwindling.  Last night’s dinner was a mash up meal that used some leftover frozen ricotta/chicken/spinach filling and a freshly made Alfredo sauce.  The leftover ricotta filling was the result of making far too much for cannelloni a few weeks ago.  Then last night I made too much Farfalle and now I’m staring at the reality of having leftover leftovers for lunch today.

So I thought to myself, Self…wouldn’t this be good with some tomato sauce?  Of course I answered to myself and went to an old favorite cookbook for inspiration.  My quick tomato sauce is inspired by a recipe from:

Cooking from an Italian Garden Paperback –
by Paola Scaravelli and Jon Cohen

Paperback: 372 pages
Publisher: Harvest Books (November 15, 1985)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0156225921
ISBN-13: 978-0156225922

But as I have discovered over the years I’ve accidentally created my own recipe.  Here it is.

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 celery rib, tiny dice
  • 1 small carrot, tiny dice
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • pinch dried oregano
  • pinch dried basil
  • pinch dried parsley
  • a splash of white wine
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can organic stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, lower the heat to medium and saute the carrot and celery until translucent.
  2. Sprinkle the herbs and vegetable powders in the pan and saute briefly.
  3. Add a splash of wine to de-glaze the pan.
  4. Add the tin of tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  5. Drop the heat down to low.
  6. When the tomatoes start to soften begin crushing them with the flat side of a wooden spoon.
  7. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  8. Adjust your seasonings.  Add sugar.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve over leftover leftovers (freshly made pasta works too).

Tips

Sugar is only needed to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes.  You might not need any sugar at all.  I wanted to use as many pantry items as possible.  If you feel you can spare a fresh onion or fresh clove of garlic, use them.  The wine is a luxury but can probably be eliminated if you don’t have an open bottle in the fridge. Taste as you go because stewed tomatoes are sweeter than plain canned tomatoes and come already seasoned.

Here’s a list of pantry items.  Hopefully you have many if not all on hand as we shelter in place.

Pandemic Pantry Items

  • Canned tomatoes in 14.5 and 28 ounce cans.  Diced, crushed, diced with green chilies and stewed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Brown and white sugar
  • Dried oregano, basil, and parsley
  • Onion and garlic powders
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Dried pastas

Stay safe, stay well.

 

 

Insect Butter

According to the researchers, consumers notice no difference when a quarter of the milk butter in a cake is replaced with larva fat. However, they report an unusual taste when it gets to fifty-fifty and say they would not want to buy the cake.

Read the Reuters article here.

Entomophagy is the word for eating bugs.

Not coming to the US anytime soon.

 

Zucchini, Corn & Red Pepper

“How did you make this?”

When this question is asked at the table I tend to ramble on about the types of oils and other ingredients in the dish.  Over time I’ve come to understand that our guests don’t want to know what’s in the dish but rather how did I make this?

It’s a clear sign I need to write it down.  So I did.

  • two medium to large zucchini, sliced into one half inch coins
  • half one large red pepper, diced
  • one third sweet onion, diced
  • one cup frozen corn
  • one clove garlic, minced
  • grape seed oil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat approximately one tablespoon of grape seed and olive oils over medium heat in a frying pan large enough to hold the squash without overlapping.
  2. Add the squash coins, flip the heat to high and fry until the squash is golden brown and caramelized.
  3. Flip the squash and repeat.
  4. When both sides of the squash are browned and caramelized remove from the pan, place into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Reduce heat back to medium, add a few dashes of EVO, onions, and red pepper.  Saute for about five minutes.
  6. Add the corn and saute for another five minutes.
  7. Add garlic and swiftly saute for about a minute.
  8. Add the reserved squash back to the pan, pinch of basil, salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Gently mix together and remove from the heat.
  10. Serve immediately or if allowed to fully cool, rewarm over low heat for a few minutes taking care not to overcook the squash.

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This recipe is NOT Tiny Taste Tester Approved.

Yet.

Roasted Cauliflower Frittata

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Sometimes you have odds and ends in the fridge.   This was the inspiration for Scraps Frittata which in the end turned out fine.  The other night at a bring a dish dinner I was asked to bring some Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan for a side veggie.  Our gracious host well known for his blunt honesty said,

“Maybe we shouldn’t have microwaved the cauliflower.  The texture was different.”

I agreed.  The veggie was kind of mushy.  Maybe I shouldn’t have made the cauliflower earlier, covered the dish with aluminum foil, then microwaved it for serving.  This veggie is obviously best served immediately from the oven.

Our host who does not like leftovers besides Good Pie didn’t want the rest of the veggie so I took it back home.  What do you do with about 3 cups of leftover mushy roasted cauliflower? 

  • 2 T EV olive oil
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion diced
  • 2 C red potatoes small dice
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan
  • shredded sharp Cheddar cheese about a cup
  • shredded Monterrey Jack cheese about a half cup
  • Parmesan cheese grated, a couple of Tablespoons
  • Dried thyme, healthy pinch
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat the olive oil in an 10 inch non-stick pan.
  2. Add the potatoes and cook until nearly cooked through, about 10-15  minutes medium heat.
  3. Add the onion and saute for five minutes.
  4. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper.
  5. Spread the cauliflower over the potato/onion mixture.
  6. Sprinkle the cheeses over the veggies.
  7. Beat the eggs.  Pour over the vegetable mixture.
  8. Preheat your broiler.
  9. Allow the frittata to sit over a very low flame until set.
  10. Place the pan under the broiler to brown the top.
  11. Remove from the broiler and place the frittata on a serving plate.
  12. Serve warm or cold.  Makes about 6 servings.
  13. Yum.

Plant-Based Harm Reduction

Plant-Based Diet Linked to Lower Heart Failure Risk

The study was published in the April 30 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Researchers followed more than 16,000 adults (mean age, 64 years) with no known coronary heart disease (CHD) or HF at baseline, comparing those who adhered to a plant-based diet with those who consumed a Southern diet, consisting of more fried and processed foods and sweetened drinks. They found that the plant-based diet was associated with a 41% lower risk for incident HF with the highest vs lowest adherence, while the Southern diet was associated with a 71% higher risk for HF with higher vs lower adherence, after adjustment for potential demographic, lifestyle, and medical confounders.

Plant-Based Diets Help Reduce Kidney Disease Risk Long Term

A diet that favors plant-based foods, as well as a completely vegetarian diet, modestly reduces the long-term risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the general population provided individuals are not overweight or obese to begin with, a new community-based cohort study indicates.

Reminder:

I am not a vegan.