Sick Days
August 11, 2009, 1:19 am
Filed under: Food and Recipes, Main Dishes | Tags: ,

I’ve been feeling unispired as of the past few days…blame it on the slamming sinus headache, blame it on the piercing pain in the left ear, blame it on the soreness everytime I swallow, or blame it on the tornadic weather that just blew in… Whatever you blame it on, it comes down to uninspired.


I had such high hopes for my days off…a little trip to the local grocery store, cooking some good food, and relaxing with the husband. What transpired was much different: dazed and confused at the grocery store resulting in confusing purchases, bread that would not knead together in a loaf for some particular reason…resulting in a perfect loaf and then a loaf that fell apart after being taken out of the pan (at least it tasted good), Chicken Cacciatore that was, well, to say the least, lame, a good bruschetta on the “at least it tastes good” bread, halfway decent roasted garlic mashed potatoes, an unexpected trip to the grocery store in a much needed day of rest, lots of sleepless nights, and then a culmination of rockin’ tomato sauce followed by tornaic weather, nervous dogs, and getting slammed in the nose with my husband’s golf net while trying to take it down in previously mentioned weather.

Whew…it tires ME even to read that…did I really make that one sentence?

Well, I think that I’ll at least mention the good parts, leaving out the bad ones… And forgive my absence over the next few days as I return to work…I shall be back in hopefully redeemable quality…

Rockin’ Tomato Sauce

Yeah…I don’t know what to say other than “rockin’,” because this tomato sauces blows all others out of proportion. It’s simple, yet amazing…and my aforementioned bread perfectly sopped this goodness up. The butter in the dish somehow rounds out all flavors, the thyme, and other herbs, give the dish great depth. The onion unchopped still yields all flavor without extraneous chunkage in the sauce – and the garlic, well, do I need to mention anything further?

I orginially read the recipe here, and added my own few tweaks for the ingredients I had around the house. But I’m sure the original is as delicious and simplistic as they come… Prego what?

1 32 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 16 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
Few sprigs of thyme
Few sprigs of oregano
approximately 10-12 basil leaves
3 cloves garlic, cut in half
1 sprinkle red pepper flakes
1 onion, cut in half
2 tbsp butter, unsalted
1 tsp dried Herbes de Provence
salt and pepper to taste

1. Start with a heavy-bottomed skillet, one that has a lid in your kitchen to match. Pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Turn burner under skillet to medium heat. Add in onion, fresh herbs (whole and unchopped), garlic, and red pepper flakes. Saute until edges of herbs and garlic begin to brown to infuse the oil with all flavors added.

2. Add tomatoes, butter, dried herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine, turn heat to low, and partially cover skillet. Allow to simmer for approximately 20-30 minutes, or until you notice the butter bubbling up through the tomatoes, onion is opaque, and herbs are brown.

3. Fish out remaining garlic, onions, and herbs, including stems and leaves. Allow to cool slightly and use in whatever application you like.


*This sauce makes a wonderful freezer staple. Just pour remaining un-used portion of sauce into a freezer safe container or into a freezer ziplock bag and stow in freezer. Thaw before next use.

Roasted Garlic

I guess you could say I’m sharing all my staples with you now… Roasted garlic is a technique I learned from watching Tyler Florence cook. I had always tasted it up to that point, but never knew how to make it myself. There is great ease in this technique and the scent in the house is well worth any effort put forth.

You can use roasted garlic in any application you like: smeared on toast, placed in your favorite pasta, or in mashed potatoes as I did. Pretty much anywhere you’ve used garlic, you can substitue the roasted garlic. Roasted garlic is much sweeter, yielding, and subtle to the palate. Trust me…if you don’t like garlic, you’ll like this garlic.

1 head of garlic, cut in helf down the middle
few sprigs of thyme
olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Starting wth a small sheet of aluminum foil, place garlic in the middle, cut sides up. On top of garlic, sprinkle small amount of salt and pepper, drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil, and place thyme (leaves, stems, and all).

2. Make a pouch out of the aluminum foil. You’ll want to seal the garlic to outside air. BUT, before sealing completely take a couple teaspoons of tap water and place in the pouch to help the garlic steam and soften.

3. Bake pouch at 350 for thirty minutes. Allow to cool, store any leftovers in the fridge.

Hope you enjoy these staples. If you need a good homemade bread recipe, as I’ve been using, you can go here. Also, for another good tomato sauce, you can visit this place. See you all hopefully soon armed and ready for more cooking, and lots of fabulous recipes.


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