Dressing and Sauces

All posts in the Dressing and Sauces category

Simple Tomato Sauce

Published September 10, 2012 by jenmatteson

I love tomatoes.  I remember as a child, my mother introduced me to eating whole tomatoes with a little bit of sugar sprinkled on.  What an awesome treat, and not too unhealthy, depending on how much sugar I actually used.  I haven’t had a tomato that way in years, but recently it’s been on my mind with the bushels of tomatoes I’ve been receiving from my dad; he has two different kinds in his garden.  However, my dad doesn’t eat tomatoes, and my mom has been out-of-town for the last month.  So, in turn, Nate and I get deliveries of tomatoes every week.  More tomatoes than we could possibly eat casually.  Seriously, this is one week’s worth:

I had to take action before these beauties went to waste, so I decided to make enchiladasHow, you may ask, will this help me use up all of my tomatoes?  Well, I needed a tomato sauce to make a homemade enchilada sauce, and I’ve never made a tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes, only canned.  I figured there’s no time like the present to give it a whirl.  I didn’t follow any particular recipe, but based it off of my marinara sauce, without the canned tomatoes and wine.

It turned out great and was a perfect base for my enchilada sauce.  The tomato sauce was very simple and relatively quick.  Adjust seasonings as desired.  I’d love to try this on some pasta or spaghetti squash this fall!  It’s easily adaptable to add veggies and proteins.

Simple Tomato Sauce

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: Yields 2 cups

Ingredients:

6 large tomatoes
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tbsp dried rosemary
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Roughly chop tomatoes and puree in food processor.

2. In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add tomato puree, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, rosemary, sugar, and water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat.  Simmer for 35-34 minutes, until sauce thickens.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Use immediately, store in airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 6 months.

Red Hot Chipotle Sauce

Published August 16, 2012 by jenmatteson

I made this at the same time as making my garlic hot sauce; they were both my first attempts at crossing off another 30 Before 30 item (only a little under a year left!).  Head over to the garlic hot sauce post if you’d like to read more details about getting started with hot sauces.

The garlic hot sauce sounded amazing, but I was much more excited for the red hot chipotle sauce.  I was really hoping this one would be extremely spicy, but also have some good flavor, and I was right.  The flavor was pretty smokey, but packed a serious punch.  I’m a happy girl!  Too bad the pictures aren’t more amazing – not really sure hot to photograph a seemingly boring bottle of hot sauce.

Red Hot Chipotle Sauce

Source: Midwest Supplies
Servings: Yields about 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

3/4 cup fresh tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup distilled vinegar
2-4 whole dried Habanero chilies
4 whole dried chipotle chillies
8 whole dried de arbol chilies
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp Xanthan Gum

Directions:

1. Put on gloves and keep them on while handling the chilies (these are especially hot and you don’t want to be touching your mouth, nose, and especially eyes – contact wearers – after handling them).  Remove the stems from chilies and place in medium-sized bowl.  Pour boiling water over chilies to rehydrate.  Press down with a spoon to be sure all chilies are submerged, and let rest for 10 minutes.

2. In a food processor, puree tomatoes and chilies with the vinegar and salt.  Transfer to a small sauce pan and simmer sauce for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add Xanthan Gum and mix in until dissolved.

* If you are taking the pH level of your sauce, now is the time to do so.  Hot sauce ingredients are high in pH levels and can spoil easily without proper acidification.  It is important to cook the sauce at a proper temperature for a sufficient time so that undesired organisms will be destroyed.  Additionally, the pH should be adjusted to below 4.6, preferably below 4.2.  Typically, vinegar-based hot sauce has a pH in the range of 3.0-4.0.  To acidify hot sauce, add more vinegar, lime juice or other low pH substances.

* After your sauce has boiled, everything that comes in contact with it from here on out must be sanitized.  One-Step or Star San sanitizers are recommended to ensure a sanitary environment without the need to rinse.  If you do not have cleaner to sanitize your bottles, place empty bottles (without cap or dripper insert) in a pot, cover and fill the bottles with water.  Boil for 10 minutes.

3. For a milder sauce, immediately strain your sauce through a fine mesh strainer.  For a hotter sauce, leave the solids in the sauce for up to two weeks, then strain.  Bottle the sauce and let it age for at least one week in the fridge.  I let this one sit for a week before straining and bottling it.

Garlic Hot Sauce

Published August 16, 2012 by jenmatteson

There is nothing I love more than spicy food, and near the top of my 30 Before 30 list is homemade hot sauce.  Midwest Supplies, where we purchase most of our beer making ingredients, also sells ingredients to make your own hot sauce.  One of the first times we were in there, we saw a hot sauce making kit.  I assumed I needed this because I had no idea where to start when making my own hot sauce (uh, hello, internet??).  We didn’t purchase it that day since we were buying so many other beer brewing items, but the next three or four times we went, they were out of kits.  I couldn’t possibly pick out my own ingredients and wing it, could I?  So finally, the last time we were there picking up more bottles, the kit was there!  Nate said I could get one as part of my birthday gift, YES!

After reading through the ingredients and instructions, I realized I really didn’t need a “hot sauce making kit”.  Here is a list of what came in my kit:

  • 3 Hot Sauce Bottles
  • 3 Pair Black Nitrate Gloves
  • 1 oz whole dried Habanero chili peppers
  • 1 oz whole dried Morita chipotle chili peppers
  • 1 oz whole dried arbol chili peppers
  • 1 oz cayenne powder
  • 1 oz jalapeno powder
  • 1 oz aji amarillo powder
  • pH paper 2.8-4.4
Now I know for next time.  The only additional items I needed to get started was fresh tomatoes and Xanthan Gum.  I’ve never heard of Xanthan Gum previously, so I did a little research and learned that it’s generally used in gluten-free baking and sold at specialty grocery or health food stores.  This meant I couldn’t just pop over to Cub or Rainbow, I had to make a Whole Foods trip.  Boy, do I love Whole Foods!  Unfortunately, I can’t really justify doing all my shopping there; it’s not quite in the budget.  Plus, the closest one to me is about 25 minutes away.

The next day I was looking forward to making hot sauce after work all day long.  Nate would be at class, so I’d have the kitchen to myself, not that I don’t normally, but I just really like to cook in an empty house.  I got the Xanthan Gum and my fresh Bushel Boy tomatoes and I was ready to start making some hot sauce.  Nate and I both like heat, but I’m quite a bit more tolerable to it than he is.  I thought this was the perfect excuse to make two kinds of hot sauce.  One with lots and lots of heat, and another with a healthy combination of fire and flavor.  The first one I made was the later of the two, which was a Garlic Hot Sauce.  The recipe is from Midwest Supplies and came in the kit.  I think I’ll start with a few of these before I venture down the experimental hot sauce path.  I can’t wait for that!!  I also made a Red Hot Chipotle Sauce, but left that to sit with its solids in the fridge for a week before I strain it.  Then it’ll be nice and spicy!

Garlic Hot Sauce

Source: Midwest Supplies
Servings: Yields about 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

3/4 cup fresh tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup distilled vinegar
4-6 fresh cloves of garlic
2-4 whole dried Habanero chilies
10 whole dried de arbol chilies
1/2 tsp Aji Amarillo powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp Xanthan Gum

Directions:

1. Put on gloves and keep them on while handling the chilies (these are especially hot and you don’t want to be touching your mouth, nose, and especially eyes – contact wearers – after handling them).  Remove the stems from chilies and place in medium-sized bowl.  Pour boiling water over chilies to rehydrate.  Press down with a spoon to be sure all chilies are submerged, and let rest for 10 minutes.

2. In a food processor, puree tomatoes and chilies with the vinegar, aji amarillo powder and garlic salt.  Transfer to a small sauce pan and simmer sauce for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add Xanthan Gum and mix in until dissolved.

* If you are taking the pH level of your sauce, now is the time to do so.  Hot sauce ingredients are high in pH levels and can spoil easily without proper acidification.  It is important to cook the sauce at a proper temperature for a sufficient time so that undesired organisms will be destroyed.  Additionally, the pH should be adjusted to below 4.6, preferably below 4.2.  Typically, vinegar-based hot sauce has a pH in the range of 3.0-4.0.  To acidify hot sauce, add more vinegar, lime juice or other low pH substances.

* After your sauce has boiled, everything that comes in contact with it from here on out must be sanitized.  One-Step or Star San sanitizers are recommended to ensure a sanitary environment without the need to rinse.  If you do not have cleaner to sanitize your bottles, place empty bottles (without cap or dripper insert) in a pot, cover and fill the bottles with water.  Boil for 10 minutes.

3. For a milder sauce, immediately strain your sauce through a fine mesh strainer.  For a hotter sauce, leave the solids in the sauce for up to two weeks, then strain.  Bottle the sauce and let it age for at least one week in the fridge.  I strained this one right away and bottled it.

Garlic Cream Sauce

Published June 28, 2012 by jenmatteson

This is a pretty basic sauce that I made for my buffalo chicken pizza, but you could certainly use it as sauce for pasta, fish, or chicken.  Let your imagination run wild!  I’ll get a picture the next time I make it.

Garlic Cream Sauce

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: Makes 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

4-6 cloves garlic (depending on how garlic-y you want it)
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup milk, room temperature
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan, melt butter and saute garlic over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Whisk in flour until a thick paste begins to form.  Slowly add milk, continuously whisking.  Increase heat to medium-high until milk begins to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, whisking constantly, until sauce reaches desired thickness.  Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

Basil Pesto

Published June 24, 2012 by jenmatteson

I adore pesto, but most places make it with parmesan cheese, so I always have to examine the ingredients or ask how it’s made.  Finally, I made my own.  I assumed making pesto was petty simple, however, I’ve never had a whole heck of a lot of basil at one time.  My grocery store only sells appoximately 2 sprigs in a package.  I know it’s available in bulk at superstores, but I don’t belong to any of those 😦

But, Mama Marsha to the rescue!  That’s the nickname my girlfriends and I gave Nate’s mom while we were in Sonoma last year.  She gave us wonderful recommendations and even set up and paid for one of our tastings.  We stopped over to grab their garage door opener so Nate could feed Sprout, their kitty, while they were out of town.  She chopped off a huge bunch of basil for me to take home.  This was just wonderful because we were planning to make grilled pizza that night, so I decided to whip up a batch of pesto for our pizzas.  Even better…I had just finished off my jar of yeast, so I could store my pesto in there.  Couldn’t have been more perfect!

For making this in the fly, I thought it was a pretty good go.  The pesto had such a fresh herby taste, and you can easily add parmesan if you like that added saltiness.  This should last in an airtight container for about two weeks.  I anticipate that we’ll be having some pasta in our near future 🙂

 

Basil Pesto

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: Makes about 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil
4-6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
salt to taste
1/4 parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

1. In a food processor, pulse pine nuts, basil, and garlic.  While processor is running, stream in olive oil to desired consistency.  Add salt and parmesan to taste.  Run processor for another 30 seconds to completely combine ingredients.  Use immediately, or store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Spicy Asian Dipping Sauce

Published June 4, 2012 by jenmatteson

This would be great for several appetizers, I served it with my Thai Turkey Meatballs.  It’d be a great as a dressing or sauce for a stir fry as well!

Spicy Asian Dipping Sauce

Source: Lund’s and Byerly’s
Servings: Makes 3/4 cups

Ingredients:

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp green onions, minced
1/4 cilantro, chopped
2 tsp Asian chili sauce

Directions:

1. Stir soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, green onions, and cilantro together in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved.  Add chili sauce to taste.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Published May 12, 2012 by jenmatteson

I made this sauce for my grilled pizzas, but I have a pretty good feeling that I’ll be making it a lot more in days to come.  It was so super simple and it tasted so delicious, I don’t know if I’ll be buying store-bought marinara anymore.  Not only did I find my recipe for grilled pizzas from Prevention RD, but I also found this mariana sauce recipe as well.  If you’ve never made your own, I urge you to try this one.  It doesn’t have to sit on your stove simmering all day long but it sure tastes like it did!  I didn’t have any fresh herbs on hand, so I used dried and altered a bit from Nicole’s recipe.  Use fresh if you have it, it’ll taste even better!  I also added a bit more wine, because really, how could that hurt?

Marinara Sauce

Source: Prevention RD

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes (reduce if you are opposed to heat)
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 tsp sugar

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan and add garlic.  Cook for 30 seconds and add herbs.  Cook for another 30 seconds until herbs become aromatic.

2. Add salt, black and red pepper, tomatoes, wine, and sugar.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Published March 27, 2012 by jenmatteson

This is super simple and great on salads, pasta, chicken, steaks, veggies – you name it.  It should last in an airtight container in your fridge for up to a month.  Be sure to use a good quality vinegar and olive oil, that’s the key to great flavor.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp water
1 tsp garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl, add vinegar and slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking.  Add water, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.

Cilantro Lime Dressing

Published March 17, 2012 by jenmatteson

This is a light dressing that is quick and easy to make.  You can store any leftovers in your fridge for about two weeks.

Cilantro Lime Dressing

Ingredients:

1 jalapeno
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp freshly grated ginger root
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp agave (honey would work just fine)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:
1. In a food processor, pulse jalapeno, garlic, and ginger until they are finely minced.   Add lime juice, water, agave, balsamic, salt and cilantro leaves. Pulse a few times to blend. Turn food processor on and begin to drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated.  Adjust salt or other ingredients to taste.

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