Wednesday, November 29, 2006

homemade tomato sauce

Making pizza from scratch tonight. Made CPK dough last night, and it refrigerated overnight. Took it out today for 2nd rise, and when I went to check for jarred tomato sauce (I usually have a jar of tasty Barilla sauce on hand), I was out. So I decided to improvise my own homemade tomato sauce, and what do you know, it turned out dynamite! Got a nice bit of heat (but no "sting"), and well balanced flavor, esp. considering it cooked for less than 1 hr!

Homemade Tomato Sauce
Cook time: 1 hr
Makes ?? cups

1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 can (3 oz) tomato paste
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, small (1/4") dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. chili flakes
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. Worcheshire sauce
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. oregano (dried)
big pinch (1/4 tsp?) cayenne pepper
Fresh ground pepper and salt (to taste)

1. Empty tomatoes into blender, pulse about 5-6 times (for 1/2 second) to get rid of all big chunks. Should still have a few 1/4" to 1/2" chunks in it for texture.

2. In large stockpot, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil on medium heat. Add onions, chili flakes and some black pepper, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook stirring occasionally for 3 minutes...don't let anything burn! Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes, until garlic releases its aroma (but don't let it brown!).

3. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, and turn heat up to high. When mixture starts to bubble, turn down to medium-low or low heat. Add vinegar, Worcheshire, sugar, oregano and cayenne, and stir. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces somewhat to a thicker consistency. Adjust seasonings with salt & pepper.

4. Reduce heat to low, COVER, and let simmer for 45 minutes.

5. Remove from heat, and serve over pasta; or, cool and spoon on top of pizza as a great pizza sauce! Cool and then refridgerate. Should keep for at least 1 week.

--add tomato paste when garlic is added, to "roast" it somewhat to enhance the flavor
--refine spice balance; check quantities of vinegar, Worcheshire, chili flakes, cayenne and oregano.

Monday, November 13, 2006

best chicken wings ever!

Made chicken wings tonight. My girl got her brace spacers removed on her molars, so she can now chew again. She really enjoyed these chicken wings and carrot sticks. This is one of the best wings recipes I've ever made. I've made wings a number of times, and this I think turned out the best for my taste. Nice crispy crust, still pretty juicy inside. This is a close adaptation of the "Hooters" wings recipe I've found on the web.

Best Chicken Wings Ever!

2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper, ground
Corn or canola oil, to fill at least 1" in pot

24 chicken wings (drummettes & wing pieces)

Wing Sauce (pretty hot)

1/3 cup Red Rooster hot sauce
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tbsp Tabasco
1/3 cup butter, in 1tbsp pieces

Heat over to 250 degrees. Place ovenproof bowl in oven.

Combine flour and dry spices thoroughly. Add chicken wings to flour mixture, and toss thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at 60-90 minutes, tossing wings once at 30 minutes to re-coat.

In a large pot, heat at least 1" of cooking oil over medium high heat. Using a deep fry/candy thermometer, let the oil reach 380 degrees F and drop in 12 of the wings (1/2 of the batch). Adjust heat to high to keep temperature as close to 350-375 as you can for the duration of the cooking.

Cook wings until golden brown, 13-15 minutes (at least 13 minutes for well done). Remove with bamboo strainer.

Transfer 1st batch to warm bowl in oven, reheat oil to 380 and add second batch to fry. Turn off oven (residual heat will keep it warm.)

Now make the sauce: in a small saucepan, heat hot sauce, vinegar and Tabasco under low heat until warm & steaming. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter one piece at a time. Set aside.

Remove 2nd batch with spider, add to warm bowl. Pour sauce over, toss to coat and serve immediately.