Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Questions from E-Mail

I get a lot of questions from you folks via e-mail and today I am going to provide some answers to some of those I get repeatedly. I will again encourage you to use the comments section. I appreciate some of the recipes and tips you send but feel free to share them with others.

1.Which jarred tomato sauce is best? I usually cook for one and am not going to make some huge pot of sauce that takes forever to cook. None of them. Most add sugar or corn syrup and they are more ketchup than pommodoro. In the time it takes you to boil water and cook pasta you can make a sauce superior to the crap in jars.

1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic minced
Olive oil
2 Ripe Roma tomatoes chopped
Basil if you have it, parsley is nice too
A little cheese if you like that

Chop the onion, put your water on to boil, salt the water. Use a large skillet and at a high heat push the onion around in some olive oil til it is soft and a little caramelized. Toss in the chopped garlic and just let it soften, not toast. Toss in the chopped tomato, turn to simmer. If you are drinking wine you can throw in a splash. Salt, pepper, your water is boiling now. Put the pasta in. I happen to love spaghetti and tiny penne with tomato, but you cook whatever you like. You now have about 7 minutes of simmer, if the tomatoes are chunky you can mush with a spoon, or you can leave chunky. Taste it. If it needs more salt add it, a touch more oil, go for it. Add a touch of cayenne if you want some spice. If the sauce thickens too much throw a little more wine in, or some water from the cooking pasta.

If you have basil or parsley chop 'em now. Check the pasta and drain a moment before it is done.

Toss pasta in sauce on high heat and throw in the basil/parsley/cheese til it just wilts or melts.

Eat and don't tell me it's not better than Ragu.

2. Why don't you print more recipes from your catering jobs? Because the quantities tend to be so large. Do you really want the recipe for beef stew that serves 50? White chili for 20? I have and will continue to downsize some of them and share them. Parties are not much different than the way I cook for myself and my friends. Last week I did roast suckling pig for 6 and when I get the photos I will post the prep.

3. Are you the same guy who used to write the fitness column? Yes, I had a syndicated column for 6 years called Fitness Guru. It was fun, but when giving nutrition advise I also often included recipes and as a result of that ended up as the 'Dude Food' columnist for Gym magazine. Gym ceased publication around the same time my syndicate was bought out by a large company. I ended up leaving that world for a few years and now do some nutritional counseling just to keep my hand in.

4. Are you going to write more about the new products at the Fancy Food Show? Am I ever. Watch for the Hall of FAME and the Hall of SHAME the best and the WORST. There are several makers of what we refer to as food who really ought to be ashamed of themselves.

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