Category Archives: All Recipes

Homemade Tomato Sauce for Apres- anything (guest post by Johanne DuRocher)

final 3 jars

Behold: two and a half jars of homemade tomato sauce! Easier and faster than you can say presto

Intro from Sue:  Finally am posting this witty and perfectly timely recipe for making your own homemade sauce as we head into March and another deep freeze.  It comes from the muli-talented and multi-tasking Johanne DuRocher.  When is there NOT a time for deliciouso home made sauce?  I shudder to realize Johanne created this wonderful post for me when tomatoes where seasonal and came in baskets–but I like to roast tomatoes in the winter before I use them to intensify the flavour and think you will still get delightful results.  And now to the good stuff….

The title for this post actually is, Making tomato sauce when it’s your first time and you’re flying to Winnipeg in 36 hours. (And obviously not ready for either, nor are you Italian, but having a bushel of ripe tomatoes and enough wherewithal in the kitchen to wing it, it’s a go.)

It was Thursday night, pushed to the last minute. I still had, oh, say five hundred things to do before I was about to head out of town for one week. I can multitask.

It’s been years since I wanted to do this and so one day late in the summer I rode home on my bicycle with a basket of roma tomatoes from the farmer’s market- that’s the first step in making sauce. I had even asked one of my Italian colleagues at work to take notes as she made sugo the weekend prior with her family. Sonia had a few pages of instructions for me about making it The Authentic Italian Way, which I really wanted to know and duplicate. I was pretty pumped- I wanted to achieve Italian flavours, not whatever sauce flavours I’d achieved before. I was very excited to make my sauce pass off as the real Italian home made sauce.

Sonia had all the steps mapped out. Step 1: the tomatoes must be quite ripe (check) and then “you put them through the machine that removes the skins and the seeds.”

There’s a machine? I didn’t know that but ok, I can do this, I can blanch, sister. I can seed. And then she said “and then the tomatoes are crushed,” and I said, pardon? “Oh yeah, the machine crushes them too at the same time.”

“Oh. So you mean *you* don’t do that-? But I could do that, right? I could blanch, seed, crush by hand?”

Already my authentic sauce dreams were starting to run. Making sauce the real Italian way is ambitious to even Italians (another sauce lesson). But they’re compulsive and can’t help themselves so there is sauce year after year.

When I came home on Thursday night, it was after a full office day, a hair dresser’s appointment and a gift shopping blitz for said Winnipeg trip. It was 8pm and I still had a list of to-dos, not to mention blanching.

This recipe is what happened on that night and, let me be the first thousandth person to tell you that everyone makes sauce differently. This I would call extreme sauce making. No blanching (obviously) no seeding (as if) and I crushed with my potato masher. It was also 30 degrees in my place.

If you can still find a nice basket of farmer’s market tomatoes, get your sauce going and then get thee to Winnipeg. And note: I finally ate this sauce with spaghetti pasta and it is incredibly delicious- has a lovely garlic flavour, umami-lovin weight and tomatoeyness. I’ve also been told that it’s preferred to the real authentic Italian mama sauce we have. Ha!

Johanne’s Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 large basket of Roma tomatoes, quite ripe (about 26)

1 bulb of garlic (I used green garlic but regular garlic is equally fine)

1/4 onion, grated (this proved successful for spraying my dress, not scenting the sauce this time. Cheese grater issues, but do your best)

Sea salt

Olive oil

Jars for canning

Step 1. Slice your tomatoes in half, length wise, and then place them on an olive-oil greased foil or parchment paper or straight up on a baking sheet flesh side up. Basted them with olive oil if desired. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Raw sliced

So far so good on slicing the tomatoes in half.

Side note: not all my tomatoes fit onto my baking sheet so I seeded and diced the rest and reserved them raw, un-roasted, for later.

Reserved chopped

Two or three tomatoes didn’t fit on my baking tray so I coarsely chopped them and added them later.

Step 2. Place tomatoes in the oven at 350F for say, 40 minutes or when they look slightly deflated, like this:

baked

The roasting helps remove some of the water content and intensify the flavours

time

Note the time: 9:51PM and doing fine. It really didn’t take long to make this sauce.

Transfer roasted tomatoes to a large sauce pot. Add reserved tomatoes.

Prepare jars for canning: while the tomatoes are roasting, sterilize your jars by adding them and their lids (removed) to a large pot, then fill the pot with boiling water and continue to boil on the stove. Keep boiling as you make the sauce- can’t hurt to leave that going.

Sterile jars

I read that 10 minutes ought to sterilize your jars but mine were in the boil for much longer while the sauce simmered.

Step 3: Back to your sauce: mash the tomatoes using a potato masher. I’m thinking an electrified device would also work and give you a smoother sauce, whereas the masher gives you a somewhat chunky sauce. Have fun.

Mashed

Now it smells amazing in your place.

Step 4:  Add an entire bulb of grated fresh green garlic. Grate 1/4 of an onion and add. Mash some more.

Ingredients

See how simple? A little bit of onion, a bulb of grated garlic and a potato masher.

Step 5: Heat sauce to a simmer and maintain the gentle boil. Stir occasionally and assess thickness- simmer longer to help reduce the liquid volume. When your optimal thickness is reached, remove from heat. This might take 30 minutes to an hour. Plenty of time to do your nails, wax your legs, pack a suitcase.

Step 6: Using oven mitts, empty out the boiling jars from their water bath and fill with sauce. Screw on lids and let cool on rack at room temperature to seal.

Makes: 2 1/2 jars (seems like not a lot of sauce, makes one appreciate homemade Italian sauce…..) The half-filled jar will have to be consumed within one week or frozen. Sealed jars will keep for months.

Jars

These are liquid gold in our home. I’ve since made this sauce recipe again and it was just as delicioso.

large pot

Look at the size of this sauce pot! This one also does my lobster boils, poultry stock, you name it.

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So that was an unplanned 4 month hiatus…but back with SALADS!

Ally's Thai Noodle Salad Recipe in bowls brought home from Thailand

Ally’s Thai Noodle Salad Recipe in bowls brought home from Thailand

So the last post on this blog was October 9, 2013 and had I realized it would remain so until the new year I probably would have posted a “GONE FISHING” sign or something.   Which is all to say had I been realistic I would have scratched Cheese and Toast off the TO DO list for a bit and sent it on holiday to the south of France instead of letting it languish, unrefreshed for so many months.  We have made up– and the blog has accepted, grudgingly, my apology.  (Though has threatened to  crash without saving my content over the next little while as payback….)

Setting up to shoot Pancetta and Fingerling Potato Salad with Horseradish Creme Fraiche

Setting up to shoot Pancetta and Fingerling Potato Salad with Horseradish Creme Fraiche

In a nutshell; we were reno’ing our bathroom and the kitchen ceiling (yes just the kitchen ceiling) and that was going swimmingly until a house up the street popped onto the market–and we loved the house–and then we thought maybe we should just put in an offer…and then we had this new house and needed to sell old house which still had hole in kitchen ceiling….and my job situation changed and everything was topsy-turvy.  Including my kitchen as we did a few upgrades for the sale–so no cooking for a while.

Shredded Brussel Sprout, Kle and Green Apple with Lemon-Agave Dressing

Shredded Brussel Sprout, Kale and Green Apple with Lemon-Agave Dressing

Anyway–we moved, I was teary saying good-bye to the old home but the people that bought it seem to love it just as much (and they don’t have the mauve bathroom we had for 11 years!) and we have a great new house that has a great backyard that tad has already built a luge track in this winter (you know a sled-luge track).  AND……..

Putting counter space to excellent use during the salad shoot day

Putting counter space to excellent use during the salad shoot day

Counter Space! My kitchen feels humongous compared to the 1.5 feet of counter space I had before.  It’s like a dream, really.  Plus it came with a dishwasher (I’ve never had one since I left home for university, I was addicted after the first time I pressed SMART CYCLE)….and an old stove that broke and we had no choice but to replace–so now I have a new gas stove and went with the double oven (GE).  Just starting to experiment but think I will love it.

Trying to make your mouth water--steak for the steak salad (rember Chevy Chase ordering that in Fletch?)

MMMMMMMM! Sirloin.  (Remember Chevy Chase ordering the Steak Sandwich(es) in Fletch?)

But that is way too much about me.  Let me start with a few salad recipes from the “Month of Salads” project that Tad and I have been shooting and creating for the Globe.  Each weekday is February we have teamed up with the Life section to create a salad (he shoots them).  The link for last week’s five is here….and you can even photograph and submit your own faves…

Ally--co-salad conspirator and partner in cheese

Ally–co-salad conspirator and partner in cheese

I could not have done the project without my friend Ally–truthfully a full month of salads after last Fall/Winter’s shenanigans was an amazing opportunity but was somewhat overwhelming– but Ally came over and helped me prep (and offered a couple great recipes) like Asian Noodle Salad and Fennel Pomegranate Salad  (coming up for Valentine’s Day!)

Pasta with Browned Butter and Sage- Quick Fix in the Globe Feb 10

Pasta with Browned Butter and Sage- Quick Fix in the Globe Feb 10

And I owe a huge THANK YOU and apology to my friends and contributors Kelsie Parsons (Curds and Eh!) and Joahnne DuRocher (who was also moving yet managed to keep blogging and working full-time!) who have each written an amazing post for me (Kelsie on Grilled Cheese and Johanne sharing her spaghetti sauce recipe) and gave them to me in the fall and so I will FINALLY be posting them still in the midst of winter when we need comfort food.  Thank you guys for being so understanding (I think they were understanding, I would be understanding if they were not).

Arugula and Sirloin with a squeeze of lemon and olive oil

Arugula and Sirloin with a squeeze of lemon and olive oil

And congrats to Kelsie who has been chose to be one of the two cheesemongers for the American Cheese Society Competition taking place in Sacremento this year.  Huge honour.

So in other news, Ally and I have a brand new website in the works for The Cheese Table and we love our new logo–it is pretty exciting–let me know what you think!

Our new Cheese Table Logo-- LOVE--guess what it is!

Our new Cheese Table Logo in three colours– LOVE–guess what it is!

We are also testing out a first run at a monthly cheese club, if you would like some more info you can shoot us an email.  We have about two spaces left.

Otherwise we are continuing our series of Cheese Talks at McEwans and doing some private events.

And last but not least I’d like to start sharing some articles about food that I find interesting and maybe you would too.  Here are a couple pieces from WIRED magazine to get you thinking—first is about PEAK UMAMI

The first piece is on UMAMI

The first piece is on UMAMI

And the second– well— read and see what you think about Monsanto Perfect veggies– and don’t judge yet–its quite interesting  read.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 10.14.47 PM

So, hopefully we’re kind of caught up–thanks to everyone who emailed to kick my butt into blogging again.  It is a pleasure to be back!

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Apple Sauce-homemade does not get easier

Pic 1 Final sauce

It’s pink.  It’s easy.  You can buy bushels and bushels of apples at the farmers market and not worry about what to do with them.  (Just what to do with all the apple sauce.)

Pic 2 apples

Any apples will do but you want an apple with a sweet-tangy mix.  Cortland, Pink Ladies (Cripps Pink) and of course your Macintosh.  When I made the sauce with Pink ladies I didn’t need to sweeten it but up to you–just mix in a bit of brown sugar–some spices, or just leave it plain.

Sure–you can buy sauce but it will not have this awesome amount of flavour.  You will be converted.

Pic 5 softened apples

And the pink colour comes from cooking the apples with the skins on.

For the step by step go to foodnetwork.ca or see the recipe below.

Pic 7 Final Sauce

BTW, my son would not eat this, so pulled a giant guilt trip and pretended to cry.  Ha!  It worked.   And I said I would never use such tactics…..

Recipe: Apple Sauce
Makes 1 cup

Ingredients
4-5 apples of choice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
brown sugar, to taste
cinnamon, to taste

Instructions

  1. Core and slice up 4-5 apples into large wedges.
  2. Add two tablespoons water, one teaspoon lemon juice.
  3. Cook over medium, 30-40min, in a lidded pot. Add water if necessary.
  4. Strain cooked apples with spatula and pasta strainer.

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Pan Con Tomate– it just SOUNDS good

photo by Tad Seaborn

photo by Tad Seaborn

It’s getting close to Friday which at our house means we’re running out of food, and I’m running out of ideas and energy.

Enter tomatoes on toast–which sounds much nicer being called Pan Con Tomate.  Thanks to the Spanish for this recipe–you literally toast some buns, rub with a garlic cloves and add some tomato pulp.  But the sum of the parts…….oh boy!!

Recipe details here at the Globe and Mail, Quick Fix.

YUM!  (and with Manchego– even more so)

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Puff Pastry + Whipped Cream + Red Currants = you rock bringing dessert to the BBQ

Berry Tart Whipped Cream

So you buy the puff pastry, roll it and bake it.  Whip cream. Stir in icing sugar.  Spread. Top with summer bounty.   Kick dessert ass.

Really, that’s it.

(Loving Tad’s photo.)

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Momofuko Bo Ssam and Au Revoir Andy Hoffman

Bo Ssam 1

This is the story of pork butt.  It is also the story of friends (Jenn and Andy) who are moving to place of “the fountain”,  Geneva actually.  Certainly known for things other than “the fountain” but Google Geneva and the Jet d’Eau is all over the Image pages (followed closely by the flower clock).  Don’t ever try to say the words “Jet d’Eau” out loud if you do not speak French, it’s just embarrassing, trust me…

The pork butt portion of the story is sweet and savoury, the friends moving part is more bitter and sweet— though we want to have pals to visit in Geneva (and to tour the fountain with) we also are very sad to have them so far away (they eased us in un-gently by moving to Vancouver first).  We like to get together to eat with Andy and Jenn, a lot of meat, a lot of cheese and a lot of wine.  (Andy could throw around wine terms like “flabby” and “grippy tannins” before Sideways had people hating Merlot.)  Jenn makes mean guacamole.  And cocktails.  (Jenn’s cocktails are so good she should be an anesthesiologist.)

All I have left...and btw..the cayenne one is now gone.

All I have left…and btw..the cayenne one is now gone after the photoshoot.

But this blog is sparked by Andy (not that we do not love Jenn-we do–and she brings chocolate from BC–which I am running short of and desperate for…) because when I last saw him he had his arm twisted into giving me the Momofuko cookbook for my birthday.  He came over to visit and had the book in a bag and then I might have said something like “Is that for me?” and then suddenly it was.  Which I feel bad about…but not a lot.

Cook book momofuko

Especially now that I finally made the Bo Ssam that every blogger every has already posted about, the book is on my “featured” bookshelf (also because it is great reading).   The Bo Ssam recipe came to me at the perfect time as we were having a BBQ (planned for a weekend of torrential downpour–so trying to feature meat but not on the grill) and aside from having delicious, easy food, I wanted to do something fun.  I haven’t had a “cooking day” in a while, and hurriedly making dinner for the family does not count ever.  (Almost ever.)   So meat that would be in the oven for hours, making the house smell inviting with it’s with potentially fantastic results seemed like a great idea… Andy said it would be the best.

Andy

And so I called Cumbrae’s and ordered 14 pds of bone-in pork butt (which the woman helping me seemed to think was a lot for 12 people) but I feared would barely be enough (no need to trust the experts Sue!).  To be fair to my own gluttonous judgement, I really was not sure how many people would show up and how can a person have a BBQ and bear the thought of running low on meat???

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 9.41.32 AM

Fourteen pounds of pork butt

Essentially you’re just slow cooking the butt, so this recipe is incredibly simple.  The night before you rub the meat with a mixture of salt and sugar and let it cure overnight in the fridge.  Then you drain off any liquid and cook for 6 hours-ish at 300 F til tender and yielding.  I think ours went 7 hours.

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 9.41.14 AM

At that point, when you’re drooling and ready to eat you rub the exterior with a bit of salt and a lot of brown sugar, and fire the oven up to 500° F.  Then in goes the meat for about 10 minutes until the exterior is sweet and crusty (David Chang calls it a “pig shoulder encrusted in Pig Candy”  in the book).

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 10.52.50 PM

Finally you bring it outside (under the tarp your husband spent 3 hours putting up for a storm that would pass before the guests arrived) and you hesitate…..where to start?  All the guests, expected to eat at least 1 pd of eat each, hovered.  We also had an emergency as the steamed rice I had picked up from the Chinese food place was actually discovered to be fried rice.  Which was not going to work with my lettuce wrap plan.  (luckily the problem, a bike ride away was resolved though I admit I may have panicked and slightly overreacted when I saw the fried rice–possibly freaked out just a little?)

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 10.53.26 PM

Finally, crisis managed, I dug in (we had Boston lettuce for wraps, steamed rice, condiments and cucumber and strawberry salad and red cabbage salad to go with–(the  recipe for the slaw is one  I was seduced by in California (red cabbage is very sexy) made by my brother and sister-in-law’s friend Traci.  Recipe at bottom.  AWESOME.).

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 9.41.51 AM

Condiment wise I made the ginger-scallion sauce reco’d in the Momofuko book, we had Kimchi, pickled onions and a beet horseradish spread I had made for burgers and was nice and earthy with some bite.

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 9.42.06 AM

This is not Andy (Andy who sparked the whole idea was back in BC planning what to wear to his first fountain visit), it is my friend Terry (meat consultant), and yes my face melted when I realized we had the wrong rice.  It was horrifying.  Luckily Terry took it in stride and just kept pulling meat.

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 10.53.36 PM


You must all try this.  Here is a link to Sam Sifton’s piece in the New York Times Magazine that provides the recipe.

Andy and Jenn-  wish you were here (but Geneva also good)  xo Sue

Red Cabbage Salad (based on a the slaw recipe from a The Northwoods in southern California.)

  • 1/2 head red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp onion powder
Shred half of the cabbage finely and the other half coarsely. Place in a large bowl.
Whisk together vegetable oil, red win vinegar , sugar, salt, seasoned salt, black pepper, and onion powder.
Toss the dressing with the cabbage. Scrape the salad with the dressing into a zip-top bag or covered container and refrigerate. Let marinate for a 5  hours until cabbage turns deep red, softens a bit, and flavors meld. It’s even better after a few days.   (IT REALLY REALLY IS!)
AND THE CHEESE BOARD–I almost forgot– we had Albert’s Leap ripened goat cheese (ON), Bleu D’Elizabeth (QC) and Mountain Oak Wild Nettle Gouda (ON)
 

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Easy Pickled Cherries for Your Charcuterie Board

Home made pickled cherries in a jiff!  Photo by tad Seaborn

Home made pickled cherries in a jiff! Photo by Tad Seaborn

Why pickle pickles when you can pickle cherries? I know, I know you pickle cucumbers but it flowed better.  Anyway, this jar of pickled cherries has disappeared fast—with pate, with cheese, on burgers—-and so simple to make.  Pitting the 2 cups of cherries will be a slight pain in the butt, yet still speedy.  Honest.

And they’re ready to serve once chilled.  So you can enjoy them the same day–the same afternoon even.  After your workout that you didn’t want to do,  or once you’ve finished reading the last chapter in your book club novel (that being a reminder that I need to read some novels).

Ingredients  (recipe from my Quick Fix piece in the Globe)

2 cups (about 350g) pitted cherries

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3/4 cups water

1/8 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

pinch of chili flakes

sprig of rosemary

Method

Prepare 2 cups (about 350g) pitted cherries. In a small pot combine 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 3/4 cups water, 1/8 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds and 1 teaspoon black peppercorns. Add a pinch of chili flakes if desired. Bring to a boil. Add in the cherries and a sprig of rosemary and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Scoop the cherries into a sealable container (they will fit a 500 ml mason jar) and top up with the pickling liquid. Allow to cool slightly and refrigerate. They’re ready to serve once cold and will last in the fridge for a few weeks.

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