|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Monday, March 10, 2008
I've finally got the three videos from my Sunday sauce post below embedded.
You can view the post by clicking here.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
While We Wait For My YouTube Videos To Process...
How about a little music? I call this "Bootlegs and Rarities."
"Atmosphere" - Son Volt Live at Austin City Limits Festival 2006
"You Really Got a Hold On Me" and "Magic Trick" - She&Him (M.Ward and Zooey Deschanel) from KCRW Open Road January 2008
"California Stars" - Wilco 7/25/99
"Impossible Germany" - Wilco 9/19/07 (from Otis' friend's tape)
"Wild Night" - Van Morrison 11/18/79 @ Berkeley
"Ding Dong The Liberty Horse" - Sardina from Sardina Presents...
"It Makes No Difference" - My Morning Jacket w/ Eddie Vedder, 2007
"Evangeline" - Levon Helm - Midnight Ramble rehearsal
"Like a Rolling Stone" - Bob Dylan & The Band Los Angeles 2/14/74
"King Harvest" - The Band 2/13/74
"To The Dogs Or Whoever" - Josh Ritter Live on David Letterman
"Right Moves" - Josh Ritter Live on Later... With Jools Holland
"God Only Knows" - Joe Henry in Amsterdam 2007
"When You Awake" - Rick Danko BBC Classic Albums DVD circa 1998
Download Here. Enjoy.
Sunday Sauce Blogging
Updated videos below. Yield on this recipe is about 90 ounces of sauce.
Of course, when I say "Sunday Sauce Blogging," I don't mean blogging about "Sunday Sauce," but rather that I'm making a batch of my sauce, it happens to be Sunday, and I happen to be blogging about it.
Here's the recipe:
Three medium white onions, diced
Thirteen garlic cloves, crushed and rough chopped (processed garlic an unacceptable substitution)
108 oz (3062 gram) can of whole peeled Italian plum tomatoes in juice, San Marzano highly preferred
One cup olive oil
Three teaspoons dried basil (fresh is totally acceptable, I just didn't have any at hand)
One teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
One teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Jars to batch it out when you're done
First, dice your onions. Here, I'll show you how to "plank" them. Make sure you have a good, sharp knife.
Set aside in the refrigerator. Peel and chop your garlic.
Set aside. Mill your tomatoes, to process the can to seed/membrane/pulp-free tomato sauce.
Get your big-ass French oven out and heat your cup of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot (do not heat to the smoke point), take the onions straight from the refrigerator and add to the oil, stirring to coat the onions. Add the 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper.
Why? Because you're looking to sweat* the onions, not brown. So adding them cold will bring the heat of the oil down, bringing both the oil and onions back up to temperature together, pulling the moisture out as we go.
*Sweat: To sweat means to cook vegetables or fishbones over low heat so that they begin to release their moisture without browning. We sweat vegetables, often onions, because cooking them helps to develop their flavor but sometimes we don't want either the deep color or the intense sweetness of caramelization. The Elements of Cooking by Michael Ruhlman, p. 226
For a batch this big, it's going to take about ten minutes. You want the onions translucent, for the most part, but don't think you have to see straight through every onion in the pot before you can move ahead.
Add the garlic. Stir in and let everything cook together for about five minutes.
Add the tomatoes and the remaining spices*. Stir everything together well. It is going to look like A LOT of oil in this step, as the tomatoes and oil don't blend together instantly. This is normal.
*Wait to add more spices until it reduces for awhile. As the flavors concentrate, what doesn't taste salty enough early on will taste salty as hell later.
The consistency of the whole thing at this point is thinner than canned tomato soup. Again, normal. You're going to reduce this whole thing by about half over the next few hours. Bring it to a steady bubble over med/med-hi heat, then turn to low/med-low (I use the "2" on my Low-1-9-High dial), cover about 2/3 of the pot and reduce.
This makes an assload of sauce. When I feel it's done it'll have a heavy consistency and thick body, which is different from, say, Prego in the jar. Prego has chunks of tomato in it, and we've juiced those chunks out, so it's not going to be the same sort of feel. The better comparison is probably something like a good thick turkey gravy from the Thanksgiving table. It should feel kinda like that.
Storage and Usage
Take it off the heat for a little while (fifteen to thirty minutes-ish) to get it down to a workable temp for you to ladle it into jars. I use eight-ounce Ball-brand jars (the kind used for canning, but I'm not preserving this stuff like that - I don't have the setup) for about 80% of the sauce, and a leftover quart (32 oz) jar from a previous spaghetti sauce purchase for the rest. The eight-ounce jars go into the freezer, and I'm normally using the contents of the 32 oz jar over the course of the coming week.
A quick word about the eight-ounce jars... This sauce freezes pretty well, and I find that eight ounces is about the perfect portion of sauce for a single dinner featuring about 1/3 lb. of pasta. Perfect, that is, if you treat the sauce correctly. I've been in the Mario Batali camp for a long time, arguing that Americans (that is, restaurants in which I've eaten) put way too much sauce on their pasta. Waaaaaay too much.
But eight ounces seems like it'd be too much - and it would, if you don't handle the sauce correctly in preparation. What you should do, as you start preparing your dried pasta for boil, is get a large-ish saute pan out and start the sauce heating over medium heat. Get it to a steady simmer and reduce by about 1/3. Concentrate the flavors down even further. Then, as your pasta is about ninety seconds shy of what you'd call "done," pull it out of the water with tongs, shake it casually to remove most of the water, then add to the saute pan. Toss. Add a teaspoon or two of the pasta water to the saute pan as you're tossing the pasta and sauce together. It'll allow the concentrated sauce to spread further using the starches the pasta released. Cook the pasta and sauce together for the ninety seconds you would have had it in the water before yanking it. Plate it up.
This recipe of mine isn't intended to be the type of sauce you can microwave to reheat and dump on a pile of spaghetti. It's too thin for that. It needs to coat the pasta and cook with it for a minute or two to do its work.
Speaking of pasta... If I catch any of you buying Mueller's (in the white box trimmed in blue and red) or Creamette's (for anything but their delicious elbow macaroni) or any store-brand pasta assuming they're all the same, I reserve the right to slap you around next time we're together. All pasta is not the same. NOT. THE. SAME. Spend the extra $.20 per pound to get something like Ronzoni or Rienzi or just about anything that says "durum wheat semolina" on the front. Honestly, it's one of two things you can do to improve spaghetti night at your house, the other being to understand what "al dente" means, and how to get there.
Well, good sauce kinda makes a positive difference too, I suppose...
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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