Bought too many tomatoes for a recipe and it was starting to get mushy. So, I turned it into basic tomato sauce.
- Diced Tomatoes
- Sliced Garlic (however much you like)
- Herbs / Seasoning (whatever you like)
- Olive Oil
- Slice the garlic thinly and put it in the pan with some olive oil. Turn on the stove and let the garlic infuse into the olive oil. Do it until the garlic starts to brown.
- When the garlic starts to brown, add in the diced tomatoes. I chopped up the tomatoes with the skin to eliminate food waste.
- Bring the tomatoes to a boil and reduce to simmer.
- Add in salt, herbs and whatever seasoning you like. Sometimes it’s just salt. Sometimes I like it spicy so I add red pepper flakes. Sometimes I add dried oregano because that’s what I have. Add whatever you like. It is your tomato sauce.
- Let it simmer for about 15 minutes and taste it. If it is too tangy, add a little bit of sugar until it is to your satisfaction.
- If you like your tomato sauce smooth, feel free to blend it in a food processor or with a stick blender. I’m too lazy so I leave it chunky sometimes.
- After 15 minutes, the sauce would have thickened a little and all the tomatoes would have liquified. Pour into glass jars and let it cool.
Tomato sauce is not just for pasta. You can use it to make so many things such as:
- chicken cacciatore
- steamed / baked fish with tomato sauce
- shakshouka (eggs poached in tomato sauce)
- tomato rice
- meat sauce or ragu
- omelette topped in tomato sauce
- dipping sauce
- lentil curry
- chicken / fish curry
- baked / steamed shellfish with tomato sauce
A friend gave me a bag of apricots. Since it was getting too ripe, I decided to make apricot jam with it. All you need is apricot, sugar and some lemon / lime juice. The ratio of apricot to sugar is a minimum of 3:2. This means for every 3 portions of apricot, you need 2 portions of sugar. I read somewhere there it does not qualify as jam unless 50% or more of it consist of sugar.
- Cut the apricots into small chucks and remove the seed.
- Put the apricot and white granulated sugar in a heavy bottomed pot and bring to a boil.
- Once it is boiling, reduce it to a simmer on medium to low heat. If you see foam, remove the foam.
- Let is simmer for about 30 minutes and make sure that you stir occasionally to avoid it from burning at the bottom.
- Take a spoonful of the liquid jam and set aside to cool. When it cools, test if the consistency is to your satisfaction. If so, the jam is done.
- Turn off the heat and add about 1 tablespoon of lemon and mix it into the liquid jam. Pour into glass jars and let it cool.
- There is no need to add water to the apricot and sugar because the apricot will liquify.
- If the apricot is bruised, it is important to remove the bruised portions so you can maintain the color of the final product.
- Taste the liquid from time to time to make sure it is the sweetness is to your satisfaction.
- It is important to let the concoction simmer for at least 30 minutes so that it thickens into jam consistency when it cools down. I tried being lazy and let it simmer for a few minutes and when the concoction cooled down, it had a runny consistency. When that happens, transfer it to the pot and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
- If the liquid gets burnt at the bottom, don’t scrape the bottom. Instead, transfer it to a new pot and continue the process.
What do you do when you have extra vegetables that you need to use up before it goes bad? What do you do when you need to leave on vacation and your fridge is still full of perishables? I usually pickle my vegetables and save them for later.
Recipe – Pickled Vegetables
You can pickle almost anything. If it is done right, it keeps the vegetable crispy. There are so many recipes out there but here is the recipe that I use to make my brine:
- 1 cup of vinegar (any kind)
- 1 cup of filtered water
- 1 tablespoon of salt (any type)
- any type of herbs or spice you like
- any type of vegetables
- Pour the vinegar, water and salt in a saucepan and bring to boil.
- Cut the vegetables and pack it into the jar. In the photo above, I have carrot, green beans, red peppers and onions. You can cut in strips, chucks or dice. Whatever you like.
- Add the herbs or spice.
- When the brine is boiled, add it to the jar and ensure that all the vegetables are submerged.
- Close the jar and let it cool a little before putting it in the fridge. Let it sit in the fridge for at least a week before trying it and see if you like it.
Recipe – Pickled Jalapeno
I love pickled jalapeno. If I had to choose only one condiment, it would be pickled jalapeno. I have it with rice and noodle. Husband doesn’t like the pickled jalapeno but he loves the brine.
Here is the recipe I use for pickled jalapeno.
Salted eggs is an Asian thing. Turns out that it is super easy to make salted eggs. I usually serve it as a side dish with rice if it is not too salty and if it gets too salty, I would serve it with congee.
To make salted eggs, you need eggs, salt and water. The ratio is 20% salt to 80% water. In this case, I actually prefer to weigh the salt instead of measuring the salt by cups.
- Boil the water until the salt dissolves and let the salt water cool.
- In the meantime, slowly arrange the raw eggs in a jar. Check the eggs and make sure none of the eggs are cracked.
- When the salt water cools down, pour it into the jar so the eggs are submerged in the brine.
- Seal the jar and leave it for 30 days. After 30 days, take one egg and boil it like you boil a hard boil egg and have a taste. If you like the way it taste, you can boil the rest of the eggs the same way and keep it in the fridge. If you prefer it to be saltier, leave it in the brine for a few more days. I personally prefer to keep the eggs in the brine for 50 days.
- Typically duck eggs are used. Since it is hard for me to buy duck eggs, I usually use chicken eggs and it works fine.
- Adding a tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine (Shao Xing wine) is suppose to make the egg yolk darker. Add the wine once the salt water cools.
- If the salt water is too hot, it may crack the egg if the eggs are still cold.
- It may be a good idea to put a reminder in your calendar so you remember to check your eggs after 30 days or so.
- Slice a head of cabbage and wash it thoroughly in a big bowl.
- Drain the clean cabbage and sprinkle a tablespoon of salt over the cabbage and let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- After that, massage the cabbage so the salt is distributed evenly. The salt will extract the moisture from the cabbage.
- Transfer the cabbage and the water from the bowl into a jar and cover the jar with a piece of cloth to stop foreign objects from falling into the jar.
- Don’t seal the jar now because the cabbage would release bubbles as part of the fermentation process. Leave the jar on the counter for at least 7 days. After 7 days, try some cabbage and if you like the way it taste, you can seal the jar and keep it in the fridge.
- You can use any type of cabbage and it will work. Napa cabbage, purple cabbage, chinese cabbage. I usually buy whatever cabbage which is not wrapped in plastic.
- You can slice the cabbage any way you want. I generally prefer to slice mine as thinly as possible.
- Feel free to flavor your sauerkraut any way you like. Put the bay leaf, garlic or any other seasoning in the jar. The possibility is endless.
- When you wash the cabbage, I usually put the wilted outer leaves in the compost pile and save the leaf right under the outer leaves. I would fold the leaf to ensure that all the other chopped leaves are submerged in the brine. Make sure that all the cabbage is submerged or it will become moldy.
- Sauerkraut will ferment faster when you leave it on the counter and it will still ferment if you leave it in the fridge but at a slower pace.
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