Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How a good Marinara sauce can fix your life



One night a few years ago, I curled up in my tall chair in the corner of my kitchen in my hollow, just abandoned house, and did a google search for, "food that will make me feel better."
I didn't get far. I quickly realized that aside from the yahoo dating site (ick) that kept popping up like they could SEE me sitting there alone with my supper, there just really wasn't much on the Internet to keep me company while I ate my minute steak with potato buds. So I turned around, grabbed a few cookbooks off the shelf, and flipped through them while I ate. Fifteen minutes later, I was out of sticky notes and opening a bottle of wine. Turns out, cookbooks do not make me cry! I spent the next five hours rearranging my kitchen in a way that would accommodate a person who loves food. I've had a few kitchens since then, and I know this makes me a total nerd, but I still find cleaning out the cabinets and organizing the bulk containers somewhat spiritual. When my kitchen is in disarray, I am in disarray. And that's how you know you are a cook. It is what it is, folks.
My silly little blog meanders from one random subject to another, and sometimes a person who has taken a wrong turn on the Internet highway ends up here and probably slaps themselves in the forehead while wondering...what in the world is wrong with this woman?
Well, if you can answer that question, we'll give you a free carrot.
And you can put it in this perfect marinara sauce.
The recipe has been respectfully lifted from http://www.theppk.com/ (that'd be the post-punk kitchen.)

Equipment: Blender or food processor
Ingredients: 2 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes
3 teaspoons olive oil
3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (should be about 1 1/4 cups sliced)
4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
Directions- Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium sauce pan (with a lid) over med heat, add carrots, cover and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add 1 more teaspoon oil, saute garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add spices and salt and saute one more minute. Add tomatoes, mash with fork or potato masher, till tomatoes are broken up. Add bay leaves. Let simmer 45 minutes uncovered. Remove from heat and let cool, just so that it's not steaming very much. Remove bay leaves. Puree in blender. Add back to pot, heat over low heat 15 more minutes.

My twelve year old son, who carefully inspects all of my cooking for anything he doesn't eat (that's pretty much everything that isn't in the ground meat category) and separates supper into fourteen little tiny piles with his fork before carefully consuming the meat, eats this and comes back for more. He hasn't quite put it together that spaghetti sauce and ketchup are made from tomatoes. Let's keep that quiet a little longer.
This makes a lot of sauce. But before you use that as an excuse to not make it, realize that freezing half of it will make your next spaghetti supper night a lot easier. I have to make this disclaimer, also. Even though this recipe is a rocking work of art, it's infinitely better if you are making it in August and you can find enough local tomatoes to use. It's elevated even further if you have home-grown carrots. If you are into it, use fresh herbs. Add them at the end and use about four times the quantity you would if they were dried.
Here's a tip from someone who knows; there is not ever, ever, anything in a cookbook that will make you feel like crap. In fact, reading them for fun will get you up off of your depressed rear end and into the kitchen. Even if you are just cooking for yourself. Your-self needs someone to cook for them, so the next time you feel like crap-ola, curl up in a blanket with that copy of the Lutheran Ladies Cookbook and get inspired. Or, if you don't have a cookbook in your house (in which case I have no idea what you are doing here, but whatever) go to Amazon and order this one.

VEGANOMICON

Make the Snobby Joe's first. Then move on to the grilled tofu. The book is the size of a Microeconomics textbook, so if you still feel like crap-ola after you read it, I'll pass you on to a real therapist.