Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thin Crust Pizza Sauce

I'm not gonna lie, I'm ripping off the basis for the sauce from The Food Lab.  Let's face it, pretty much everything The Food Lab does is, at the least, an excellent starting point for any recipe.  That said, I have a few modifications that I feel make the sauce better.

1 28 oz can of whole, peeled, San Marzano tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 t dried oregano
pinch of red pepper flake
1 T butter
1 T infused olive oil
2 sprigs basil
1 yellow onion, peeled and halved
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste

Heat up the butter and infused olive oil, and lightly saute the garlic, oregano, and red pepper until aromatic, but not until the garlic browns.  Add the tomatoes, crushing by hand, along with their liquid and a little water (I use just enough to rinse out the cans).  Place the sprigs of basil in the tomato, and place the halved onions, split side down, in the sauce, along with a bay leaf.  Simmer until the sauce has reduced to the desired consistency, remove the basil, the bay leaf, and the onion halves.  Process with an immersion blender or food processor until mostly smooth, and adjust seasoning to taste.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Infused Olive Oil

Garlicky olive oil with basil and crushed red pepper.  I use this stuff when making tomato sauce, but it's great for salad dressing and just dipping bread.  It will seem a little strong if just tasted plain (and you might want to dilute it out slightly with other olive oil for bread), but it's something to keep on hand.

1 C olive oil
6 sprigs basil, rinsed
15 (or as many as 20) cloves garlic, lightly crushed
2 t crushed red pepper, or to taste

Combine all the ingredients and heat over medium low; cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden brown and the basil has crisped.  Strain the oil.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Rich and Creamy Smoked Cheddar Sauce

This is a take on my typical cheese sauce, and one that I laid out in a comment on one of the posts, but it's so good it deserves it's own entry.  This is one of those things that's so easy and yet so good that you'll find yourself thinking "I'm a freaking wizard!".  Mac and cheese is an obvious usage, but it's good on baked potatoes, eggs, hash browns, or wherever else you want cheesy goodness.  Just remember that the final sauce is only as good as the cheese you start with.

2 1/2 C whole milk
22 g sodium citrate*
 2 small onions, chopped
 6 cloves garlic, chopped
 2 T butter or bacon grease
 2 T dijon mustard, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
8 oz smoked cheddar cheese, grated
Cayenne to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in the butter/grease until translucent.  Add the milk and sodium and bring to a simmer.  Add the cheese, a handful at a time, allowing it to melt in while stirring frequently.  Blend the cheese sauce either in a blender or with an immersion blender.  Add the mustard, cayenne, salt, and pepper.  Adjust seasoning as necessary.

*Note: a lot of the cheddar you'll find out there is actually labeled as "cheese product".  Check the label; if it contains sodium phosphate you probably don't need the sodium citrate (they both emulsify the sauce and keep the fats and liquids from separating).