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Pasta Sauce in a jar

Yes, I have a garden. And, yes, I grow tomatoes.

No, I do not make my own pasta sauce.

Usually, I can get through all of the summer’s tomatoes fresh. If not, there are salsas and chicken creoles to make.

Besides, I think the higher end jarred salsas are delicious, especially when treated as a base with fresh vegetables added.

So I’ve started selecting my jars of sauce by which comes come in mason jars because I find that those tend to be tastier, and I like having the jars to reuse.

On a whim, I recently tried Classico Vodka Sauce.

It is delicious. I ended up eating it with a spoon while I was cooking! It tastes like it is parmesan cheese and cream held together by tomato sauce. I felt absolutely sinful eating it, and I’m not sure I should trust myself to buy another jar.

Also, after my last serving of pasta, I had just a quarter of a cup or so of sauce left that I just couldn’t fit on the dish, so I put it in a separate container to wait until I found the perfect dish for it. And I thought and thought, and I had no idea what to do with it, so I figured I’d mix it with cream cheese (about 4 ounces) and see if that gave me more inspiration.

That and a visit to Satellite Cafe and their signature wrap (spinach tortilla, cream cheese, pesto, roasted red peppers, and fresh spinach) was good for inspiration.

So the next morning’s breakfast was a quesadilla of my cream cheese and vodka sauce spread with caramelized onions and fresh spinach. Mmmmm!

It’s a little too salty for a straight dip for crackers, but maybe with a dry whole wheat type cracker, it could be the base for another topping.

I loved this pasta sauce in a jar.

Food lists

So I haven’t had much interest in cooking the past couple days. This is a problem, since I have a lot of lovely produce waiting to be eaten… or go bad. I’m hoping some lists will get me more in the cooking mood.

lists! of food!
last of the farm grown tomatoes
a couple small turnips
hot peppers
a few tomatillos
red potatoes
collard greens
2 zucchini (now grilled)
turnip greens
1/3 butternut squash
most of a can’s worth of refried beans

greek yogurt!
sour cream
italian seasoned cheese (open)
mild cheddar (open)
2% milk (shouldn’t last much longer)

cooked chicken (1 meal)
cooked ground beef (1 meal with a extending)
ground beef
chicken stock (about 8 4 cups)
(and chicken breasts are on sale this week, so I’ll buy some of those)

I want to focus on gravies and cream sauces: a) because they are tasty, and b) because I’m about to pitch about 3lbs worth of store-brand flour because it was cheap and makes nasty bread.

Hee – let’s call this Chicken Florentine:
Creamed spinach – clean and cut all the spinach, cook an onion and some garlic in 2T butter, add 1 heaping Tablespoon flour, make roux, add spinach.
I can add the cooked chicken to that. And a hot pepper.
I could add pasta to that to make a real meal, or I could just eat it with a spoon. I’m thinking spoon.
ETA: Done. Wasn’t as tasty as I had hoped. No idea what went wrong.

I’ve been wanting something bisque/chowder-ish with corn. And I have corn in my freezer. So onions, white roux, and then… how about butternut squash chunks? Roasted garlic. The rest of the roasted bell pepper I have in a jar with oil in my fridge. And some collard greens cut into thin ribbons. Sound decent? Does it need anything else? I could roast the turnips and tomatillos for a side dish. This sounds like it needs fresh parsley.
ETA: Started. I have the cream base with squash in it. I have a sprig of rosemary floating in it today. I roasted some hot peppers yesterday, so maybe I shall add them as well.

Hamburger Helper:
Shut up – it makes a great starting point.
Onion, garlic, ground beef. Zucchini. Collard Greens. And shred cheese on top and slices of tomato.

Kenyan Collard Greens:
greens, tomato, rice. (get my 5 spice powder back from my mother’s)

What’s left? Tomatoes, Potatoes, Turnip Greens, Refried beans, chicken stock – and I haven’t made use of the greek yogurt that was so hard to find!

All right – here’s a thing. These are fresh and tasty tomatoes, so I don’t want to cook them. I refuse to use the last tasty tomatoes in a dish where canned would work just as well. I’ll probably just end up eating them while I cook other things… but still.

Ummm… how about open-faces quesadillas – I know those have a name.
Tortilla, topped with a thin layer of refried beans, topped with shredded cheese, topped with tomatoes. With sour cream. Probably I won’t be able to eat enough to use up the refried beans, but maybe put a dent in them.

greens. Ummm… More soup? Turnip greens, diced potato, and carrots in chicken stock. That actually sounds rather dire.

Ummm… I could pickle the rest of the turnip greens and wait until I have leftover roast pork to make more of the excellent soup I made last night. My parents have a roast to make, so that should be soon.

Freeze the chicken stock.

Okay… Moussaka?
Layer a casserole with a mixture of ground beef and eggplant and potato slices, use lots of seasonings, pour a can or two of tomatoes over all, and serve with yogurt on the side?

That should do.

Open invitation

Okay – anyone reading this:

Feel free to come over for dinner tonight

No, really.

I am making more food than I can eat, and I’m going to have leftovers running out my ears without a little help.


Spinach salad with gorgonzola and toasted nuts

Roasted lamb
Potato salad
sauteed snow peas

probably no dessert

Since the lamb roast is a cut portion of the whole, I don’t know its weight and I have no idea when it will be done – anytime from 5pm to 8pm (that’s why there is salad) – but I have movies and media stuff.

Just absolutely let me know if you are coming by commenting here.

I feel much more nearly human – rabbit in a habanero cider gravy, spinach, duck soup

Last night was wonderful! Right before the end of work, I had a friend give me a ring to tell me he was in the area and would I like company.

So he came over and cooked for me.

So let me try to tell you what he cooked, oh man!

He took my lil ole thawed rabbit and cut it into sections. Then he dredged it in flour that had been generously seasoned with basil, smoked paprika, savory, thyme, and black pepper. Fried the rabbit. and then we set that aside.

Then we took leeks, which had been sliced in half lengthwise, cut into half-circles less than a quarter inch thick all the way up – white and green parts – and then thoroughly cleaned, and fried them in the oil, too. and then set aside.

Next, he put in a whole container of portobella mushrooms, which had been cleaned and the tips of the stems trimmed but whole, and then once that started releasing juice, he added some five or six cloves of garlic, chopped roughly, and the flesh only of one habanero pepper – and cooked until the garlic was just browning and luscious. He added the leeks, cooked for a little bit together, and then put them back in the bowl on the side.

Then he made gravy with more of the seasoned flour, oil, a bottle of Wood Chuck dark brown cider, and some chicken stock. He added the veggies back tot he gravy and then added the rabbit. We set that to simmer, on pretty high heat for simmering, while I made turmeric rice.

So good.


Other recent successful experiments in food have included:

Spinach of yum
Clean and remove stems from spinach.

Saute some garlic and a purple onion, sliced thinly but long enough to have texture, and once that is going decently, add all the spinach. When wilted, add unagi sauce. Crack two eggs into the pan – scramble all about.

Best Duck Soup Ever
I had gotten the duck carcass after the last time my family went out for peking duck, and it had been sitting in my freezer. Then I found a little shop where I got half a roast duck for $7 – including the head. Woot!

So I ate up the meat and skins and put the residue in my stock pot with the frozen carcass.

Then I added the base of a bunch of celery, the base of a head of napa cabbage, some carrots, a lot of garlic, some black peppercorns, a bay leaf, some five spice powder, and some red onion. And water. Cook cook cook. Then I removed some of the goodie so I could fit in even more water and make more broth because my pot was pretty packed with goodie. Cook cook cook. Let sit over night. Cook cook cook (boiling at least 20 minutes). Let cook enough to work with. Strain through cheesecloth.

Then I heated the stock back up to boiling and added baby bok choi, some long strands of oniony stuff from the asian grocery, and a bundle of buckwheat soba noodles.

It was so good – it didn’t even need the seasoning adjusted at all.

from a list of grumpy things + salad

4. And I have food I need to cook before it goes bad, and meals I am aching to try, but I keep getting home around midnight and needing to wake up in the morning and I just don’t have time for food. I ate ramen on Tuesday. Okay, so it was really tasty ramen, but I have eggplant and a spicy stir fry sauce all going to waste. I have chilled chicken and salad mix going to waste. I have baby spinach. I have a cauliflower. I want to make spanikopita and pumpkin bread. Whah!

ETA: Oh, man – I just had a great salad. I used the salad mix I had from the farmers’ market (picking out the frisee (because how is that food?) and the largest chunks of bitter cabbage and adding spinach, YAY!). I had enough to need a BIG bowl. Then I microwaved the grilled chicken, cut it up, and added that. I sliced a purple onion, shredded some cumin gouda, and crumbled bacon on top. Then I dropped some mustard and garlic into the bacon fat, dropped in a pinch of brown sugar, and swirled in some balsamic vinegar and some red wine… and called it salad dressing. So good!

ETAA: All food successfully eaten.