We’ve graduated appetizers class with a mere 2.0 GPA and moved on to dinners after a family grocery store trip. I’ve been given entirely too much control over what’s for dinner and picked out five or so recipes, based around my dad’s recent decision to quit eating red meat and my family’s overall general pickiness. In other words, two kinds of spaghetti and three kinds of chicken dinner. Living at home can be stupid sometimes.
For the first type of spaghetti, I’m making my own marinara sauce. It seems to be one of those formulas which overwhelmingly is based around one ingredient (tomato sauce), but has a ton of other stuff in such infinitesimal amounts that I’m having a really hard time convincing myself that they actually effect the taste. Not that I want to do the whole recipe wrong just to find out.
I have no question that I should’ve cut the onions and carrots into much smaller pieces. Each of my parents has tried to say otherwise–my mom that plenty of people like chunky sauce, and my dad that he indeed enjoyed that the sauce was chunky. They are wrong. Even though I love onions and am happy to eat onion chunks, I don’t harbor any satisfaction that this was the right size for the onion chunks.
Nonetheless, it turned out well enough. I ate a whole plate of it without too much complaint, though by the end my stomach was beginning to disagree a bit. I think I was overcompensating for wanting to not feel like I failed and cooked wwwwaaayyy too much sauce by loading on as much as I could. In any case, this is the closest thing I’ve cooked to far so seeming like I did it pretty much right. My parents ate it and no one complained, so I guess it’s a victory more or less. The meatballs pictured below were actually veggie meatballs, which my mom has always eaten and my dad started because of quitting red meat. They are fucking shit. Tastes like eating a handful of dirt and grass.
Next up is a kind of soup which I’ve never heard of, but sounded easy to cook: a mulligatawny. I never got a chance to take a picture of all the ingredients together because I had to cook the chicken first before combining everything into the broth, but it consisted of the following:
4 cups chicken broth, 2 cups chopped cooked chicken, 1 16-ounce can tomatoes cut up, 1 medium cooking apple peeled and chopped, 1/4 cut finely chopped onion, same: carrot, same: celery, same: green pepper, 1 tablespoon snipped parsley, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves.
It was only once I started combining these things that I realized I had no earthly idea how this was supposed to taste or how this was possibly a real dish. Apples, tomatoes, and chicken, all in one soup? What the hell?
The end result was not bad. I wasn’t super into it, but I honestly couldn’t tell if that’s because I didn’t do it perfectly (I had slightly less chicken broth and chicken than the recipe called for), or if the dish just isn’t really my thing. The use of apple made a lot more sense once I tasted it and realized that the apple basically became the flavor of the soup. The chicken didn’t really feel like it was a part of the taste of the soup so much as just bits of stuff that was in there to eat. This is also another case where I have a hard time believing that any of those teaspoons of random shit really altered the taste any, since it still mostly just tasted like tomato, apple, and chicken. Ah well. Passing grade.
> It seems to be one of those formulas which overwhelmingly is based around one ingredient (tomato sauce), but has a ton of other stuff in such infinitesimal amounts that I’m having a really hard time convincing myself that they actually effect the taste.
I’m curious, what kind of spices did you use there and how much?
When we make homemade sauce in my house we usually make a massive pot of it, so my suggestion would be to just put the extra sauce in the fridge (and the freezer if you’ve made so much that you don’t want the stuff in the fridge to go bad, which is what we usually do) and then heat it up on the stovetop next time you make pasta.
It sounds as though it would taste kinda sweet, the range of that sweetness depending on what kind of apple it was.
BTW, marinara sauce has seafood in it, this is really more of a generic tomato sauce.
Regarding sauces in general, if your recipe said to use only small amounts of spices, throw it out the window. It is rubbish.
With that much tomato (2 cans is quite a lot), you want to use tablespoons (plural) to measure your spices, especially when using dried spices instead of fresh ones.
Just eyeballing it, use 1 tablespoon of that oregano. Also add basil and maybe thyme.
Also use a whole clove of garlic, or use garlic oil. No need to buy it, just use a hand blender to mix some garlic with olive oil. Use 50 ml of oil and 3 cloves, you can store it in the fridge in an airtight container. The oil will settle on top over time, which will keep the garlic from going bad. Do not use that to fry the vegetables, add that to the tomato sauce for flavor together with the tomatoes. It’s an ingridient like the other spices
Anyway, you are right about cutting the vegetables into small pieces, that’s how it’s supposed to be done. I would recommend adding a red bell-pepper to that recipe.