Canning marinara sauce

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I received 20 pounds of organic Early Girl “canning tomatoes” from Good Eggs today and decided to make both a marinara sauce and jars of diced/crushed tomatoes to have on hand for cooking this winter. It’s always surprising and perhaps a bit disappointing how little sauce you get when using 6 pounds of tomatoes on the stove; only 6 8 oz jars full of the good stuff. It’s a lot of work but the freshness of the marinara can’t be beat (at least I haven’t found any brand of canned tomatoes that even comes close). I opted to use a simple recipe from Martha Rose Schulman which can be added to in real time once I know what I’m making with the sauce. I’m sure it’ll come in handy with fresh ravioli, some cream to make a quick tomato soup to eat with grilled cheese sandwiches, and fancied up with carrots, onion, and celery for a heartier pasta dish with sautéed greens. The possibilities are endless!

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Spaghetti and Meatballs

We hosted our “family neighborhood dinner” tonight complete with six adults, one baby, and two toddlers. As one of us mentioned, it was the first time that all of us actually sat down at the same time to eat – progress!

As I’m trying to perfect homemade pasta, I opted for fresh spaghetti (made and frozen last night) and meatballs which I made this afternoon. There was almost something meditative about rolling dozens of meatballs and lining them up on a cookie sheet. I really enjoyed both the process of making them and eating them so I’ll definitely be making more.

For the pasta, I doubled the egg pasta recipe found in Silver Spoon which I would make again. For the meatballs, I used the recipe in the Barefoot Contessa Family Suppers cookbook. Both were fantastic and should become staples in our household. I used 1/3 pork and 2/3 beef as I didn’t want to buy veal. I also needed to double the sauce as it didn’t make nearly enough for all the meatballs.

Ironically enough, my husband is reading Cloudy with a Chance of a Meatballs to our daughter right now! It was a great night :)

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Pesto fettucine

This was my first attempt at pasta since my first ever attempt in 2006. Needless to say, I have a long way to go! I’m not posting the recipe because it was slightly too crumbly but it was from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food, which I usually love. Her pesto was spot-on though and I’ll be making it again. There is something so satisfying about using the mortar and pestle to smash up some garlic! Next time, I might try this or this for the pasta. Once I perfect the dough, I’ll try making raviolis.

photo 3 (3) Another note to self: I’ll need to try #5 on the pasta maker to thin out the noodles as these were slightly too thick. photo 2 (5) This was way too much fun!photo 1 (5)

Mussels with Coconut Curry

I’ve been cooking up a storm lately but haven’t had the energy to snap photos before scarfing down the various meals we’ve enjoyed. Current projects include me trying to perfect butter chicken, rolling out fresh pasta noodles and ravioli, and making various pasta sauces. Basically anything Indian or Italian is what I’m currently excited about.

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Tonight we made a coconut curry with mussels and boiled some late summer corn to go with it. Musical accompaniment was our toddler screaming at us to keep her light on and door open at bedtime. Other than the stress of listening to her cries, the meal was actually quite enjoyable. This was a nice deviation from the usual garlic and white wine or straight coconut sauce that we usually pair with mussels. Next time I’ll remember to use a better bottle of wine than the cheap stuff from WF. There was something just “off” that I think came from the wine and as a smart lady once told me, “you should never cook with a wine that you wouldn’t drink.” Well friend, you’re right once again!

Recipe Testing: Chocolate Cake Donuts

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Recipe Testing: Chocolate Cake Donuts

These were a joy to make though the result was a bit dry and my entire house smells like McDonalds. I don’t know that I’d make these again but it was sure fun to try my hand at donuts and deep frying! I can’t wait to see what the other evaluators thought of this recipe.

Apple Tart

I spent this afternoon making this for dessert tonight! Oh, how I miss lazy days in the kitchen. New goal: once a month I’ll tackle something interesting in the culinary department during nap time or father/daughter time at the park!

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