Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bringin' Tuscany home.

Not sure where the time has gone - but before I know it, 3 days have past and I haven't posted - and I have a lot to say, I tell ya.

Not too much happening on the Rock right now - we had a good weekend all around - pretty low key - but lovely.

We started our afternoon on Saturday with a trip to some of the farms in Saanich - so great out there. Here are a few of our pics from our adventure.

Saturday night we went to Chris' brother and gf's for dinner. And what a dinner it was! We were treated to an abundance of sushi, tempura veggies and fish. It was delicious!!! I have big plans to have Ayumi teach me how to make sushi - which is very exciting for me.

Sunday was the annual 'shoe shop' with my nephews. We had a great time as usual, and the boys got some sweet stuff. As the boys get older, the prices of shoes go up. I am not sure how parents do it. I remember my parents used to get us all new school clothes when we were young - we'd have our shop in Van or PG - and the clothes would last us the winter. I'm not sure how they always made it happen. Hopefully these shoes will last awhile - Conns still as his from last year - and I'm pretty sure that Cal's were done within a couple of months of getting them. We went to a bunch of different shops downtown - all the skate and snowboard shops, did a Starbucks run and ended the day at the Canoe Club. They are so fun - and I love that they still love this tradition. This was our 10th annual!

Now for the good stuff. I am super excited about this - yes, food makes me excited. I made homemade pasta sauce on Monday. Fresh tomatoes - some from the garden and some from Sun Wing Farms. The idea of the pasta sauce (which I have made before) came from the book that I am reading - The School of Essential Ingredients. It didn't have the recipe in it, but it generally described how to make a perfect pasta sauce.

Pasta sauce with Italian Sausage

5 sausages - I used italian sausage with sweet basil - remove the sausage from the casings
1/2 milk - don't worry it seems weird but it isn't
1/2 cup red wine
4-5 cloves of roasted garlic
Tomatoes - I'm not sure the measurement to be exact, but I used: 5 large vine tomatoes, 3 large roma tomatoes and about 12 strawberry tomatoes. Tomatoes should be skinned. 
To skin them - cut an X in the top of the tomatoes - boil for about 4-5 minutes - remove them from the hot water and let them cool off. When they are cool enough to handle, gently remove the skins from them.
Fresh basil

For the tomato sauce:
In a food processor add all of your tomatoes and puree.  Add the roasted garlic too, to avoid having to handle it when it is hot. Yes, it's as easy as that. It's so easy, and the taste is incredible. If you don't have fresh tomatoes - then use canned - it would be just as delicious. 

Now for how to make the pasta sauce:
In a large skillet, saute your ground sausage over medium heat. Once the meat is cooked - but not browned - don't go that far - add the milk. To ensure that the milk doesn't curdle, keep the heat at low/med - watch and stir it constantly. It's lovely to watch - the meat absorbs all the milk - which then makes the sausage even more juicier. Then add the good stuff - red wine. Stir it for another 5 minutes or so, to ensure that the meat is soaking it all in.

Once you have completed these VERY easy steps, add the tomato sauce to the meat - and voila you are almost finished a delicious, homemade pasta sauce. 

Let this simmer. Ideally it would be perfect if you could let this simmer all day. Letting all the flavours meld together - cooking it up the traditional Italian style. I added fresh basil that I coarsely chopped and some very fresh spinach - both from Sun Wing Farms and some fresh mushrooms. 

Don't forget to season as you go - add kosher salt and cracked pepper. 

I served our pasta sauce over angel hair pasta and topped it with fresh parmesan. 

Chris and David both rated this a 5!!!!

I am not sure why I am so excited about making this, but I think that it's because, I have only a few times in my life bought jarred spaghetti sauce. I used to sometimes by the canned Hunt's stuff and over the past couple of years always make it with diced tomatoes. So, making this sauce from scratch, knowing what went into it, and having it turn out so deliciously, was pure bliss for me. I sometimes dream of living in Tuscany or some small Italian village and just cooking all day - learning traditional dishes - and because that may never happen - I have to try and invent my own Tuscany. Now I just have to learn how to make fresh pasta.

Well friends that's it for now. Try this please - let me know how it goes.

Oh!!! I am on the hunt for a Pumpkin loaf recipe - do you have one? I want one that doesn't have a lot of sugar. I tried to find one online tonight and each of them called for 2-3 cups of sugar - which is far too much. I would love it if you have one.

Ok - have to run - I have a pot of Hamburger Soup - sans Hamburger - simmering away. Yumma.


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