Sunday, October 29, 2017

lotsa cooking

This weekend, I busied myself with two enormous cooking projects: the creation of the best damn spaghetti sauce I've ever made, and the making of several batches of my low-carb Chinese-style meal to last me through the coming week.

The spaghetti sauce that I made uses a different approach from sauces I've done previously: this time around, I synthesized the advice from two sources: (1) the Binging with Babish YouTube channel (specifically, a recent video on sauces, which includes a segment on red sauce—see here), and (2) a Serious Eats recipe for "the best" slow-cooked tomato sauce. From Babish, I picked up the idea of starting with a base of garlic and onion, then building the sauce outward from there with whole tomatoes. (Many Italians will start with fat rendered from some fatty meat, such as bacon, etc.) From Serious Eats, I picked up the idea (well, I've actually done this before) of adding ground carrots to the sauce, as well as adding a modest dash of fish sauce for greater umami. The fish sauce is a game-changer, radically deepening the character of the red sauce, but to avoid an overly fishy taste, you need to add the sauce early and let it cook for a while. Otherwise, if you like the fishy taste, add shrimp or some other seafood as your protein instead of pork or beef. For my protein, I used homemade Italian sausage, which turned out okay. The meat could have used about twice as much fennel. At the end of the cook, I added minced fresh parsley and basil, plus some bay leaves and red wine (with humble thanks to my company, which gifted us with a wine set for Chuseok*).

You've seen my low-carb Chinese meals before; see here to refresh your memory. All the same, I'll be uploading photos of both dishes sometime tonight or tomorrow, so stay tuned.

*The wines, a red and a white, are both Italian, and they're both sparkling and sweet—somewhat hard to take seriously, but the red wine provides enough of an alcoholic layer to the red sauce that I don't mind its lack of sophistication—not that I'd know what a sophisticated red wine tasted like, given that I only ever use alcohol when I'm cooking.

No comments: