I have many great memories of homemade pasta sauce simmering away on the stove top while I was growing up. My mother almost always made her own sauce and very often made meatballs as well. Her sauce always smelled great and absolutely spoiled me for later life. I always wondered why pasta sauce never quite measured up for me, clearly I HAD been spoiled. The only other sauce I’d had that I actually really enjoyed was while traveling in Italy. Go figure.
I never “learned” how to make sauce, really. I tinkered around, figured out what I liked, and figured out what didn’t work. Turns out it’s pretty simple and pretty straightforward. None of that having a pot simmering over the stove top for 17 hours while some super secret cache of spices and herbs gets added in dribs and drabs. I make a damn tasty pasta sauce and it takes very little time, as little as 15 minutes if you’re in a rush. I usually give it a few more minutes, but the point being you can have sauce; cheap, easy, and tasty in not much more time than it takes to heat up that stuff in a glass jar. Continue reading
I’m not huge on store-bought caramel or the squeeze container stuff that you get a lot of places. Boo. Not dark enough, it’s just sweet and yellow. That’s no good. I do like a nice dark caramel and I can even forgive a little graininess if the taste is there. I went out to eat the other night and had something for dessert, if I’m being honest, I don’t even know what it was. It was good, however the caramel sauce made me want to flip the table over, with all the other food on it. I wasn’t the only one. It was a bit grainy, but it was perhaps the best caramel I’ve ever had, and that’s no joke. It was dark, it had that whole “real” caramelization thing going on. It was the only thing I remember about the dessert. Three days later, it’s still the only thing I remember. Such is the way with things that are done right, or even 3/4 right if they’re really spot on.
I decided to mess around with caramel a bit, just to see how close I could get to what I had the other night. Pretty dang close it turns out, and mine isn’t grainy to boot. Score one for me. There are two methods to making caramel. A wet and a dry method. The wet method involves mixing water and sugar, heating it up, and basically cooking out the water. The dry method involves just sugar in a pan. Being of simple constitution myself, I went the dry route. It’s fairly easy I think, and it worked for me, so why not you? Continue reading