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Old 01-24-2006, 06:36 PM   #11
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When I make a sauce like this I leave it uncovered and cooking over very low heat. I like my sauce thick and leaving the lid off will encourage evaporation with with thicken the final product.
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Old 01-24-2006, 06:42 PM   #12
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I add a bit of sugar to take away the bitter/salty taste.
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Old 01-24-2006, 08:12 PM   #13
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My only other thought to a 'bitter' taste may be the wine you're using; I don't mean the type as much as the $$ - the old adage, 'don't cook with anything you wouldn't drink' is so very true. If it was an inexpensive bottle of wine, it could very well add bitterness. I'd also use an Italian wine to make a red sauce; most Italian reds are lighter - think chianti - and Pinot Noir is a pretty hefty wine.
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Old 01-24-2006, 10:09 PM   #14
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Marma, it was a very fine bottle of wine. I only drink the finest.

As for all of your other replies, you guys are some really helpful folks.

I only wish i could be more helpful to you guys.
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Old 01-25-2006, 12:15 PM   #15
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I agree with GB.

Re "saltiness" of different types of salt ... that has to do with the size of the grains. A T of sea salt will usually taste less salty than table salt because fewer grains of sea salt can fit into a T measurement.

Food always tastes better when salted (to nearly all palates that is). This is the first lesson you learn in culinary school. You taste a dozen bowls of chicken stock with varying amounts, starting with none to a **** of a lot . You learn that somewhere in between is the right amount. It makes the food taste notably more savory and brings out individual flavors. But that midpoint is very much an individual taste. You need to find out what tastes best to you. And you do that by experimenting and trial and error.

YAs a general rule, you should season as you go along, rather than at the end. But another rule is that you can always add more salt later in the cooking process but can't do much about it if you add too much at the beginning.

So try lightly seasoning each layer with a pinch of salt. Then let it cook for a while, taste, correct seasoning. Cook, taste, correct seasoning, till done.

TASTE TASTE TASTE. ALL THE TIME WHEN YOU COOK.

Plus, make sure there is no possibility that you have scorched the bottom of your cooking vessle and stirred the scorched matter into the rest of the sauce. That will make it terribly biter and unappetizing.
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Old 01-25-2006, 01:29 PM   #16
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many ppl have commented on the salt and like them I wouldn't season ground meat *before* it is added to the pot

let me comment on the garlic...garlic cooks faster than onions/peppers (plus it is chopped finer) so saute the onions/peppers first and add the chopped garlic in the last 2-3 min. of the total cooking time (10 min) for the onions/peppers; garlic becomes bitter if sauteed too long. Keep the heat low when sauteeing veggies so that they don't burn.

You might want to consider changing the early sequence so that you saute onions/peppers about 7 min, then add garlic and sautee 2-3 min, then add ground meat. This assumes, however, that you are using a small amount of oil to saute the veggies which will be in addition to the fat in the ground meat.

If you're looking to use the rendered fat from the sauteed ground meat as the fat for the veggies, you can brown the meat, remove meat from pot, saute the onions/peppers then add the garlic to the mix, and when done, add back the ground meat and continue with the recipe.

Also, considering that the tomatoes+mushroom soaking water+wine adds a fair amount of liquid, you would want to simmer it uncovered on a low heat to evaporate the liquid, concentrate flavors and allow flavors to blend.

ON SALT - in general, you will find that a fine grind sea salt actually tastes saltier than ordinary supermarket table salt. When measured by volume, Kosher salt delivers less salt than an equal amount of fine grind salt simply because the granules are larger and take up more space in the measuring spoon. However, don't get hung up on salt measurements. Salt lightly in the beginning - remember that you're reducing the dish by long simmering and concentrating all the flavors. If, at the end, the dish is not sufficiently salty for your taste, you can adjust the salt at this point.
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Old 01-25-2006, 02:57 PM   #17
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Yes, the "saltiness" of a certain measure of salt dissolved in liquid depends on the size of the salt crystal. The finer the grind, the more salt fits into the measuring spoon and therefore the saltier the liquid will be.


Another thing I forgot to ask: What is in that Italian herb seasoning mix? And how old is it?
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Old 01-25-2006, 04:03 PM   #18
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It is not very old at all, maybe couple months. It has like dried oregano, basil, etc.....
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Old 01-25-2006, 04:21 PM   #19
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Taste it. Oregano can be bitter tasting, especially the turkish kind.

But it all depends on your palate. Taste spice blends before you use them if you aren't sure exactly what they taste like or if you fear they are old (like over a year).


From McCormick's website: "Turkey is the principal supplier of Oregano to McCormick. It is stronger flavored and more bitter than the Greek variety. The Mexican type has a distinctively different flavor which is less minty, more hay-like and less bitter than the other sources."
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Old 01-25-2006, 08:13 PM   #20
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What do you all think of this recipe. For a basic tomato sauce. I see he adds basil at beginning and just sautees basil leaves? It seems like this would burn the basil, check this out.

Your opinions please. Also, the Lemon and Brandy juice, you think that would be tasty in there?

Ingredients:
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3-5 cloves garlic, crushed with flat of knife and sliced thinly
1/2 to 1 cup diced, fresh basil. (It's your call. We usually use close to a cup)
1/2 cup red wine. (Good enough quality to drink)
1 T turbinado (raw) sugar (or Splenda)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 28 oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes.
1 t lemon juice (optional)
3 T brandy (optional)
If you have good fresh tomatoes, blanch them in boiling water until the skins are loose and wrinkled. Cool in cold water and remove skins before dicing. If you squeeze through strainer with mesh small enough to catch the seeds, the removal of the seeds will make the sauce a little less bitter. We usually don't remove the seeds. We can't tell that it makes enough difference to go to the trouble)
Preparation:
Sauté onions in olive oil over low heat, covered, for 10-12 minutes.
Add garlic and basil, re-cover, for another 5 minutes or so.
Uncover and add wine. Reduce by about half.
Add tomatoes and S & P and simmer for 15 minutes. You can reduce the sauce further and intensify the flavor. We like to add the brandy and lemon juice about 3-4 minutes before finishing.
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