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Old 02-05-2009, 11:42 AM   #41
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That is good advice, Jennyema, I need to figure out a method with which I'm comfortable then refine the flavoring.
This weekend it will (hopefully) be marinara for lasagna (hubby asked if I had cooked it so I'm going to try it).
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:46 AM   #42
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Cook plenty of sauce while you are at it. It is easier to correct a mistake if you have a large amount. Like wine, it improves with age, and freezes great. As I said in previous post. If you have the sauce, and you keep browned ground meat in the freezer, you can have pasta with meat sauce in about 20 minutes.
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:49 AM   #43
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I cant agree enough about freezing sauce. I freeze it flat in ziplocks, so that it is easy to fit into the freezer.
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:56 AM   #44
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I made all of my boy’s baby food myself. It was so funny when my son was about 6, he is 12 now, came running off the school bus to tell me something. I had no idea what it was. He was so excited. He told me, “Daddy, do you know that they have mashed potatoes in a box and spaghetti sauce in a jar.” He was totally amazed. I have never given them boxed potatoes or sauce in a jar. You would swear he had from the answer to the meaning of life.
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Old 02-09-2009, 12:24 PM   #45
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Update..

...hey, laury (and everyone), I tried a recipe this weekend that was a mix between yours and my aunt's. I left out the sausage since it was for lasagne.
My aunt uses tomato paste and a little sauce and then adds about 5 cups of water. I did the same but used the remnants of a bottle of Merlot I had in the fridge. About half the liquid I put in was wine (!). I intended to use up the rest of the bottle and didn't realize it was that much.
I followed your spices but added a couple more cloves of garlic.
Then I mixed with ground beef used in my lasagna recipe.
I don't know if I would want to serve it to company (I did DH who loves garlic) but I liked it! It had that oomph I was looking for. Also, they don't have San Marzano tomatoes in the grocery store within walking distance so I used a brand of canned tomatoes especially for Italian cooking (they were Roma tomatoes - are they the same as San Marzano) and they were full of flavor.

I will put this on my list of "successful recipes" subject to further experimenting.
Next I'll play with the same recipe and develop it for other things, such as meatballs or chicken parmesan.
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Old 02-09-2009, 01:52 PM   #46
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Just a hobby cook, but I made some marinara this weekend. My Italian heritage considers marinara sauce as sauce with no meat. My wife made her grandmothers sauce, which includes meat. Both turned out delicious, but I was a little heavy handed with the red pepper flakes, so it ended up too hot for my wife. The recipe is really nothing special, but I do a little special procedure with my dried spices that I picked up from a pizza website (one of my other hobby's) Here it is:

1 28oz can San Marzano Tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup red wine (your choice)
1/2 Tbs red pepper flakes
1 tsp spice mix. (See below)
Olive oil (about a tbs in the pot and whatever you need for the garlic)

Sautee garlic quickly in olive oil
Add garlic/oil mixture into sauce pan with tomatoes on med/high heat
Add wine
Add pepper flakes
Add 1 Tbs olive oil
Add Spice mix
Add S & P to taste.

Cook sauce down for 5-7 minutes under med/high heat, then reduce to simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until desired texture. I broke up the whole tomatoes with my mixing spoon as they cooked down.

Spice mix:

I make a batch of this and keep in an empty spice shaker since I use it for pizza sauce also.

1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried fennel
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper

Mix these all together and put in a shaker. Put a tsp in a small microwave bowl and moisten. Just enough to wet all the ingredients, but no standing water in the bowl. Place mixture in the microwave on defrost for 30 seconds. You will smell the aromatics/oils being released. This makes a night & day difference in the use of dry spices.

Note: I got this procedure from a pizzamaking.com. I don't know why this works, but I've cooked with this mixture both ways, and it, again, is a night & day difference. Give it a try.
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:54 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeekinz View Post
Use San Marzano tomatoes, I posted a thread here about them. If they are whole, break them up in the pan. I just dump the whole can in and cut them up with a paring knife using the back of my wooden spoon as a cutting board. I don't think dried oregano adds anything to anything. Use fresh if you must. With good tomatoes you can leave out the sugar (I never add it anyway) and only simmer for about 20 minutes.
That's kind of like what I do, except I crush the san marzano tomatoes and add enough grated carrot to take the edge off of the acidity.
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:55 AM   #48
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Buy it in a can.
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:12 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeekinz View Post
I don't think dried oregano adds anything to anything. Use fresh if you must.
Actually, this is nothing more than one more example of cooking being oh so much a matter of personal taste. High quality (serious emphasis on "quality" here) dried oregano actually has much better flavor than fresh. And that's regardless of whether you're using Greek, Mexican, or Italian varieties of the herb. While dried can be added early on in a recipe to allow it's flavor & fragrance to permeate a dish during the cooking process, fresh must be added no earlier than the last 10 minutes or so of cooking to have any impact whatsoever.

I prefer QUALITY dried oregano to fresh in any dish that requires a decent length of cooking, but prefer fresh in dishes such as homemade pizzas & tomato salads.

But - most importantly - personal taste will always rule. Ingredients are flavorful or flavorless only in the mouth of the beholder.
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:23 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BreezyCooking View Post
Actually, this is nothing more than one more example of cooking being oh so much a matter of personal taste. High quality (serious emphasis on "quality" here) dried oregano actually has much better flavor than fresh. And that's regardless of whether you're using Greek, Mexican, or Italian varieties of the herb. While dried can be added early on in a recipe to allow it's flavor & fragrance to permeate a dish during the cooking process, fresh must be added no earlier than the last 10 minutes or so of cooking to have any impact whatsoever.

I prefer QUALITY dried oregano to fresh in any dish that requires a decent length of cooking, but prefer fresh in dishes such as homemade pizzas & tomato salads.

But - most importantly - personal taste will always rule. Ingredients are flavorful or flavorless only in the mouth of the beholder.
I agree entirely. Once you are acquainted with good dried herbs a whole new world is ahead of you.

Penzey's oregano is wonderful.

I usually prefer to use dry herbs in my sauce. I generally have dry basil and rosemary from my garden and rely on Penzey's for everything else.
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