Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Trish the Dish [RECIPE]

When it comes to cooking dinner, well, I'll just say it - I've been fucking killing it in the kitchen lately.

In the sense that I cooked three different dinners over the weekend that were not recipes I've made one million times before/ever and, thus, have burned out to the point of near inedibility.

Sorry White Bean Pasta With Kale - I've ruined you forever in this household. Actually, no, I still like you, but Bubba is...uh, taking a break.

I wish I could pin my recent cooking triumphs (and anything involving a crispy battered crust, homemade pasta dough or cream sauce counts as a triumph for me) on an extremely impressive Valentine's Day celebration where I, like, said I'd cook Bubba whatever he wanted all weekend long and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt my wifely prowess, but I think we all know that's not the case.

Even though that's kind of the case.

See, we had a boatfuckingload of broccoli (thanks garden, you're killing it, too) and I was all, "Bubba. We need to eat the fucking broccoli." and then he was all, "OK. But can we eat other things, too?" and then I was all, "WHO ARE YOU? THE FUCKING POPE OR SOMETHING?" and then he turned back to the computer and I went to find something to go with the broccoli.

Seriously, the sack of broccoli filling up in the crisper was getting obnoxious. We really should have just been eating the broccoli. BUT NO. Someone needs variety in their diet.


My first stop was Chesty because obviously.

And since I so awesomely (nerdily) keep an inventory of Chesty's depths, I could clearly see that it was high fucking time we ate some of this alleged "Tenderized Round Steak" since we're on our second (or third? I can't remember.) installment of our beef share and haven't had a one. Ever.

Because I don't know what the F to do with "Tenderized Round Steak".

Thankfully, Pioneer Woman does and when she put up this recipe for Chicken Fried Steak, like, way back in the day, it clearly made an impression on me because that image actually popped into my head when I stood there in front of Chesty giving myself frostbite holding a package of round steak wondering what the fuck to do with it.

"Chicken fry me!", It said.

And that freaked me out a lot.

To say that the concept of chicken fried steak went over well with Bubba is, well, it's a damn understatement is what it is.

He didn't even have words.

I asked him if he wanted chicken fried steak and whipped celeriac potatoes with his broccoli and he just made his YUMYESNOW face and nodded at me.  Vigorously. While pressing his clutched hands to his chest in a disturbingly eager manner.

The guy's decisive. I'll give him that.

And then I made chicken fried steak, whipped celeriac potatoes, broccoli and cream gravy LIKE A MUTHER FUCKING MONSTER.

There aren't any potatoes in Whipped Celeriac Potatoes. Just celeriac, butter, milk and salt. And whipping! Don't forget the whipping.
Ever chicken fry something? Oddly satisfying, that.
The ever-present cream gravy. Which is terribly TERRIBLY good. Damn it.
Yeah. There's the broccoli.
 I mean, really. That's just awesome.

Then, the next night, I was all, "Bubba. We gotta eat the rest of this broccoli." and he was all, "OK. But can we have something else, too?" and I was all, "I THOUGHT THAT WE ESTABLISHED THAT YOU ARE NOT THE POPE." and he just sort of looked sideways at the dog and tried to distract me with his sad face.

And because I'm a sucker, I went to see what else I could serve HIS HIGHNESS so that the broccoli wouldn't be lonely on his plate.


Since I'd had so much luck with the cream gravy, I felt ballsy and thought I'd try to construct another cream sauce without breaking it.

Ever made bechamel sauce? Yeah. Me neither. But it's apparently the base for, like, all cream sauces or some shit, so I thought it high time that I made it. And then I thought I'd better fancy it up so that it wasn't just like the previous night's dinner. So I made bechamel Gruyere sauce, tossed it with pasta and the bottomless bag of broccoli and TEE DAH.

Killed it again.
So, basically, make bechamel sauce and then add shredded Gruyere at the end. Good times.
Then toss the cooked pasta and steamed broccoli with the sauce to produce a most ideal result.
Plus a salad big enough to offset the cream sauce. I mean, kind of.

 Then I felt ballsy some more.

Like, hey, I've made two awesome random dinners in a row - let's go for a third! But also, I'm tired. And I don't want to eat any more meat. Or cream sauce. Or broccoli.

So I made the requisite giant salad, homemade pasta and, the object of my recent desire and this post - Quick and Dirty Tomato Sauce.

You remember the Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep., right? Well, yeah - this is its slutty cousin. You know the kind. Almost as good as the original, but available at a moment's notice and always ready to get a carload of strange boys together to sneak weird booze from their folks' liquor cabinets to drink in the park.

Yeah. You know what I mean.

Also, sorry if I just brought up bad memories from your dark past/traumatized you with my past.

Also again, that reminds me that this sauce should be called, "Trish", for reasons I won't go into, but I think you get my meaning.

About that sauce, though - I've been working on a quicker, easier version of The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep. that I could make with my canned tomatoes in winter that also didn't involve the roasting and food processing of everything and the using of so many pans and things.

After a lot of trial and not-awful error, this is what I've got.

It's good.

Also a little slutty.

Quick and Dirty Tomato Sauce
Recipe 100% by moi
So suck it

1 qt homecanned whole tomatoes (or 1 qt of storebought. That's fine, too. I guess. Whatever.)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch fresh oregano leaves, minced
2 T olive oil
Kosher salt
Am I the only one that wants to spank that jar? I am, aren't I.
To make
In a medium saucepot, warm olive oil over medium-low heat and, when fragrant (like, you can smell the olive oil), add your minced garlic and let brown slightly in the oil. You want this to be fragrant, too. 

The whole kitchen should smell amazing, is what I'm saying. Don't fucking fight me on this.

When everything's smelling all incredible, add your tomatoes a few at a time, stirring them into the garlicky oil and letting the water cook off. Break down those tomatoes with your spankin' spoon while you're at it. 

What? You don't have a spankin' spoon? Live a little. 

As the water cooks off, add more tomatoes and eventually add all of the jar's contents - water, tomatoes, seeds and all.

Now, I know that some cook-ish type people get all bent over OH NO THERE ARE FUCKING SEEDS IN MY TOMATO SAUCE and shit, but I do not. The seeds don't bother me. I can't taste any alleged bitterness and so I choose to go on with my life not wasting it on removing seeds at any stage of the tomato process. But if you want to waste your life like this, go right ahead. I'm accepting that way.

But you won't have that interesting texture without seeds, now will you? NO. NO YOU WILL NOT.

When your sauce has cooked down to a nice thick consistency and the water has cooked off, give it a taste and then add as much salt as makes you happy and all of your oregano. Stir it up, taste it again, add more salt if you're Salt Mad like yours truly and then toss it with some fresh homemade pasta quickly cooked in seasalty water and you're done.

The stuff in the jar is Semolina flour which I now buy in bulk because I am not gluten-fearful unlike the rest of the world. 
"I don't even know how you did that." Name the reference and I'll love you forever.
Here's the pasta recipe that I've been using since the dawn of the time I got my pasta machine. It's never failed me.

Three awesome dinners in a row. 


Though apparently I can't plate a pasta dish without making a fucking mess. Go me.


  1. My husband, like yours and probably almost any other husband ever, goes into raptures over chicken fried anything. I even made some chicken fried venison from some weird, random sliced off bits I didn't know what else to do with. It was really good. Probably because of the cream gravy.

    Funny thing: I learned how to make bechamel sauce when I was, like, eight, because cheese sauce was practically a beverage in my house and my mom always started by making the bechamel. Except I didn't know it was called that until I was about 25. I just thought it was the first step in cheese sauce. Obviously, I was not a foodie from birth. Or, uh, ever.

    Lastly, Cook's Illustrated says that a good percentage of the flavor compounds in tomatoes are in that gelatinous goop around the seeds, so they say to only discard half the seeds. But I'm with you--too lazy to bother with any discarding, and also, now vindicated by CI. Science is on our side.

  2. Soooo much good eats here! YUM YUM YUM mail me some! I have to say what I really found interesting was the adding of the tomatoes just a little bit at a time to cook off the liquid. I have never ever heard of this...and yet like browning meat just a little at a time, it makes total sense! Doh!

    I'm not a fan of the bitterness in tomato seeds in sauce, but it is a LOT of work to get rid of them...and I tend to be a bit lazy with the cooking.

  3. My favorite part of this post is about your lack of fear of gluten. THANK GOD! If you go to the dark side of gluten-free, dairy-free, food-free, I'll kill myself.

  4. Yes yes yes. This all looks so good! And I don't even like gravy, but I had to stop myself from licking the screen.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.