I’m Sauce-y…

OK so seriously after this week I am going to *attempt* to write twice a week. I certainly have enough material in the dome-piece, still searching for the time to get it all on “paper”… Some big stuff happened this week though!


I hate to brag, but I am so, SO proud of myself. A couple nights ago I made sauce from scratch. Like for real scratch, like from tomatoes. We have made sauce before with canned tomatoes and garlic and seasonings, etc, but I have never, ever made it straight from the plant. I’m going to sound really cheesy right now, but it is really, REALLY empowering to pick the tomatoes off the plant, take them inside, and make a deliciously tasty dinner. Oh, did I not mention that it was delicious? I mean D-E-LICIOUS. Not a disaster, as one might think making sauce from scratch for the first time might turn out to be, especially when that one is me. All credit must go to Smitten Kitchenfor their wonderful guidelines on how to make this liquid gold. I followed the recipe loosely-ish, making more of the “play around as little as possible” version that she talks about at the bottom.  Hubster and I used it in a dish that he introduced to me, something he calls “American Chop Suey”. I think it’s a dumb name but we’ll roll with it… It’s basically hamburger meat (I used grass fed, pasture raised from the farmer’s market…it’s been cheaper than in the store lately!), onions, and sauce with pasta. We threw some diced red pepper in ours as well because we like red pepper. I wanted to add some spinach too but Hubster vetoed it saying “but that doesn’t go in American Chop Suey”. Oy vey. Here is my sauce journey, in pictures, with a few general directions. For the full recipe see smitten kitchen’s awesome recipe, complete with even better pictures. P.S. as you can see, I used large tomatoes. I think we planted the “Big Boy” variety.

In the beginning, there were tomatoes…

Post 30 sec boil followed by ice bath…you can see how the skin just split off the tomatoes. It was so easy to remove! I’d never done this before and thought it was super cool

All de-seeded and diced and pretty looking…Don’t make sauce if you have a cut on your finger, all that juice will STING!

Liquid gold, just bubblin’ away…another tip, make sure there is NO water droplets left in the pan before you heat the oil. It will make the oil spit all over the place as it heats…Not that I did that or anything…

Also, in the above picture, we had already added the meat, onion, and red pepper to the sauce before I was like “Oh, crap, I need to take a picture!”…So my sauce was less lumpy than this initially.

The finished product. Voila. I’ll talk about that squash dish later…

Hubster made fun of how much cheese I put on my dinner. I happen to like cheese, a lot. and it didn’t seem like a lot of cheese at the time but now that I see the evidence I’m thinking he might have been right. It was delicious thought, mound of cheese and all.

Food Snob

In other news, I think I’m becoming a food snob. That may not be the right term…it’s more that I’m becoming a little obsessed over the origin of all the food I eat. Let’s rewind about 20 years for a little story that sheds some light on my current predicament:

Little Abbey is eating lunch with her older brothers, who love to torture her. Lunch that day happens to be hot dogs.
Older brother #2 says: “Hey Abbey, do you know what hot dogs are made of?”
Unsuspecting, innocent little Abbey: “No, what?”
Older brother #2: “cow tongues! hahahahahahahaha”
Little Abbey (unconvincingly): “no they’re not, you’re kidding with me”
Older brother #1: “Yes they really are, we swear!”

Little Abbey did not eat another hot dog for 15 years. This is a true story. I knew, deep down, that hot dogs weren’t really cow tongues (though really, it was actually a statement not far from the truth) but everytime I went to eat a hot dog that was all I could think of. Cow tongues. Gross. The point is, once I know something is in food that I don’t like, I am super picky about whether I eat that food or not, and if I eat that food, it better not have yuckiness in it that I’m trying to avoid.

Little Abbey may or may not have been a little sassy, had a lot of fashion sense, and a large dislike for hot dogs.

Fast forward back to now. In my food journey I’ve been reading a lot of articles about the treatment of animals before they are harvested and become our food, the treatment of the hens that lay our eggs and the cows that provide our milk. I know that, as with everything, there is opinion and exageration in everything, but I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to believe much of what these articles are saying. I think it’s because I have seen first hand what the big company pig farms and chicken farms of the south look like. My motivation for eating “happy meat” and good clean food is not so much for the animals, I’m more selfish than that. No, I’m worried about putting that crap in my body! (ok, I do feel really bad for the animals too, I’m not that cruel hearted). Think about it, do you want to drink milk that has been ultra-pasteurized because they have to burn off all the disease and pus that is in it from the sickly cows that produced the milk? Again, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I have a strong to quite strong feeling that it’s not that far off. Which has led me to this:

The great milk debate

I’ve been trying to get Hubster to start drinking and liking Hartzler Dairy farm Organic Milk, which is pasteurized at the lowest possible heat by law (selling raw milk is illegal in many states because most cows are not raised in a manner that would produce safe raw milk). Pasteurization at high heat (ultra pasteurization) takes out many of the vitamins and minerals naturally found in milk, forcing them to be added later. This high heat also removes the enzymes naturally found in milk that AID IN DIGESTION. Hence why so many of us these days have become lactose intolerant…many people that have trouble digesting “normal” milk can digest milk like the Hartzler’s that has been pasteurized at a level low enough that it doesn’t kill of those enzymes.

Hubster resists because
1. He doesn’t like the cream on top – THAT IS NORMAL! I scream.
2. He says it tastes different – THAT IS WHAT MILK IS SUPPOSED TO TASTE LIKE!
3. He says he wants to drink milk that came from cows that munch on grass – He seriously said that, I am not kidding. I was speechless for a solid minute. THAT IS WHAT I’M TRYING TO DO! He really thought that the milk that the general public drank came from cows that eat grass. And thatis why our food industry can get away with what it does. Because no one knows that the milk they drink comes from cows that are hooked up to milking machines almost 24-7 in a small stall that they can’t turn around in where they are lucky if they see the sunshine.

This is where your milk comes from. Don’t they look happy all squished together? Photo courtesy of http://www.correntwire.com

P.S. I didn’t really scream at Hubster.
P.S.S. I’m going to keep working on him 🙂

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