Thursday, April 5, 2007

Why are they doing that?

When did they change the gram weight of a pound to 14 ounces? Have you noticed that most canned goods are 13.5 ounces which is not cleanly divisible by 8? You know, like in 8 ounces in a cup. Have we gone metric and no you told me?

Are the producers of prepared foods thinking they are tricking us? Or, is it their mission to make us buy two of everything? Not every manufacturer has gone to this off weight volume but those who have… This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. If recipes calls for 2 cups of canned tomatoes do they think I am going to buy 3 cans just because I will be missing an ounce. No, way!

It is important to know that any recipe will succeed with a dash less of this or that. Of course, if I don’t need the full can of something, and it does not seem appropriate to add the entire can store the extra amount in a plastic container. The only time you have to hold on to the exact measure of a recipe is when you are baking. It is the reaction within the formula that helps guarantee outcome. Curiously, milk and cream are sold in containers that harken back to the time when foods came in pint, quart and full pounds.

Tomato Sauce - yields 4 cups

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves - split in half
2 cans of stewed chopped tomatoes
2 strips lemon zest - about 1/2-inch thick and 1-inch long
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup basil leaves - roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dice the onions and tomatoes. In a 2 quart saucepan heat the oil and add the onions and garlic. Sauté the onions until translucent then add the tomatoes, and thyme. Cook for 20 minutes over a medium low heat, and then add the lemon zest and honey. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Place in the bowl of the food processor, and blend until smooth. Correct seasoning. Return the sauce to the pan along with the basil and simmer an additional 10 minutes.

Rice and Peas - yields 8 servings

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion - diced
1 jalapeno chili - seeds discarded and minced
3 garlic cloves - minced
2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 can pigeon pea (black-eyed peas) – drained and rinsed
2 cups white rice
3 cups tomato juice

Heat a heavy bottom 3 quart pot over a high heat, and add the oil and onions and cook until the onions start to brown. Add the chili, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, pigeon peas and rice. Cook over for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Pour over 3 cups of tomato juice and 1 cup water. Cover the pot and cook over a medium-low heat for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit 10 minutes. Serve hot.

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