Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Simple pasta sauce

Usually I don't bother making my own pasta sauce, since there are so many pasta sauce readily available, such as the one pictured.

In general I do like most of the canned pasta sauces that I buy since I always go with quality. Fast and good. A bit expensive though, and most of those sauces coming in big jars, I end up throwing most of it (I try to avoid eating pasta every day since back in the days that regime ended up with a visit at the doctor for a lack of vitamin intake...).

Now the experience is as follows: I will try to make my own homemade pasta sauce (with the help of my usual helper cook) and see if it is as good as the ones I use.

First step, here are the basic ingredients: tomatoes, of course, but also an onion, a mushroom, a green pepper, some garlic and basil and, since I live in a spicy world these days, a couple of chilis (2 should be more than enough). Note the two mandatory bottles: olive oil and a nice bottle of wine.

Since we love veggies, the cutting strategy we adopt is as follows: big pieces (so we can actually feel like we are eating those vegetables).

Now before throwing stuff in the pan and getting crazy, why don't we start by boiling some water and cook the actual pasta ? That way they will be done when the sauce is ready. We won't worry if they are done before the sauce: in that case, we can just rinse them in cold water to stop the cooking when desired (usually "al dente") and let them aside. We can then re-heat them in the pan with the sauce later on.

The basic preparation is as usual, oil the pan, throw the garlic in when it is hot (here we are going to cook the garlic for a minute until it starts turning slightly brown). Throw the chilis in too. Then throw in the onions. Let them cook nicely.

When ready, add the rest of the vegetables :

Add some salt to the pan. Once cooked, add the crushed tomatoes.

Don't forget to add a bit of water to help if it feels all too thick. Keep tasting by regularly licking the spoon - despite what your mother told you when you were young - and add salt if needed. Now add the basil and let it cook for a while (lower the flame) :

Add the pasta to warm it up in the pan (remember you are supposed to cook them beforehand!) so it does not matter if they were cold by now:

And now it's done ! Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Indian Cooking

My roomate Pinkesh is trying to teach me how to cook vegeterian food. First I have to say I am a terrible cook. So back to basics, I take notes and pictures at all steps of the process.

So here is a first batch of photos so I can actually remember what we did. And if it can help you in the process, then it makes more happy vegeterian-indian-food-loving people on this Earth. And it surely makes it better. Why ? Well this guy will summarize better than me anyway.

So let's see. Something simple. Something simple that tastes good : how to cook green beans other than the horrible dried ones that were imposed to me in the numerous school canteens in France when I was young ?

Here goes.
First, cut them into small pieces!

Grind 4 Chilis. Or less. Or more. You decide how foolish you want to be.

Oil the pan and heat the oil with a nice flame. Then when hot, dump cumin seeds and ajwain.

Add the green beans in the pan. Add turmeric powder.

Add the chilis.

Cover the pan, stir regularly and put the water from the lid back into the pan.

This is nearly done now. Keep stirring from time to time, just for the fun. Lower the flame.

When done, add freshly cut cilantro on top. Let sit.

Warm up some pita bread, don't forget the life-saving yoghurt on the side, it's deliciously ready !