Posted in Recipes

Shrimp Salad Boats

My typical way of serving Shrimp Cocktail (not that I do very often), is to lay tiny cocktail shrimp on a bed of shredded lettuce and top it with a creamy mayonnaise based cocktail sauce enhanced with horseradish and chili sauce. Today, I have departed from my usual style and combined the shrimp and sauce, then served it in hollowed out tomato halves. For either version, frozen cocktail shrimp are best but you can, as I have done here, use the canned variety as a decent substitute… Continue reading “Shrimp Salad Boats”

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Basic Tomato Sauce

Today’s recipe is for a very Basic sort of tomato sauce. Obviously, the most basic version of a tomato sauce would consist only of tomatoes simmered down to a sauce (and this can be terrific with tomatoes fresh from the vine) but although we are getting a bit more complex here, the result is a plain sauce that contains no strong seasonings (such as oregano, for instance) which might limit its uses to certain types of dishes. Rather, the Basic Sauce that results here can be used standalone, or as a base for more complex preparations. Continue reading “Basic Tomato Sauce”

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Zucchini with Mushroom and Tomato

Not long before writing this post, I happened to throw together a little vegetable side dish for a steak I was cooking. I used a half zucchini I had left over, along with some tomatoes and herbs, and the result was so tasty I thought I would share. I actually ended up embellishing the original recipe somewhat, notably by including mushrooms this time, but, as you will see, my opinion as to the success of those embellishments was a little mixed… Continue reading “Zucchini with Mushroom and Tomato”

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The Sunday Gravy Experiment Part 6- Spicy Sausages

DAY 21: Our last use of the gravy was for a Simmered Pork Roast back on Day 10. I left home on court circuit just after that but my wife re-heated the sauce on Days 14 and 18 during my absence to keep it fresh….

Our first real experiment in the Sunday Gravy Project was too cook up a batch of Sausages and Meatballs to serve with pasta back on Day 4. After making the traditional Italian pasta feast, we had quite a few sausages and meatballs left, which were subsequently put to various interesting uses, but the last two meatballs ended up being sliced and used on sandwiches. I have to say that I was very impressed with the dense texture of the balls and the way they sliced so nicely (much like cured, store-bought sausage) and it gave me an idea… I decided to try and use a similar, but much spicier, meatball blend to try and make skinless ‘sausages’ that could I could slice as a sort of cold cut, or even use hot for breakfast or in other dishes. The beauty of this, of course, is that, not only will we end up with nice sausage to use, but, by cooking it as part of the ongoing project, we will also add a whole other layer of flavor to the gravy… Continue reading “The Sunday Gravy Experiment Part 6- Spicy Sausages”

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The Sunday Gravy Experiment Part 5- Simmered Pork Roast

Well, on Day 4 of our Sunday Gravy project, I cooked Sausage and Meatballs in the sauce and served the results with pasta. Our sauce, now a genuine ‘gravy’, has been resting for a number of days now and, on Day 10, it is time for a new addition.  I actually took the sauce out the other day to heat it up (a good step to keep it fresh), but it looked just fine so I decided it could wait in the fridge just a little longer.

Anyway, the next experiment will be to use the gravy to simmer the nice looking 3lb. pork shoulder roast you see above. My plan is to cook it slowly for several hours and then cut off a good size piece while the meat is still quite firm to use for sandwich cold-cuts. The remainder I will return to the pot and let it simmer until it is really well done and has given lots of nice flavor to the gravy. At that point (while it still retains some flavor of it’s own) I shall retrieve it and use it for some interesting pulled pork applications… Continue reading “The Sunday Gravy Experiment Part 5- Simmered Pork Roast”

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The Sunday Gravy Experiment Part 4- Meatballs and Sausages

NOTE: I just noticed that this will be the 100th recipe experiment posted here at Sybaritica. I probably should have done something commemorative but I am trying to pre-post a whole bunch of previously written materials before travelling…

DAY 4 – Well, Part 3 of this ongoing project was creating a nice tomato sauce base incorporating the meat stock made a few days before. I completed the sauce-making three days ago and now, on day 4, it is time to actually transform our sauce into a real Sunday Gravy by cooking our first batch of meat in it. Different meats will be used as time goes by but, for the first meal I will be cooking the very traditional additions of sausages and homemade meatballs… Continue reading “The Sunday Gravy Experiment Part 4- Meatballs and Sausages”

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Sunday Gravy – The Tomato Sauce Base

In Part 1 of our Sunday Gravy Experiment, I introduced you to the basic plan of creating a rich tomato sauce that will, over time, be fortified and enriched by having various meats and vegetables cooked in it for a  series of different meals. In Part 2 of the series,  I made a rich stock using pork hocks and beef bones and this will form the beginnings of the gravy itself. If you wish to follow along with the process but don’t really want to bother with making your own stock, you can always substitute a commercial chicken broth, but I think you will find the homemade really improves the final product.

In either event, it is now time to move on to making the actual tomato sauce… Continue reading “Sunday Gravy – The Tomato Sauce Base”

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The Sunday Gravy Experiment Part 2- The Stock

A plain tomato sauce can contain little more than tomatoes with some simple seasonings but other, more complex, varieties will include garlic, onions and other vegetables somewhere in the cooking process. Likewise, a truly rich tomato sauce, particularly those destined to be a ‘Sunday gravy’ will frequently be ‘beefed up’ (if you will pardon the expression) with stocks based on chicken or other meats.

For my experimental project to create a Sunday gravy that can be built upon and enhanced over the long term (please see yesterday’s Introductory Post), I am going to first make a rich meat stock using beef and pork hocks so that the collagen and other proteins released by the skin and bone will work with the meaty flavors to give a good, hearty body to our final sauce… Continue reading “The Sunday Gravy Experiment Part 2- The Stock”

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The Sunday Gravy Experiment – Part 1: The Introduction

“Hey, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday… You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it, you make sure it doesn’t stick. You get it to a boil, you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs… And a little bit of wine. And a little bit of sugar, and that’s my trick.”

Who can forget that terrific scene in ‘The Godfather’ when Fat Clemenza shares his special sauce recipe with Michael Corleone? Old Clemenza never uses the term but what he is basically cooking is one of the countless variations on the tomato based sauce that generations of Italian-Americans have come to call  gravy, or, more particularly, ‘Sunday Gravy’… Continue reading “The Sunday Gravy Experiment – Part 1: The Introduction”

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Experiment: Tomatoes Stir-fry Eggs

You won’t often come across tomatoes stir fried with eggs on a lot of Chinese restaurant menus (at least in the west) but this dish, in various permutations, is actually extremely popular in China. Indeed, it is one of the most common dishes on the menu in factories and schools across the Chinese Republic and many Chinese say that it is the first dish they ever learned to cook. It is, I suppose, something of a comfort food in that nation and it seems to be popular at any time of the day. Continue reading “Experiment: Tomatoes Stir-fry Eggs”