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Homemade Beer Marinara From Scratch

 

The first time I made marinara was a complete accident.

Just a few months after I nearly accidentally graduated college, I got a job working with teenage gang members in South Central Los Angeles. You are free to laugh at the idea of a very white girl, who grew up on a farm in Eastern Washington, working in South Central. With gang kids.

I sat on one side of a light oak dining table in a small Group Home, a transitional respite for kids who had been released from jail but who were still on probation, to talk with Dominick. He was from a rough area of Compton, and had found his way to the seat across from me via a GTA charge and a hot temper. But to me, he was a baby faced 14-year-old who secretly liked Whitney Houston. This was our first meeting, and part of my job was to compile a list of his "Triggers." Anything that made him angry enough to lash out, to do something that could land his ass back in jail. We both had the same goal: get him back home. Most kids, in my short 4 months of experience all had a very similar trigger. This usually centered around someone "talking shit" about them, their mom, or their crew. Maybe a handful of other miscellaneous and understandable offenses.

When I asked Dominick what triggered him, what drove him to a rage that welled up in him a feeling of violence that once caused him to send a chair on a journey through a class room window, his face fell flat.

"What?" I was so curious, "What makes you that mad?"

He took a deep breath and lowered his voice, "When those mother fuckin' girls make human pyramids."

I laughed so hard I felt bad about it. His young face broke open into a sweet smile, "Jackie, I’m not gonna lie.." He started to giggle, "Pisses me the fuck off, I have no idea why. I want to push those chicks right over."

Fair enough. My job was to teach him how to deal with his anger, no matter what triggered it.

He wanted to learn how to cook, and he wanted to make Spaghetti. He thought that cooking might help him channel his anger. We didn’t have any sauce, but his group home staff had just come into ownership of 10 pounds of tomatoes, so we made do.

Because of Dominick, and his human pyramid hating ways, I will always love a good, homemade, can free, marinara.

Homemade Beer Marinara From Scratch

3 lbs tomatoes

1 large head of garlic

1 tbs olive oil, plus 2 additional tbs, divided

1 large white onion, chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

16 ounces wheat beer (Golden Road Hefeweizen is a great choice)

1/3 cup chopped basil leaves

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Rub the head of garlic until about half of the papery white skin comes off. Cut a small amount of the tip off the head of the garlic, just enough to expose all of the cloves. Place on a small piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with about 1 tbs of olive oil. Fold the foil tightly around the garlic, place on a baking sheet. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and place them on the baking sheet along with the garlic packet.

Roast the tomatoes and the garlic at 400 for 20-30 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and the skin starts to peel back from the flesh. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

The skin of the tomatoes should be very easy to remove at this point, peel the skin off the tomatoes and discard. Place a fine mesh sieve or strainer over a bowl. Scoop the seeds into the strainer and place the remaining part of the peeled and seeded tomato into a bowl, repeat until all of the tomatoes have been seeded. Allow the seeds to continue to drain while you make the rest of the sauce.

In a pot over medium high heat, add 2 tbs olive oil. Add the onions and carrots, sauté until carrots are soft and onions are translucent. Add the beer, seeded and peeled tomatoes and whatever juice has accumulated in the bowl beneath the tomato seeds. Discard the seeds. Remove the head of garlic from the foil packet and squeeze the soft head until the cloves comes out and into the sauce. Add the salt, pepper and basil.

Reduce heat to maintain a low simmer, allow to cook and reduce until thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If you want a smoother sauce, add to a food processor and process until smooth.

Use this with my Homemade Beer Ricotta to make a beer infused Lasagna or stuffed Rigatoni.

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How To: Make Homemade Pumpkin Pie From Scratch

I took Tater to the pumpkin patch. A huge gigantic pumpkin patch that had the size and personality of a country fair.

She approched the task of picking out her very first pumpkin with abnormal amount of seriousness. After wandering the rows of pumpkins, she decide on a small pie pumpkin, perfect for her little fingers to carry.  once the perfect little pumpkin had been picked out, she wouldn’t let it out of her sight.

When she climbed to the top of a super high hay stack, she took it with her.

When she meet a goat at the petting zoo that she decide was just a "Doggie" she had it with her.

And she let that doggie know that it was not HIS pumpkin, it was hers.

And when we walked to lunch, she carried it.

And still, that little pumpkin is in her outside toy box, surviving relatively well. I didn’t make pie out of it, settle down. I just wish she hadn’t chosen to fall in love with something so perishable.

First question that needs to be answers when talking about scratch pumpkin pie making is: 

What pumpkins can be used? Can you make pie out of those Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins you buy your kids at the grocery store? What is a PIE pumpkin?

First, you can eat any variety of pumpkin, all are squash and all are edible (DO NOT confuse pie pumpkins with gourds, those are not edible) but not all pumpkins were made to be eaten as pie, so the variety you use will affect your results.

Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins have been breed for decades for qualities that have nothing to do with taste. Although still technically edible, the flavors are not taken into account when breeding. Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins are now breed for thick skin that can hold up to carving, as well as a heartiness to survive after being carved, and set outside with a candle stuck in it’s guts.

A pie pumpkin is small, like the one that tater picked out, too small to carve. They are also know as Sugar Pie, Northern Pie or New England Sugar. Most grocery stores will sell pie pumpkins towards the end of October, through November, just ask your produce guy.

Usually, one pumpkin is enough to make a pie.

Preheat your oven to 400.

First, remove the stem. Use a butter knife that you don’t care about too much (it may get bent) and run it around the edge of the stem to loosen it up then pry it off with the butter knife.

Then cut it in half down the middle, right through where that stem used to be.

Then scoop out all the guts, seeds and strings.

Then put the pumpkin, cut side down, on a baking sheet covered in tin foil. Make sure the baking dish has sides, the pumpkin may leak while roasting. Cover with foil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until a fork slides into the skin of your pumpkin easily.

Scoop out the inside flesh of the pumpkin with a spoon.

If your pumpkin flesh is watery, place on a stack of 5-8 paper towels, top with more paper towels and allow to drain for about 5 minutes. For a smoother texture, puree in a food processor for about 3 minutes.

Chocolate Mint Stout Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chocolate stout, or chocolate mint stout
  • 7 ounces of 60% dark chocolate with peppermint oil (such as Dark Chocolate Mint from Green & Blacks), broken into chunks
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar

Directions

  1. In a pot over medium high heat, add the cream, milk, mint leaves cream and stout. Bring to a gentle simmer. Remove from heat, remove and discard mint leaves, and stir in the chocolate until melted.
  2. In a separate bowl, add the egg yolks and the sugar, whisk until well combined. Slowly add the chocolate milk, whisking continually, until about 1/2 the mixture has been added to the egg yolks. Add the egg yolk mixture back into pot, whisk until well combined. Return pot to heat and bring to a mild simmer.
  3. Refrigerator until chilled, about 3 hours.
  4. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufactures directions. Chill until firm.
https://domesticfits.com/how-to-make-homemade-pumpkin-pie-from-scratch/