Posts tagged ‘vodka’

October 3, 2010

Vodka Sauce

My weekend “relaxing at home” usually consists of turning on Food Network or the Cooking Channel and writing up my weekly menu plan and playing in my kitchen cooking up some recipe on my mind.

This particular weekend I was watching the Barefoot Contessa with Ina Garten (who by the way has provided so much inspiration to me, as a woman who started out working at the White House on the nuclear energy policy, decided one day she was going to quit her job and do something so completely opposite and open a specialty food store – and she became crazy successful!). This episode Ina had a guest chef who was sharing a recipe from his restaurant.  Apparently the recipe was one which the owners of the restaurant was able to learn from a chef on a trip to Italy. So this is an authentic dish from Italy!   

  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

    In and oven safe pot (I used my brand new Le Cruset cast iron dutch oven) Over medium heat saute the onion in the olive oil until it becomes translucent, add the garlic and sautee until the onion becomes a little carmelized. (Don’t burn the onion or garlic otherwise you will get a very bitter flavor in your sauce).

    New Toy

    Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute.  Then add the vodka and allow it to reduce a little.  Now you want to add the tomatoes, crush each whole tomato in your hand before you add it to the pan, then add the liquid and stir. Add salt and pepper. I would add at least 1/2 tablespoon of salt, the tomatoes are not very salty.

    Cover the pot and place in the oven for for 1 1/2 hours.

    Remove the sauce from the oven and cool.  At this point you can place the sauce in a jar and put it in the fridge and finish for another day. Or cool it enough to place the sauce in a blender and puree.

    Next put the sauce back in the pan and add resh oregano, heavy cream and some more salt and pepper. Cook aout 10 minutes.

    Serve over pasta with grated parmesan cheese. (pictured here with my Meatballs)

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    December 17, 2009

    Flavored Vodka…….YAY! (For my Friend Shawnee)

    Yes my pregnant friend has been the inspiration of my recent experimentation in flavored vodka! She’s hoping this gives me enough practice to perfect the process for when she can drink again. Silly girl! 🙂 So my first try is with Mango and Lavender. Yes I said Lavender. Another friend of mine suggested I experiment with Lavender as an edible ingredient since it seems to be the new “thing.” So my first thought was Lavender vodka, but I wanted another flavor to help it out – Mango (one of my favorites).

    750 ml Mid-grade vodka (I used Smirnoff – Skyy or Absolute would work too according to Shawnee)
    1t. lavender (crush it up)
    1 pakage frozen mango (Choose fresh if possible, there were no fresh mangos in the store right now)

    In a jar with an airtight lid pour mango in the jar and sprinkle lavender. Pour vodka over the fruit. Store in a place out of direct sunlight and shake every day or so. Since lavendar is strong I added very very little of it and I will infuse this flavor for 5 days and then taste to see how it’s coming along – good I hope.

    During this process if the fruit becomes brown in color, remove those pieces. You can also replace with fresher fruit half way through the process too. (The mango was fine for 5 days).  Ingredients that have a strong flavor (lavender, citrus, grapes) will likely infuse in just a few days. While subtle flavors (like almonds or apples) could use up to a month of infusing. If you are infusing subtle flavors with a more intense flavor add the intense ingredient(s) at the end for the last few days. (as I figure this out I’ll update this post)

    Once the fruit is done infusing, strain the vodka and then pour into a nice bottle. Try The Container Store this website is so cool. It appeals to my love of organization! 🙂 The jar above with the mini chalk board I found at World Market ($4.99)

    I will update this post as my experiment progresses…next experiment flavors to try:

    Almond
    Cherry Vanilla
    Pomegranate lime
    Limoncello