The Best Tomatoes For Cooking Sauces

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Every gardener knows that nothing beats the taste of biting into a freshly grown tomato from your garden. Selecting tomatoes for sandwiches and salads, however, is different than those used for cooking. Tomatoes for sauces generally are meatier and denser than those eaten fresh.

When selecting the best tomatoes for cooking sauces, the experts at the Italian Home Cooking Blog suggest planting the following varieties.

Super Italian Paste

This Italian heirloom is reddish-orange in color and has piquant and firm flesh along with a lot of flavor. Plants produce lots of elongated six-inch long fruit that hold well after ripening.

Amish Paste

Originating in the Pennsylvania Amish country, this tomato is also good for eating fresh. It is a large, meaty, bright red tomato that many cooks believe is the ultimate paste tomato.

Roma

One of the most popular varieties, Roma tomatoes have few seeds in a very meaty interior. It has high levels of sugar, acids and pectin. Roma packs an incredible taste that intensifies when it cooks.

Viva Italia

These vigorous plants yield 3 oz. fruits that are ideal for soups and homemade ketchup.

San Marzano

This heirloom tomato features long, blocky fruit that matures in 80 days. They contain a small seed cavity that can be easily scooped out, leaving behind savory meat that is ideal for making sauces and for canning.

Big Mama

Plum-shaped and extremely meaty, Big Mama is an enormous tomato that grows as large as five inches long and three inches wide. This variety is easy to peel and core and is geared toward thick, homemade sauces.

Little Mama

Little Mama produces huge clusters of small Roma-like fruit on vigorous vines. The firm, rich flesh cooks into a dense sauce, while the raspberry-red skin is thin and perfect, guaranteeing that every dish looks as good as it tastes.

Tangerine Mama

With a gorgeous orange color that stays that way even during cooking, Tangerine Mama has fruit with rich, tangy flavor that adds zest to any sauce.

 

If you do not growing your own tomatoes, always choose ones at the store that are firm and not overripe for the best results.

For more advice and delicious cooking tips, visit us often at the Italian Home Kitchen Blog.

A Successful Guide To Cooking With Wine

166223496Most people don’t realize there’s a science to cooking with wine. It you adhere to the right formulas, your cooked dish can be enhanced by the wine. If you fail to watch certain specific steps, you could end up with a dish that was ruined by the addition of wine.

Which Cooking Wines To Use

It is not imperative to use cooking wine; a good quality wine can also be added to dishes. In fact, if using a cooking wine, which has added salt, reduce the salt you would normally add to the dish to compensate. Do not waste a premium wine in a cooked dish, instead, always serve it with the meal. Never use a wine you don’t enjoy drinking for cooking.  The cooking process will only highlight the negative qualities you already dislike and destroy the dish’s flavor. If you would drink it, it’s OK to cook with it.

What Cookware To Use

If you’re planning to add wine to a dish as you cook it, do not use cast iron or aluminum cookware. Use enamel cookware so the flavors in the wine do not react to the materials that make up the cookware.  If you’re learning to use cooking wine in food, follow the pairing suggestions listed below.

Wine Pairing Suggestions

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•Full-bodied, Young Red Wine – use with red meat dishes and red sauces
• Earthy, Full-bodied Red Wine – use with soups containing root vegetables and beef stock
• Dry White Wine – use with cream sauces and seafood, poultry, pork and veal dishes
• Dry, Crisp White Wine – use with bouillabaisse and seafood soups
• Sweet White Wine – use with sweet desserts
• Sherry – use with consommé, vegetable soups and poultry
• Regional wines should be paired with regional foods

How to Cook with Wine

Cooking with wine is a process; do not rush it by adding wine and then bringing the mixture to a boil.  Never boil wine, instead bring the mixture to a simmer and cook it for at least 10 minutes so the wine flavors can mix with the other ingredients.  Wine takes time to impart its enhancing flavors, so don’t rush the dish or add the wine too late in its preparation and don’t forget to enjoy your meal!

Not Just Another Ordinary Grain: Polenta

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Many homeowners think that their kitchen has it all. However, what they are not aware of is that there is a wide variety of delicious foods available that they might not have even heard of. Polenta is one of these delicious dishes. It is a whole grain cornmeal that is packed with numerous different types of nutrients and vitamins.

What Is It?

Polenta can be understood simply as cooked cornmeal. While it was once a solution to affordable food, it has quickly risen up the culinary chain. It is now on its way to gourmet menus and cookbooks, and has captured the attention of numerous chefs. Preparing polenta on your own can be very simply and delicious. In order to make it, all that you have to do is grind the dried corn in water or broth in order to create a warm and creamy mixture. It has a nutty flavor, combined with classic corn, and it can be mixed with a wide variety of other foods as well. You can add just about anything to it to add some delicious flair.

Creating The Best Polenta

Cornmeal is typically available in a wide variety of different types and textures. In order to get the best results, however, it is recommended for you to choose cornmeal that is white or yellow, as blue cornmeal is usually much coarser. Cooking the polenta can be very easy. A ratio of cooking a standard batch is usually one cup of cornmeal for every four cups of liquid. This can be changed once you get more used to cooking the food, and know what type of consistency you want. One cup of the cornmeal will typically produce three cups of polenta. A cup of polenta by itself has only one hundred and fifty calories, three grams of protein, three grams of fiber, one gram of fat, and no cholesterol at all.

This delicious dish can be introduced as a side piece to a main meal, or prepared as a snack, and it even can be created into a breakfast creation! With how simple it is to make, it is not surprising that more and more people are beginning to add polenta to their cooking repertoire.

There Are So many Different Ways To Prepare Polenta, The Possibilities Are Endless:

Clean Your Plate! Cooking Tips For You!

71571599Cooking a delicious meal is not nearly as difficult as some people think. The most important part is having a good recipe. After that, it’s just a simple matter of buying the right ingredients, knowing your household measurements and following the steps. There’s no reason to try to be a gourmet chef right away.

Pasta is one of the best things that you can cook during the course of the day for the nutrients and carbs that it brings and its pleasant aroma. Make sure that your water is boiling for at least two minutes before you put your pasta into the pot for maximum quality.

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For stir fry with an authentic Chinese touch, try using their velveting technique! Prepare a mixture of corn starch, egg whites, seasonings and sherry and set your pork, chicken or shrimp in it for about half an hour. Then, blanch it in hot oil or boiling water for shiny, tender and delicious restaurant quality stir fry.

You can save a lot of money by buying potatoes for your favorite dishes in larger quantities. Make sure you store them in a cool dark place (preferably in a root cellar). Place them in a crate loosely and keep the storage temperature between 45 and 50 degrees F. Avoid storing them in the refrigerator as they become sweet.

To get the best sear and the crispiest crust on everything from fish to meats to other pan fried foods, the secret is a hot pan. Getting a nice brown color on your food requires a pan that is as hot as possible before the food hits its surface. Because the exterior of the food cooks first, you get only one chance to create that perfect golden color and crispy texture, so heat your pan and oil for several minutes prior.

Make sure to prepare your dishes the night before. Create marinades and allow your meat to sit in the refrigerator overnight. By doing most of the prep the night before, you make a delicious tasting meal. You also lower the amount of stress when making the meal before your guests arrive.

101084999When you are going to the store, do not always have a large shopping list which can restrain you to just getting certain items. See what you like and what you are in the mood for and purchase based on that. This will give you the spontaneity to cook whatever you choose.

If you are having a lot of trouble with cooking, sign up for a cooking class with a friend. Here, you will not only learn the recipes that you desire to know but also the techniques to maximize your abilities as a cook. This will be an important skill to use for the rest of your life.

It doesn’t matter how old or young, anyone can learn how to cook a fantastic meal. Start with a simple recipe and follow the directions exactly as written. Thousands of recipes are available online. As you get more comfortable with cooking, you can start changing the recipes to suit your particular taste preferences.