30 Delicious Things To Cook In September

WHAT’S IN SEASON:

(This will vary depending on time of the month and where you live)

Apples
Arugula
Beans
Beets
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Fennel
Figs
Grapes
Mangoes
Melons
Okra
Pears
Peppers
Plums
Pumpkins
Raspberries
Shallots
Sorrel
Summer squash
Tomatoes
Watercress
Watermelon
Winter squash

1. Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Recipe here.

2. Peanut Butter Cup S’moreo Bars

And, the s’moreo is born. Recipe here.

3. Parmesan Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

I’m on board with anything that involves baked parmesan. Recipe here.

4. Steak Tacos with Cherry Chipotle Salsa

Recipe here.

5. Cornmeal Crepes with Figs and Pears

A reason to wake up in time for breakfast. Recipe here.

6. Zucchini and Chickpea Tagine

Recipe here.

7. Brownie Pie

The hybrid dessert craze is in full swing, and I’m okay with it. Recipe here.

8. Deep Dish Roasted Vegetable Pizza

Best thing about September? Eggplants and tomatoes still abound, and bikini season is a whole nine months away. Recipe here.

9. Yogurt-Marinated Lamb Skewers

The perfect way to close out grilling season. Recipe here.

10. Peanut Butter and Jelly Popcorn

The easiest, most delicious thing you’ve never made. Recipe here.

11. End of Summer Ratatouille

Photo by Izy Hossak / buzzfeed.com

The easiest ratatouille you will ever make. Recipe here.

12. Honey Apple Cake

Whether you celebrate Rosh Hashanah or not, this cake is unbeatable in its simplicity. Recipe here.

13. Fig and Bourbon Fizz

Recipe here.

14. Pork and Plums

Single pan cooking doesn’t get much prettier than this. Recipe here.

15. Feta Cheese, Arugula, and Poached Egg Open Sandwich

Recipe here.

16. Concord Grape Jam

No shame in making a PB&J the old-fashioned way. Recipe here.

17. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Healthier than the regular kind? Maybe. Recipe here.

18. Bananas Foster

Seasons come and go, but overripe bananas seem to be a never ending problem. Recipe here.

19. Spiced Okra

Anice alternative to the battered and deep-fried classic. Recipe here.

20. Maple Fig Wheat Berry Oatmeal

Because it’s just about time for hot breakfasts again. Recipe here.

21. Cherry Tomato, Prosciutto, and Ricotta Fritatta

Recipe here.

22. Parchment Poached Salmon Pouches

Now that it’s safe to turn the oven on, learn how to cook fish the easy way. Recipe here.

23. Rosemary Roasted Squash and Mushroom Salad

Recipe here.

24. Whole Wheat Chocolate Fudge Zucchini Snack Cake with Candied Pistachios

Whole wheat? Nuts? Vegetables!? Definitely passable as a breakfast food. Recipe here.

25. Caprese Chicken

Recipe here.

26. Wilted Escarole with Feta, Walnuts, and Honey

Recipe here.

27. Goat Cheesekake with Figs, Pecans, and Honey

So perfect you almost don’t even want to cut into it. Recipe here.

28. Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

You’ll never be the same after this. Recipe here.

29. Eggplant Involtini

Recipe here.

30. Salami Sub with White Bean Spread and Kale Slaw

Suzanne Lehrer / seriouseats.com

You’ll want to bring your lunch to work. Recipe here.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/things-to-cook-in-september

21 Ways To Bling Out Your Brownies

Most of these ideas will work with any basic brownie as a starting point. If your favorite comes out of a box, you’re in good company. Or a lot of people in the world seem to like Katharine Hepburn’s family recipe. Now, here’s how to add a little swag:

1. Add lots of nuts.

The walnut is an especially brownie-friendly nut. Get this recipe at Grown to Cook.

2. Bury with fudge and sprinkles.

Get a the recipe for buttermilk-chocolate fudge frosting at Confessions of A Cookbook Queen.

3. Devote equal vertical space to chocolate chip cookie dough.

At LEAST equal. Possibly more. Get the recipe at Brown Eyed Baker.

4. Layer with cookie dough AND oreos.

Say hello to the Slutty Brownie. Get the recipe at What’s Gaby Cooking.

5. Bake brownie ice cream bowls.

You’ll need a special pan, which you can get here. Find tips and recipe at Love From the Oven.

6. Peanut. Butter. Pretzel. Brownies.

You can thank Joy the Baker for this paradigm shift.

7. Top with a raspberry-goat cheese swirl.

Good for bringing dessert snobs around to the brownie way of life. Get the recipe at The Kitchn.

8. Stencil pretty powdered sugar patterns.

Crafty! You’ll need cardstock and an x-acto knife. Designer Anna Bondoc shows how to do it here.

9. Pile on peanut butter frosting and crispy chocolate ganache.

BRB have to go stare at this photo for a while and then pass out.

Recipe at Babble.

10. Swap heart cutouts between brownies and blondies.

Adorable and probably good for seducing crushes. Recipe and instructions at Smitten Kitchen.

11. Serve one big brownie tart for a party.

Top with whipped cream if you want to be really fancy. Recipe at Babble.

12. Put them on popsicle sticks.

You’ll need candy melts if you want to dip them, but just a basic brownie-on-a-stick is pretty delightful too. Get instructions at Munchkin Munchies.

13. Fill them with caramel and chocolate chips.

Easier than you think. The Pioneer Woman’s recipe is about as glamorous as cake mix, evaporated milk, and melted caramel candies will ever get.

14. Dress them up in chocolate lace.

Not for the faint of chocolate-piping heart. You can find the recipe, including how-to tips, at Cafe Fernando.

15. Add a pumpkin cheesecake swirl.

Bonus: gluten-free. Get the recipe at The Bojon Gourmet.

16. Always frost twice for good measure.

Hell, add bourbon while you’re at it! Get the recipe at Fort Mill SC Living.

17. Try “beer and nuts” (peanut butter and stout) brownies.

Ideal football game food. The recipe is at Raspberri Cupcakes.

18. Bake them inside egg shells!

WHAT?

Follow the directions for Easter cupcakes at Delicious Days, but swap in your favorite brownie batter. Idea is from La Receta De Felicidad.

19. Borrow the magic of s’mores.

And ask yourself why it took so long. Recipe at Prevention RD.

20. Stack with mint marshmallow fluff and oreos.

Fresh! Get the recipe at Averie Cooks.

21. Disguise them as cupcakes.

Even weirdos who don’t like brownies might fall for one that looks like a cupcake. This recipe, with hazelnut ganache frosting, is at Butter Baking.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/21-ways-to-bling-out-your-brownies

17 Red Lobster Recipes In Case The Seafood Chain Goes Away Forever

Red Lobster isn’t making enough money, and its parent company, Darden, which also owns Olive Garden and other chains, all but rang a death knell when it announced today that it would either spin off or sell the seafood chain. While no Red Lobster locations are disappearing for now, this is bad news for the chain.

But in a way, good riddance: When BuzzFeed reached out to Darden about the source of Red Lobster and Olive Gardens’ seafood two months ago for a separate article, the spokesperson refused to give us any information at all about where the chains’ food comes from. Given that seafood producers in China and Thailand are known to feed their shrimp untreated animal feces, and those countries supply nearly half of America’s seafood, most of which is never inspected, Darden’s lack of transparency is outdated and unacceptable. (Remember that Portlandia sketch about ordering happy, local chicken? It might beat being refused any information about the shrimp you’re eating when you ask the company directly.)

So here’s the plan: If Red Lobster disappears, it’s mostly* OK, because you are going to make your favorite dishes yourself because it’s easy and you’re going to use seafood that didn’t maybe eat poop when it was alive.

*Except that people might lose their jobs and this sucks.

7. Parrot Bay Coconut Shrimp

10. White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

Recipe here.

12. Maple Glazed Salmon and Shrimp

Recipe here

14. Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

Recipe here.

15. Crab- and Lobster-Stuffed Mushrooms

Recipe here.

16. Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Shrimp

Get the recipe.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/emofly/red-lobster-copycat-recipes

How To Make Spaghetti With Prosciutto, Dried Figs And Goat Cheese

Graphic by Chris Ritter / Photos by Macey Foronda

2. Spaghetti with Prosciutto, Dried Figs, and Goat Cheese

Serves 4

Recipe by Rebekah Peppler

INGREDIENTS
1 lb spaghetti
1 lb sliced prosciutto
1 cup dried figs
5 oz. crumbled goat cheese, divided
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

PREPARATION:
Cook spaghetti according to package directions, until al dente. Drain through a colander, reserving about a cup of the pasta water.

Cut prosciutto into strips, roughly 1-inch long and 1/4-inch wide. Slice dried figs into thin rounds, being sure to remove the hard stems.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil i over medium heat. Add sliced prosciutto and cook for about 3 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking, until the pieces are lightly browned and crisp . Add sliced figs and cook for 2 minutes, moving them around the skillet occasionally, until the figs are soft and slightly browned. Add 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese, and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir together to melt the cheese slightly, then add cooked spaghetti, season with salt and pepper, and toss.

Serve immediately with an additional 1 oz. crumbled goat cheese sprinkled on top.

Macey Foronda

4. For this recipe, you’ll need a 12-inch skillet and a large pot to cook the pasta.

 

You can get a great skillet here (pictured left, worth the price, will last forever) or a more affordable decent one here. Any stock pot that’s at least 8 quarts will work, but a 12-quart pot (pictured right) is your best bet. Get a simple one here.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/how-to-make-spaghetti-with-prosciutto-dried-figs-and-goat-ch

28 Delicious Things To Cook In February

Wall calendar available here.

WHAT’S IN SEASON:
(This will vary depending on the time of the month and where you live.)

Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Chicory
Clementines
Cranberries
Grapefruit
Kale
Leeks
Lemons
Oranges
Parsnips
Pears
Persimmons
Pomegranates
Shallots
Spinach
Sweet Potatoes
Tangelos
Tangerines
Turnips
Winter Squash

1. Sweet Tea-Brined Hot Chicken Wings

Perfect for a Super Bowl party, equally delicious for a fun dinner. Recipe here.

2. Garlicky Winter Greens and Chickpea Salad

Recipe here.

3. Lemon Bars

Tangy, delicate, and totally perfect. Recipe here.

4. Vegan Cauliflower Fettuccine “Alfredo”

Far healthier than the original, and possibly equally delicious? Recipe here.

5. Brussels Sprout and Carrot Salad with Cara Cara, Avocado, and Orange Tahini Dressing

Recipe here.

6. Polenta Fries

Recipe here.

7. Quinoa, Persimmon, and Almond Porridge

Waking up is hard to do, especially when it’s below freezing. Fresh, colorful fruit makes things a little easier. Recipe here.

8. Pork and Kimchi Noodle Stir Fry

Better than takeout. Recipe here.

9. Miso Shiitake Soba Soup

Hearty without being heavy. Recipe here.

10. Toasted Pistachio and Pineapple Muesli

Recipe here.

11. Barley, Cauliflower, and Herbs with Burrata

Christopher Baker / bonappetit.com

Recipe here.

12. Cinnamon Infused Hot Chocolate

Recipe here.

13. Asian Oven Roasted Pulled Pork

The perfect set-it-and-forget-it weekend dinner (with leftovers for days). Recipe here.

14. Crispy Delicata Rings With Currant, Fennel, and Apple Relish

Recipe here.

15. Pomegranate, Kale and Wild Rice Salad with Walnuts and Feta

A not-too-healthy way to take advantage of seasonal produce. Recipe here.

16. Chicken Khao Soi

Ditte Isager / bonappetit.com

Recipe here.

17. Chocolate Panna Cotta with Spiced Pepita Brittle

Con Poulos / foodandwine.com

To really impress your valentine. Recipe here.

18. Pot Au Feu

Braised beef, classic French style. Recipe here.

19. Grapefruit Curd Stuffed Donuts

I’ll never be sick of lemon curd, but it’s nice to change things up every once in a while. Recipe here.

20. Winter Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage

Christina Holmes / bonappetit.com

Recipe here.

21. Roasted Sunchoke Soup with Caramelized Shallots

If you’re getting a little bit tired of winter squash soup, this sunchoke version is nice little twist. Recipe here.

22. Slow-Cooker Sour Cream Cheesecake

Ellie Miller / foodandwine.com

Further proof that everybody needs a slow cooker. Recipe here.

23. Grown-Up Tater Tots

Not really all that similar to the tater tots of your cafeteria dreams. Better, actually. Recipe here.

24. Shaved Brussels Sprout, Lentil, Bacon and Pear Salad

Recipe here.

25. Grapefruit Old Fashioned

Unique enough to feel special, simple enough to be your go-to cocktail this month. Recipe here.

26. Roasted Salmon with Butter

Romulo Yanes / marthastewart.com

Recipe here.

27. Chocolate Whiskey Bundt Cake with Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Recipe here.

28. Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic and Herbs

Recipe here.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/28-delicious-things-to-cook-in-february-2014

24 Bubbly Cocktails For Your New Years Party

1. Oscar Buzz Cocktail

Blood orange, so glam. Recipe from Aida Mollenkamp.

2. French 75

THE iconic champagne cocktail. Perfect in every way. Recipe at Bon Appétit.

3. Black Velvet Cocktail

50% Guinness, 50% champagne, 100% YOLO.

4. Cherry Temple

This one’s cute but it ain’t for kids. Recipe at Effortless Chic.

6. Pink Champagne Punch

Dead simple (use bottled pomegranate juice) and very festive. Recipe at Gourmet.

7. Champagne Mint Mojito

You don’t have to use pink champagne, but all the cool kids are doing it. Just saying. Recipe at Be Filled Up.

8. Champagne Cocktail

Angostura bitters make a simple, old-fashioned, and super-classy drink. Recipe at The Kitchn.

9. Ruby Champagne Cocktail

Grapefruit may be controversial, but I think we can all agree that it plays nice with booze. Recipe at Bon Appétit.

10. Kir Royale

This uses crème de cassis, which sounds fancy, but it’s just currant-flavored liqueur. And look, it makes such a pretty color! Recipe at Martha Stewart.

11. Elderflower Champagne Cocktail

If you really want to be a trendsetter, you should just refuse hereforth to drink anything that doesn’t involve St. Germain. Recipe at Zested.

12. Champagne & Orange Cocktail

Your basic mimosa + a classy splash of Grand Marnier and bitters. Recipe at The Endless Meal.

13. Pomegranate Champagne Punch

Go big or go home. Recipe at Bon Appétit.

14. The Brooklyn Beauty

Lemon + gin + sparkle + St. Germain = possibly the most delightful alcoholic beverage known to man. Recipe at Crepes of Wrath.

16. Grapefruit Sorbet & Champagne Float

Hold the phone, did someone just say SORBET ~ IN ~ CHAMPAGNE? Recipe at Serious Eats.

18. Sunshine Dazzler

Sorry, can’t chat, too busy being blinded by this DAZZLING mango/OJ cocktail. Also, getting drunk. Recipe at At The Table.

19. Fruity Champagne Cocktails

How to Win at New Year’s Brunch: Blend your favorite frozen or fresh fruits into puree, add a couple spoonfuls to a pretty glass, and then add bubbles. From Ode to Awe.

21. London Style South-Side Royale

“South-side” is how they say “with mint and cucumber and gin” in Jolly Old England. Recipe at CHOW.

22. Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail

All dressed up for Christmas! Recipe at Tasty Trials.

24. Aperol Spritz

Super cute, super classy.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/24-champagne-cocktails-to-make-your-holiday-party

How To Throw A Historically Accurate Downton Abbey Dinner Party

1. We all wish our dinner parties looked like this.

3. And now they can! Because of this:

Career butler Stanley Ager wrote the book with the help of his former employer’s grand daughter, Fiona St. Augyn. It was originally published in 1980 under a different name, then rereleased last year.

It’s a book on how to run a large, formal British household written by Stanley Ager, a British butler. Ager started his 53-year career in 1922 when he was 14 years old, and spent thirty years working for the family at St. Michael’s Mount, a castle in Cornwall, England. He worked his way up from footman to head butler.

Now, maybe you don’t need a guide to being a butler. But you do need a guide to throwing a Downton Abbey-era dinner party, and Ager’s book delivers the goods. Plus, the introduction is written by the show’s historical advisor. (And of course, the historian who works on Downton Abbey is named Alastair Bruce.)

Ager writes: “I believe that conversation is the essence of a party, what you eat and drink is the spice of it and a well-laid table hints of what is to come, like the wrapping on a present.” Cool, let’s try to replicate that attitude.

What You’ll Need

– A white cloth tablecloth (nothing else will do). Make sure it hangs midway between the floor and the table.

– A wool cloth that goes underneath the formal tablecloth to keep it in place.

– Ager writes that the white napkins you use “should be approximately twenty-four to twenty-six inches on a side.” The napkins should be folded in The Bishop’s Miter style. You can find the directions here.

For a historically accurate Downton Abbey dinner party, you would use the formal place setting. Ager says the place setting “must be balanced…[and] must be in line with the centerpiece and candlesticks.” For accuracy use a tape measurer.

In Ager’s diagram of a place setting, the dinner plate will arrive when the meal is served.

– Use either fruit or flowers (not both) for the centerpiece. If flowers, make sure they don’t have a strong scent.

– The only light source should be candlelight. Use long white candles; they should be a little taller than the candlestick. Ensure that their placement doesn’t conflict with conversation. If you need light while you are serving food, a small dim light like a side lamp is okay.

Seating arrangements are a very important part of the meal. Your guests should sit directly across from one another, and before your guests sit down the chairs should be one and a half feet out from the table so that people can sit down with ease. If you have an odd number of guests the host should sit at the head of the table, two guests on either side, and two at the end.

– The head of the house generally sits at the head of the table. Occasionally Lord Grantham sits in the middle of the table across from his wife Cora — we can only assume this is because television has its own set of rules.

– The guest of honor sits next to the head of the house. If he or she brings a guest, that guest sits on the other side of the head of the house.

– The other guests at the table should be arranged by their interests. As Ager writes: Old men don’t want to sit next to wild teenagers.

Before dinner you will hold a cocktail hour, which can include sherry or cocktails, but definitely not wine due to its acidity.

Make this cocktail, The Bittersweet Mr. Bates, with this recipe.

20. Tips For Wine

– During the meal there should be multiple kinds of wine: white wine with the fish, red wine with the meat, and champagne with dessert.

– After the meal is over, serve coffee. After coffee, serve dessert wines like sherry and port or a digestif. Ager particularly recommends orange Curaçao.

– In the most formal houses, Stanley Ager says the wine was always decanted (poured into a clear, usually glass, vessel) once it was opened. Decanting is visually appealing, prevents the wine from mixing with sediment, and throughly aerates the wine. Slowly (very slowly) pour the wine in order to insure it gets oxygen.

– In the photo above Carson is seen straining the wine for sediment. You can do this by using a linen handkerchief or piece of gauze and putting it over the funnel of the decanter and then pouring the wine into the vessel.

A formal dinner from the era of Downton Abby could include up to twenty-two courses. We’ll just show you five that would have been served in that time. For references on more traditional meals you can consult Mrs Beeton, a well known British cookbook writer from the 19th centry, or food writer Pamela Foster’s blog downtonabbeycooks.com

Get the recipe here.

25. Poached Salmon With Mousseline Sauce

Find the recipe on Downton Abbey Cooks.

27. Boeuf Bourguignon

Get the recipe here.

29. French Green Beans

Find the recipe on here.

31. Raspberry Meringue Pudding

Get the recipe here.

These tips are written for servants. We’re assuming you don’t have very many of those, but here’s what they’d (you’d?) do in a historically accurate scenario:

– Don’t talk to the guests, avoid eye contact.

– Walk clockwise around the table.

– Bend at the waist to serve and lower the serving plate to an appropriate height so the guest can easily serve themselves.

– Wear white gloves or hide your serving hand in a napkin so the guests do not see your skin.

And of course, be sure your friends understand that only formal attire is acceptable.

The photo of the place setting was reprinted from the book The Butler’s Guide to Running the Home and Other Graces by Stanley Ager and Fiona St Aubyn. With permission from Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/arielknutson/how-to-throw-a-historically-accurate-downton-abbey

17 Desserts You Can Make On The Grill

1. Grilled Peaches with Bourbon Butter Sauce

Grilled fruit is so magical because it’s hot and sugary and tastes decadent without being awful for you. Recipe here.

2. Grilled Banana Boats

Nothing is more perfect than this banana s’more thing. Recipe here.

3. Chocolate Cherry Ricotta Grilled Pizzas

There’s a certain magic to a dessert pizza. Recipe here.

4. Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Sorbet

Consider your summer a complete failure if you don’t have grilled pineapple. IT IS SO GOOD. Recipe here.

5. Grilled Pound Cake with Cherry Compote

Don’t mind if I do. Recipe here.

6. Toasted Marshmallow, Bread, and Banana Sticks with Chocolate Fondue

That’s right, you can make CHOCOLATE FONDUE on the grill! Recipe here.

7. Grilled Doughnuts

I DARE you to put your fave doughnut on the grill this summer.

8. Grilled Fruit Cobbler

Topped with lots and lots of cold vanilla ice cream. Recipe here.

9. Grilled Banana Split

Food & Wine © Catherine Ledner

Why would you NOT put your bananas on the grill before adding them to your sundae? Recipe here.

10. Grilled Shortcake Skewers

What if you had a kebab party? Appetizer kebab, main course kebab, and dessert kebab. Wouldn’t that be amazing? Recipe here.

11. Grilled Orange Cupcake

This cupcake is baked inside of an orange for optimal orange flavor. Recipe here.

12. Grilled Blueberry Lemon Pie

Made in a skillet on the grill. Recipe here.

13. Grilled Bread Pudding

The foil here is key. Recipe here.

14. Grilled Chocolate Chip Cookies

Take your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough, put it on tin foil, and leave it on the grill for about 20 minutes.

15. Grilled Grapefruit with Mascarpone

You could probably pass this off as breakfast, too. Recipe here.

16. Grilled Strawberry Tart

Just look at that puddle of strawberry on the plate. Just look. Recipe here.

17. Grilled S’mores Pie

Gettin’ fancy over here. Recipe here.

Want more amazing recipes like these? Sign up for the BuzzFeed Food newsletter, and we’ll send them to you twice a week!

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Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/arielknutson/desserts-you-can-make-on-the-grill

How To Make The Best Tomato Sauce

Image by Chris Ritter

These are good tomatoes for making tomato sauce.

 

Plum tomatoes (left) are most common for tomato sauce. They have more flesh and fewer seeds, making for a thicker sauce.

Beefsteak tomatoes (right) — also called globe tomatoes or slicing tomatoes — are larger than plum tomatoes, which means less peeling. They are often sold on the vine, but don’t assume that this makes them better quality. A good way to judge a tomato is by its weight relative to its size (the heavier, the better). And, don’t choose tomatoes with ripped skin or bruising.

These are bad tomatoes for making tomato sauce.

 

Heirloom tomatoes (at left) are delicious, but they are also expensive, too expensive to be cooked down into a mushy sauce.

Cherry tomatoes (right) will take forever to peel because they’re so small, and don’t have much flesh anyway.

You will need to peel and crush them.

top: sheknows.com | second row: brooklynfarmhouse.com | center and bottom row: blog.williams-sonoma.com

Before you do anything, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Do not salt your water. If you do, the flesh of the tomatoes will get mealy and start to disintegrate. Then fill a bowl large enough to hold all of the tomatoes with ice water. Now you’re ready to start prep.

Step 1: Cut out the cores of your tomatoes with a paring knife. (pictured top left)

Step 2: Make a small “X” on the bottom of each tomato. This will allow the skin to separate from the flesh. (pictured top right)

Step 3: Plunge the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 30 seconds. Take your tomatoes out of the boiling water IMMEDIATELY when the skin starts to peel away. You don’t want to cook the flesh, you are just trying to loosen the skin. This shouldn’t take more than thirty seconds, and definitely not more than a minute. (pictured center)

Step 4: Immediately put the tomatoes in the ice water bath once they come out of the boiling water. This will stop the cooking process. (pictured bottom left)

Step 5: As soon as the tomatoes are cool (This should take a couple of minutes), gently peel the skin off. (pictured bottom right) This is best done with a paring knife. Don’t leave the tomatoes in the ice water for too long or they’ll start to get water logged, which will dilute the flavor. The skin should come off clean; if bits of flesh are sticking to the skin as you peel, it means your tomatoes are a little bit overcooked. Not a huge deal, but take them out of the boiling water sooner next time.

Step 6: Put the peeled tomatoes in a large bowl and crush them by hand. You don’t need to break them into small pieces; you’re really just breaking the tomatoes open to release the juice. See how much liquid comes out? That will be important later on.

Tomatoes are canned during peak season and ripeness, so they’ll be better than the tasteless, mealy tomatoes that you’ll find during late fall, winter and spring. Stick with those labeled “whole peeled” or “crushed,” as “diced” canned tomatoes tend to have more liquid and won’t give your sauce as much texture. Also, “fire roasted” canned tomatoes are fine, but stay away from those with added flavors, like basil or garlic. Those things are best added fresh.

To make a nice big batch of sauce, you’ll need about seven pounds of tomatoes.

 

That’s about four 28-oz cans. If you’re using fresh tomatoes, just weigh them at the grocery store.

Roast a whole head of garlic.

The easiest way to roast garlic: Take a whole, unpeeled head, and cut about an inch off the top, exposing the individual cloves. Season with oil, salt and pepper, then wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Roast at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the cloves are completely soft and slightly brown (you can unwrap the foil to check). Cool for about 10 minutes, then squeeze the soft, almost paste-like cloves out into a small bowl and set it aside.

Chop two large white onions, one large carrot, and two stalks of celery into rough 1/4 inch cubes.

Don’t stress too much about cutting the vegetables perfectly; you’re going to blend them eventually, anyway. The key is to make them small and uniformly sized so that they cook quickly and evenly.

Now, cook vegetables in a pot over low heat.

Mirepoix should be cooked slowly so that the vegetables get super flavorful. In a large sauce pot over low heat, add about two tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add vegetables, and cook just until the vegetables are soft. At this point, the onions should be translucent. Then, add your roasted garlic.

Don’t rush it by cranking the heat; burnt vegetables will just make your sauce bitter.

Every time you add an ingredient, add a pinch of salt.

Salt deepens flavor. It doesn’t add new flavors, just brings out flavors that are already there, making food taste more intense. It’s important to add salt as you go, so that you bring out the flavors of every ingredient. Add salt to vegetables while they sweat. Add salt when you pour the wine in. Add salt with the tomatoes.

As a general guideline, add salt 1/4 teaspoon at a time, tasting after every addition and adding more when necessary.

Don’t be afraid of sugar — 1/4 cup of sugar will bring out the natural sweetness of your vegetables. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar right after you’ve sweated your vegetables, then add the rest with your tomatoes.

Add 1/2 a bottle of red wine BEFORE you add the tomatoes. The wine will help neutralize that slightly acidic aftertaste that tomatoes sometimes have.

Let the wine reduce a little bit before adding anything else.

Because you’re adding wine before any other liquid, it will come to a boil quickly. Let it reduce by about 2/3. This way, you’ll get the sweet flavor of the wine, but the alcohol with have a chance to cook out.

Add your crushed tomatoes, along with the remaining sugar and some more salt. Do NOT puree immediately. Cook for 15 minutes over medium heat, so that the tomatoes are soft.

Soft, slightly cooked tomatoes will be easier to puree.

 

Because the tomatoes are warm and slightly softened, they will be easier to puree. Puree with an immersion blender, just until all the big pieces of tomato have been broken up. You still want your sauce to be a little bit chunky.

Sear your meat before you add it to the sauce pot.

 

Don’t add raw meat to your sauce. Searing it first will make it more flavorful. Plus, it’ll cook faster.

You can stick with the classics, like meatballs.

It’s especially important to sear meatballs ahead of time. If you don’t, they’ll fall apart. This is a reallly great meatball recipe that uses a combination of ground beef and ground pork.

Ground beef.

The author of this recipe uses this sauce in a cabbage casserole, but it would be great on pasta.

Or, add chicken thighs.

Smaller cuts of meat are best, since you want them to finish cooking and braising by the time your sauce is done.

Make sure your chicken gets cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees. Searing thighs, then simmering them for an hour and a half will cook them all the way though and give them a chance to braise and get really tender.

First, bring your blended sauce to a boil.

Then, turn heat to low and simmer gently for at least an hour, preferably 2 hours.

The longer it simmers, the more liquid will evaporate, leaving you with a thick, concentrated sauce.

Slow-simmered sauce is far more flavorful than anything you could make in twenty minutes.

17. Once your sauce is cool, make sure you store it properly.

Big-batch tomato sauce is great, but you probably need to store the leftovers in smaller batches. Figure out how much sauce you’ll use at a time — the more people you cook for, the more sauce you’ll need at once — and divide sauce into airtight containers (ball jars, tupperware, etc.) based on that amount. Sauce that you’ll use within a week can be stored in the fridge. Everything else goes in the freezer for up to three months.

21 Tacos That Have Lost Their Sense Of Self

1. The Waffle Taco

Q: When is a taco not a taco?
A: When it’s actually just a waffle folded in half.

2. See also: The Pancake Taco

Does it look delicious: YES
Is it a taco: NO

3. And: The Donut Taco

Booking you an appointment with a great taco therapist I know (right after I eat you).

4. The Lettuce Taco

Sure, “tacos.”

5. The Lion Meat Taco

You want to eat the King Of The Jungle, whatever. But a $35-per-taco price tag is not what tacos are about.

6. The “Taco-Stuffed Zucchini”

I see what you’re trying to do, and I don’t like it.

7. The Fruit Taco

Doooon’t think we’re on the same page here.

8. The Spaghetti Taco

Refuse to justify these with any kind of substantial criticism.

9. The Mac ‘n’ Cheese Taco

Taco, I want you to think long and hard about how you’ll feel about this when you’re 65.

10. The Grape Taco

LOL

11. The Cauliflower Tortilla Taco

Hahahaha nice try, secret vegetables that aren’t actually tortillas.

12. The Pizza Taco

Sometimes the whole is way, way less than the sum of its parts.

13. The Chocolate Taco

There’s been a terrible mistake.

14. The Pretzel Taco

Oh, no no, I mean, it’s just kind of a new look for you?

15. The Grub Taco

UGHHHGHGHGHHGHGHGHGHHG

16. The Bacon Taco

Had to happen sooner or later.

17. And: The Bacon Weave Choco Taco

I QUIT.

18. The Naan Taco

Sorry, but some cuisines are better left un-fused.

19. The Hot Dog Taco

So close, and yet so far.

20. The Cookie Taco

This isn’t how it was supposed to be.

21. The Pudding Taco

OK, whatever, this is quietly brilliant.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/tacos-that-have-lost-their-sense-of-self