Thursday, March 23, 2006

Being a bad bad blogger...

Apologies all around for the lack of posting. This past week THE HUNGRY ROSE has become THE BUSY BUSY ROSE.

As I mentioned in the previous post's comments, the photos were of homemade ricotta cheese and ingredients for a marinara sauce I made later that day. They were both for a delicious lasagne I served for a small St. Pattie's Day get-together at my place.

Here's another pic to keep you salivating before I post the recipes and even more lovely food porn (beautifully taken by my dear friend Tanying):

to continue reading...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Guess what I'm making today?

I'm working on a few cooking projects during this week, my spring break. Can you figure out what I'm making?

Here's a picture of homemade "something" I made this morning:

and a picture of some other ingredients I'm using:

Any guesses?

to continue reading...

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sticker, Sticker, SHOCK! Plus a shout out for recipe suggestions.

A quick stop by the local supermarket yesterday for just one item gave me a near heart attack.

Really, I could feel the air being sucked out of my lungs as I stared at the shelves.

And what exactly did I see that put me in such distress?

Dear reader, it was the price of pasta sauce.

Yes, pasta sauce. The lovely red marinara, vodka and cream varieties you mix into your bowl of pasta.

There on the shelf I saw the numbers flash before me: $6.99, $7.99, and even $8.99!!!

WHAT!!! $8.99 for a jar of boiled tomatoes, herbs and spices? I don’t care how famous a chef is or how celebrated some exclusive restaurant may be, nobody should be charging that much for PASTA SAUCE!

Is there some sort of exquisite ingredient that’s cooked in it? What could cost so much that somebody thinks they can get a way with charging that much for PASTA SAUCE? Nothing I could read off any of their labels indicated a special ingredient—there were no truffles or other expensive foodstuffs. I mean, are they getting their basil off a special farm in a far, far away land? Highly doubtful.

Really, its pasta sauce folks, mostly tomatoes and water. It's probably bottled in a plant somewhere in America. If someone could justify these prices, please do—I can’t find a good reason.

Now, you’re probably asking how come I never knew about the ridiculous prices before yesterday. Well, in college my roommate taught me to make my own sauce and on the few occasions we did buy sauce, on our budgets, it was Prego (which I might add was the cheapest bottle I saw yesterday at $3.29). Even when I moved back to New York, I tended to make my own sauce—though it was a rather simple recipe with little flavor, it was easy enough and I was, quite frankly, just used to making it.

At some point my mother started giving me bottles of Victoria’s Marinara Sauce, which she bought at a discount from a local wholesale close-out store. I used them on occasion, especially when I was short on time. When my stock ran out recently, I thought I should buy a bottle of sauce just for last minute food emergencies.

So on my way home from classes I dropped by the local supermarket and there I stood with my eyes wide opened and my heart beating away.

I can still hear my inner monologue: “$8.99! What the #%&*@!”

After calming down a bit, browsing the shelves and comparing ingredients on the labels, I decided on a jar of Barilla Tomato and Basil sauce (only $3.89, whew!).

As I walked home, my shock gradually turned into curiosity and I realized that I should turn my exasperation into a cooking challenge.

My own old homemade pasta sauces, while perfectly decent, never wowed me either. One of the reasons I always accepted my mother’s donations of Victoria bottles was that unlike my own versions or the Prego, it has a real smooth aftertaste with little acidity, a creamy texture and the flavors are understated. My experiment, therefore, will be to find a recipe that emulates this subtlety.

For this, I am asking readers if they could direct me to their favorite pasta sauce recipes or helpful tips that might help me in this project. Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. And a big “Thank you!” in advance.

P.S. The Barilla wasn’t too bad, but it’s nothing like Victoria and closer in taste to the Prego.

Now, for Weekend Dog Blogging I introduce to you last week's guilty instigator of D's scratched eye:

G is my brother's Alaskan Malamute, a big fluffly cutiepie and a sweetheart (most of the time). We've forgiven him for last week's incident, but according to my dad he's on probabtion in our house. For more adorable better behaved doggies, go check out all the WDB entries over at Sweetnicks!

*Pasta photo is courtesy of John Wise-he's got some great travel photography on his blog. Go check it out!

to continue reading...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Almost here!

Trader Joe's will open it's first Manhattan location on St. Patrick's Day, March 17th!

to continue reading...