February 17, 2010

Just don't call it tomato sauce

I like cookbooks.  I have quite a few.  Actually it's to the point where I have begun to wean out ones I don't use because I am running out of shelf space.  Prime real estate shelf space for keepers like "Deceptively Delicious" by Jessica Seinfeld.  

Are you familiar with this read?  Oh, has your book club done it?  

I received it as a gift and was surprised at how much I actually love the book.  It's premise is a guide to hiding fruits and vegetables inside unassuming cakes and chicken nuggets.  Bear and I don't need this kind of Tom Foolery, but Champ?  Yeah, I totally need to be deceptive with his veggies.

Jessica suggests having a freezer full of vegetable/fruit purees on hand to make recipe prep that much easier.  
I moved stuff around in my freezer so you could truly APPRECIATE the pile of COLOR that frozen purees provide.  Look how pretty!

If there's one tip from the book I'd pass on to you, I'd say follow the main theme and freeze some purees, especially if you are a member of a CSA as I am.  There's no waste or rotting of produce and I can use my purees throughout the year.  Plus, when my CSA has a surplus of squash, or kale or whatever else, I don't have to try and use it all right away.  The same concept can be applied to grocery store sales.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about gravy, not purees,  so POOF...


gravy it is.  Here's how to make a big 'ol batch of tomato gravy and hide tons of good for you veggies in it.

Good Gravy (as inspired by "Deceptively Delicious")
*makes a little over 3 quarts.  You can freeze leftovers* 

dump in to your crockpot:
- 2 28 oz cans tomato puree
- 1 quart canned tomatoes or a 28 oz can of tomatoes
- 1/4-1/2 C water (depending on a thin or thick gravy)
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 1 chopped onion
- 2T brown sugar (optional)
-  salt to taste (about 1t)

that's the basic recipe.  Now to this add:

 - 2 T dried Italian herbs (I use herbs I've hung to dry from my garden, so the flavors are always changing.  Oregano, thyme, marjoram and sage are all good choices)
- 1T fresh chopped herbs (again, I use herbs I've frozen, so it constantly changes, parsley, chives and oregano are good choices)
- 1/2 C "green" puree (spinach, kale, bok choy etc)
- 1/2 -1C any veggies you have floating around (mushrooms, peppers, summer squash etc.  If I know Champ wouldn't eat it if he SEES it, I just puree it and then add it in, otherwise it's diced)

 Set the crockpot to low and ignore it for 6-8 hours.  once you are back on speaking terms with it, you will have a flavorful, mellowed, veggie-packed gravy.  Adjust the seasonings to taste and serve.  Mangia!


Mama Zen said...

What a neat idea!

Anonymous said...

I used my Deceptively Delicious cookbook all the time. Now, I don't even need it. I just know what recipes work for my picky little boys. I have them memorized.
We love the pink pancakes! Perfect for Valentine's Day!!!
Love the term Gravy vs. Pasta sauce.
Must be that East Coast Italian in us huh?

Pam said...

Gotta love Philadelphia "gravy", I never knew that term til I moved to PA. Try carrots in the sauce, adds sweetness without sugar. Never put sugar in my sauce.
Love the pureed veggies ideas!

Mrs. Bird said...

Great advice, thanks!!! Sometimes we do get an abundance of something from our CSA I have no idea what to make!

Darlene said...

It is a GREAT idea to use the purees in sauces. It definitely gets "good for you" stuff in there. Great post!♥

Colleen said...

I have that book! I should use it more often. What I really want is the food saver in order to keep my frozen purees and what-not air tight. I really, really want that. sigh :)

Caroline said...

I have to ask ~ is 'gravy' more like soup? I mean gravy here is brown and meaty and goes over a roast dinner - always OVER something. Is this more like a thick, smooth soup that you eat on it's own with a hunk of bread?

Kate@And Then I Was a Mom said...

You know what? My mom gave me that cookbook and, embarrasingly, I never used it. But Aura is starting to suddenly become...choosier, shall we say, about veggies. It might be time to whip out the book and get crackin'. For now, I'll just be lazy and copy this recipe from your site, though. :-) Thanks!

T.J. said...

I'm glad you asked, Caroline! My Italian mother would have my head if I dared called it tomato sauce. I cringe even writing the words here (sorry Mom)! See, you're right though because we also use the word to refer to brown, meaty sauces that cover roasts. Moral of the story: if you say "pass the gravy" in my house you never know what you'll get!

laney said...

I have the cook book by Jessica Seinfeld and haven't really cooked any of the recipes, but have used the directions so I could puree my veggies to deceive...he he...my husband and children. They never knew that I put broccoli in their spagetti sauce!

natasha said...

Hello there,
Thank you for visiting me:0)
I came on over and boy am I glad I did.My four babes take much cajouling when it comes to veggies and sometimes this mama can't be arsed,sorry,make that,don't feel like it.So this recipe will help matters immensely:0)

Kate said...

Your freezer is beautiful! These are great ideas for getting healthful things into our food. I usually have a little garden and it is really gratifying to can or freeze fresh food. Now I can add puree-ing to my repetoire! Thanks for a great post.

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