Alton Brown’s “EveryDayCook”
Two huge things that I picked up from AB’s book were ‘Herb Oil’ and ‘Weeknight Spaghetti Sauce’. Spaghetti is one of the core pillars of my relationship with D and we were over the moon with how quickly we kicked up our casual cooking. Stuffed Shells, Parmesan Chicken, Lasagna, anything that needed a red sauce got a boost in flavor overnight. I’ve also used the oil for garlic bread, pan frying chicken and meat balls, and a light vegetable dressing.
AB calls for:
16oz (2 cups) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 Cloves Crushed Garlic
3 Thyme Sprigs
2 Rosemary Sprigs
10 Basil Leaves
Feel free to adjust to taste. With the basic idea in mind, you can make oils out of all types of herb combos. I stick to a heavy garlic/basil theme since I do a lot of Pastas and Chicken, but feel free to go nuts with your staple flavors.
Combine everything into a pot over medium heat. Let the oil bubble until the garlic starts to brown.
Bam, you now have 2 cups of fancy herb oil.
Important Note: Infusing Garlic in Oil creates the perfect environment for botulism to grow. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week. Frozen oil lasts about 2 months. Please be aware of when food was prepared and if in doubt, throw it out! When we’re talking about making large batches of food in advance, its always important to go above and beyond to ensure proper food storage the entire way through.
Weeknight Spaghetti Sauce:
AB calls for:
3 Tablespoons Herb Oil
28oz San Marzano Whole Tomatoes, drained.
(or any 28oz can of whole tomatoes will do, this is the brand that AB likes.)
1 Teaspoon Salt
D is used to commercial sauces, which are much sweeter, so I also add between a quarter and a half a teaspoon of sugar to balance the acidity.
Heat the oil in a wide pan over medium heat.
Drain the tomatoes and throw away the puree from the can. (I had a friend not do this. They wont not do this again.)
Add tomatoes, salt, and in my opinion sugar, and cook down until saucified.
Add pasta of any kind, make it a meat sauce by adding ground beef, or tweak it for your own personal flavor profile. The idea is basic enough to take it anywhere. I’m already thinking of new ways to use them just writing this!
It takes some extra time, but not a lot of extra effort to elevate every day dishes.
I now have a solid head start to many home made meals. I’ve made the sauce about a dozen times and the oil about half, and it’s become a nice routine. Especially since I’m waiting a chunk of time to boil water for pasta anyway!
Please go out and buy Alton Brown’s book.
It’s full of lots of other tasty recipes.
I highly recommend the chicken meatballs.
Bonus: Garlic Bread Who makes Spaghetti without Garlic Bread? Tsk Tsk, AB! Herb Oil Loaf of Bread Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded Slice your favorite loaf of bread from your favorite bakery. What do you mean you don't go all out on bread? Fine, pick up a French or Italian loaf from your grocery store. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees Slice Bread. Coat one side with Herb Oil. Place on baking sheet. Coat with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake until cheese is lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes.