Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Short Cuts

In a perfect world I'd chop all my veggies and slow-cook all my sauces. But last time I checked North Korea had the bomb and Ray Romano's still alive, so it's clearly not a perfect world. Here are a few of my favorite culinary shortcuts:

1. Frozen garlic cubes. You get these little frozen bits of chopped up garlic--like all great things a product of Israel--at Trader Joe's. They're quick, convenient, and actually contain pretty much just garlic (unlike a lot of the other garlic pastes or jars of chopped garlic). A little tricky to use at first--make sure you keep your stove top temperature pretty low and keep stirring the cubes around until they melt into your oil--but when you figure it out you get a flavor and aroma that's pretty damn close to freshly chopped garlic.

2. Pasta sauce. Yes, I know. I use jarred sauce. I'm sorry. But I mean, really, unless I'm making from-scratch sauce from fresh tomatoes, what's the REAL difference between making a sauce from canned tomatoes and from a nice simple ready-made marinara? You can still add your sausage, veggies, and herbs--it's just that initial heavy lifting that's been done for you.

3. Salad dressing. Yeah, I'll even buy vinaigrettes. It's just easier and usually tastes better.

4. Salsa. Actually, this isn't so much a short cut, but I just really like cheap, cooked, room-temperature jarred salsa. It actually tastes like something, as opposed to salsa crudas or salsa fresca which just taste like cold and cilantro.

This wasn't a very interesting post. Sorry.

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