Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Tomato Sauce Diaries

Tomato sauce was on sale this week for $0.35 cents a can, so I went crazy at the grocery store and walked out with a cart full of lil' red cans rolling around and clanking against the metal grating like wild ping pong balls.

When I got home to my apartment, I realized that I had forgotten the limits of my closet-sized Bay Area kitchen. I had bought too much. Here, I can no longer ravage the shelves of Costco by buying gallon-sized Dijon mustard or stocking up my freezer with a 10-pound bag of bulk onion bagels. Plus, I found out the hard way that using massive warehouse cans as furniture is only novel for so long.

Although I tried rearranging the cupboards to make room for the tomato sauce, each time I turned my back to retrieve more cans from the grocery bags, an open box of pasta would slide out of the inundated shelves and spill onto the ground. After I realized the unattractiveness of the cans lining the sides of the hallway and the potential poison hazard posed by putting food next to corrosive drain unclogging solution, I decided it was time for the sauce to go and for me to engage in "Iron Chef Battle Canned Tomato Sauce."

With three hours left on my clock, I went crazy. Can openers whirred, razor-thin metal plates flew in the garbage can, pots boiled over, and I furiously chopped fresh tomatoes and cilantro.

Three hours later, I was finished. Tomato sauce was a staple ingredient in every dish that I made.

The first course was a simple pico de gallo salsa, made with sweet vine-ripened tomatoes, pungent tear-inducing yellow onion, freshly-squeezed lime juice, and fistfuls of leafy cilantro. Although not a traditional ingredient, tomato sauce helped unify the sauce ingredients and bring out the fieriness of the hot peppers.

The main course of the evening was chicken enchiladas slathered with a cumin and chili powder-infused tomato sauce and wrapped in soft white corn tortillas. The tops of the enchiladas were sprinkled with blisteringly hot and stringy cheese, while the insides were flavored with pickled jalapeƱos, shredded chicken breast meat, and refreshing handfuls of chopped cilantro.

The last course was essentially a side dish of Spanish rice. Instead of blending fresh tomatoes to use as the base, using canned tomato sauce adds a depth of richness and vibrancy to the fluffy steamed rice.

Although I considered making tomato sauce ice cream, I called it quits after the rice. However, looking at the damage done to the stocked shelves of tomato sauce, I was content. The empty cans lying lifelessly in the pile of rubble was indicative of a triumphant victory in my "Iron Chef Battle Tomato Sauce."


  1. Hi! That meal looks absolutely delicious. i've never tried making mexican food, but will now. i usually make asian stuff.
    nice clean blog.

  2. also saw your post on chinese beef noodle soup. too bad we couldn't synchronize the post. me and kirk from (mmm-yoso) decided to do a joint thing. check it out if you're free.

  3. Jone -- that's it, the minute you visit me in New York, you're doing the cooking. Those pictures look too good. And what can I say about the Tommy's Joynt piece -- that place has saved my stomach more times than should be allowed. Buffalo stew ahoy! Hope all is well otherwise. I linked to your blog from my website, if you don't mind. :<)

  4. Thanks for the kind comments Dylan! I checked your "NRM" posting and your NRM looks incredible! While I was at your site, I also looked at some of the other dishes you made, and came to the conclusion that you either a: 1) professional cook or 2) you have a Chinese mother who taught you very, very, very well.

  5. SHANE! It is so wonderful to hear from you! I'd love to visit NY, and would love even more to make you a huge meal of anything you'd like!

    Of course you can link to me (I need all of the traffic I can get).

    I miss you and hope everything is going well.

  6. Man I'm hungry...that stuff looks so good...

  7. Thanks for visiting Bryan! If this is the Byran that is somehow related to a "very close" friend of mine, I'd love to make you and your wife a delicious meal next time you stop by SF! Take care.


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! I read and enjoy every comment, and will try to reply if time permits. If you have a blog, please leave a link. I love to discover new and delicious sites!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...