Well well well, here I am back again. For the 3rd time this week I think? I feel very impressed with myself. So why another post you might ask? Well I am sitting outside enjoying the weather and a lovely iced coffee. My wife is on her computer blogging away, and has been for well over an hour, almost completely in her own little world, I have begun to feel lonely. So I’m turning to you blogsphere in the hopes that by the time I am done writing this Blog Beth will be done with her’s and we can hang out :).
Todays post is all about homemade products vs. Store Bought “Premade” products.
While I am a fan of some store bought premade products, like mayonnaise or the occasional box of mac and cheese. By and large I believe it is almost as easy and much cheaper to make many common items at home.
for example: Pizza Dough
Store bought fresh or frozen RAW pizza dough from Safeway is usually $3.99 for enough dough to make 1 medium sized pizza. More than enough for 2 people. While this method is still cheaper than buying a pizza from a restaurant or a frozen pizza from store. Pizza Dough is ridiculously easy to make and cost less than a dollar per medium pizza. Heres how I make a yeastless dough (which is basically just flat bread dough…but still really delicious)
Milk or water
thats it. Basically I put about 2 cups of flour in a bowl a few good pinches of salt and I add enough milk to make it a sticky dough. then I add a good glug (i know real technical with my measurements.) of olive oil to make the dough less sticky. then let it rest for about 10 to 15 mins in a warm environment. then roll it out, dock the dough with a fork *docking means to poke a few holes in the dough to allow the steam to escape* then top with whatever delicious toppings you like. Bake at 350 to 400 degrees
Pretty much easy peasy right? and since ALL of those Items are staples in my kitchen anyway (If you would like a full list of my pantry staples check out Whats in my Pantry?) our weekly pizza nights are pretty much free. This also has the benefit of health control, making your own pizza allows you to use whole wheat flour, low fat cheeses, and healthy toppings. 🙂
The last benefit to making your own pizza dough and all is it gives you complete creative control. This allows your adventurous cook to come alive, Pizza is one of the best mediums for discovering new flavor combinations. Because lets face it, almost anything tastes better with some cheese. For example just last week, I made a plain pizza dough with Caramelized Onions, Bacon, Sage, Tomato and Havarti Cheese. Not the healthiest thats for sure but my God was it delicious.
Another great example of making your own verses buying it made is Tomato Sauce. (while I do buy the stuff in the jar for emergency last minute meals) It is SOOOO much cheaper to make homemade Tomato Sauce, and SOOO easy. Heres the thing you can make it one of 2 ways.
First way is to take a bunch of Roma or Beefsteak tomatoes, and stew them for up to 6 hours in some water or stock until they become ridiculously soft and delicious. Puree them up and then cook the tomato puree with some garlic, white wine and basil for about 2 hours.
ORRRR…my personal favorite way…is buy those cheap cans of Tomato Sauce (plain) for about $0.85 a can.
I usually use at least 2 when making tomato sauce. With about 1/2 cup of white or red wine. 3 or 4 crushed garlic cloves and a heap of basil. I simmer that for as long as possible adding only about 1/2 of the basil in the beginning. then mix the rest of the basil in right before topping the pasta or whatever I’m making.
Again one of the major benefits to this is customization. You can add cheeses, veggies, meats, and flavoring liquids in endless combinations to create YOUR perfect sauce.
In the end I usually end up with an extra jar of sauce (which keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.) suitable for pizza, pasta and other delicious dishes. and it ends up being just about $2.00 for a the sauce for the initial meal, and at least 4 more.
Now if you want to get really crazy, Invest in a canning kit. Then you can make your own sauce, and store it for months! Saving you in the end a buttload of money (there again with those technical terms)
I have yet to dive into the canning world, but I really want to, especially pickling. Oh man do I love me some pickled green beans, but thats a whole different post.
Some excellent books on the subject of “Homemade ingredients” are:
Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects
by Karen Solomon
The Complete Book of Butchering, Smoking, Curing, and Sausage Making: How to Harvest Your Livestock & Wild Game
By Philip Hasheider
Artisan Cheese Making at Home: Techniques & Recipes for Mastering World-Class Cheeses
by Mary Karlin
So that is all for this post today, but I am interested to know What products you make at home?
Let your adventurous cook thrive
~ Chef S.