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January 25, 2010     Cape Gazette
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January 25, 2010

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Cape Gazette Food "& Drink FRIDAY, JANUARY 22 - MONDAY, JANUARY 2S, 2010 57 Making your own sauce is easier than it sounds Denise Clemons x} ave you browsed the supermarket tomato sauce selections re- cently? I hadn't planned to spend the better part of an hour crouched in front of the shelves, but I was trying to prove a point. I'd given a calorie guidebook to my friend Cindy. She spent the weekend discov- ering the facts about her favorite foods and told me I had ruined her life. Taken aback when she learned how many calories she'd been consuming, she announced she could no longer eat anything she liked. And, at the top of her list of foods to forgo was spaghetti with tomato sauce. I couldn't suggest a replacement for the pasta, although high fiber and whole-wheat varieties would be good choices, but I was sure I could find a reasonably healthy commercial tomato sauce at the grocery store. What an education. The choices were overwhelming, al- though the labels were thor- oughly entertaining. I could buy sauce created by a movie star, cooking show host or famous restaurant chef. There were original recipes from Italian vil- lages, organic farmers and a New York City diner. The not- so-surprising difference was the calorie count. Some of the gour- met brands included ingredients like oil, cream and high fructose corn syrup, delivering a whop- ping 160 calories in a half-cup serving. All this for the bargain price of $6.99 a jar. Did all those calories deliver better flavor? If you search carefully, you can fred several tomato sauce brands that have about 30 calo- ries a serving, but I also found they tasted fairly flat. Without the oil and thickeners, they were more like tomato juice in need of seasoning. For a more flavor- ful and healthy alternative, why not buy a large can of whole tomatoes or tomato puree for about 99 cents and make your own sauce? Unless you have an Italian grandmother who's com- plicated secret recipe you're ob- ligated to replicate, the process is quick and easy. Starting with fresh tomatoes will give you a richer result and take a little more cooking time, but canned tomatoes are a rea- sonable substitute. You'll have a thinner texture with diced toma- toes, which can often be too wa- tery and require adding tomato paste, so ! prefer whole, pureed or crushed. Once yoffve got the tomatoes - blanched, peeled and chopped or just ready in their opened cans - you're ready to start your sauce. Saut6 an onion JACK CLEMONS PHOTOS THE FINISHED PRODUCT - spaghetti with fresh homemade tomato sauce and grated parmesan cheese in a dollop of olive oil, then toss in some garlic, cooking until both are softened. Next, stir in tomatoes and simmer gently, adding the spices and season- ings you've chosen. That's all there is to it! You've got a home- made, fresh tomato sauce that's low in calories, low in sodium, and ready to adapt. There are endless possibilities for variation, and you can easily tweak each of these recipes I've \\; included. The Speedy Sauce is assembled in about the same time it will take to cook your pasta. To add low-fat protein to the dish, toss in chunks of cooked chicken breast or scram- bled ground turkey. The Spicy Sauce includes a few more in- gredients, adding flavor coin- plexity and it simmers longer re- sulting in a thicker, richer tex- ture. You may want to consider a few optional ingredients to any sauce - commercial or home- made. Depending upon the quality of the tomatoes, a bit of sugar can help balance the acidi- ty and quiet any sharpness from Continued on page 58 Big-buck buyers should search out Snowden Cabernet 2007 hanks to Kate Morgan of Banff, I had the op- portunity to sample the new releases from Casillero del Diablo 2008. Marcelo Papa, the noted wine- maker, who drives Concha y Tom's Marclues de Casa Concha that I enjoy so muc produces these. As you are well aware, I am a big fan of the "follow the winemakef' school of criticism. It is a nearly foolproof method of locating bargain wine. Great winemakers, like great artists or chefs, rarely produce plonk and Mr. Papa has been named Chile's winemaker of the year in 2005 and 2007. Best of all these can be found for less than $10 The Cab is a deep, dark red color. It opens with decanting to reveal a pleasing nose full of cherries and currents with oak- driven vanilla. Flavors were complex after a couple hours: chocolate, coffee, black pepper and hints of caramel appeared. Good acidity and plenty of bal- anced tannin; mid palate cherry with hints of chocolate over the medium finish. The Merlot is deep red with smoky plum, sage and ahiat of coffee aromas. Ripe fruit flavors of cherries, berries and a full smooth mouthfeel, there are hints of chocolate and spice, geaemusly framed by toasty oak. The Carmenere was a bit rough for my taste, but there are those who enjoy the style. Black- berries, sage, coffee and oak notes in the nose. Solid fruit on the palate. Herbal finish that I found vegetal This is a fairly typical Carmenere and frankly, I just don't like this varietal wine much. Having sampled several, I would say those who enjoy them would like these. Before moving on, here's a brief on their motto "Stored in hell - made in heaven." At the turr of the 19th Century Don Melchor de Concha y Toro dis- covered his cellar was being pil- ferecL He spread the rumor that his cellars were haunted by the devil to discourage theft. They claim this cellar is Chile's No. 1 tourist attraction today. Go fig- ure!! Big buck buyers should search out this terrific value buy. Snow- den Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, both The Ranch and the Re- serve, are on sale - four bottles, two each, for $240. David Ramey consulted on these. The 95-point, 2007 Cabemet Sauvignon, The Ranch, 90 per- cent Cabernet Sauvignon plus Merlot, Cab Franc, and Petit Verdot, shows dense ruby/pur- ple with a complex bouquet of cassis, licorice, chocolate, cedar and coffee. It is a rich, full-bod- ied wine that Finishes with smoky minerality. This win will cellar for at least 20 years. It's a classic The 97 point 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve needs at least three years of bottle age. Black purple color opens to a delightful bouquet of smoked herbs, licorice, coffee, currants and blackberries. On the mid palate, loads of fruit and a full- bodied mouthfeel are given deft- nition by balanced acidity and tanni Will cellar for 25 years at least. Pinot Noir fans probably are alert to Brewer Clifton, two new stars in the California Central Coast f'mnament. Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton are two terrific young winemakers who are us- ing the Santa Rim Hills' cool cli- mate terroir to produce Euro- pean influence. Their Mt. Carmel Vineyard 2007 is a 95- point beauty. It provides plenty of blue and red berry fruit influ- enced by smoke, roasted herbs, earth and pomegranate. The bal- ance of sweet tannins, full-body, round mouthfeel and acidity sets the fruit off perfectly. Should drink now through 2020, no problenx Buy it under $75/bot- tie. I want to remind all that James Laube, a noted California Pinot Noir expert, writing in Wine Spectator, claimed 2007 as pos- sibly the best vintage ever for California Pinot Noir. "The breadth and depth of quality in 2007 California Pinot Noir is un- paralleled," wrote Laube. I've been waiting for the re- lease of the 2007 Pinot Noirs from California. Recent tastings tells they are fight up to expec- tation. Perfect weather and low yields made it a spectacular vin- tage. The wines display excep- tional ripeness, purity, Finesse and complexity. The best news is that you barely need to shop; there are so few less than stellar 2007 California Pinot Noim Don't miss this boat.