Ask Allyn . . . Tips, Tricks, Observations and Rants + Homemade Tomato Paste

GREETINGS all. hope you had a merry Christmas and New Year’s party was a rager.

TODAY’S Tips, Tricks, Observations and Rants.  When proofing my yeast or waiting for the dough to rise, I set the bowl on top of the router while I give a thumbs down vote to various YouTube cooking videos. Nice and warm. Just about halves the rise time as compared to room temp. Always proof the yeast–ya never know. Could save a lot of tears of disappointment and frustration, and will save the bowl of dough, as it will not be punted across the room.
HERE’S the rant— I’ve watched about a zillion videos of Asian recipes, going back all the way to Yan Can Cook, in an attempt to find something really appealing–but with the exception of desserts, nearly every one requires soy sauce.  (Remember Hoisin and teriyaki are both made from soy sauce) which means every recipe from fried rice to beef and broccoli stir fry to soups tastes the same. Disappointing.
SO, I made another batch of three bean salad, and as I was sampling it for flavor, there was something a little off–a slight taste of petroleum product. I decided it must be the oil, so I tasted a few drops from a spoon, and sure enough, motor oil. Now understand y’all, this was canola oil, which I have used exclusively for many years, but don’t think I’ve ever tasted it straight from the bottle. Yukkk.  Perhaps a bad batch or bad bottle, although it’s new, so I don’t think so.  Although I generally avoid soy products, because they are cutting down the rainforest to grow soybeans, and tofu stimulates my gag reflex, and  “they” say soy contains chemicals that mimic female hormones. Nevertheless, I zipped out and bought a little bottle of soya oil, tasted it, and there was almost no taste at all. I guess I’ll have to make a change. Adios, amazon jungle.
HAVE you noticed that recipes that call for tomato paste usually need only one or two tablespoons. Although it does come in those dinky cans, there is always a lot left over. I finally got tired of throwing most of the can out (after frugally saving it for several months in the fridge) and put spoonfuls into tiny plastic bags and froze them. Works fine. But there is an alternative——–
HOMEMADE TOMATO PASTE  Shortform recipe.
 Halve and core 8 to 10 tomatoes. (Or as many as you wish really, that’s the beauty of this recipe)  In a saucepan, medium heat, cook and smush a bit for at least 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend, or use a stick blender (one of my favorite tools). Now pass through a sieve to remove seeds and skins. Option 1— return to the saucepan and reduce over med. heat until thickened, or 2 (the easy way)–in a sieve lined with cloth ( I use a piece of bridal veil) pour in the puree and allow the water to drain out for about 30 minutes. Discard water. Voila! Freeze as desired.
MEMORY test:  who remembers Gyro Gearloose? Or Dell comics logo in the upper left corner of the cover — “still 10 cents.”
That’s all, folks.  Allyn

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