Although the Onken cook gets most of his or her sauces and salsa out of a bottle or can, there is a time when things must be done at home.
The Onken's, like most Americans, love to stick a tortilla chip in something and then eat it. There are hundreds of commercial preparations designed to accommodate this urge. Many of them use good ingredients and some of them even use the right amount of chopped jalepenos to accommodate the Onken taste. The problem is that good salsa has an effective shelf life of only about twenty-four hours. Nothing commercial can overcome this fact. The good stuff has to be fresh. So next time you get the urge to stick that chip in something with vegetables, try this one.
Four large tomatoes Two large red onions One bunch cilantro Salt Habanero sauce
Chop up the tomatoes and the onions. Use large red onions because larger ones are milder. Chop the cilantro. Add a half teaspoon or so of salt to make the tomatoes bleed. Add enough habanero sauce or other very hot commercial sauce to give the concoction some kick and let it all cook in the refrigerator for four hours. The result should be a cool, crunchy vegetable salsa that builds to an exquisite fire in your mouth.
PHILOSOPHICAL NOTE. Good sauces often seem to combine opposite flavors. The salsa above puts the cool minty flavor of cilantro opposing the fiery hot habanero. The salsa is cold, but creates a blast furnace in your mouth. This is the essence of many sauces. Other sauces combine sweet and sour, vinegar and sugar. These will make you a sweet and sour sauce for you Americanized asian chicken or even sauce for your steak. If you run out of A-1 Steak Sauce from the bottle, just add some worcestershire sauce (sour) to some ketchup (sweet), flavor with a little lemon juice or other citrus and some pepper, and you have a very fair approximation of the commercial steak sauce at one tenth the price.
This salsa has both the hot and cold as well as the sweet and sour. You can't go wrong with that. It is heavenly next to a baked chicken breast or other plain white meat.
3 cups strawberry's (diced) 1 red onion (diced) 1 mango (diced) 2 (or more) jalepeno's seeded and diced 2 Tbl balsamic vinegar
Mix all of the above together and let the flavors meld in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
This is an all purpose Mexican style sauce to be used on tacos, enchiladas or as a base for green chili. You should have a jar of this stuff in the refrigerator at all times. The flavor is far superior to commercial preparations which serve the same purpose.
4 jalapenos or serranos 1 large yellow onion 5 cloves garlic 1/2 bunch cilantro 20 tomitillos, husked and washed 1/2 tsp sugar salt oil
Put the washed and husked tomitillos into boiling water until they are soft and the first couple crack. Then put all the vegetables in your blender and chop them coarsely until you have a somewhat chunky blend. You may have to do this in two stages, depending on the size of your blender. Do not get any of the mess on your food processor, while preparing this sauce. You do not want to get the food processor dirty.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in your large cast iron frying pan on medium heat and then add the blended vegie mixture. Add the sugar and salt. The vegie mixture will spurt and bubble like a lava pit. Let it do this for about twenty minutes, then cool the mixture and refrigerate. Use it whenever you have a Mexican dish.
NOTE. If you make the black bean omelettes from the breakfast section of this book, having home made verde in the refrigerator can make things easy. For the guacamole, simply add a couple tablespoons of verde to one avocado and blend it with the hand blender.
ANOTHER NOTE. The last couple of recipes have used cilantro. This ingredient has been belittled of late as being the "yuppie herb." This is simply the whining of people who miss open faced turkey sandwiches with potatoes and gravy. Julia Child hates cilantro. It must be good. Go out and get some and eat it straight. If you don't like it, change.
For the Onkens, marinara sauce is any tomato based sauce for glopping on top of pasta. The reason Paul Neuman and others get away with selling this stuff in bottles is that too many people do not understand the concept. Marinara, or spaghetti sauce is not some complex chemical concoction that takes days to prepare. Marinara is a quick tomato and vegetable sauce that can use whatever is fresh and available in the garden. The key to the sauce is in the freshness of the ingredients, and long cooking negates freshness. The Onkens have no particular recipe, but you can make a fine sauce with just the guidelines.
First, get a can of anchovies and a counter full of fresh vegetables. If you don't have anchovies, forget making marinara sauce and go to Taco Bell instead. You will never get a good sauce without them. Pour some of the oil from the anchovies into a large pot and heat on medium heat. Add a head of chopped garlic and from two to four chopped onions. Saute this mixture slowly, adding dried oregano and basil while the onions are cooking. If you are using other hard vegetables such as celery or green pepper, saute them with the onions. Adding the spices during the saute releases the flavor of the spices and makes your house smell nice, a rare thing in the average Onken household. Once the onions are soft and somewhat transparent, add a couple of chopped anchovies and peeled chopped tomatoes. Use fresh tomatoes if you have them, canned if you don't. Cook for twenty minutes or so, adding a glug or two of vermouth if you like a little wine flavor, and you are ready to go. Thicken the sauce with tomato paste if you like it gloppy.
Marinara sauce will keep in the fridge for a week or so. To make it a meat sauce, cook your sausage and add to the sauce. For mushroom sauce, saute some mushrooms and add. Serve over pasta with freshly ground parmesan cheese. (Avoid parmesan cheese in the round boxes. It usually tastes more like the box than cheese.)
HEALTH NOTE. The Onken marinara sauce is one of the more healthful elements of the Onken cuisine. Served over pasta, it is low in fat, high in carbos, and still tasty. This is incidental. Onken cooks, being engaged in a spiritual as opposed to athletic endeavors, don't fret much about the healthfulness of the meals. They do not equate physical fitness and strength of character. They have lives, not lifestyles. When engaged in Onken cooking remember the following:
Although the preparers of Onken cuisine are amateurs in the realm of cooking they do not treat life as a hobby. They do not fill their hours collecting experiences, like a coin collector collects coins, so that he or she will someday have a bigger collection than the next guy. For the Onken cook, preparing food is a quest for value. If one sees it simply as arranging the elements of nutrition, the process becomes tedious and the end result unsatisfying. The meal may be the destination, but it is the journey that makes a traveler.
Asian Dipping Sauce This sauce is a basic for dipping pot stickers and other asian tidbits.
2 Tbs chopped garlic 4 Tbs soy sauce 8 Tbs red wine vinegar 1 tsp sugar
Mix the above and serve at the table in a small bowl. Onken cooks serve this with steamed or fried pot stickers. Onken cooks seldom make the dumplings one uses to make pot stickers, however, if you are unfamiliar with them, you should do it at least once. There are many recipes for these little pork and cabbage filled dumplings, and all of them require several hours of labor. A decent Asian grocery always has a fine selection in the freezer section that will turn out just as good as home made. Once made or purchased, you can fry them, steam them, or add them to soup. If you fry or steam them, the above sauce adds just the right sting to an otherwise bland dish.
This recipe is so named because it comes from the South Dakota wing of the Onken clan. In making this, you should be aware that there is nothing even slightly French about the dish. Consequently, it is quite good.
1 cup salad oil 1/3 cup honey 1/3 cup catsup 1/4 cup vinegar 1 tsp salt 1 egg
Put the ingredients in your blender and blend for 15-20 seconds, until smooth and somewhat frothy. Serve with green salad. Even people who don't like French dressing like this one.
Never purchase hot mustard. You have all the ingredients in your kitchen. Simply take a small quantity of dried yellow mustard powder and add boiling water, stirring until it has the consistency of a thin puree. It will thicken some while resting. The heat of the mustard depends upon how much you stir it -- the more you stir the hotter it is. Season to taste with salt. Once stirred, let it sit for about twenty minutes for the bitterness to dissipate, and you have a fresh hot mustard better than you can find in any store. Make this new for each meal.
Unfortunately, Onken cooks do not reveal their recipes for barbecue sauce. To obtain these recipes, you must find an accomplished Onken cook and marry him.
Okay, so much for sauces and salsas, do you want to
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