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Sunday Food: How Many Meals a Day Are Good for You?

2:43 am in Food by Ruth Calvo

 

Swedish Smorgasbord

(Picture courtesy of Jordan Klein at wikipedia commons.)

For much of my lifetime, I’ve been used to the routine of three meals a day; breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We get up in the morning, most of us have some sort of caffeinated drink and a small meal.    At lunch, most of us consider a sandwich a staple.   At dinner, we go all out and usually include meat, starches of more than one kind, and some sort of vegetable.

Lately, traveling, I’ve gone from the three to usually two, with a large meal full of healthy content in mid-afternoon, as it takes up less time and saves on expenses.   A time to stop and rest, as well as enjoy a good meal, is a good part of any day’s travel.

Such a nice feeling when you come across research that actually approves of your choices.    Those two meals a day are showing the best research on work controlling diabetes.   I have never experienced diabetes, myself, but understand it’s very common in western society, and will myself choose to avoid it if possible.

 Scientists at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague divided a group of 54 volunteers aged 30 to 70 with type 2 diabetes into two groups of 27 people.

Volunteers were then given either a six-meal-a-day diet (A6) for 12 weeks followed by a two-meal day diet (B2), or vice versa.

The study compared two meals with six meals – as the latter accorded with current practice advice in the Czech Republic, researchers said.

Each diet contained on average 1,700 calories a day.

‘Very pleasing’ result

The B2 group ate between 06:00 and 10:00 and then between 12:00 and 16:00, and the A6 group ate their food throughout the day.

Weight loss for the B2 group averaged 1.4kg (3lb) more than A6, and they lost about 4cm (1.5in) more from their waistlines.

Lead scientist Dr Hana Kahleova, at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, said the results were “very pleasing”.

She said: “The patients were really afraid they would get hungry in the evening but feelings of hunger were lower as the patients ate until they were satisfied.

“But when they ate six times a day the meals were not leaving them feeling satisfied. It was quite surprising.”

While I tend to concentrate on the healthy foods and have trail food (nuts mixed with dried fruit) for snacking, there are wide varieties of choices that are considered necessary by different types, and the ‘meat and potatoes’ diet is probably most common in the U.S.   The acceptability of this sort of food varies with the times and popularized diets  like paleo and Atkins, but many of us grew up in a society that associates meat with comfort, even prosperity.  The same applies to how many meals a day we eat.

I get a charge out of the George Will sort insisting that having dinner around a table with your family makes a society work.    Sorry, Serious People, sociopaths can come as easily from a family that gathers for traditional meals as they can from those that catch as catch can.    On that same note, taking it as a rule that applies to everyone can also make this Two Meals a Day plan into nonsense as well, if it’s imposed on others that don’t fit to this or another measure.

I’m in a place where two meals works well, but that will change and change again, as our lifestyles do.   The best any choice can do is fit to your needs and not inconvenience others.

 

Sunday Food: Have The Crabcakes

2:24 am in Food by Ruth Calvo

 

Crabcakes in process

(Photo courtesy of mocephus at flickr.com.)

Having lived a good deal of my life in Virginia and Maryland, I’ve had a long and happy acquaintance with crabcakes.   They’re usually delicious, and restaurants that offer them have done the experimenting for you, so I often order them dining out.

When Virginia came up with the motto “Virginia is for Lovers”*, memorably Maryland followed with “Maryland is for Crabs”  and of course crab items on the menu took off there.

Recently, I had a particularly tasty crabcake at Andrea’s in NOLA, that had more lilt than usual, and I recommend that you try that if you’re in the area.     If  you’re  not fortunate enough to get wonderful hosts who take you there for dinner, (and love a plug for their fav), I understand there’s a touch of eggplant in them, so you may want to treat yourself to a touch of that in your own.

Here’s a basic recipe, and a few hints from one source that works for you – Cooking Light.

The binder plays a big role. Breadcrumbs and egg should bind the seafood lumps in a nice patty that holds its shape and crisps nicely. Too much binder yields those dry, dense cakes we’ve all encountered. Too little, and everything falls apart in the pan. Here we’ve nailed the filler-to-seafood ratio and perfected a shaping method. These cakes are so tasty, they don’t even need sauce: A simple squeeze of lemon or lime does the trick.

******

  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise $
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten $
  • 8 ounces lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil $
  • 1 lemon, quartered

Combine 1/3 cup panko and next 10 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl, stirring well. Add crab; stir gently just until combined. Place remaining 1/3 cup panko in a shallow dish. Using wet hands, shape crab mixture into 4 equal balls. Coat balls in panko. Gently flatten balls to form 4 (4-inch) patties.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add patties; cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Serve with lemon wedges.

The old adage that seafood will increase your brainpower isn’t the only reason I keep adding it to my personal menu.   It’s healthy, it’s good, and it contains less fat than many meat dishes.

——————-

*Now replaced by Vaginal Probes.

Sunday Food; Lasagne

4:36 am in Food by Ruth Calvo

 

Lasagne
(this one happens to be veggie, though not the one I’m making)

(Courtesy of kerryj at flickr.com.)

Hopefully, just the word ‘lasagne’ brings up memories of wonderful tastes.   Hopefully you learned this from another long term Italian genre cook, as I did, from Sicilians.

As we discussed last week, tomatoes are not a native Italian veggie, but when they arrived from Mexican origins, they were very welcome.   Pasta and tomatoes were nearly meant for each other.

My sauce is on, tomatoes and red pepper fresh picked this morning, fresh oregano and garlic,  and many other flavors in the mix.   I’ll give you a recipe, but this one is going by taste.

Ingredients;

½ cup plus 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 ribs celery, minced
1 large yellow onion, minced
1 medium carrot, minced
1 cup red wine
2 28-oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 oz. each ground beef, veal, and pork
⅓ cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs
5 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

3 tbsp. finely grated pecorino,

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 slices country white bread, soaked in ½ cup water, drained, squeezed dry
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ small yellow onion, minced
2 cups whole-milk ricotta
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 ½ cups finely grated parmesan
8 oz. lasagna noodles, cooked

INSTRUCTIONS

1. To make the sauce: heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook, stirring to break up large pieces, until browned, about 6 minutes; drain off fat. Add celery, large onion, and carrot; cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add wine; cook until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves, reduce heat to medium; cook until reduced and thick, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

2. To make the meatballs: mix beef, veal, pork, breadcrumbs, 2 tbsp. parsley, pecorino, garlic, white bread, eggs, onion, and salt and pepper in a bowl; form into about 60, ½″ meatballs. Heat remaining oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat; working in batches, add meatballs, and cook until browned all over, about 8 minutes. Set aside.

3. To make the lasagne: Heat oven to 350°. Mix ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan in a bowl; set aside. Spread ¼ of the sauce in bottom of a 9″ × 13″ baking dish; top with ⅓ of the noodles. Top with ⅓ remaining sauce, followed by ⅓ of the cheeses; spread meatballs evenly over cheeses. Top with half remaining noodles; add half remaining sauce and half remaining cheese. Add remaining noodles, sauce, and then cheeses; bake until bubbly and browned on top, about 50 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining parsley.

We’ll have fresh parsley from the garden on top, and there will be ground sirloin rather than sausage because of house tastes.   My own necessities, fresh grated parmesan, fresh slices of mozarella, ricotta with a touch of peppers from the garden, were a matter of long tasting and advice.

Getting the new plants in spring, planting and tending them, watching over them and seeing them ripen, taking out the best for the sauce, that’s a big part of the final product too.

The lasagne cooling and ready to be consumed.

Food Sunday: Plant Now For a Butterfly Garden

3:51 am in Environment, Food by Ruth Calvo

Home butterfly garden

(Picture courtesy of woodleywonderworks at flickr.com.)

The world isn’t altogether friendly to many butterfly species, so if you’re putting in some crops for yourself, this would be a good time to consider putting in something to keep these beautiful creatures afloat.

Recently, visiting the Smithsonian I took a few moments to wander through the butterfly garden there.   While it was too early for much of a population, during warm seasons, the plants attract many butterflies and the signs there give visitors ideas for their own.

One sign struck me as good to know, advising that we shouldn’t be cleaning all the old materials out in the fall, because eggs may be in them waiting for spring to hatch out.   Here, spudtruckowner tells me it’s been a family practice that he still follows to take out the old dead stems and put them in the back of the barn.   Burning them just isn’t done, as there will be hatchlings waiting for warm months.

Of course, using insecticides is obviously the reverse of what we need for these delicate insects.   Planting varieties that are well adapted to your area would make it easier to avoid their use.   There are a lot of hardy plants too, and I was delighted to notice that my new sprouts of Kohlrabi will be a butterfly attractant as well as providing good veggies for the table.  Plants and butterflies vary by area.  For the monarch, milkweed is a must, for black swallowtail, carrots and fennel; and be prepared to see big holes munched in the leaves they like best.

Creating a butterfly garden should start with some serious research to learn which kinds of butterflies are native to your area. You can learn that from our article “Butterfly Gardening by Area”. Make a list of all of the different kinds of butterflies you would like to attract, and then learn which flowers and plants they both feed on and lay eggs on. All of the plants will certainly be native to your area and therefore easy to grow with the right conditions and care. Adult butterflies will visit for a longer period if they find plants to lay their eggs on. These are called ‘Host Plants’ and you can read about them in our article on “Butterfly Host Plants.”

Plants that are local to your area may be ordered in advance, but as now is planting season, you can check with nearby greenhouses and growers for the ones you want.

There are a few varieties called ‘butterfly bush’ and all have a wonderful aroma, but are not adapted to your everyday garden as they are not particularly dainty.    Any bright color will attract most species, and they are among the few species of insect that ‘see’ red.

Here’s hoping you can set aside a little space to help this wonderful species to survive and brighten our lives.

Smithsonian butterfly garden sign/butterfly and hummingbird attractant

Taken in Dallas State Fair Butterfly House

Food Sunday: Bananas

3:00 am in Food by Ruth Calvo

Bananas

Okay we probably all know that what you want from bananas is potassium, but just yesterday I actually saw in print that heart health is a major benefit of that potassium fix.   If you already know that, pardon my ignorance.   Now I know why we keep bananas around.  That is one of many reasons for munching that banana.

  • It contains health promoting flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin, ß and α-carotenes in small amounts. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
  • It is also a very good source of vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), provides about 28% of daily-recommended allowance. Pyridoxine is an important B-complex vitamin that has a beneficial role for the treatment of neuritis, and anemia. Further, it helps decrease homocystine (one of the causative factors in coronary artery disease (CHD) and stroke episodes) levels within the body.
  • The fruit is an also moderate source of vitamin-C (about 8.7 mg per 100g). Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
  • Fresh bananas provide adequate levels of minerals like copper, magnesium, and manganese. Magnesium is essential for bone strengthening and has a cardiac-protective role as well.  Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells.
  • Fresh banana is a very rich source of potassium. 100 g fruit provides 358 mg potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure, countering bad effects of sodium.

Once in my long ago toddler stage, I lives on Okinawa and acrtually got tree ripened bananas, so of course, no store bought banana will ever be good enough for me.   However, I do make a point of eating one, usually just plain peeled and munched, a couple of times a week.

After making the discovery that my heart is the reason for eating the bananas, I did check for the amount of potassium dried bananas retain is good enough.  Yep, you’re fine with the dried version, something I have in my snacking dish with the trail food.

 

Food Sunday; Apple Pan Dowdy

4:00 am in Food by Ruth Calvo

Apple Pan Dowdy on my own special death’s head dish towel 

There may be more elegant ways to make an apple pan dowdy or any other kind of dowdy, but this three ingredient version was perfect for a quick fruit fix we had here, and used up a cake mix that we had let go for long enough and needed to use up.

APPLE PANDOWDY
1 can apple pie filling
1/2 box yellow or white cake mix
1 stick butter
Cool Whip (optional)

 

Pour apples into a 9 x 9 inch baking pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over apples. Melt butter; drizzle over top of dry cake mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Top with Cool Whip.

I used cherry pie filling that was just taking up space, then got another, inexpensive, light apple pie filling and made the next one.   We didn’t like the idea of the Cool Whip, and left it out entirely.   Ice cream, on the other hand, is just perfect.

I did find out that the butter and cake mix makes an ideal quick streusel for toppings, and will remember that for future quick fixes.   A sour cream coffee cake with that crumb topping is a wonderful holiday treat, will use that again.

Here’s that sour cream coffee cake recipe, but I’ll be substituting the pan dowdy version;

Original recipe makes 1 – 9×13 inch cake

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together 1 cup butter and white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Mix in 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Spread 1/2 of batter in the prepared pan.
  3. Prepare the filling: In a medium bowl mix 1/3 cup flour, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and cinnamon. Sprinkle cake batter with 1/2 the filling. Spread second half of batter over the filling, and top with remaining filling.
  4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Sunday Food: Tamales

1:06 am in Food by Ruth Calvo

Tamales

(Picture courtesy of World to Table at flickr.com.)

Season’s Eatings!

One traditional food around Christmas time in Texas is tamales.   I love them, and usually glom onto some at this time of year.   As a matter of fact, I picked up some pork tamales and had them for lunch yesterday.

I have never myself made tamales, but will throw a recipe at you, below.   For my part, I have so many excellent mom & pop Tex-Mex operations nearby, it would be silly for me to make the attempt.  Others have experience I lack, and more likely to be really good.

If you want to make a stab at this tamale making yourself, here’s some directions.

  • Tamale Filling:
  • 1 1/4 pounds pork loin
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 dried California chile pods
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Tamale Dough:
  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup lard
  • 1 (8 ounce) package dried corn husks
  • 1 cup sour cream
    Directions:

    1. Place pork into a Dutch oven with onion and garlic, and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the meat is cooked through, about 2 hours.
    2. Use rubber gloves to remove stems and seeds from the chile pods. Place chiles in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. Transfer the chiles and water to a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the mixture, stir in salt, and set aside. Shred the cooked meat and mix in one cup of the chile sauce.
    3. Soak the corn husks in a bowl of warm water. In a large bowl, beat the lard with a tablespoon of the broth until fluffy. Combine the masa harina, baking powder and salt; stir into the lard mixture, adding more broth as necessary to form a spongy dough.
    4. Spread the dough out over the corn husks to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness. Place one tablespoon of the meat filling into the center. Fold the sides of the husks in toward the center and place in a steamer. Steam for 1 hour.
    5. Remove tamales from husks and drizzle remaining chile sauce over. Top with sour cream. For a creamy sauce, mix sour cream into the chile sauce.

Sunday Food: Cheese Soup

3:04 am in Food by Ruth Calvo

Beer cheese soup

(Picture courtesy of Greyhawk68 at flickr.com.)

The title is a bit misleading, but since we talked about cheese soups last week for Food Sunday, I went looking for such an animal.   There are a couple of versions, and our friend, nonquixote, kindly supplied a good recipe for Wisconsin beer cheese soup.  That works!   Thank you kindly, nonquixote.

Ingredients:
½ pound butter (clarified optional)
½ cup flour (or to desired consistency)
2 quarts milk
1 ounce tabasco
1 ounce worcestershire sauce
¼ cup chicken base
12 ounces Sprecher beer – Preferably either Micro-light or Special Amber
1 cup culinary cream (optional) or heavy cream
½ ounce onion powder
½ ounce garlic powder
White pepper to taste
Salt to taste
½ pound shredded Wisconsin cheddar cheese
½ pound shredded Wisconsin Swiss cheese
½ pound shredded Wisconsin jalapeno jack cheese
Method:
In a 12-inch sauté pan or skillet, melt butter and remove from heat. Add flour and whisk until incorporated. Consistency should be like wet sand. Cook over low heat stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large soup pot heat milk to almost boiling – DO NOT BOIL. Lower heat and add tabasco, worcestershire, chicken base and beer. Incorporate well with whisk. Add cream and seasonings and heat to almost a boil again. Slowly incorporate small amounts of the butter/flour mixture to make a roux to thicken to desired consistency. Cook for 10-15 minutes. *Gradually add cheese in small handfuls making sure to thoroughly melt and incorporate each handful before adding more.
*Do not let the soup reach a temperature over 150-degrees or it will separate.
Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, serve immediately.

Allright, this week I didn’t get up to Wisconsin to get the right ingredients.   I did have potatoes, and am told that regular cheddar can be pitched in with a potato soup to make a decent kind of cheese soup.   For this lower state, I made this potato based variety, which I indulged in this past week.   Yummy, and wonderful with a quick bread.  Okay, I used a beer bread.

  1. 1/4 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
  2. 1 large onion, chopped
  3. 3 pounds baking potatoes (about 6), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  4. 4 1/2 cups water
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 6 ounces cheddar, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  7. 1/4 cup chopped chives or scallion tops
  1. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat or, if you don’t have 2 tablespoons, add enough cooking oil to make up the amount. Reduce the heat to moderately low.
  2. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Remove half the soup from the pan and puree in a food processor. Alternatively, mash some of the potatoes with a potato masher. Return the puree to the pan. Over low heat, add the cheese and stir until melted. Remove the pan from the heat. Taste the soup and add more salt if needed. Serve the soup topped with the bacon and chives.

Any way you make a cheese soup, it will be lovely and warm fodder for a chilly day.

Making cheese soup is a sideline for me, I’m snacking away on my basic ingredient to a disgraceful extent.   Cheese is one of my favorite things to eat, in all forms.   Don’t mind me while I put a dollop of sour cream in the cheese soup to cool it off a bit.

For my kind of cheese love, just melting the cheese and dunking crackers or bread in it like fondue would be fine, too.

(Picture courtesy of vissago at flickr.com.)

The Cheese

 

 

 

Sunday Food: Lentil Soup

1:49 am in Food by Ruth Calvo

Lentil soup

(Picture courtesy of stevendepolo  at flickr.com.)

While it may not be the most exciting food you may eat, lentils is a staple in a large part of the globe, and particularly in populations whose health is better than ours.  Studies of healthy food usually have shown lentils are among the best, and that does influence me to use them.

I usually give you a recipe I picked up from some source other my own experience, but this time I’m going to tell you what I do, and let you look elsewhere if you like.

My recipe;’

Wash a package of lentils well, using a colander held over a pot, then dump the pot of wash water, add 7 cups of fresh water. Add lentils with a handful of braised sausage, a large potato cut into small portions, a few chopped cloves of garlic, an onion, a couple of chicken broth cubes, and a few vegetables that you have around.   I used fresh chard from the garden, and a half red pepper.

I brought the whole bunch to a boil while I was chopping in the veggies, and let it boil for a few minutes, then turned to simmer.   About a half hour of simmering, then I begin to test for the texture, usually about an hour later I have the soup I am looking for.   Serve with a large dollop of sour cream.

Recently studies have been published that show lentils are showing benefits to those with imbalanced blood sugar that leads to diabetes.   We have a lot of sickness associated with western diets, and use of sugars that don’t give us health benefits is a problem that increased use of healthy legumes counteracts.

Sunday Food; Lizano Sauce, homemade variety

3:33 am in Food by Ruth Calvo

 

Lizano salsa

(Picture courtesy of dOug&rObyn’s photostream at flickr.com.)

One sauce that is found on almost everything in Costa Rica, Lizano costs a pretty penny to buy.   There are few products that keep their secrets, and much experimentation has resulted in some sauces that come pretty close.   This one sounds like the real thing, but I don’t guarantee it.

I should mention this though most of you probably know this.  When you handle any pepper (besides bell), you should take care not to touch any sensitive part of your skin, eyes, nose, etc.  If you want, wear gloves.  I’m just really careful.  If you make this stuff in big batches, take note:  as you cook the sauce, the pepper will release some capsaicin into the air with the steam, creating a similar effect to being maced or pepper sprayed.  Same thing happens if you throw ground pepper on a hot pan.  It’s about the worst feeling ever, and takes several minutes to clear out the kitchen, and the entire time your lungs burn.  Cook on low heat, and avoid breathing deeply over the pot to minimize this side effect.  Also, using chilies lower on the scoville heat unit scale would help.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: approx 20 minutes

  • Mince onion, carrot, tomato, two habaneros (don’t use the seeds unless you want your ass handed to you)  and two sprigs of cilantro.  Throw into small pot.
  • Cut a lime in half, juice both sides into the pot.
  • Dash in some apple cider vinegar (helps it keep fresh, also is slightly sweeter than white vinegar).  I’d say a tablespoon or two is good.  If you can smell it overpowering everything else in the pot, you put in too much
  • Liberal amounts of salt, probs at least 2 tablespoons.  It’s a condiment, can’t really be too salty.
  • Add some more spice in, just to keep it flavorful.  Cumin, ground coriander, chili powder, some cayenne to back up the heat, whatever you wanna do.  Also, it might be easier to use garlic powder (gasp!) instead of legit garlic cloves, since it’ll spread the flavor around easier.
  • Cook it covered on medium low to low heat for anywhere from 10-20 minutes, you basically want it to thicken up and break down some of the tougher ingredients (read: carrots).  If you have xantham gum or anything like it (I used cornstarch, though that’s not the best way of going about it), that can also thicken it up.  Stir occasionally.
  • If you have a food processor, and want it smoother, feel free to pop it in.  I do not own one, and my blender wouldn’t do anything with 6 ounces of liquid besides laugh at me and make weird smells.
  • Put it in a container and refrigerate it.  On the safe side, I’ll bet it keeps for 2 weeks, though depending on how much vinegar you use, maybe more?  My family genes gave me near invincibility, (with the exception of allergies that exist only in Missouri) so I don’t worry about bacteria nearly as much as I should.  (I’m kidding Mom.  Safety first!)

Now, this is not any official way to make your own sauce, it just came out of me playing in the kichen over the last two years.  Again, a cuisinart would make this job much easier.  If anyone has any tips, leave em in the comments.

The same theory could be applied to jalapeños, serrano, ancho, chiles de arbol, thai chilis or cayenne.  Also, you could fool around with adding different fruits such as peaches (consider roasting them and pairing with chipotle to give it smokey flavor).   Mango would also be quite nice with the habs.  Luckily all these ingredients are pretty cheap unless you are buying mass quantity, and allow for experimentation.  Once you get it right, it becomes much cheaper to make your own sauce in greater quantity than the bottle at the store.

The particular tastes of any devotee of the actual product may or may not find satisfaction here.   We all crave certain things, and no substitutes allowed.

The taste for Lizano salsa has been strong enough to build a whole industry on.   No need to tell you, it’s worth a try.