Italian stocks and sauces can make the difference between a mediocre dish and one that really rocks.
Homemade stocks and sauces can be great fun to create. Chef Dave is a professional restaurant chef and restaurant manager. He knows you’re busy, we all are. If you are caught up in that “canned”, “pre-cooked” and “instant” world, though, you are cheating yourself out of being a real gourmet Italian cook.
There is no substitute for homemade in this category ... none. First of all, even the healthiest-claiming canned and packaged stocks and sauces list salt with ingredient percentages that are so astronomical as to be ridiculous!
Pre-packaged items sometimes contain large doses of preservatives and additives, also. There are some low sodium varieties out there, but have you tasted them? How about those low sodium soups? Yuk! No salt -- no taste. Test Dave on this. Please!
No, he's not trying to scare anybody -- of course he buy's a selected few of the above mentioned items, too. There are times when we just don’t have the time to go the whole nine yards. Sound familiar? But, Dave does make his own stocks and sauces from scratch on every possible occasion to avoid the short-comings listed above, and yes, he'll admit it, because he is budget-minded by nature.
What does that have to do with it? After all, a lot of packaged products of this nature are rather economical, right? So how does making your own stocks and sauces, for example, help you stay on your meal preparation budget? Every time you dice an onion for a recipe, you throw away at least a couple oflayers of flavor. Why not put those bursting with flavor “scraps’ into a freezer bag and save them for your next batch of homemade stock?
And how about the cores and stems of bell peppers? They’re righteously loaded with that incredible pepper flavor. Carrot peelings and ends. Celery leaves. Stems from fresh herbs. And there are many other examples. Dave keeps several freezer bags of these "scraps" waiting patiently to flavor his chicken, shrimp and beef stocks right now.
Okay, maybe this is starting to make some sense. Think about your favorite gourmet Italian restaurant (as opposed to pizza and sandwich joints, takie-outie fast food joints, etc.). Chances are the chefs there make all of their own stocks and sauces from scratch. Why is this? With all the meals they serve, wouldn’t it make sense to cut some corners wherever possible? Well, yeah, but she/he knows her/his competitors will go that extra distance to provide a tastier fare.
Homemade stocks and sauces, when prepared professionally, mean the difference between turning out a so-so product, and turning out true culinary masterpieces. All we’re trying to say is, when you do have time, making your own stocks and sauces is worth the time and effort. And, it's fun!
The shrimp stock here takes less than half an hour to make! And, since it is flavored entirely from fresh or frozen scraps, it is virtually without cost, too! How can you beat that? Have you priced a tiny little bottle of clam juice lately? And for a recipe that calls for say, 6 cups of clam juice or seafood stock, $$well we’re talking about adding several extra bucks$$ to that particular recipe. Yikes! Who can afford to ignore that?
Dave's made an effort here to give you a few easy and relatively quick stock and sauce recipes that can help stretch your budget, as well as give you some key ingredients for becoming a recognized culinary star with your family and your dinner guests. Go for it!
Buon appetito always!
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