Hi Everyone,

The year is still new, so hopefully you’re still in a resolution frame of mind. Hopefully you are committed to cook more at home in 2018, right? I am going to suggest six make-ahead sauces and seasonings to stock in your fridge or freezer that will help with your meal prep and cooking.

Ginger-Scallion Oil

This is like a mother sauce – it works as a garnish, a condiment and a seasoning. Enticingly fragrant, savoury and delicious, this ginger-scallion oil will enhance everything to which it is added. Spoon it over steamed seafood and vegetables, boiled or steamed rice, noodles or ground provisions. Makes a good pairing with steaks and chops too.

Here’s how to make it.

  • Thinly slice scallions (green onions), the white/purple and green parts, finely mince or grate ginger and for a little heat, add some minced fresh hot pepper. For every cup sliced scallion, use 1 tablespoon minced ginger, and hot pepper to taste. Mix together everything in a heatproof bowl and season with fine table salt.
  • Heat 1 cup vegetable, Canola or any neutral flavoured oil until smoking hot. Pour the hot oil over the ginger, scallion and pepper mixture and stir to mix. Let cool to room temperature. Use immediately or store in an airtight glass jar. Keeps well for 7 days.
Frozen cubes of Ginger-garlic Paste (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

Ginger-garlic Paste

Use this as the foundation to start a curry – vegetable, seafood, poultry or meat. It’s perfect for stir fries, sautés, and general seasoning. This combo adds flavour to anything to which it is added.

Here’s how to make it.

Chop equal amounts (by volume) of ginger and garlic and puree them in a blender or food processor. Add few drops of water to moisten and get things moving. Portion into ice-cube trays, freeze and then remove and store in zip bags in the freezer. When ready to use, take as many or few of the blocks and bring to room temperature before using.

Supreme Soy Sauce

This multi-purpose sauce can be used to cook with as well as a dressing. Toss it with rice to make fried rice or chow mein or rice noodles. Drizzle it over steamed veggies or steamed fish. It can also be used as a marinade with some ginger-garlic paste for as Asian flavour.

Here’s how to make it.

Add the following ingredients to small sauce pan and place over low heat; stir until the sugar is melted. Simmer for 2 minutes. Use immediately or cool to room temperature and store in an airtight glass jar. Keeps for weeks!

Longevity Noodles with Ginger-Scallion Oil (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons regular soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce (substitute with salt to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons dry sherry or Shaoxing wine
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable or Canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil

Curry Paste

Here you can have curry in a hurry. Mix together some green seasoning, ginger-garlic paste, garam masala and ground turmeric to make a paste. Use immediately or store in an airtight container. Will keep well for a couple of weeks.

Green Seasoning

Let this all-purpose herb blend work for you – in pastes, mixed with spices, and bottled sauces for curries and stews. Easily season chicken and meat for an overnight injection of flavour and cook the next day – baked, grilled or pan-fried.

Here’s how to make it.

Each household has its own combo for green seasoning, my blend includes the following: onions, garlic, hot peppers, celery, thyme (fine and broadleaf), scallions/green onions, cilantro/coriander. If I have, I’d add in rosemary, tarragon and marjoram. Rinse and roughly chop the ingredients and add to a food processor or blender. If using a jug blender, add just a little water to move things along. Season with salt (optional). Store in a clean airtight bottle or container and refrigerate. Keeps for weeks.

A pot of homemade Tomato Sauce goes a long way (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

Finally, Tomato Sauce

Each year when tomatoes are in season, I have been advising you to preserve them by making sauce that can be used for multi purposes – to cook with, to toss with cooked foods like pasta, or boiled ground provisions, or, to simply top hot crusty toasted bread rubbed with garlic or sunny side eggs. You can make Mexican rice and even use the sauce as a dip. Pizza anyone? Apart for the many uses, making your own tomato sauce that can last you through to the next season will save you a lot of money.

Here’s how to make it.

  • Wash and chop a lot of ripe tomatoes, peel and crush several cloves of garlic, grab a couple handful of fresh sweet basil, Guyanese bush basil (married man pork) will work well too. Add some heat with minced hot pepper.
  • Heat a few tablespoons of oil over medium heat until hot. Fry the garlic and pepper first until the pan is fragrant then dump all the tomatoes and its juices into the pan and quiet things down; add 1 handful of the basil, toss to mix well reduce heat to low and cook until the tomatoes are soft and pulpy and can be mashed easily with the back of a spoon. Add the remainder of the basil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste; continue to cook for 2 minutes then shut off and remove from heat. Let cool completely, transfer to sterilized jars and refrigerate and divide the remaining sauce into 1 and 2 cup portions in zip bags, label, and freeze.

Come on, work to keep the resolution you made – to cook more at home. You got this.

Cynthia

cynthia@tasteslikehome.org

www.tasteslikehome.org

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