The Secret Ingredient

I do a lot of cooking. And a lot of entertaining. Some of planned a week in advance! But I always need shortcuts, and I’ve found a doozy!

Whether you whip up a quick Manhattan Clam Chowder, a festive salsa, warming batch of chili, or comforting pasta with┬ásausage/pork/beef sauce, you need a good tomato spiked base. I’m always out of canned tomatoes and sauces.

zingzang

So I splash in some Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix. Or substitute your favourite blend. Patrick Henry’s, Chesapeake Bay, Tabasco….

I figured if I add clam juice for a Clammato, why not add the seafood? With a shellfish base liquid (or chicken broth), some potato, a sprinkle of dill or whatever your recipe call for, you’ve got a lovely and quick seafood soup — bouillabaisse, chowder, what have you. Just add ailol and croutons or oyster crackers, clams, white fish, etc. .

Salsa? Chop up a bunch of fresh bell pepper, onion, cilantro, cumin, a splash of lime. Whatever suits your tastes. Pour a bit of bloody mix in stir and let settle.

Chili? Add instead of plain old tomato paste/sauce. No need to dilute.

Pasta? Just as easy. Brown meat (drain fat and add some olive oil), brown onion, carrots, add a glass of red wine, simmer in some garlic, salt, pepper, sprinkle of red pepper flakes, bloody mix. Simmer until it smells great. Swirl in about two or three tablespoons of cream before plating.

Best Wishes This Festive Season!