Tuesday, August 25, 2009

When there's no jarred pasta sauce in Mexico

[Previously published for sfgate.com/moms]

It's a good thing that I know how to make simple tomato sauce because there isn't any jarred kinds here in Puerto Vallerta, Mexico. It makes sense, I am in Mexico not Italy. Although I can find a lot of American foods like peanut butter, they come at a high price. The grocery store charges $9 for a jar of peanut butter. It's best to stay away from the expensive packaged foods and by loose fruits and vegetables.

I normally don't use jarred sauces, but I still rely heavily on my written recipes and cookbooks, which I didn't carry to Mexico. Luckily, I learned how to make a tomato sauce without a recipe a few weeks ago.

For a simple dinner at the vacation condo:

1/4 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves
1/2 small onion
26 oz. chopped or pureed tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon honey
salt to taste

Heat the olive oil and garlic together for five minutes. The idea is to scent the olive oil. Pull the garlic out after the five minutes. Add the onion to the olive oil. Cook for five minutes or until soft. Add all the tomatoes. Season with salt and honey.

While living in France many, many years ago, I learned that sugar helps cut the acidity of the tomatoes. Then here in Mexico, I used honey instead of refined white sugar and my red sauce tasted even better!
Simmer until all the flavors blend together, another ten minutes, or until the pasta is ready. Either eat the sauce chunky or puree in a blender.

The meal was simple to make and very tasty. Even on vacation, it's nice to eat in.


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