Beyond Weissman’s introduction to his book lies the first segment, Staples from Scratch-- and let me tell you, there’s a lot here to try to make from scratch rather than buy in your local grocery store. Some of these are things you see in most higher end cookbooks, such as homemade mayo methods and making cheeses by hand. Some of these processes include intense labor and time management, but I’m down for that now that I’m working from home with most of my time.
Right out of the gate, I know that making the cheeses may be out of the reach of some of us. The milk requirements are a little steep and hard to find at a normal grocery store. Raw milks aren’t sold in most grocery stores, and ultra-pasteurized is out of the question for these processes. You may get lucky and find a normal pasteurized milk, which is good enough. You probably won’t find goat milk for chevre, though. I’d have to find an actual goat farmer for that even in the great state of Wisconsin.
I go through a bottle of ketchup at least every two months, sometimes faster if we’re ordering in a lot of burgers or chicken tenders/wings that always come with fries. A can of organic tomato paste is still less than a dollar, so bringing together my own ketchup from just pantry ingredients is a really attractive idea-- and something you can show off with when you’ve got guests. That seems like the point of a lot of things in this portion of the book, but that’s okay. I like showing off with homemade goodies too.
There’s something awesome about this low effort from scratch preparation that makes me feel a whole lot better about trying to get through all of the sauces and ideas in this area. I’ll probably never make cheese, but you know I’ll do this over and over again. We’re facing an onslaught of late season peppers coming out of the patio garden, so the salsas and jams that come into play later in this book are an attractive feature.
If you haven’t tried making compound butters to serve on top of steaks or to add flavor to veggie sautes, there are some combinations in this book as well to help put you on the path to butter enlightenment. This section of the book is more educational in theory than full blown recipes. A lot of these things can and often do make appearances later on in the cookbook if you wish to fulfill the role with something you made from scratch rather than store bought versions of many staple products. Not every home cook is going to have time for this, so if you really don’t want to, you don’t have to worry about it.
You can move on to the starches from scratch that come right after-- and that’s what we’re doing. With cooler weather coming in this week, it's the perfect time to do some more bread baking. We may even play with fresh made pasta again to get my husband involved in the kitchen.
An Unapologetic Cookbook is still deeply on sale at Amazon for 40% off if you’re interested in joining me the rest of October. It’s also a great gift for the youtube obsessed foodies in your life, so keep that in mind as Christmas gets closer too!