Guest Bloggers Sasha and Spence, check check.

Hey everyone! Sasha and Spencer here. We’re roommates who just moved to Boerum Hill, Brooklyn from Los Angeles, California (Sasha’s actually been living in NY for about 5 years now and just moved from Flatbush) and we’re really excited to sub for Thirty a Week! We are also excited to collaborate with Julie, who will be providing a whole new perspective for this blog. It will be wonderful to learn how to bring a little bit of the Vermont garden lifestyle into our own daily living. In fact, we’ve already been inspired and invested in our own little herb garden to sit by our windowsill!

Since we just moved in (literally weeks ago) our kitchen isn’t exactly what you would call “stocked”. We’re missing quite a few basics, such as spices, flours, and the wealth of canned goods that usually accumulate over the years of living in an apartment. But we’re still psyched to explore all the possibilities of simple, delicious, (cheap!) and healthy cooking that doesn’t involve all of the flair that comes with spending tons of money on a lot of extraneous ingredients.

We wanted to start with a classic: something incredibly basic but phenomenally delicious. This recipe dates back two generations and has just three ingredients: canned, whole, peeled tomatoes (not crushed or pureed), yellow onions, and butter. That’s right, butter. One of the more expensive things we’ll be purchasing on this journey, but also the most necessary. We’ve never tried it with margarine or olive oil, but we can almost guarantee it won’t be the same. Sasha’s a bit of a health freak, but after tasting this she was convinced. And if the recipe doesn’t convince you, you can go read “In Defense of Food”, or see Julie and Julia – Michael Pollen and Julia Child will tell you what’s up.

Recipe: Jane McCaffrey’s Tomato Sauce

“Pour the can of tomatoes in a medium-sized sauce pan. Thinly slice onions, but don’t chop, and add to the pan. Bring the whole thing to a low boil. Stir onions well into the tomatoes and squish or use knife to open tomatoes to free up their juice. Turn heat down to simmer. Leave uncovered, stirring to keep from sticking, until the onions are translucent, about 20-30 minutes. You might need to do this in batches, but after it’s done add the sauce to a cuisinart or blender. Slowly add butter while you’re blending. Return to pot, add a little salt and pepper to taste if you want, or fresh basil if you have it.”

Since we started this endeavor on a Tuesday, we didn’t have time to do our weekly shopping. So our “thirty a week” probably won’t start until this Sunday. However, we’d like to mention that at our local grocery store, 28 oz. cans of Sclafani and Progresso tomatoes are on sale for just $0.89! So we stalked up a bit and bought a couple. The pro-rata price of the one onion we used was $0.60. We already had butter on hand, and a healthy helping of linguine fini ready to be drenched in our sauce. Pasta can be boring, but this is elegant. Spencer made a tossed arugula salad on the side. Yum!

As we said before, we’re really looking forward to this, especially Spencer, who is an aspiring food writer. If you have any ideas, questions, comments, etc., please let us know!


3 Comments on “Guest Bloggers Sasha and Spence, check check.”

  1. Heather says:

    Unsalted butter? How much? Have you ever used a stick blender? It seems like it makes more sense than dirtying a food processor or blender.

    And who is Jane McCaffrey?

    FYI, it’s Pollan, not Pollen.

    Love the enthusiasm, but you’re leaving me with more questions than answers here.

    • sashandspence says:

      Hey Heather!
      Sorry for leaving you with so many questions. This is our first post from our first time blogging so we’re still learning the ropes! But your questions help to point us in the right direction in the future so thanks! Here are some answers:

      1. Unsalted butter. You should use 3/4 a stick to a whole stick depending on your love of buttery things. Although we have a stick blender we haven’t used it for this recipe, but it sounds like a good idea! I would really soften the butter first though. And since we didn’t specify quantities for the other ingredients, it’s one large onion and one 15.5 oz can of tomatoes.

      2. Jane McCaffrey is Spencer’s Mom 🙂

      3. Thank you for the Pollan correction.

      Keep the questions coming!

  2. Sarah says:

    This sounds a lot like my favorite James Beard recipe for “light tomato sauce” from “Beard on Pasta.” The butter really does transform the dish into something incredible. Something well beyond any commercial jarred tomato sauce.

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