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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just Add Water: Tomato Sauce and Pasta

I've mentioned before that I have this semi-obsession with making up recipes where you Just Add Water (JAW) and eat.  Well, here's another one.  This is a bit more complex to prepare than just pouring in water and eating it up - but not much more difficult!

While I'm not a huge fan of tomato sauce (I'm more of a white sauce kind of guy), I wanted to try something with tomatoes since they do go well with so many dishes.  The problem was finding some sort of emergency tomato sauce.

I think I've found it.

I found Dehydrated Tomato Powder on a number of internet sites.  The stuff ain't cheap.  I found some on a site I trust and have used before - USA Emergency Supply - at a good price.  When combined with some other purchases, the shipping charges were very manageable.

To make a sauce, the directions said to add 1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) of powder with 1/2 cup of water.  I made the mix up - with cold water.  It mixed up very easily, but was too runny.  It was more like a V8 Juice consistency.

I added one more tablespoon of powder, mixed it up, and it was perfect consistency.

Its consistency was somewhere between canned sauce and tomato paste.  The flavor was tangy - probably more tangy than canned tomato sauce, but very palatable and edible.  I then added the following spices to turn the tomato sauce into a pasta sauce -

JAW Pasta Sauce (makes 1/2 cup of sauce)

1/2 cup water
3 tbls tomato powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried onions
1/2 tsp dried garlic
1.2 tsp dried oregano

I let this sit for 5 minutes to re-hydrate the onion and garlic pieces, and to let the flavors come together.  Also, I would add more salt - another 1/4 tsp - if it were just for me.  My wife liked it just as is.  Obviously, adjust the spices to your own liking.

Since this was for long-term storage, I did not add any Parmesan cheese.  If I was making these up for a camping trip, I would definitely add some cheese - probably a full teaspoon for the sauce, and more to be added to the top after I was finished preparing the dish.

I then cooked up a 1/2 cup of dry pasta per their instructions, and put everything together.  I was very impressed with the flavor -

For the JAW (single serving size) I added the powder and spices to a ziplock "snack size" bag -

I then put the ziplock, pasta and instructions (the yellow paper) into an overly-large FoodSaver vacuum bag -

The reason I used the overly large bag was so I could use it as a serving container.  The FoodSaver bags are boil-able.  I won't be using it to boil this stuff up, but it will be used to either serve the pasta, or as a container to catch the pasta water (conserve water, folks!). 

You would first cook up the pasta.  Empty the snack bag into the FoodSaver bag.  When the pasta is done, you take a half cup of the water and pour it over the tomato sauce ingredients, mix it up well and let it sit for 5 mins.  Then strain the pasta, add to the bag and eat.

Accept The Challenge

The nice thing with this recipe is that it's scalable - the instructions will give you enough food for one person.  Multiply by the number of folks in your group, and you're good to go.  This sauce could be used with any recipe that uses tomato sauce.  I really was impressed by the stuff.

One thing that I saw on the website was that the stuff loves water - from the air (hydrophillic).  After the can is opened, it needs to be used or air-tight sealed in short order.  I'll be dumping the can into a vacuum bag that is over-sized so I can cut and reuse it.

For variations, I'm going to add some dehydrated beef so I have pasta with meat sauce.  My next JAW will use dehydrated veggies, so I'll see how they come out and if it would make sense to add some to this recipe.

Experiment while times are good and money is plentiful.

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suek said...

Ya know...

That looks pretty adaptable to pizza...

You'd have to experiment, but flour plus a bit of salt and just a bit of sugar, plus yeast - all together in a separate package and you have dough mix.

Add water, let rise*, and dough!

* Don't know if you've made home made pizza, but my preferred method is to let it rise for an hour or so, punch down, knead, and roll out on a pizza pan, then let stand for about 10 - 15 minutes while you "decorate" it, and then bake at 450* for about 15+ minutes.

Chief Instructor said...

Absolutly excellent idea. I need to think about how to package it, but I love the idea.

Oh, and that reminds me: I need to rotate my yeast. It's approaching its expiration date.

suek said...

To rotate yeast:

Add one and a half teaspoons of yeast (or one package, as applicable) to 1/2 cup of hot to touch water. Add 1/2 tsp of sugar, let stand for about 10 minutes. If it just sits there, throw it out. If it develops foam, add to about 2 cups of flour with 1 tsp of salt added. Mix, add more warm water to make a kneadable dough, knead for about 5 minutes, put into a large bowl that you've greased with your preferred lubricant (butter, olive oil, bacon grease, lard - whatever) turn over so the top is greased as well, then cover and set into a cool oven or other quiet place. When doubled, punch down, knead briefly, form by hand or put into a loaf pan and bake at 425* for about 20-30 minutes till browned. Slice, butter and eat.

Then buy new yeast.

(of course, you could just pitch it out and buy new, but where's the pleasure?? besides, practice is good, and so is bread!)

Chief Instructor said...

suek, indeed! I'm also going to try some of it with brewing. When I make beer, wine or a higher alcohol "wash", I use specialty yeast. I want to make some with regular old baking yeast and see how it turns out.

liteluvr said...

I did something like this recently. I do a lot of beef jerky, and was always curious about how well it would work as a soup base.
I took about 4 beef bullion cubes, 3 large pieces of beef jerky, torn to thumb sized pieces, 1/4 cup dried celery, 1/4 cup dried carrots, and 1/4 cup dried onions. Added about 1 1/2 quarts water, and slow simmered it on the stove top for about an hour or so.
End result was tasty, but the jerky was still jerky... it was good... but it didn't rehydrate like I thought it would.
Still... in a pinch... it made some good beef and vegetable soup.

Chief Instructor said...

liteluvr, well just steal my thunder! ;-)

Tuesday's post will be for a very similar Just Add Water soup. No jerky, and some different veggies, but the same basic idea.

suek said...

How about putting the jerky in a food chopper? And not reducing it to powder - although that might be an interesting option - but rather to small chopped pieces?

Also, have you tried rehydrating the jerky by putting it in a container with water and storing it in the refrigerator?? You'd need to check it daily for spoilage, but maybe it would give you an idea of how long would be required to rehydrate it. Or...put it in water, bring it to a full boil, then put in a jar, cool and refrigerate.

All of which would be to discover if it _could_ be re-hydrated, or if that's a pointless effort...