Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pizza sauce...made easy!!

We are often asked if we use pizza sauce on our homemade pizzas. Yes.  What do you use for pizza sauce?  Well, we mainly make our own. How do you make yours?  Funny you should ask, here are a couple of very simple recipes we use:

Tomato Puree (Passata) Base

One jar of Tomato Puree (Passata) 
Sliced Garlic
Fresh Basil
Fresh Oregano
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

In a large sauce pan or skillet over medium heat, heat up some olive oil and toss in the sliced garlic.  Cook the garlic until it starts to turn golden.  Now pour in the puree (Passata).  Be careful, the water in the puree may pop when it comes in contact with the hot oil.  Stir to combine and let cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Toss in the fresh basil and oregano.  You can use dried if you do not have fresh.  Stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Check the flavor and add more basil and oregano if you like.  Also, you can add some red pepper flakes or dried chiles to add some heat.  Cook the sauce for another 5-10 minutes.  Once ready, add it to your pizza or allow it to cool and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.  

Whole Peeled San Marzano Tomato Base

The ingredients are the same as the puree recipe, just replace the puree with Whole Peeled San Marzano Tomatoes.  You can leave the tomatoes whole when adding the whole can to the olive oil and garlic and break them with your spoon as they cook.  You can crush them with your hand while they are still in the can and then add them to the sauce pan.  You can pour the can into your blender and blend them into puree and then add the puree to the olive oil and garlic.  However you prefer to do it, the San Marzano tomatoes bring amazing flavor to the sauce.

Very Quick and Easy Pizza Sauce

Simply pour some tomato puree (Passata) onto your prepared pizza dough and spread it out.  Throw on some chopped garlic, salt, pepper, fresh basil and then top with you other toppings and bake.  Simple, but delicious.

Hopefully these three quick recipes give you a starting point to create your own pizza sauce.  Remember, making pizza is fun and very creative.  So, keep your sauce simple, full of flavor and get creative. Have fun.

Come by and get almost everything you need for pizza in one stop. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, cheese, pizza dough, San Marzano Tomatoes, tomato puree (Passata), red pepper flakes, dried chiles, bruschetta, artichokes, mushrooms and so much more.  Have some fun this weekend and for the 4th!!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rancho Loma

This trip was not necessarily a road trip, because we had a 7:00pm reservation, but it did involve us driving about an hour, so a road trip it is!

On Saturday, we headed to Rancho Loma for the first time.  We have heard so many wonderful things about it and were extremely excited to try it out.  Let me simply state, they did not disappoint.  It was fantastic.  We had a wonderful and relaxing evening.  The grounds of the property are beautiful, the restoration of the old farm house is meticulous and excellently done.  Robert and Laurie have done an amazing job.  

We were greeted by Robert upon our arrival, and he poured us a glass of wine that we enjoyed next to the pool.  He explained the night's menu and told us to take our time and enjoy our surroundings.  When we were ready, we simply went inside, were seated at our table and dinner began.  Dinner consisted of five courses.

The first course was fresh Burrata cheese with fresh cherry tomatoes, micro greens, pine nuts, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  It was outstanding.  The Burrata was lovely and the fresh tomatoes were perfectly ripened.  The second course was a spicy grilled quail with a pomegranate reduction.  This is where our wine really began to shine.  It paired perfectly with the spicy quail.  The third course was a ricotta gnocchi with sweet corn and mushrooms.  The gnocchi was pillowy soft and extremely flavorful.  The fourth course was Akaushi New York Strip. It was phenomenal, cooked to perfection and almost melted in your mouth.  The handmade potato chips were excellent and the bed of whipped potatoes and the compound butter took it to the next level.  Our final course was to be milk chocolate Pots de Creme.  However, we were informed that we were receiving a special dessert.  Needless to say, we were pleasantly surprised.  I wish I had written the name of the dessert down, because I cannot remember it now.  However, it was amazing!  It was made with chocolate and olive oil and had an espresso mousse and chocolate drizzle on the side.  They also served us illy coffee.  It was tremendous.  Laurie's menu and execution were outstanding.  We were stuffed, but extremely happy!  Joy commented that I was smiling a lot!

After dessert, we continued to enjoy our coffee at our table and then went for one last walk around the grounds.  It was dark, but very peaceful.  Their new guestrooms are wonderful, and we hope to be able to stay in one in the near future.  We enjoyed their vegetable garden and their barn.     

We were there about 3.5 hours and could have stayed longer, but we needed to drive back to Abilene.  When you make your reservation, your table is yours for the whole evening.  This allows you to simply relax and enjoy the evening.  The staff is very friendly and attentive to your needs.  

Rancho Loma is a wonderful experience all the way around.  If you have not had a chance to try it, we highly recommend you do.  You will not be disappointed.  Tell them cordell's sent you.  

Until next time...


Rancho Loma
2969 CR 422
Talpa, TX 76882


Friday, June 8, 2012

We are excited that our first recipe has appeared on Be sure and check it out.   

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hot Dogs, Pizza and Farmers...

Last night after we closed the store, we moseyed on down South 14th to visit the guys at Beastro Pizza and Shortbus Hotdogs.  We have been wanting to try them for a while now, but because it is hard for us to get away at lunch, we've been missing out.  However, they are now parked at their Abilene Food Truck Court on South 14th (across from Subway) in the evenings starting at 6:00pm.  

Beastro Pizza

Shortbus Hotdogs

We ordered the Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Beastro and the Lunch Lady and the Substitute Teacher from the Short Bus.  All of our food smelled wonderful and the guys were extremely nice.  We took ours to go, but they have tables outside and a few inside, if you would like to stay and eat.

All I can say, is great job guys!!  We enjoyed our pizza and dogs and we will be back to try other offerings from their menus.  If you have not had a chance to check them out, we encourage you to do so.  You can check out their Facebook pages (Shortbus, Beastro) daily to find where they will be for lunch.  If you can't do lunch, do like we did and go see them at dinner.  

We are definitely going back!   

Farm Fresh
Have you been to the Farmer's Market the last couple of weeks? Unfortunately, we have been unable to make it yet, but we are really looking forward to going soon.  The market is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during the summer at sunrise.  It is located in the parking lot across the street from Frontier Texas.  You will need to arrive early, because they sell out by 9:30am most mornings.

Each week will bring more and more variety as more fruits and vegetables begin to ripen.  If you need a weekly reminder, we can help you get signed up for a weekly email from Joy Hedges at Slowpoke Farms.  She and her husband (Kerry) are mainstays at the market and send out a weekly email of what's happening at their farm and what they are bringing to the market on Saturdays.  

If you would like to begin receiving a copy of their email, send us an email and we will forward you the information.  Plus, you can reserve or order in advance from them via email.  

We hope you get a chance to explore the market and eat at the food trucks.

Until next time...