Tuesday, March 06, 2012

dressing up your store-bought sauce

I don't always make everything from scratch. Really, I don't think most people do. Sometimes it's easier to use that jar of alfredo sauce, or the canned vegetables, or whatever pre-made component just makes life simple.

Stir fry is a fairly common meal in our house. It's easy, it's filling, I can do it with just whatever leftovers are around the home, or I can do it with a big pile of fresh veggies purchased for this very purpose. I can make it all vegetarian, I can add meat or seafood or tofu. It's just easy. You all know how much I like easy meals, right? Other than chopping everything up, a stir fry is the easiest meal I know.

Of course, the easiest way to make it easy is using a pre-made sauce. We tend to keep our kitchen stocked with VH Stir Fry sauces (orange ginger, teriyaki, garlic hoisin, sczechuan are our staples) but the thing is, they can be kind of boring. Good, but boring.

So, when I pulled out the bottle of garlic hoisin sauce yesterday, I knew I wanted to do something more. I didn't want to make an entire sauce from scratch, but I knew I wanted something a little bit extra special. So I looked around.

I thought about all the lovely veitnamese soup bowls I've had at various restaurants over the years, and how I would without fail use both the hoisin sauce and the chili flakes in oil. That would add a nice kick of heat to the meal. I had inadvertently used sesame oil in my pan, so I tossed so sesame seeds over the dish when it was finished. To finish things off, I added a small squirt of lemon juice.

The meal I ended up with was a hundred times better than what I'd began with. A few little touches really brighten things up.

Bunny does the same with his tomato sauce, adding fresh herbs and lots of minced garlic when he has it.

How do you update a store-standard?

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