As for me and my house we will serve the Lord....

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The tomato paste mystery is solved (edited)

Here in Ukraine I make tomato sauce from tomato paste for pizza, pasta, and whatever. I have bought a couple jars that say tomato sauce on but the stuff inside is too sweet for pizza. Generally I start by cooking some chopped onions, add some hot peppers and Italian spices (roughly translates as Italian weeds or grass from Russian) then some water (from a bottle) and a scoop of  tomato paste from a jar.

 Normally I use about half a jar with and an equal amount of water, so the rest of the jar goes in the fridge. When I came back to Ukraine a couple weeks ago, I was making pizza and pulled a jar of tomato paste out of the cupboard. I twisted the top. and no popping sound.... I looked inside and it looked like someone had stuck and fork in it, removed some and then closed the jar and put it back in the cupboard! Or maybe we had somehow bought it pre-opened? I scraped it out and tossed the paste in the compost bucket, washed the jar out to save for canning jam or pickles next year.

 We used to buy tomato paste in 500 ml jars that you pry the lids off because Garry saved them for selling cream in. I would close them with the plastic lids they pop on the ones for cream to save the paste for the next use. Then Garry decided the screw top ones were a better buy this spring when we realized how much jam we were going though, the guys (Maxim B and Andrey our Ukrainian students who live with us this year) love jam on bread for dinner when no one's cooking for them.

Sometimes Garry makes sandwiches in the sandwich maker he bought when our boys were here, and he will get the jar of paste out to go with meat, cheese and spices (hot pepper flakes) on his toasted melted sandwich pockets. Max and Andrey often make themselves a few when Garry is cooking them, like he was on Saturday night this week.

Today (Tuesday) I was making soup for lunchtime. I had some veggies and stuff in the pot and decided to add a spoonful of tomato paste to add some more flavor. I went to the fridge, since I opened a new jar on Friday, but where was the jar? I didn't think it could be used up, Garry just spreads a bit on with a knife when he makes those sandwiches, and there was at least half a jar. I had not washed or put away a jar recently, anyway.... finally I looked in the cupboard, there was the half full jar. Max B heard me yelling at the jar for being there and came out of his room where he was studying.

Now Max knows that open jars go in the fridge not the cupboard. He told me it must be fine, but.... it's not expensive, so I scraped it out and opened a new one. Ukrainians do not have the same food safely rules and concerns to begin with, and he was raised in an orphanage, so we have a few things to learn together. I thought we had covered this with jam goes in the fridge ( but the honey doesn't so I can see where this gets confusing ... )

In most Ukrainian kitchens someone cooks, and it sits on the stove until it is eaten, maybe hours later. I think that their stomachs must be stronger than ours when it comes to bacteria and food poisoning. Last year when we were attending birthday parties for the students, I would take a little of everything and hope for the best while eating in the very warm kitchen, salads covered in mayonnaise that had not been in the fridge I was sure... luckily we never got sick, and some of the special salads are very tasty.
 My favorite is the herring under fur coat which has salted herring under layers of shredded cooked beet covered in mayo, which is purple/pink colored and kind of a crust, here's a photo from the internet...
the fur coat salad

the olivye salad
Olivyea- Garry always eats this one which is like a potato salad with hard boiled eggs, canned peas, maybe cooked carrot, maybe apple, maybe pickle and lots of chopped baloney.

If you want to try to make some of these I found a recipe link for them!

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