the life and times of J T Frey

Sweet Basil Sauce

Once upon a time at a pre-spring seed sale at either Home Depot or Lowes I found a pack of tomato seeds that were marked as being "San Marzano variety." Authentic San Marzano tomatoes are prized for their low-acid profile and are often used in sauces. In 2020 we had a fairly good crop from the few plants I cultivated in the garden beds around the yard. I also planted a fair amount of sweet basil herb.

Classico Sweet Basil pasta sauce is one of our favorite tomato-based sauces for pasta here at home. So with our home-grown San Marzano-esque tomatoes and sweet basil, I set out to make a tomato sauce that approximated Classico's.

Written by Jeff Frey on Sunday September 20, 2020
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Sweet Potato Casserole

This casserole was designed to please those folks for whom Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without some sweet potatoes, but to also please those who don't care for a large hunk of orange doused with a sticky, sweet sauce. Sure, in essence this recipe is like lumpy mashed potatoes. But those mashed bits will actually hold on to that tasty sweet sauce rather than letting it running all over your plate. And the unmashed bits have enough texture left that they'll remind those who crave a big hunk-o-yam of what they like best. Everyone's happy — except those who just don't like sweet potatoes, period.

Written by Jeff Frey on Monday December 12, 2016
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The Big P.B.

In many cookie recipes peanut butter is combined with an equal portion of (comparitively less flavorful!) shortening or butter, loads of sugar, and flour. Invariably I find most peanut butter cookies to be a disappointment: when it comes to peanut butter, more is better and I love the stuff. Just ask my family, who've observed me over the years putting P.B. on waffles, pancakes, pumpkin bread, celery, apple slices, bananas, ice cream...

This peanut butter cookie recipe takes the peanut butter very seriously. The addition of salt helps to tone-down the sweetness of the finished cookie, and the chocolate chips are just a classic foil to P.B. The cookie should finish with a crispy exterior and soft interior.

Written by Jeff Frey on Wednesday December 23, 2020
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Tropical Jerk Sauce

For our 10-year anniversary my wife and I took a trip to St. Lucia. Several mornings at breakfast I was able to have fresh passion fruit: the bright, very tart flavor was something special. Goya sells a passion fruit pulp in the freezer section of the grocery store, and while it's a great mix-in with vanilla-flavored yogurt, I found it also makes a perfect tropical addition to other dishes. This sauce pairs well with eggs and salty meats, and is based (not baste) on the sauce component of this recipe. The flavor is front-loaded with tropical fruit and allspice but finishes with a pleasant burn from the habeneros.

Written by Jeff Frey on Saturday July 15, 2023
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Turkey Chili

Every time we go to Dutch Wonderland we leave the park right around dinner time and inevitably stop at the nearby Panera. Just as inevitably, our daughters want the mac-n-cheese kids dinner (it's NOT a bowl of Kraft orange easy mac, so we don't argue). For me, a soup-and-sandwich combo is always satisfying, and my favorite selection soup-wise is their turkey chili. This recipe is an ode to that hearty, tomato-free bowl of delicious.

Written by Jeff Frey on Sunday December 4, 2016
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