Comfort Food for Stressful Days

Mom? Can you make Baba’s Red Sauce?

Photos I took while cooking.
Photos I took while cooking.

The month of December is a stressful time of the year for most people. If you are shopping for Christmas, you are worried about having gifts for all of your loved ones, how much money you are spending and if your packages will arrive on time.

If you are paying attention to world events, you are worried about the Coptic Christians being bombed in Egypt, the Syrians being slaughtered in Aleppo, the anniversary of Pearl Harbor and what that means to Japanese Americans, the Russian President interfering with the US elections (just to name a quick few off the top of my head.)

If you have family traveling, you are worried about flights…delays, cancellations, security check points, racial profiling, harassment.

If you don’t have family traveling, you miss them. You do your best to create a Christmas that Works for you and Your Family.

Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas. There are a TON of people everywhere you go. Every store is busy. There are decorations everywhere. Think I’m kidding? This photo was taken in Kuwait last week.

Kuwait Christmas
Photo taken by Khaled

My kids are counting down the days until Winter Break. I’ve discussed with you before that we do celebrate Christmas in our home, so I’ve been shopping here and getting my cards ready to mail out, preparing for birthdays and parties and planning on family sleepovers and baking cookies.

Big Sis went overseas for a while, Khaled is working a lot right now and we are not able to spend much time with him. Speech Tournaments, Science Olympiad events, after-school classes, and my work days are longer right now, filling orders.

With everything that is happening this month, there is a good amount of stress in the air at my home. We try to deal with our stress in our own particular ways. One of us goes shopping. One of us reads more fiction. One of us needs physical movement to process the stress. One of us needs to escape from reality. One of us needs to snuggle.

All of us crave comfort food.

So, yesterday, when we had a snow day, I got the request to make Baba’s Red Sauce.

Up until a month ago, I didn’t know how to make it. You will understand that I, as a midwestern girl with her cooking mojo firmly rooted in Italian cooking, didn’t understand tomato sauce without oregano and basil.

Khaled, makes Koshary style Red Sauce for pasta.

Here is his recipe.

(Estimated amounts for ingredients. You adjust for your own taste.)

Sauce Pan

8 cloves of Garlic

Olive Oil

1 can of Tomato Paste

1/3c Apple Cider Vinegar

1 c Water

Kosher Salt

Pepper

Mince the garlic (or use a garlic press) and saute it in olive oil for a few minutes to cook out the raw flavor (don’t let it get brown!) Add the can of paste and the vinegar. Keep stirring until the paste has dissolved and there are no lumps. Then, add a cup of water. Salt and Pepper to taste (probably about 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper.)

Taste and adjust accordingly. Like it more tart? Add more vinegar. Too salty? Add more tomato. Not enough for your troup? Add more water or make another batch! Serve over whatever pasta you have on hand. Egyptians prefer elbow noodles above everything else. Last night, we ate it with penne.

If you are looking for a recipe for Koshary, I highly recommend this book. It has saved me more than once when I wanted to be really nice to Khaled and try to cook something from his heritage.

Here are the links to all the places I talked about Christmas in our home:

Do You Celebrate Christmas?

The Modern Hortons!

Khaled Writes for Christmased!

Getting to the Christmas that Fits Us. 

Enough

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