Author Topic: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes  (Read 1236 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline jsaras

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 732
  • Location: Northridge, CA
Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« on: May 24, 2014, 06:19:37 PM »
After having read some tomato tasting comparisons done several years ago in which TJ tomatoes fared well, I decided to buy a can for $1.49. 

Straight out of the can, the taste is tinny and terrible (the can is not lined).  I decided to add 1.5 tsp of salt and 1.5 tsp of sugar.  That's considerably more than I would normally use, but that's the amount suggested by Pizzeria Mozza's pizza making class.  That level of salt and sugar pretty much took the offensive taste away.

I then added my usual stuff; oil, oregano, garlic, crushed fennel, chili flakes and black pepper.  At that point, it actually tasted pretty good, if you're into zesty sauces.  However, even after a quick run through with the immersion blender (maybe 5 seconds or so), the tomato chunks were a bit more tough than I like, as if it had calcium chloride, but it doesn't. 

For the 'budget" tomatoes, I still think that Wal-Mart's crushed tomatoes are the ones to beat (also sold at Smart & Final and Kroger).

Things have never been more like today than they are right now.


Offline Donjo911

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1099
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2014, 07:12:42 PM »
Jsaras,
Thanks for that news.  I've been using Cento's all-purpose ground tomatoes and prefer them over others I've tried. I have not tried Kroger branded yet but Kroger owns Fred Meyer and QFC stores in our area.  Given the tough drought conditions for water and high heat expected for Central CA throughout this summer (I'm sorry to bring up) - I'm planning to stock up heavy for the year as the shelf life is quite long for canned tomatoes.  Do you happen to have a pic or recall the specific type/preparation you prefer?  I'd like to try them. Thanks in advance! -Don
I have done wrong.. but what I did, I thought needed to be done.

Offline jsaras

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 732
  • Location: Northridge, CA
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2014, 08:25:20 PM »
Here's my standard pizza sauce:

28 oz can crushed tomatoes (Wal Mart, Kroger or Smart & Final brand, code on the can is 5TPCG OL
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
1-2 tsp oregano
1-2 TB of olive oil
1/2 clove garlic or ½ of a Dorot frozen garlic cube or ¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground fennel (optional)
1/4 tsp chili flakes (optional)
 
Put the olive oil and all the spices into a small microwave safe container such as a ramekin or a coffee cup.  Ensure that all the spices are wet from being covered in olive oil.  Microwave the mixture for 30-45 seconds at 50% power.  This is called “microwave extraction”.  This technique gives you the same effect of cooking the sauce, without the negative effects of cooking canned tomatoes.  The herbs and spices get infused into the oil, so you get the benefits of cooking the sauce without cooking the tomatoes.
 
Pour the oil/spice mix into a container with the tomatoes.  Close the container and shake the heck out of it.  It is ready to serve immediately,  but it is better if refrigerated overnight.  Note that pizza sauce should be applied to a pizza when it has reached room temperature.
Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

Offline Donjo911

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1099
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2014, 09:20:29 PM »
Sa-Weeeet!  Thanks for the code - that's truly helpful!  Thanks for your recipe - that's generous! I appreciate it.   I'll report back on this same thread!
I have done wrong.. but what I did, I thought needed to be done.

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22301
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2014, 09:43:25 AM »
Jonas,

Maybe you are already aware of this but when member November talked about microwave assisted extraction (MAE), it was mostly in the context of mixing the herbs and spices in a small amount of water, although it was generally known at the time that herbs and spices could be mixed in with oil. I found the series of posts starting at Reply 5 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=3735.msg31883;topicseen#msg31883 to be quite fascinating on this subject, including how to determine how long to microwave the mixture depending on the particular microwave oven used and its power rating.

Peter

Offline Tampa

  • Lifetime Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1596
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2014, 11:33:27 AM »
Jonas,

Maybe you are already aware of this but when member November talked about microwave assisted extraction (MAE), it was mostly in the context of mixing the herbs and spices in a small amount of water, although it was generally known at the time that herbs and spices could be mixed in with oil. I found the series of posts starting at Reply 5 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=3735.msg31883;topicseen#msg31883 to be quite fascinating on this subject, including how to determine how long to microwave the mixture depending on the particular microwave oven used and its power rating.

Peter
Another great link Peter.  By the time I reach 100, I will have read some small fraction of the outstanding early posts.  And in my next life, I'll endeavor to try them all like Norma does regularly.  :-D

Dave

Offline Donjo911

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1099
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2014, 12:27:22 PM »
Jonas,
I am using your recipe for sauce tonight. Just followed the process for the MAE you and Peter referenced.  I used the Cento All Purpose Ground that I have.  I'll bake around 6PM. So, hopefully 9 hours in the fridge will help the flavors build.  Thanks again!

When you mentioned "Zesty" sauce... it reminded me of how I found this forum.  Last year I was trying to find out how to prepare something close to Round Table Pizzas 'Zesty Red Sauce' and found DNA Dan's clone.  For tonight I followed your recipe to a "T"  I have on occasion added a bit of dry coriander to my sauce I make if not using straight tomatoes.  Have you ever tried coriander in sauce?  Thoughts.  I don't love Cilantro in volume but for some reason coriander can add a dimension that suits my taste in zesty sauce.

Cheers,
Don
I have done wrong.. but what I did, I thought needed to be done.

Offline jsaras

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 732
  • Location: Northridge, CA
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2014, 01:21:39 PM »
I don't know if I've EVER had coriander.  Is is like quinoa? ;-d
Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

Offline jsaras

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 732
  • Location: Northridge, CA
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2014, 01:28:41 PM »
Hi Peter,

November definitely started me down the path of using the microwave and I'm indebted to him for opening the door to that technique.  His default sauce has too many ingredients in it for my taste (though they're all optional) and I found water to be a less desirable "solvent" medium than oil.  In any event, it makes a darn fine sauce.
Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

Offline Donjo911

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1099
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2014, 01:44:09 PM »
Yeah.. (this will sound dumb) before I tried it.. I would have never thought to use it.  I read about it when I was lurking on this site a few years ago. 


Apparently R-T-P may have used many non-traditional herbs & spices in their sauce.  I loved it.  I had a hard time duplicating it on my own as spice varies so much from brand to brand and with age/shelf-life.  I drove up to Seattle to get Smoked Paprika from Big Johns Pacific Food Import - Big John PFI.  And when I was there I stumbled onto Caputo Pizzeria flour in bulk.  I did buy the paprika however, I ditched the RTP cracker pie attempts in favor of, at the time I thought could be Nea. in a home oven on a pizza stone - then Soapstone then steel. This pizza road... you never know where it will lead!

Here's the skinny on Coriander:

Coriander
Food
Coriander, also known as cilantro, Chinese parsley or dhania, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Coriander is native to regions spanning from southern Europe and North Africa to southwestern Asia. It is a soft plant growing to 50 cm tall.

Cilantro & Coriander seeds
Like other spices coriander is available throughout the year providing a fragrant flavor that is reminiscent of both citrus peel and sage.
The fruit of the coriander plant contains two seeds which, when dried, are the portions used as the dried spice. When ripe, the seeds are yellowish-brown in color with longitudinal ridges. Coriander seeds are available whole or in ground powder
I have done wrong.. but what I did, I thought needed to be done.


Offline Donjo911

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1099
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2014, 01:47:13 PM »
Re: MAE.  That method rocks.  When I put the ramekin in the microwave this morning I was a little unsure of the time. It's an 1100 W. oven.  So I went 20 sec. at a time.  My wife came down and said, "The kitchen smells awesome!"  So, Laura thanks you too for sharing!
I have done wrong.. but what I did, I thought needed to be done.

Offline Donjo911

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1099
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2014, 01:53:31 PM »
I did the "quote" wrong. It looked like a quote - but I wrote that about the corriander and Big John's etc..  I don't want to besmurch Lydia with my ramblings
  :-[

Here is the quote, I hope correctly.

Hi All
Had a cancelled appointment so I got time to post today. So here’s the updates……

Tasting notes: I was having a lot of trouble verifying the paprika/ancho chili powder in the samples. So what I did was replace the ancho with paprika, then tripled the spice ratio so that there was enough of the seasoning in the sauce to stand out. It became very obvious that paprika isn’t used in place of the ground ancho in the RT sauce. The flavor was completely wrong. But if it was all that you had on hand, it still makes a very good sauce. I actually still think that a 50/50 of ancho and paprika makes a better sauce.

Once it got down to the nitty-gritty, I had to place the dried herbs on my tongue and allow it to hydrate and chew the leaf and then compare it to the tiny herb particles washed from the sauce. The taste of the dry herbs on the tongue was pretty nasty, it’s way too bitter, but it was the only way I was going to isolate and discover what the subtle herbs in this sauce were. I’m glad I was able trudge through the process, because I learned a lot. I compared initial flavor which is usually the same as the aroma, then the finish, what areas in the oral cavity were stimulated (which is hard to explain without a diagram) and finally comparing the hydrated herb color.

Found During Washing:

Mexican Oregano: HOT Most dominate herb flavor in sauce. Dark herb, initial flavor matches aroma; finishes with flavor identical to black pepper with identical heat stimulating the same areas on tongue. It’s actually has a good amount of “kick”. I wasn’t aware of a “HOT herb”. Initially I was mistaking the small dark particles as coarse black pepper. Brands that worked are McCormick Gourmet and El Guapo.

Dried Savory: Second most dominate herb flavor sauce. Brands that worked McCormick Professional and McCormick Gourmet ground savory (told by spice merchandiser that it has been discontinued).

Dried Thyme: I obviously had the most trouble with this one, since it’s the final herb. I really couldn’t taste or smell it until I started using it in the sauce. Washing found stems and blossom heads. Be careful with brands, I purchased an off-brand and it was so potent that it smelled just like spic and span floor cleaner. :o I do not know if this was because it was a different genus of thyme or if it was just old. I just know this wasn’t right for the sauce.

Dried Parsley: I found very minute amounts. Initial flavor is bland and bitter but finishes with subtle black pepper, anise and citrusy notes it’s also a bit reminiscent of tarragon. If adding to current dry mix you’ll need 1/32 tsp.

Granulated Garlic TANGY/ZESTY Granulated garlic is easily tasted and seen dispersed throughout the sauce. Garlic has also been quoted from RT sauce ingredients. I personally haven’t found any significant differences between brands but do make sure that you’re using granulated and not powdered garlic.

Black Pepper: HOT I didn’t find the black pepper until the sauce was washed and strained with a liner. The black pepper is actually a very fine grind. The pepper is harder than the herbs and crunches between the teeth.

The Rest of the Spices and Herbs:

Ancho provides the primary chili element with just the tiniest hint of smoky raisin. Smoky in this case isn’t smoke-flavor like you find with Chipotle or McCormick Gourmet Ancho.

Ground Cumin, PUNGENT if you can find it, should be fresh, not toasted, and have a green hue, not sandy brown or worse dark brown. It should have a clean chili con carne flavor, more aromatic than pungent and more sweet than bitter.

Bay Leaf: PUNGENT Bay should smell like sweet lemon and a bit clove-like. I couldn’t confirm the bay leaf by visual inspection. If you choose to omit this, replace with sweet paprika. I am using McCormick ground bay. I recommend not grinding your own bay leaves. It is difficult to grind them fine enough but if you choose to do so you will need 12 small bay leaves to equal 1 tsp ground bay.

Cayenne HOT There are several different peppers that may be labeled as Cayenne.  Make sure that your paprika has the aroma of hot peppers and not like sweet ripe red bell peppers.

Ground Coriander Seed: AMALGAMATING/SWEET Coriander is probably the most important spice, enhances and marries all the other spices. Aroma is earthy with lemony-orange citrus notes. Or to quote my son “Hey! This smells just like “fruit loops”.  :-D Dried cilantro is not an acceptable substitute.

Ground Fennel Seed: AMALGAMATING/SWEET The flavor of the fennel is easily picked out in the RT sauce. It’s also the primary contributor to the sweet flavor in the sauce. Fennel also enhances and marries all the other spices just not in the same way as the coriander.

Citric Acid TANGY/ZESTY Can be omitted if using Hunts improved tomato paste, but if you find that the flavor is lacking for your tastes, you’ll want to hunt this down. (AKA Sour salt). Found in canning/pickling supplies, spice isles, or specialty cake and candy supply stores.

Demerara Sugar here is a link http://chickensintheroad.com/blog/2009/01/11/natural-sugars/ for those who are wondering what this is. I found mine more economically in bulk bins. I have not tried the turbinado/Sugar In The Raw in place of the demerara. But the demerara sugar I have is lighter like the turbinado sugar at this link. So it may have been mislabeled. Mine doesn’t have a pronounced molasses flavor, and the sweetness is not sharp like granulated cane sugar (like the difference between table salt and kosher salt). I’ve already mentioned that brown sugar has too much molasses flavor.

Lydia
I have done wrong.. but what I did, I thought needed to be done.

Offline jsaras

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 732
  • Location: Northridge, CA
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2014, 03:01:06 PM »
If you're going to incorporate coriander into the blend I would suggest using about 1/4 of your usual amount.

This forum has many great little "nuggets" that make noticeable improvements in the end result of pizza.  It might make for an interesting book, "Pizza Wisdom".
Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22455
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2014, 07:14:29 PM »
By the time I reach 100, I will have read some small fraction of the outstanding early posts.  And in my next life, I'll endeavor to try them all like Norma does regularly.  :-D

Dave

Dave,

Lol, get going on those experiments.  I have used the MAE for my market sauce with oil for a long while.  I got that idea from November's posts when I tried his sauce with water.

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline jsaras

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 732
  • Location: Northridge, CA
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2014, 07:45:24 PM »
Now I KNOW I'm on the correct track.  Great minds think alike!
Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

Offline jsaras

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 732
  • Location: Northridge, CA
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2014, 07:39:52 PM »
@Norma: Can you share your MAE spice blend when using oil?

@Donjo911:  How did you like the sauce?  Curious minds want to know.
Things have never been more like today than they are right now.

Offline Donjo911

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1099
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2014, 08:11:22 PM »
Jsaras,

You rock!  I posted a shout out in my Starter/Sponge post - but not here. Sorry about that.


I think what I learned:
  -  "Duck Sourdough" certainly works as a replacement for commercial yeast. 
  -  "Duck Sourdough" is predictable given appropriate conducive temperatures.
  -    I do need to build my proofing box asap to insure consistant results.
  -   the preferment prediction model works not only for Ischia but for other (at least one for certain) sourdough starters.
  -   posting of this topic and others this weekend connected me with Jsaras who provided me with an insanely awesome sauce recipe which will now replace my own.  (see topic: Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes)
  -   7 oz. of cheese used on 18" pies is about right.
  -   To measure end results - I really should have weighed the dough when it was balled as I weighed everything else - to better compare end results + bake times & temps.
  -   Even with steel and a long preheat.  letting the steel fully recover is important to get consistent top/bottom bakes.
  -  I still have much to learn!


Your method and spice mix is fantastic.  I really like it.  I had Cento AP Ground so that is what I used. However, I am heading to a Kroger this weekend and will pick up a few of their brand to try as well.  Thanks again for turning me on to the MAE -it's keeper!  :drool:
I have done wrong.. but what I did, I thought needed to be done.

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22455
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2014, 08:25:38 PM »

@Norma: Can you share your MAE spice blend when using oil?


Jonas,

I posted awhile ago the recipe I had used for my sauce for market at Reply 2 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=9744.msg85554#msg85554 That was before I used November's MAE.  A pizza operator gave me that sauce recipe.  The market sauce I make now almost tastes exactly the same.

I now only use Saporito Super Heavy Pizza Sauce without the 7/11's. 

This is for a # 10 can and am not sure of the exact amounts of ingredients because I do not measure them accurately. 

Fillippo Berio Olive Oil for Sauteing & Grilling (less than a half cup, but enough to cover the bottom of a plastic container and the ingredients)  Probably any kind of light olive oil would work.

3-4 nice size fresh garlic cloves crushed with garlic press
¼  teaspoon of regular oregano
¼ teaspoon of Greek oregano from Bova Foods
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning from the Country Store
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Microwave about 3 times at about 20 seconds on high

Add about 5 teaspoons of MAE to sauce.

Then I add about these ingredients or a little more:

¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon Greek Oregano
¼ teaspoon regular oregano
about a little more than ¼ cup Red Cow Parmesan cheese
less than ½ teaspoon sugar
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

Let sit for a day.  I have to add a lot of water to the sauce before I actually use it. 

I am going to try the Conte Heavy Pizza Sauce to see if the above ingredients in smaller amounts make the Conte sauce taste the same.  I only have a little over pint of the Conte pizza sauce to try out.  The Conte pizza sauce really isn't heavy though.

Norma

Always working and looking for new information!

Online Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22301
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2014, 08:33:03 PM »
Norma,

Out of curiosity, is there a reason why you don't use the MAE method for all of the herbs and spices?

Peter

Offline norma427

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22455
  • Location: Lancaster County, Pa.
    • learningknowledgetomakepizza
Re: Trader Joe's Unsalted Crushed Plum Tomatoes
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2014, 09:02:32 PM »
Norma,

Out of curiosity, is there a reason why you don't use the MAE method for all of the herbs and spices?

Peter

Peter,

When I was trying out November's MAE method, with oil for my pizza sauce, I tried adding more of the ingredients to the MAE part and it made the taste of the oregano’s, Italian seasonings, and red pepper flakes too strong in the final sauce.  That is when I tried using parts of the ingredients in the two steps.  I knew November's sauce with such a small amount of MAE ingredients made a sauce that was really good, but it only really took a little bit of each ingredient to make his sauce taste the way it does.  I keep testing until my sauce tasted almost exactly like the sauce I made in the monthly challenge. 

When I make the sauce for market it only takes me about 10 minutes after I have all of the ingredients out and it really doesn't seem to matter is a little bit of one or more of the ingredients are added.  The garlic note can be smelled as soon as the top of the container comes off the next day. 

Norma
Always working and looking for new information!


 

pizzapan