I feel like I'm back in school. I'm trying to learn how to prepare low-sodium meals for myself, and so far it's been a bit overwhelming. I research online. I chart everything in a notebook. And I spend a lot of time standing in aisles comparing sodium content. Researching online is easy in the sense that there's a lot of information out there -- and it's hard because...ummm...there's a lot of information out there. There are resources; there's just so much to read.
Thankfully, there are several excellent low sodium blogs out there....written by people who know their way around a kitchen much better than I do. My favorite so far is Don't Pass the Salt. The woman who writes the blog is amazing. Her husband was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and high blood pressure a few years ago, and she threw herself into figuring out this low-sodium diet stuff. She shares recipes and information about pre-packaged foods, and it's an absolute goldmine. I want to hug her.
Now -- armed with access to her blog -- I'm ready to take the next logical step: I'm going to find where they live and move in with them. I mean, she's already cooking for her husband. How hard would it be to put another plate on the table?????
OK. Maybe not. I realize that I'm on my own on this one.
My first self-assigned task was to make homemade spaghetti sauce. I adore Italian food, but canned spaghetti sauce is loaded with sodium. Most brands run more than 450 mg sodium for a 1/2 cup of sauce. Yikes! On Friday I went to three different stores (Whole Foods, Buschs, Walmart) looking for the lowest sodium content I could find for canned, crushed tomatoes. I found a brand at Whole Foods -- bionaturae -- that has 30 mg sodium per 1/2 cup. I thought that the Dei Fratelli brand I found at Walmart had that beat at 15 mg sodium -- until I realized that was based on 1/4 cup. Good thing I was paying attention in elementary school math classes...
I followed a recipe that I found on the Don't Pass the Salt blog:
1 28-oz can salt-free/low sodium crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4-1/2 teaspoon sugar
Saute onion in olive oil until translucent; add garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes, herbs and lesser amount of sugar. Bring to simmer; lower heat and simmer until thickened slightly, around 10 minutes. Taste, and add more sugar if needed.
I made the sauce and would give it a grade of B-.
It was alright, but I don't think I nailed the right herb combination. And, considering that I have zero cooking skills other than being able to read a recipe, I'm at a loss. I want to improve the flavor, but I'm not sure how. I'm hoping one of the Super Chefs in my family can help.
Until then, I'm planning my next task: homemade dough so I can make my own pizza. Should be entertaining.