Sunday, October 3, 2010

You say Tomato, I say Tomahto

Summer's bounty - such a beautiful thing. Last years garden gave tomatoes, broccoli, butternut squash - yummy! This year's Nada. Zero. Didn't have one :( Bummer! Luckily for me, my mom is on the ball. She's kept me stocked with one of my favorite summer treats - tomatoes! Caprese salad (sliced tomatoes with slices of FRESH mozzarella cheese, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with chopped basil) is one of my most favorite things to eat!

Now that they are almost past their prime, the last of the tomatoes are ripening on the vines. There's many more than my mom & dad can use so I decided to try my hand at homemade tomato sauce.

This is quite a conundrum because everyone does it different. You can freeze it or can it. Cook it or puree it. Seeds or no seeds. The right approach for me? The EASY way. Now, I've made authentic "Brooklyn Gravy" before, where it HAS to be a Roma tomato and you blanche, peel, strain, cook, condense, etc. SO delicious but SO much work. Not today. It doesn't get any simpler than tomato sauce so why should it be difficult? Here's what I did:

Take your fresh, delicious tomatoes (roughly 6-8 tomatoes produce 1 cup of sauce)
and remove the core. Cut into rough 1" pieces.
Put them into your food processor or blender (I chose the latter) and puree, skins seeds & all.

Pour everything into a stock pot and simmer on low. You want your puree to condense down to about half of the original amount OR until it's the desired thickness. Mine took about 2.5 to 3 hours. You can leave it as just tomato sauce, to maximize the number of uses, OR you can season while you are cooking as I did, with any number of the usual spices; garlic, basil, oregano, etc. Since I use the same sauce for pizza, pasta, meatball sandwiches or whatever, I went ahead and seasoned mine. Also, you can use a rubber spatula to stir and scrape down the sides as it cooks, about every half hour works great.

This simple recipe is so versatile. If you don't want the seeds you can strain before or after freezing. To freeze, fill your containers and leave on the counter for about an hour to cool then put in the freezer. It should keep fine for 6-9 months, but if you're like me, it won't last that long!

Today I froze half and used the other half. But that's another post - stay tuned!

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