Saturday, August 13, 2011

Even Wire Wrappers Gotta Eat

Yesterday I spent all day making tomato sauce from the garden. These here Roma tomatoes are growing in my tomato bed right now, waiting to turn red so that I can spend another whole day making tomato sauce out of them. And when I say "from the garden", I mean I grew everything except the onions and celery. So, if you ask me how I picked what to put in the tomato sauce, I'll tell you I picked it with my hands. Not only that, the ingredients are dictated by what's growing in my yard. Here is the time-consuming but not too hard recipe.

5 Roma tomatoes
3 Celebrity Slicing Tomatoes
A dozen or so cherry tomatoes
1 banana pepper
1 poblano pepper
1 bell pepper
1 celery stalk
1 large onion
3 or 4 garlic cloves
Olive oil
4 rosemary leaves
1 stalk sweet basil
3 stalks thyme
3 stalks oregano
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
dash of cumen

Set a big ole pot of water to boil. While it's boiling, set up a big ole bowl of cold water. Add a tray or two of ice cubes to the big ole bowl of water. Dump all the 'maters into the boiling pot of water. I let them sit there until the water starts boiling again. Drain the hot water and then dump all the 'maters into the ice bath.

Concurrently, turn on a burner (this only works if you have a gas stove. I dunno what to tell you electric people besides electric stoves suck) and place both the banana and poblano peppers directly onto the fire. Let the skin bubble and blacken. Turn for even scorching. When the peppers are charred all over the outside, stick them both in a paper bag. Set aside.

Meanwhile, back on the farm. . . set a small saucepan on another burner and put a mesh colander over it. Peel a tomato, discarding the peel, and push the 'mater through the mesh colander. Peel all the tomatoes-- except for the cherry tomatoes-- and push them through the colander. Reserve the tomato flesh!

In the saucepan with the tomato juice add the sugar and vinegar. Bring to boil and then lower to a simmer. Let that reduce down while you cook the rest of the veggies.

Oh wait, did I mention chopping up a celery, dicing half an onion, cubing the bell pepper and smooshing the garlic? Yeah, you need to do that too. You also need to grate the other half of the onion. And the herbs you picked out of your herb garden? Go to town on them with your kitchen shears. But don't forget to pull the leaves from the stems first. The stems, they are not that good to eat.

Remember that big ole pot you boiled the 'maters in? Dry it off and put enough olive oil to cover the bottom. When the oil is hot enough, add the celery, bell pepper and diced onions. Also add the salt, pepper and dash of cumin. When the celery softens a little, add the garlic (you don't want the garlic to cook too long. They're nasty when they get too brown). Hey, while were chucking things into the pot, chuck in the herbs too.

While all that is sauteing, get the poblano and banana pepper from the bag. Cut them open, seed, scrape and chop. Add to the pot with the veggies. Stir it up so that everything is nice and blended. Now add the grated onion.

Time to add the tomato flesh. Use your fingers to remove as much of the seeds as possible and put them in the pot with the veggies (the 'maters, not the seeds). The cherry tomatoes get peeled and squeezed directly into the pot. The reduced tomato juice get thrown in there also. You remember the reduced tomato juice. It's in a saucepan, simmering slowly and reducing. Yeah,well, now it's going in the big ole pot with everything else. Stir it all up with a potato masher, mashing any big bits of tomato. Bring up to a boil then lower to a slow simmer. Cover.

The longer it simmers, the better it tastes.

All that work nets about this much sauce. We sliced sweet Italian sausages into rounds, fried them with sliced baby 'bella mushrooms and put both the sausage and sauce over garlic angel hair pasta. We still have a jar left. Wanna come over for a visit? Sorry, you can't. But you can visit my Etsy. Not the same, is it?

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