Monday, October 4, 2010

ToMAYto, ToMAWto

Whatever way you choose to pronounce it, tomatoes are pretty well known, yes? I think we can all agree on that. Most Oregonians know this year growing tomatoes was somewhat of a joke given the cooler, later summer. Now, finally, we are seeing red fruit peek out of heavy vines that are slowly giving way to Autumn's chill. So that none go to waste, picking them daily is pretty essential even if they look pretty battered up. It has been a rough year for gardens. Veggies tried their best but couldn't hold out too well against the elements. Kind of odd for October but suddenly we have a crop, albeit small, of tomatoes. Did I mention Timberline opened for ski season? How crazy to even think of tomatoes given that news. Now, what to do with them. I have to admit their flavor isn't the best. It isn't like they lazed leisurely in the sunshine developing juicy flavor. So I have a big bushel of them now from the garden and decided to make sauce. Because there was no way I could use all of these before they went bad, sauce was the best option for me. I admit, it can be a bit of work but not so bad if you do it in batches. I heated up a big pot of water to boiling and then ladled in my washed tomatoes. I let them soak in the boiling water until the skins split (nice visual, huh?) and then I ladled them out again into a bowl.

I cover them in cold water until they are cool enough to handle. Then I slip off the peels. Yes, it gets icky at this point and quite messy as the tomatoes basically squish through your fingers. I dump them into the food processor with some raw cloves of garlic and pulse until it is completely smooth. I am totally lazy, I don't seed it and I barely care about the cores!

I dump everything into a large sauce pan and then I add some sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Then I just let it simmer. I have to say that Roma tomatoes are the best for sauce because they have a pastier, meatier consistency. Some of the ones I had today were Romas but most were not. Because of that, my sauce was very thin. Oh well. Once it had cooked for a while and cooled, I put some in a quart jar for the fridge and froze the rest.

Even though the sauce is pretty thin, I don't really care. I generally use it as an add in to recipes. It really adds a fresh flavor to foods, I'm always pleasantly surprised when I taste a hint of summer in a winter meal! Usually I add this sauce to my chili, spanish rice, minestrone, and marinara. Sorry for the bad photography - definitely not my strong point.

So after all this homemade goodness was done and cleaned up I opened the fridge to find a whole other bag of tomatoes staring triumphantly at me as if to say "You just THOUGHT you were done." I'm hoping it was just an illusion but I'm not about to open the fridge door to find out. In this case, ignorance is bliss. Pizza for dinner folks!

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