Monday, November 15, 2010

"It's Difficult To Think Anything But Pleasant Thoughts While Eating A Homegrown Tomato."

I awoke Saturday morning and immediately decided it was a good morning for a run: i was right. I ran from my dad's apartments, up the street, and on my usual 2.5 mile sidewalk loop run. The air was chilly; my blood was rising to my skin's surface and when i was back inside my face was flushed and my hands brutally cold. Perfect running weather--for me at least. Thankfully that chill warmed up a bit for Gleaning!

Gleaning:when a group of people are permitted to salvage crops after the top picks have been commercially plucked, after the crops are "gleaned" they are donated to a food bank or a soup kitchen to be then distributed to those who truly need it. It an amazing thing to do, i had fun doing it and throwing a half rotten tomato at my boyfriend Joshua. However not all of the gleaned crops are in good enough condition to give to the food bank, basically I got to glean the gleanings because they weren't rotten to the point of non-salvageable, but not in good enough to donate. As a result i returned to my Papa Bears Apartment with a big ol' bag of tomatoes! Upon my return i took the job of making tomato sauce.

And I obviously cut off the rot spots off of these so called "bad" tomatoes: only the good parts were left to enjoy.

There is something about made from scratch tomato sauce that just really tickles me. I mean how could anyone not just love it? Its fresh and flavorful and just darn delicious, plus you know what goes in it and that there are no additives or unnecessary sugar--not to mention it makes your whole house smell like an Italian love fest. Id also just like to state that it will not come out the "normal" red color you are accustomed to with jar sauces, this recipe creates a dark orange sauce; but that's just because I don't use food coloring, no one should.

First things first when you're crafting this sauce: you have to peel the skins off those pretty little red spheres.

You do not cut them off with a knife--you blanch them, then shock them, and then the skins come right off with just a little pressure from you're finger tips.

Step 1: Cut a tiny "X" on the bottom of the tomato.

Step 2: place in boiling water for 15 seconds--or until the skin begins to peel around the "X"
Step 3: Immediately transfer the tomato to an ice bath
Step 4: Gently shed the tomato of its skin with tender fingers.
Viola! peeled tomatoes. This was the same procedure used for peeling the plums in my "Spiced Plum Jam" recipe; but that's a different post.

Now to seed a tomato one must quarter it and cut out the core, then under cold running water brush out all the seeds and save the tomato meat to cook with [duh.]
No that we got that basic down, TIME FOR THE RECIPE!

A Gleaner's Tomato Sauce:
-1/3 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil [I refuse to call it E.V.O.O. fricking ever.]
-5 cloves of garlic, minced
-1 large red onion, minced
-1 large red bell pepper, diced
-2-3 lbs. tomatoes, peeled, and seeded.
-2 tbs. dried basil
-1/2 tbs. honey
-2 tsp. red pepper flakes
-2 tsp. rubbed sage
-2 tsp pepper
-2 tsp salt
-1 tsp crushed rosemary

Heat a large high sided pot over medium heat, Pour in the olive oil and then toss in the garlic and onion; sweat for 5 mins. Now dump in the tomatoes along with the basil, honey, red pepper flakes, sage, pepper, salt, and rosemary; stir, lower the heat, and let simmer--slightly covered--for an hour. Take a potato masher and crush up the tomatoes until your desired sauce consistency is reached, you can use a blender or a food processor if you want a smoother viscosity.
TA-DA you're skill in cooking has improved by 1 ! GRATS !
I hope you enjoy this yummy homemade sauce. It's delicious.

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