Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Home Made Marinara

I was quite proud of our little raised bed garden this year. We stuck to our guns and kept as garden as organic as possible. We used no type of fertilizers or pesticides, and I think we did pretty well...that was until Hurricane Irene blew the garden over!

One thing that I haven't done well with in the past but turned out stellar this year...tomatoes. We live in the woods and one big problem we've faced every year is a fungus called blight. Since the conditions in the woods is typically damp, it's attacked our tomatoes in years past. Usually when there's a summer with a lot of rain...this kills us. This year we took extra precaution by placing piles of mulch around the base of each plant, we made sure to only water in the morning and later in the season, when a couple bottom branches began to yellow, we promptly cut them off.

The result....bowls and bowls of these.

so, I decided to make some fresh sauce. I've attempted this in the past and the process of boiling, peeling, and deseeding tomatoes is kind of a long one. I found other recipes that put the entire tomato in a food processor or blender but in the end, just went back to the old fashioned way of doing it. Here's what it looks like.

I took a paring knife and on the bottom of each tomato cut a big X..just deep enough to pierce the skin. Boil a pot of water and in goes the tomatoes. They stay in there a minute or two..just until you see the skins peel back.

Take the tomatoes out of the boiling water and place them immediately in an ice bath. This is so they can cool off and allow you to peel the skins and squeeze the seeds out.
 Here's what your peeled tomatoes look like..

I just take the tomato and squeeze. The seeds will shoot out. You can then take a paring knife and cut the base where the stem was out as well. Then you have a big bowl of tomato guts.

Since I had a lot of large tomatoes, I just roughly ran a knife through them to break them up a little bit. In a large pot I combined 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 4 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 grated carrot, and 1 medium diced vidalia onion. I sauteed the veggies for 5 minutes, then added the tomatoes. I added a splash of red wine with one batch...once I drank all the wine and had none left..the next batch got a splash of balsamic vinegar. I let the mixture simmer for about 2 hours and then added some seasoning..mostly some salt, basil, oregano and parsley.

The finished product, in it's tupperware and ready for the freezer. 
You can use this sauce for anything. I top i over some whole wheat pasta and top it with fresh basil and a good quality Parmesan! I also like this sauce because it's a good way to use the uglier, maybe not so perfect, tomatoes in your garden!

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