Friday, October 7, 2011

Never Can Say Goodbye...To Tomatoes!

Although I welcome the cooler weather and the arrival of the autumn harvest, it’s always difficult to say goodbye to summer. Goodbye to stone fruit and berries, goodbye to bumper crops, but most of all, I mourn the loss of the fresh local tomato. Hothouse tomatoes can never compare and tomatoes from far away warm climates always arrive mealy and bland. Last year I promised myself that I would prepare to avoid a tomato-less fall and winter by making loads of frozen tomato sauce. Below is my simple tomato sauce recipe. I leave in the seeds and skin of the tomato because they don’t really bother me and I just blend everything together at the end. If you are bothered by the taste of the bitter seeds or the texture of the skin you can easily remove them with a few extra steps.
To remove the skin of a tomato, you will need a large pot of boiling water and an ice bath. Cut a shallow “X” on the top of each of tomato. Plunge the tomatoes in the boiling water for 30 seconds and then transfer immediately to the ice bath. The skin should have curled slightly at the meeting points of the “X.” Pull the skin away from each tomato, let them fully cool, and proceed…

End-of-Summer Tomato Sauce
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, minced
10-12 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbsp. chili flakes
1 Tbsp. Oregano
A handful fresh basil leaves, rough chopped
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
½ cup red wine (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven, or heavy bottomed saucepot over medium heat. Sweat the garlic and onions for about 10 minutes.
Add chopped tomatoes and spices and cook until the tomatoes begin to release their juice. Add the wine and vinegar. Bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pot and simmer the sauce over low heat, stirring often to prevent sticking and burning. When the liquid has reduced by half, season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
Let the sauce cool for a while and then process it until smooth in a blender or food processor. Freeze some of your amazing tomato sauce to taste tomatoes all winter long!

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