Monday, August 17, 2009

Out of the Garden and into the Sauce Pan

We came home to eight large ripe tomatoes and a basket of cherry tomatoes. I am particularly fond of these homely heirloom ones. The wisps of green streaks seeping from the stem base seem to give these guys some character: tomatoes that have been around the block - weathered. With more almost-ripe on the vine, I decided to try my hand at fresh-from-the-garden spaghetti sauce. Of course, most of the sauce recipes I could find use canned tomatoes. So I had to improvise.

First, I found this website, which shows the process, in detail, of freezing tomatoes for future use in sauces, etc. I followed the instructions to prepare my tomatoes: giving them the hot tub treatment by boiling them in a large pan of water for just a minute before shocking them in an ice bath. Poor guys. This made the skins really easy to peel off before I quartered, squeezed, seeded, and drained them. Then it was time sauce it up: tomato-style.

I found this recipe for Giada De Laurentiis' Simple Tomato Sauce. Of course, it calls for canned crushed tomatoes. I threw caution to the wind and ignored this. I halved the recipe and when it was time to dump in the crushed canned tomatoes, I threw in my fresh tomato quarters. Then I waited. For an hour.

Luckily, I have just the thing to distract one from worrying too much about the state of spaghetti sauce in the form of a two-and-a-half-year-old blond. After a stint of trying to convince her that she had successfully "washed the dishes" (which entailed her climbing upon a stool, scaling the counter, and hanging herself over the sink so she could run water and soap into the pile of dishes I had amassed - with some cherry tomatoes and the wooden tomato basket thrown in for good measure) the sauce was almost done. The tomatoes had cooked down a bit with tomato chunks throughout. This went into the food processor where, after a quick pulse, it thickened into a traditional-looking tomato sauce. Except, it's orange. So it looks a bit more like creamy tomato soup. But, it still tastes yummy. Roma tomatoes are the ones typically used for sauces like this. We didn't grow those in our garden. Maybe they make red sauce. For now, we've got orange. Good thing it's one of Audrey's favorite colors.

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