Monday, August 9, 2010

From Garden to Table

First, let me say this:  Why on earth can't I figure out how to use Blogger?  I have a Master's Degree in Instructional Technology, for Pete's Sake.  I can't ever get things lined up right, my photos are all over the place...annoying.  Any tips?

On to the topic of this post:
I'm definitely not what you'd call "a natural" when it comes to cooking.  I'm learning; I'm actually to the point where many times I don't need to follow a recipe.  But it isn't really something I would say I enjoy.  I think I might, one one day when there aren't three kids screaming at me in the kitchen.  

My mom is an excellent cook, and an excellent gardner.  She was recently away for two weeks, and I was encouraged to take whatever was ripe from her garden.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you she had hundreds of tomatoes ready for the picking in her garden.  So Charlotte, Gavin, and I picked five or six dozen and brought them home.  But there are only so many times we can eat sliced tomatoes and mozzarella for dinner.  (Full disclosure:  I could eat it every night, for every meal.  But the twins remind me that "wedon'tlikePOTATOES!!!!")

So, even though when it comes to tomato sauce I usually only open the lid on the Prego, I decided that I'd try my hand at some homemade sauce.  This is probably old hat to all of you.  I'm sure you've been making your own tomato sauce for like, years.  But this was a major step for much so that I took photos!  Michael was all, "What are you DOING?  Trying out for the next Food Network Star?"  He can be such a hater.  :)

Here's what I was working with:
Some yummy Roma tomatoes, organically grown.  Apparently they make the best sauce.

The next step took the longest, but certainly wasn't difficult:  cutting out the stems and chopping the tomatoes:

Then, I added everything to the pot and let it simmer on medium.  As the tomatoes boiled down, I was left with A LOT of water.  Way more water than I thought.  I took my mom's advice and ladeled the water out as I went.

To separate the seeds and flesh from the tomato juice, I used a contraption of my mom's.  I have no clue what it's called (anybody know?), but she uses it for tomato and apple sauce.  I placed what was left of the tomatoes in the colander and moved the wooden tool around the perimeter of the colander, and voila!  Left with about 4 cups of tomato sauce!  (EDIT:  I am rereading this and laughing at my inability to use precise language about this cooking tool!  Wooden tool?  Embarrassing!)

Seriously...all those tomatoes yield only 4 cups?  How the hell many tomatoes are in a jar of Prego??

I froze some.  For dinner tonight, I sauteed an onion and garlic in about 3 Tbsp of butter.  (You could use olive oil, but I love the way butter rounds out tomato sauce!).  I added the fresh tomato puree and some salt and pepper.  I wish I would have had some fresh parsley...would have been a great addition.  I poured the whole thing over spaghetti and dinner was done.
The boys loved it:
Nathan doing what he does best...
Gavin just thinks I'm nuts, as usual.  

Bon appetit!

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