Less Noise, More Green: Using the tomato bounty

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Using the tomato bounty

As the tomato deluge from the garden continues, the kitchen counter starts groaning under the weight of all the fruit and action must be taken. Once I see a fruit fly, the tomatoes must be processed!

When I process tomatoes to be used for future meals, I like to make simple recipes that I can flavor and enhance at the time of cooking. This keeps my options open.

One of the simplest preparations I do is roasting grape tomatoes in olive oil with a little salt and pepper. This is a great way to use up my little volunteers, especially the ones that are starting to split. Roasted at 425 degrees for 40 minutes, the tomatoes burst releasing intense flavor to mingle with the oil. This freezes really well. I add it to pasta, sauteed vegetables and use it as a pizza topping.

This simple pasta sauce consists of Roma and San Marzano tomatoes. I peel off the skins using a hot water  bath, chop and cook in a little olive oil with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Once the tomatoes break down, after about thirty minutes, I add tomato paste, a pinch of sugar, and cook for another twenty minutes or so. Once I'm ready to use this for dinner I can spice it up anyway I want.

Lastly, I make roasted tomato soup base. Big Boy and Yellow Boy tomatoes are tossed with onion and garlic cloves,olive oil, salt and pepper. Roasted in a deep pan at 350 degrees for several hours, I stir the mixture occasionally. Once the vegetables have broken down I continue to cook them in a soup pot with chicken broth, adding a little sugar to cut the acid.

I puree the soup using a hand blender until its completely smooth. At this point I can freeze in portions and spice it up when ready to eat. Often I add pasta or rice and chunky veggies, basil and a splash of cream or jalapenos and corn.

Three versatile tomato bases that freeze well and preserve the summer bounty for the long winter days ahead.



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