Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Saving It For Later

There's a certain anxiety that lurks in the background of even the most joyous activities. Think of births, weddings, gardening.

Gardening, you ask?

Think about it. Picking out the right seeds and starts for your climate and soil. Planting so they'll get just the right amount of sun. Then there's the constant monitoring. Too much water? Not enough? How is my garden doing compared to my neighbors'? It's almost enough to require treatment for GOCD (gardener's obsessive compulsive disorder).

When my tomatoes first set fruit, there was a lot of the dreaded bottom-end rot, no doubt due, in my case, to too much watering. So I cut back and the rest of the fruit seems fine…another bullet dodged. But now I find myself wandering out on a daily basis and squeezing the red fruit to see if it's really ripe enough to pick; with the Green Zebras, if they're developing just the barest hint of yellow behind their green facades. It's exhausting!

And now that we're in the full-on firehose of tomato season, I'm starting to worry about not letting any go to waste. Fortunately, we have a freezer sitting in the garage just waiting to be filled up with summer's goodness, though it's already looking after bags of rhubarb and the various berries I managed to squirrel away.

I'll be adding quart bags of roasted tomato sauce now that temperatures have dropped to levels reasonable enough to turn the oven on during the day. And any anxiety I might have about those long dark days of winter will be at least partially relieved.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

5-6 lbs. tomatoes, quartered if large, halved if small
2-3 large yellow onions, cut in sixths
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 Tbsp. dried basil
1/3 c. olive oil
Salt to taste

Spread out tomatoes and onions, skin side down, on two roasting pans. Sprinkle with the oregano and basil, then drizzle with the olive oil, half on each pan. Roast in 400° oven for 45 min.-1 hr. until tomatoes have partially collapsed and onions are beginning to brown on edges.

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly Pinch off tomato skins (they should just slide off) and purée in batches in a food processor. In large pot or Dutch oven, simmer on stove top until reduced to desired thickness. Cool and put in quart freezer bags.


Corvallis Martha said...

Dang! Dave A. just spent two days monitoring the stove top. Will try roasting the next batch of gift tomatoes.

Unknown said...

Yummy! Thanks so much - my husband planted 9 heirloom tomato plants this summer and they're coming on gangbusters all at once. This looks like a great recipe for sauce; just what I was looking for..

Kathleen Bauer said...

Roasting really does make a difference, both in intensity of flavor and cooking out some of the juice ahead. Let me know how it goes for you!

Anonymous said...

Oh you are too funny! GOCD, that is me! Thanks for the great post on what to do with all those tomatoes, I've been forcing them on all my clients. Maybe I'll have to try to make some of this sauce and put it away.

Kathleen Bauer said...

And why shouldn't you enjoy them yourself? (Not to mention it's a quick and easy dinner prep!)

fiftyfinally said...

I usually get the biggest pot and start up the burner on the barbeque and throw in all the various varities of tomatoes (black, purple and reds) and couple onions, garlic and basil, thyme and oregano, balsamic vinegar, and let it slow cook down. Pulverize everything with an imertion blender. I lived a couple years ago a block from a high school and my kids told me I drove them all crazy from the amazing aroma. I have a loaf of french bread handing for dipping and tasting and a bottle of wine. Yuuuum I can hardly wait to do it again this year

Kathleen Bauer said...

That sounds amazing! What a great idea.

I want to try smoking some tomatoes the next time Dave fires up his smoker. Stay tuned!