Labor of Love

It seemed very fitting to spend my labor day making “sauce” for the freezer out of the abundance of tomatoes from the garden this year. Although my plants caught a tomato blight and leaves started turning yellow and spotty in August; I still managed to reap pounds of tomatoes from my 12 plants.

Mostly heirloom varieties (Brandywine, Mortgage Lifters) but a couple common varieties too. (Early Girl, Best Boy)

A lot of folks might swear by the more popular “Roma” variety for their sauce-making. They are prized for the large amount of flesh versus juice, resulting in a thick, rich sauce. But I personally think any tomato is a great tomato. And you can read about my “tomato problem” here. It is all about how much love you put into it.

My recipe is different every time and I don’t measure, but it always includes some basics….

Tomatoes, onion, garlic, a grated carrot or two for extra sweetness and this time I included some mini sweet bell peppers that I happened to have on hand. Also always included but not seen here is: red chili flakes, a small can of tomato paste, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a parm rind and herbs: oregano, basil and marjoram. Fresh is best but dried works great too! (No the bags of apples and pears were not included – they just made a good backdrop for the photo!)

First the labor…

Some folks blanch/peel the tomatoes first – ummm… too much work for me. Some strain out the seeds – do it if you want. I don’t mind all that extra fiber and I “whiz” it all up at the end anyway. TIP: Drain the scraps as you cut and use the extra “tomato water” in the sauce – no waste!)

Next comes the love….

This is the onions, garlic and finely grated carrots slowly softening in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Go low and slow; careful not to put too much color on the garlic.  Add in your finely diced sweet bell pepper and saute some more. (This gives it a little undertone of “cacciatore.”) Add in the chili flakes and the tomato paste and let that toast a bit too.  Than add a few generous dashes of Worcestershire sauce (my secret weapon) and a little water to de-glaze the pan. Than you are ready for all those tomatoes!

Cook it slowly for several hours, with a leftover Parmesan cheese rind to add richness.  Tasting and adjusting seasoning along the way. If  using fresh herbs, I like to add in the last hour of simmer AFTER I have used my immersion blender to blend all but the parm rind up. That way the sauce and herbs keeps its “fresh” flavor. If I am using dried herbs I add them way back when I add the tomato paste and chili flakes to sort of “toast” them too.

Now the reward… ( A couple of gallon bags of sauce for the freezer!)


4 comments on “Labor of Love

  1. Karen says:

    Nice that you were able to continue getting ripened tomatoes with the blight. I’m still harvesting tomatoes as well. Cutting of all the blighted leaves has keep mine going. By the way, I had left a comment about how good your casserole was but it didn’t seem to make its way onto the post. Perhaps it went to spam.

    • cabinet stew says:

      Well I “sprung” you out of the spam box -I don’t know why it went there suddenly? As for my tomatoes – I was pretty lucky to get what I got – If the plants had been healthier i might have had to go into retail production of sauce!!

  2. michael says:

    you say tomato and i say tomahtoe

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