When I planted our garden this summer, I planted cantaloupe, green beans and baby watermelons. I was so excited when the plants started shooting their little green sprouts from the ground. And then leaves! And then bunnies. Bunnies who ate all but stalks. Damn bunnies. Apparently next year I will have a fence.
There is something simply gorgeous about eating food from your garden. Or in my case, from my mom’s garden. The tomatoes, peppers and onions are from my mom’s garden. Does this make this sauce organic? I suppose not since I used regular old dried herbs. I imagine there are organic herbs too.
I had never attempted sauce of any kind before so I suppose a recipe would have been a good idea. I apparently don’t believe in having good ideas. I did read on Martha Stewart’s website about dropping the tomatoes in boiling water for 30-60 seconds after scoring the bottom and removing the core. Scoring? Core? HUH? So I called a friend. A friend that said 15 or 20 seconds and just cut out the core. Not one to want to feel like an idiot, I assumed that the core was the stem and such. I now believe this was right.
I decided to split my experienced friend and Martha’s advice in half. Score the bottom (something he said unneccesary) and cook 15 seconds. Turns out about 30 seconds was perfect.
One word of advice, have somewhere to put the tomatoes after boiling. Somewhere that will catch all the excess water and general juices. I used a glass pie plate. After boiling I began peeling the skin off and removing the seeds and juices. The tomatoes that were scored on the bottom with an x seemed to peel the easiest. The tomatoes that were boiled longer than 30 seconds were really mushy to work with, so I think that 30 seconds for a small to medium size tomato is best. After I filled a giant bowl with the tomato innards, this is what was left of about 20 or so tomatoes. Doesn’t look like much.
After removing all the nasty from the tomatoes I didn’t quite know what to do next so I decided to just turn the tomatoes on medium and let them cook down.
I allowed them to cook down for about 20 minutes. Then added the two chopped peppers, one diced medium onion and three cloves of garlic to the sauce. If you plan to eat this immediately, I would saute the onions, peppers, mushrooms and garlic until soft and then add to the tomato mixture. If you are allowing the sauce to sit on the stove for a few hours, you don’t have to cook the other vegetables before.
Again, I was stumbling as what to do next.
Spices? Maybe? Sure!
I started very light on the herbs of choice and increased until my preferred flavor was met. My final herb totals were close to the following:
1 1/2 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil, 1/4 tsp thyme, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tbsp salt. Again these are all up to you.
After cooking for about an hour the sauce remained too thick for my preference and so I added a medium sized can of organic tomato sauce. At this point I let it sit on the stove for about two hours just simmering. It smelled glorious. I may have sampled repeated. You know, for quality assurance.
The 20 small to medium tomatoes made enough sauce for three to four meals for two, if you are sauce lovers. I put the remaining sauce into glass jars in the freezer. We ate the first batch that nite and the results were glorious. My husband can not eat sauce without some sort of sirloin burger in it, so ours was prepared that way. The second batch was eaten after being frozen for a week and I think actually was better than the original fresh batch.
My first attempt at spaghetti sauce from scratch. A fairly easy success. If I were to do it again, which I plan to, I will at least double the recipe so that I can make about six two person servings at once.
Saucy Tomatoes by Stephanie
20 small to medium tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 medium green peppers, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4 ounces mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tbsp salt
1 Medium can tomato sauce
Begin by scoring the bottom of each tomato with an x and remove cores. Boil one large pot of water and immerse the tomatoes for 20-30 seconds depending on size of tomatoes (larger the tomato, longer the boil). Place boiled tomatoes to side to cool. Once cool enough to touch, remove the skins, seeds and internal juices. Put remaining tomato into large pot.
Allow tomatoes to cook down for 20-30 minutes. Add diced vegetables to pan with tomatoes. If allowing to simmer for several hours, do not cook diced vegetables in advance. If not allowing to sauce to simmer for several hours, saute diced vegetables in 1 tsp of olive oil until soft.
Add spices to taste, recommendations above. Add tomato sauce.
Allow to simmer, covered, for at least two hours. Stir occasionally.
Cool and freeze or eat and enjoy!