28 August 2014

This Year's Sauce (minus the long cooking time!)

It seems like I keep experimenting with tomato sauce.  I want something I can use on a pizza--not too runny--but not so thick that it wouldn't make a good, quick tomato soup.  Oh, and I don't want to have to spend hours and hours cooking it on the stove (i.e. unnecessarily heating up my whole house which is already August HOT).

Last year when I made sauce, I strained off some of the juice after the tomatoes were cooked but before they went into the mill.  I did that again this year, and I'm not sure if I just had meatier tomatoes, or I didn't mind my sauce not being quite so thick but the texture seemed perfect with no further cooking!  So, we ended up canning 5 quarts + 10 pints of tomato sauce, PLUS 3 quarts + 5 pints of juice that was strained off first (and maybe another 5 pints put right in the fridge to drink or use in soup this week).  

Yay, yay, YAY!!!  Two products at one shot and no long hours into the night of reducing the sauce.  I'm a happy woman, even if I still am up way too late waiting for them to boil in their hot water baths.

For future reference (or yours):

lots of tomato chunks 
peppers, de-seeded and chunked
onions, peeled and quartered
garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
fresh basil leaves----------------simmer altogether in large pots until vegetables are tender (add basil a little later than the rest)

When done cooking (30 min. to an hour depending on how big the pot is) strain tomato mixture in fine enough strainer to remove seeds then process through a food mill.  Save the juice!

Season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste.  I used 1/2 cup sugar, 1 1/2 TBSP salt and a tsp pepper for about 6 quarts of sauce.  So delicious!  I can't wait to see how it turns out on a pizza!  When I filled the jars, I used my parents' trick of adding a bay leaf to each one for a little extra flavor.  The juice I seasoned to taste also with sugar and salt before ladling into jars with a bay leaf.

Process in boiling water bath (40 min. quarts and 25 min. pints).

Go to bed and stop asking yourself if all this work was worth it.  =)

20 August 2014


I love summer cooking.  Especially when people are so generous in sharing their garden produce with us.  Steam some beans, boil some corn, slap some bread, tomatoes, and mayo on the table.  Dinner.  DONE!  (this is the sweetness after the beans have been picked in the scorching sun and the corn has all be husked and silked).

And then there's dessert:

Sorry cooking blog.  It's summertime around here and I'm not messing a lot with so much of a good thing.

01 August 2014

Greens and Beans

NOT green beans.  Sorry for the capitalization there--just wanted to be sure to clarify that the post title was not a typo.

Okay.  So we did buy a house, and it is a bit of a fixer-upper (oh, and way out in the country/mountains with somewhat unreliable internet service) so I haven't been doing a lot of new cooking around here or finding time to post about anything to this blog.  Disclaimers.  Check.

BUT, I was just snacking on some leftovers in the fridge, and thought this little recipe might be worth recording and sharing.  Use kale, spinach, chard, what have you . . . 

Greens and Beans

glug of oil
Handfuls of fresh greens, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
chopped tomato (fresh or canned)
2 cups black beans

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:  So simple, you probably don't even need this part.  Heat up the oil, toss in the greens and a little water and fry/steam them a bit before adding the garlic and cumin.  Stir and continue to cook a few more minutes.  Add tomato and finish cooking greens to your desired tenderness.  Stir in the beans and warm.  EAT THIS UP! 

I guess it's just a capital day.

Hope you ENJOY!