Monday, September 9, 2013

When life gives you tomatoes...

... make tomato sauce!

Sarah, Lauren and I spent last Tuesday evening whipping up some tomato sauce to use up the overabundance of tomatoes we got from the garden this year.

I took up gardening at TP last year with the invaluable help and guidance of our knowledgable neighbour who's been growing his own vegetables for more than 30 years now. More on that another day.

Because of the sheer number of tomatoes we had to work with (most of them cherry tomatoes) we opted to base what we did on two recipes we found online. One called for baking halved cherry tomatoes in a Dutch oven while the second necessitated roasting whole tomatoes on the stove until they pop.

In both cases we veered away from the recipes considerably to accommodate our available ingredients.

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

  • Cherry tomatoes, halved (enough to fill an 8-quart Dutch Oven; you'll need a lot)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 full heads of garlic
  • Fresh pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Sliced fresh hot peppers (we used a variety from our garden including jalapeños and chilis) optional

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°C.
  2. Slice cherry tomatoes in half and toss them in a Dutch oven until it's half full.
  3. Layer in the chopped onions.
  4. Continue to add halved tomatoes until the Dutch oven is nearly full.
  5. Slice the top off both heads of garlic as you would if you were roasting them.
  6. Nuzzle the heads of garlic into the tomatoes as shown below.
  7. Bake for approximately hour. Tomatoes should be nicely roasted.
  8. Remove the garlic and set aside to cool.
  9. Meanwhile, ladle out 75% of the tomato juice that will have accumulated in the Dutch oven during the baking process. Use your judgement here; you'll want the sauce to have a good consistency once it's blended so removing more or less than we did will make sense depending on how juicy your tomatoes were.
  10. Once the garlic is cool, squeeze the roasted pulp into the sauce.
  11. If you're going to add hot peppers this is the time to do it.
  12. Blend the sauce. We used an immersion blender and opted for a smooth sauce, but you could choose to only blend a portion for a chunkier consistency.
  13. Add salt and fresh pepper to taste.

 Sautéed Cherry Tomato Sauce

  • Cherry tomatoes, whole
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • Fresh pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil

  1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add enough cherry tomatoes to cover the bottom of the pan and cover with a splatter screen. 
  3. Stir occasionally. Once all the tomatoes have popped, transfer into a large pot (we used a soup pot) and simmer on medium-low.
  4. Once the first batch of tomatoes is transferred into the pot, add the onion and garlic.
  5. Continue cooking batches of cherry tomatoes in olive oil and adding them to the pot once they've popped. You'll need to add more olive oil once in a while to keep the bottom of the pan from drying out.
  6. Once all your tomatoes have been transferred into the soup pot, continue to simmer for approximately one hour, then turn off heat.
  7. Blend the sauce. We used an immersion blender and opted for a smooth sauce, but you could choose to only blend a portion for a chunkier consistency.
  8. Add salt and fresh pepper to taste.

Our initial plan was to try canning, but the risk of botulism (as remote as it is) turned me off of the idea. Instead we picked up some freezer bags and just scooped out single portions. Not only is it safer, but it's a lot less work too! The only limiting factor is the size of our freezer, but sharing with friends is a great way to mitigate that.

And, of course, you have to have a taste. We garnished our sauce with fresh basil. 

Bon appétit!

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