Aren't these tomatoes lovely? My older sister and her husband are fortunate enough to belong to a really sweet farm-share program on the East Coast, and these are some of the treats they get each week. If it weren't for all the bugs, sweat, and dirt I would totally want to live on a farm. Have you ever bitten into a sun kissed tomato? BEST.THING.EVER.
When I was a youngin I always thought tomatoes were such a grown up food, and that I really hated their squishy texture. As I progress in my years and wisdom I now realize that I was right in my thinking, and that they are indeed a grown up food...and that only as an adult can you fully appreciate the beauty and complexity of a tomato.
Now when I hear the words "tomato sauce" I instantly think "pasta." How is it that these two things are always associated with each other? Sometimes I forget how adaptable tomato sauce actually is, and that it doesn't exist to solely be paired with pasta. Simple, and delicious tomato sauce can be used in so many ways...
1) With Eggs: Did you know that you can cook eggs in tomato sauce? How brilliantly delicious does that sound? Simply spoon some tomato sauce into ramekins, crack and egg into each one, and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until whites are just opaque.If you are one of those super productive people with a green thumb then you probably have tomatoes growing right about now. Once you acquire a nice little pile go ahead and make this sauce. Once you make it you can freeze it and enjoy it at a later date...if you can wait that long.
2) With Chicken or Fish: Cover chicken or fish pieces with sauce and extra veggies and bake until chicken is cooked.
3) With Crostini: Top crostini with sauce, extra basil, and cheese, then wow your guests. with bursts of flavor!
4) On pizza. Nough said.
5) Eggplant Parmesan (ed. note: check out Dagny's baked recipe. It is killer!).
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
4 pounds tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Small onion
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
1/2 stalk of celery
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
fresh basil, to finish
Peel the tomatoes: Bring a pot of water to boil. Cut a small x into the bottom of each tomato, and toss into the pot of boiling water for 10 to 30 seconds. Fish the tomatoes out with a slotted spoon and then either rinse under cold water or shock in an ice water bath. The skin should now easily come off the tomatoes, if it doesn't throw it back into the boiling water for a few seconds.
Finish preparing your tomatoes: Cut each tomato in half and squeeze out the seeds over a strainer and a bowl and reserve the juices. Coarsely chop the tomatoes.
Prepare your vegetables: Finely chop the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic - or you can pulse all of them in a food processor until smooth.
Cook your sauce: Heat your olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook your onions, carrots, celery and garlic and red pepper flakes about 10 minutes. Add your tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low to keep it at a gentle simmer. Simmer your sauce, stirring occasionally for 30-45 minutes. If sauce gets too thick add the reserved juice to thin it out.
Season with 1/2- 1 teaspoon of salt. Scatter fresh basil over the pot before serving.
Dagny Syversen is a die hard food lover and sugar addict. Her approach to food is to use natural ingredients, make everything from scratch, and bring as much creativity and simplicity to the plate as possible! If she were an ingredient she would be an oat...the Old Fashioned kind. Read her blog, WHISKED AWAY, and buy her cookies (seriously, guys, they're the best!).