Q: What do you do when, on a whim, you buy a peck of tomatoes at the farmers’ market on Saturday (for only 8 bucks!)? And then later, that same day, your boyfriend’s sister who is visiting from out of town bequeaths you with another half of a peck from her garden?
A: Spend Sunday afternoon in the kitchen, transforming those tomatoes into a lot of salsa and even more marinara sauce.
This is the story of how I worked myself into a puddle of exhaustion, after having spent the better part of the day sorting and tossing and packing my belongings in preparation for my move, which, god willing, will happen tomorrow.
So here’s what I did to make marinara sauce:
- I rinsed off the dirt from the tomatoes, cored them, and cut out any bad spots;
- grabbed a few handfuls of basil from the plants in the backyard;
- smashed and roughly cut a bunch of garlic cloves; and
- chopped a big onion.
And then the fun really started:
- I cut the tomatoes in rough quarters, and then squeezed them into the pans. I leave the skins on and the seeds in because I’m
lazynot fussy. It’s so pleasing to squeeze tomato after tomato into the oil-garlic-onion-basil mixture: hands are the best kitchen tool.
- Stirring frequently and breaking up the big chunks with a wooden spoon, I let the sauces bubble on for a good 30 mins or so, reducing by about a third.
- You can either leave the tomato sauce chunky and thick, or make it more smooth by running it through the blender or food processor. I reserved some of the chunky sauce and blended some, and mixed it together. Season with salt and pepper (of course).
We used the sauce on our pizza Sunday night, and sent our friends home with about a quart of the sauce in a freezer bag. Another two bags ended up in the freezer (which I’m already looking forward to using come fall). And some more will go to friends who just had a baby. Not a bad afternoon’s work!
Stay tuned for my salsa recipe . . .