Oh, nothing says summer more to me than the red, ripe tomato. I love biting into a red, ripe tomato fresh from the vine, warmed by the sun, and feeling the juice drip down my chin as I enjoy the sweet delicious flavours burst in my mouth. Working in the garden it is a joy to be able to reach down pluck a tiny red jewel, like Red Candy, a quick, handy and tasty snack. And how appropriately named, for Red Candy, pictured above, tastes just like its name, like candy.
And to enjoy that taste of summer all winter long, I also grow Roma-style tomatoes which I make into tomato sauce to fill the freezer, so on a cold winter's night I can make a pizza or a pasta dinner enlivened with that delicious full bodied flavour of tomatoes. Yum! Yum!
This morning the rooftops were white with the first frosts. So with the nights getting colder as the thermometer dips with the anticipation of winter, it's time to harvest the rest of the tomatoes before we lose them to autumn's chill. I'll make the Red Candy into a tomato salad or bruschetta with the addition of some sweet onion and simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil, some white basalmic vinegar and sea salt and fresh ground pepper. The Romas and Carolina Gold will be transformed into tomato sauce.
Tomorrow we resumed the Community Kitchen cooking sessions we hold once a month where I teach some great ladies from our community a variety of recipes that are inexpensive, easy, use the freshest of ingredients and best of all taste delicious. So tomorrow we are celebrating Harvest Days by making Roasted Tomato Sauce which can be easily stored in the freezer, for thhose who are not comfortable with canning. I'll be showing them easy ways to harvest and store fresh herbs for use during the winter too as herbs you grow yourself really do taste best. If you have an abundance of tomatoes then why not try out this recipe, its easy, quick and you'll love the taste that roasting the veggies gives to the sauce.
Roasted Tomato Sauce
This recipe doesn't have any specific quantities as you can make as much or as little as you need and you can add whatever additional veggies you want. It's a great sauce to make for those picky, non-veggie eaters in your family as once the vegetables are roasted and processed together you can't taste individual veg except for the tomato flavour.
Cut into eighths a quantity of tomatoes and place in a large roasting pan. Add quartered medium sized onions, as many cloves of garlic as you want (remember that when roasted garlic loses its pungency and becomes sweet so you can add more than you think), then I add red and/or green pepper, celery, zucchini and any other vegetables you want. Drizzle over extra virgin olive oil and stir to coat. You can also add fresh herbs like basil, thyme, oregano and sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. I roast for about one hour at 300 degrees. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Process the roasted vegetables in a food processor until smooth, you may have to add some vegetable stock or tomato juice if the mixture is thick. (I find that using Roma tomatoes creates a very thick sauce which definitely needs to be thinned. If you're using ordinary or beefsteak tomatoes which are juicier, you might not need to add much additional moisture.) Use immediately if you can't help yourself or place in plastic containers in the freezer to be used in winter when you need a summertime pick-me-up.
Celebrate the end of the summer season with Harvest Days!