I am a HUGE fan of Alton Brown and often stay up late watching his shows. I caught one on making tomato sauce and think (without being overly dramatic) it changed my life.
I bought 20 pounds of Roma tomatoes from the Boulder Farmers Market and got ready to make some sauce. 20 pounds of tomatoes turns out to be a lot of tomatoes. Alton Brown’s recipe calls for 20 Roma tomatoes, cut in half and seeded. I used more like 60 Roma tomatoes, cut in half and seeded, and ran out of Pyrex baking dishes for roasting.
Just as a side note… I did not even come close to using all 20 pounds of tomatoes in this batch of sauce. The rest were used in a Grilled Roma Tomato Sauce, which turned out really good, so I repeated that recipe (basically tripled it) and made 4 jars to freeze for future use.
But, back to my Alton Brown-inspired sauce. I washed, cut in half, and seeded as many tomatoes as would fit in 6 Pyrex baking dishes. Then I coarsely chopped an entire bulb of locally grown garlic and a large yellow onion and tried to evenly distribute the garlic and onion throughout my 6 dishes. I drizzled olive oil over all of the tomatoes and sprinkled them with sea salt. It’s really quite simple.
Then, into the oven! 2 hours at 325 is a long time, so don’t plan to make this sauce if you need to leave the house.
I shuffled the baking dishes every 45 minutes or so to be sure they were evenly heated. After 2 hours, Brown suggests cranking the heat to 400 so the tomatoes caramelize for 30 minutes.
They come out of the oven looking beautiful and delicious. I let them cool and then scooped them in manageable batches into the Vita-Mix to blend them into a smooth sauce. This sauce, I must say, is FANTASTIC! Absolutely worth the time and effort, I promise.
In the end, I wound up with these 4 jars, which I froze for future use. I will let you know how I use them.
This is a summer of firsts for me. It’s the first summer I’ve owned a Vita-Mix, the first summer I’ve participated in a CSA, the first summer I’ve tried to can and store foods, and the first summer I’ve ever purchased 20 pounds of tomatoes.
We had big plans for these tomatoes, but that’s for another posting. Our first night with a 20 pound behemoth on our kitchen counter we selected 10 tomatoes to make some grilled tomato sauce.
The sauce is very easy. Just slice the tomatoes in half, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, and grill for a few minutes on each side. Next, grill 3 cloves of garlic, 1/2 onion, and 1/2 green pepper until they are as beautifully grilled as the tomatoes.
This all goes into the Vita-Mix, goes up to speed 10, then high, then transfer to a sauce pan for a few minutes. Add as much sea salt and pepper as you like. Done.
I served this with Stuffed Ronde de Nice Squash, grilled Japanese eggplant, grilled bread, and some parmesan cheese.
I make a lot of Asian-inspired tofu dishes, so I decided to think outside of my box. I was in the mood for something with BBQ sauce, but wasn’t going to grill. I had a some beautiful Bok Choy from Ollin Farm’s CSA, which I absolutely love. I came up with a BBQ Sauce Tofu and Bok Choy Saute and served it over wild rice. Very satisfying.
First, I planned a little ahead and removed a firm tofu from the freezer to thaw all day. Then, I made a sauce with:
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 TB soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
- 1/2 TB dried ginger
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- a splash of fish sauce
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 cup water
Mix this well and set aside.
Next, press the excess water out of the tofu and cube it into bite-sized chunks. I chopped half of a yellow onion, 1 large shallot, and 1 clove of garlic. Then I started on the bok choy, chopping the stalks into one pile and the big leafy part into another. These cook differently so it is a good idea to chop them into two piles.
Heat up a wok and add some white wine. Start cooking the onion and shallot for a few minutes before adding the tofu and a couple tablespoons of soy sauce. After a few minutes, add the stalky pieces of bok choy, half of the sauce, and cook for five minutes or so. Finally, add the rest of the bok choy and sauce, cook until it is almost to a boil, and serve over wild rice. Enjoy.
Why make one large pizza when you can make four small pizzas? Mix it up a little…
The four I made, from left to right, are:
- Turkey Meat Sauce and Green Pepper
- Shrimp with Roasted Garlic Oil and Green Pepper
- Caramelized Onion, Apple, and Blue Cheese
- Roasted Garlic
For all of these, I followed my Pizza Dough recipe, in which I altered the flour content in following way: 2 cups unbleached white flour, 1.5 cups whole wheat flour. Also, I rolled each crust super thin and baked them at 425 on a pizza stone for approximately 5 minutes each. They will take more time if they are not incredibly thin, so be mindful of that.
I had some leftover Turkey Meat Sauce (which was actually chopped meatballs in sauce from my Turkey Meatballs in Homemade Sauce recipe) , so I spread that on some dough with sliced green pepper.
I roasted garlic for my Roasted garlic flatbread-style pizza, and used the oil as a base for the shrimp pizza. I spread some oil, put on some chunks of shrimp, green pepper, salt, and pepper.
My favorite pizza of the four was the caramelized onion, apple, blue cheese combination. This needs to be planned out a bit because it can take 30 minutes or so to slowly caramelize onions. I spread them out on the crust, covered the pizza in apple slices, and then some Oregon blue cheese crumbles. Delicious. If you aren’t familiar with caramelizing onions, the first part of my Caramelized Onion Butter recipe can explain that.
My roasted garlic flatbread is really simple. Just add some roasted garlic and its oil to the rolled out dough. Salt and pepper, bake, and dive right in. If you want to review roasting garlic, follow my recipe for Roasted Garlic Spread, but skip the part where you make it a spread. Or, make a roasted garlic spread… whichever way you prefer.