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.