What to do with all those tomatoes . . .

tomatoes

When the tomatoes start ripening, I always end up with more than I can eat!!!  Here are the few of the ways I process my tomato harvest:

READY TO EAT?   Slice, salt, and eat – easy peasy and delicious

Have fresh Basil and Mozzarella?  Make Caprese Salad by layering slices of tomato and cheese, top with basil and drizzle with balsamic and olive oilcapresesalad

Sandwiches – BLT,  grilled cheese and tomato, or deli meats and cheese with tomatobltsandwich

Salads – like tomato, onion, olive oil and vinegar – simple and delicious, or add to lettuce salads, chop for tacos or salsa, or make the rest into Tabouli salad

tomatoonionsalad      freshsalsa      taboulisalad

TOMATOES GETTING SOFT?

Chop & Freeze in containers or plastic bags to use in cooked recipeschopandfreeze

Make Sun-dried Tomatoes from cherry or plum tomatoessundriedtomatoes

Slice tomatoes in half, place cut side up on a lightly oiled baking sheet, salt and bake in a low oven until most of liquid is gone and tomatoes look shriveled.  Then freeze them on the baking tray once cooled.  After frozen, they can be put into a container or freezer bag and you’ll be able to take as many or as little as you need for use in salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, or sauces.  Once sun-dried, tomatoes have a sweet and concentrated flavor.

Make Sauce!  Screen shot 2016-08-05 at 4.03.07 PM

Step One:  Prepare the tomatoes.

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and prepare tomatoes by rinsing, cutting out the stems and then making an “x” at the bottom of tomatoes with a sharp knife to make peeling the skins off easier.
  2. Prepare an ice water bath to help the skins come away from the flesh after par-boiling.
  3. Once  water is boiling, add the tomatoes with a spoon to avoid splashing yourself with boiling water.  In about a minute or so, you should be able to see the skin peeling away from the flesh.  Remove the tomatoes, with the slotted spoon, and place into the ice water bath until cool enough to handle.  Remove skins.
  4. Cut in half and squeeze seeds out of the flesh, then halve again so the tomato is in quarters.
  5. Use a processor, or use a potato masher, to make crushed tomatoes. and set aside

Step Two:  Make the Sauce

  1. I like meat sauce so I use ground beef, ground pork, or ground sausage and brown that first.  I like to drain most of the fat out and meat needs to sear in a pan for the best flavor which is why I prefer to cook it without the onions and garlic.
  2. Remove meat from pan and add olive oil, chopped onions and a little salt.  Cook until onions are transparent over medium low heat.  Add chopped garlic and cook just until fragrant then add back the meat and stir together with red pepper flake, pepper, and a little more salt to flavor the meat.
  3. Now add the prepared tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce, and a can of tomato paste if you have it.  If I don’t have paste, I leave it out knowing that the sauce will be a little watery.
  4. For herbs I add dried basil and chopped fresh parsley.  If I want an enhanced sausage flavor I add anise or fennel that I crush with a mortar and pestle.
  5. Cook sauce until thickened.  Near the end I add a splash of olive oil and a handful of parmesan cheese.
  6. Serve over the pasta of your choice with a sprinkle of Fresh sliced basil and more parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!