A couple of days after Uncle Bob and I picked the last of the tomatoes from the garden, a lot of them were developing black spots that were the telltale signs that the tomatoes were starting to rot. Since I didn't want them to go to waste, I decided to make tomato sauce from the tomatoes that looked like they were past their prime.
When Grandma came into the kitchen as I was making the sauce, she noticed that her stock of fresh tomatoes had dramatically declined, and gave me the hairy eyeball. I explained that the tomatoes were starting to rot and wanted to use them up, and she looked a bit skeptical. I hoped that when she tasted my sauce, she'd approve of my decision.
One contraption that made the process a lot easier was Grandma's food mill. This old-fashioned gadget enabled me to make a nice smooth sauce without the time-consuming task of peeling and seeding tomatoes. All I did is cook the sauce for a couple of hours, then run it through the food mill. The seeds, skins and other solids remained in the food mill and only a smooth sauce remained.
I used the tomato sauce in stuffed peppers ... but that blog entry will come tomorrow!
Wisconsin Harvest Tomato Sauce
Rah Cha Chow recipe
2 T olive oil
1 onion, rough chopped
1 carrot, rough chopped
3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
Lots of ripe tomatoes - about enough to fill a pot halfway - different varieties work great
1 Tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar (or more to taste)
sprinkle of black pepper
2 bay leaves
Cook onions on medium low heat until soft and some are caramelized. Add carrot and garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add tomatoes -- you can core and quarter them as you add them to the pan. Cover and cook 1 hour, until there's a lot of liquid in the pan. Uncover and cook for 1 more hour, stirring occasionally, breaking up the tomatoes as you stir.
Process the mixture through a food mill and discard the solids left in food mill. Return the sauce to the pan. Add the Italian seasoning, salt, sugar, pepper, and bay leaves. If the sauce needs to be thicker, simmer awhile longer until it's the desired consistency. Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings if necessary. Remove bay leaves before serving. Serve over pasta or in your favorite recipe that calls for red sauce.