Too many tomatoes. Spaghetti sauce from scratch?
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10-08-2014, 04:45 PM
RE: Too many tomatoes. Spaghetti sauce from scratch?
(10-08-2014 04:04 PM)Shoebutton Wrote:  I like to try new recipes so I usually head to a site like "All Recipes". It is one of my favourites 'cause it explains cooking techniques you may not be familiar with. Blanch your tomatoes and then everything into the slow cooker! Enjoy your spaghetti dinner one night and freeze the rest of the sauce portioned out in zip lock bags. You could also just cook down the blanched tomatoes in the slow cooker, freeze, and use it as a starter base for future sauces.

If I put it in the slow cooker would it burn? I'm not a fan of burned food.

"If things aren't funny anymore then they're exactly what they are and life is just one long dental appointment interrupted occasionally by something exciting like waiting or falling asleep" Jason Robards in A Thousand Clowns
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12-08-2014, 02:17 PM (This post was last modified: 13-08-2014 01:19 PM by therealJim.)
RE: Too many tomatoes. Spaghetti sauce from scratch?
The slow-cooker on low shouldn't be an issue. It is basically like cooking a tomato sauce over very low heat. The risk of something burning is practically zero. Also what burns also sticks to the bottom of the pot unless you scratch it off with a spoon. So if you just pour of the remainder there will be no mixing:

Now for your options:

As the others have mentioned salsas, especially with grilled meat, are a great option. As is tomato salad.

Also there is the option of making tomato soup (not enough time to post the recipes right now; drop me a PM if you are interested).

As far as tomato sauce goes, first my opinions then the recipes:
When you have good, fresh perfectly ripe tomatoes on hand it is a crime not to make sauce, because:
a. It is easy.
b. It tastes WAY better than anything you can buy in the store.

Now for the recipes:
First a couple of principles for cooked tomato sauces (I am pressed for time right now so I will leave the raw version):
a) The route goes either long slow simmer for a complex sauce with a few more ingredients or quick and simple for a sauce that will keep the fresh flavors of the tomato.

b) As a rule of thumb a ratio of tomato to onion to olive oil of about 15:1:1/2, about a tablespoon of oil and an ounce of finely chopped onions per pound of tomatoes, works nicely. You can also substitute each ounce of onion with one medium sized clove of garlic.

c) For fresh sauces set about 1/3 to 1/2 of the olive oil (quality is paramount, a bad oil will ruin the sauce), up to 2 tablespoons of finely chopped basil or parsley (both work nicely), salt and a pinch of sugar aside for tasting and seasoning at the end of cooking.

Now two recipes:

First, the preparation of the tomatoes beforehand:
Set up a large pot of boiling water (a gallon).
Meanwhile fill a second, larger pot with very cold water and some ice.
Using a sharp knife (I am talking professional stuff, not the stainless steel shit you can for 10 bucks for 5 pieces) cut an X into bottom of each tomato (superficial please).

When the water comes to the boil drop in a few of them and let them cook until the skin starts to loosen, about 30 to 60 seconds.

Take out with slotted spoon and drop immediately into the ice water. Repeat until all are done and cool enough to handle. This whole process is called blanching.

Take out of the water, peel off and discard the skin, cut out the greenish core and discard too.

Chop up the entire rest, including the soft interior flesh (you want to take it out if preparing for a salsa or raw sauce as it will make the dish to watery, but for cooked sauces this stuff is golden as it lends lots and lots of meatiness to the dish), finely and reserve.

This is the good stuff. You can use it in sauces, stews and soups. It also freezes well.

The recipes (both freeze well):
Fast and easy (a good general purpose sauce; use with pasta, in soups, stews, on pizza, even for bruscetta):
Use a wide skillet to speed evaporation and thus shorten the cooking time.
Using the rule of thumb in b) cook the finely chopped onions (with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt per ounce) in half the oil (you don't need olive oil here, corn, sunflower or canola all will do, as any fresh flavors in the oil with evaporate) over low heat for about ten minutes (this is called sweating), until translucent. Don't brown them.
If using garlic cook over medium heat until you can smell it, less than 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes, bring to simmer and cook over medium heat until the pieces have broken down a bit and the sauce has reduced somewhat, 10 to 15 minutes max. DO NOT cook longer than that or you will loose the fresh flavors of the tomatoes.
Taste and seasoning according to your preferences, using the ingredients in c).


Long and slow (eat with pasta or add to a stew):
As before sweat the onions with HALF the salt in previous recipe, PLUS about half that amount of each finely chopped carrots and celery (if you use stalks, peel the outside before chopping them) in oil for about ten minutes.
Next, for each pound of tomates add about a 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano and a 1/2 teaspoon of tomato paste, turn the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until you can smell both ingredients and the paste turns to a rusty brown.
Then, for each pound of tomatoes, add about 1/4 cup of a decent red wine (something you would also drink / serve to your guests) that has NOT sat in an oak barrel (the oak is usually to dominant later in the dish). Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are nice here.
Boil the liquid down (this is called reducing) to almost sirup over medium heat.
Add the tomates, stir to combine, bring to a simmer, and set the heat to low or put into a slower without a lid on high and reduce to the desired consistency. Attention: This step will easily take several hours to an entire day!
Taste and season according to your preferences with olive oil, parsley and salt, if necessary.

If you need more, let me know.

Jim

Jesus sprach: "Es werde Licht!" / Doch ... er fand den Schalter nicht.
Jesus said: "Let there be light!" / But ... he couldn't find the switch.
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