You say tomato, I say tomato

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It’s that time of the year again - tomatoes galore!

We are really into eating from scratch, with the main reason being chemical free meals. Not only is it more healthy, but there are better flavours with fresh food prepared from scratch. If we are going to have salad we will make salad dressing instead of buying one. Even if we are going to eat corn-dogs we will buy good quality sausages and make the batter ourselves. During the summer, we enjoy quite the bounty from our garden and one of our favourite ingredients is the selection of tomatoes we have. We bought heirloom seeds last year, and now we even have wild plants that come up in the garden! So, when the bounty gets a bit too much to handle all at once, we make tomato sauce. It is one of our most prized products in winter, as it brings back those wonderful memories of warm sunny days with the smell of tomato plants and basil on your hands.

One of the worst products coming to our grocery stores in the winter is the Hot House tomato. It has no taste, no acidity and the texture is fake and not juicy like the ones we grow at home. Fresh tomatoes from the garden are organic, juicy and full of flavors, perfect for eating raw or cooked into a good quality sauce. I am not trying to tell you that we are too snobbish to eat canned tomato sauce, but every summer we make a batch or two of tomato sauce and can it or freeze it. During the winter we can enjoy the fresh flavours of our garden and if we start to run low, we can at least add our own sauce to a can so that we have a bit of a flavour boost!

Simple Tomato Sauce:
10 pounds of tomatoes, peeled
1 whole head of garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion
1 stick of celery
1 small carrot
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch of chopped fresh basil, oregano, thyme and/or any combination of fresh herbs you like.

First, peel the tomatoes by blanching them in boiling water for 30 seconds or so and then dropping them into a cold water bath – the peel will come right off. Cut the tomatoes in quarters and set aside into a bowl. Put the garlic, onion, celery, carrot in a large stainless pot and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Place over moderate heat and cook until the garlic barely begins to color.

Add the tomatoes and cook over medium heat for 30 to 45 minutes or until the tomato juice is almost all evaporated, but not all the liquid. You are trying to achieve a rich thick texture. Add fine sea salt and pepper and herbs to taste.

For a smooth sauce, blend the cooked tomatoes in a food processor. And remember, this is only a guideline recipe, so feel free to adjust it to your taste buds!

So, if you don’t have your own garden, check out the farmer’s market or one of the many market stalls to get some local ingredients. If you have kids, you may want to think about putting them to work in a garden plot next year. Just think what that free labour could produce! (Kids, we are not trying to be mean – we worked in the garden when we were young, and look how we turned out.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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