Tuesday’s Tomato Sauce

My dad grows amazing tomatoes in his garden every year. He coaxes them to life in little containers, often in the living room, until they are old and strong enough to move outside into the cruel Southern California weather. He waters and tends them with care until they are beautiful thriving plants with gorgeous red tomatoes, and then he promptly gets into his RV and takes off with my Mother for the summer before he can truly enjoy all of the fruits of his labor. More tomatoes for me!

I love my Dad’s tomatoes, not just because they are grown by my Dad, but because they taste the way tomatoes should to taste. They are firm, juicy and slightly sweet with just the right amount of acid. They have a lot of flavor, unlike the tomato impostors you often find in the supermarket.

Mom and Dad left for vacation on July 20. The day before they left, I got a great big box of tomatoes. I decided to make sauce!

Terri’s Tomato Sauce
Here is what I used:

tomatoes – a lot of them
2 sweet red onions
1 head of garlic
1 cup good red wine (I used a nice old vines zin)
Olive oil
basil
Salt/Pepper
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 bunch of basil
3 bay leaves
Dried Oregano

I also threw in:
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Parmesan Cheese
3 Cinnamon Sticks

I peeled the tomatoes that were easy to peel and left the skin on the rest. I squeezed most of the seeds out of the tomatoes. I cut the tomatoes into chunks. I chunked up the sweet red onions and peeled the garlic gloves. I washed the basil and separated the leaves from the stem. I poured the wine in the bottom of my large oval crock pot. I layered tomatoes, basil leaves, garlic, and cheese. I seasoned with oregano, salt, crushed red pepper and black pepper and then drizzled with olive oil. I continued layering until I didn’t have anything left to layer. I sprinkled the sugar on top, threw in the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves and put the lid on. I cooked the sauce all day in the crock pot. Once it had cooled a bit, I pulled out the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks.  I blended it in batches in my Ninja and put it in clean quart jars.  I am going to keep a jar and give the rest away.

The cinnamon gives the sauce a unique, warm flavor. It is good on pasta with feta cheese and kalamata olives. It would be great with meatballs seasoned with fresh mint (or basil if you prefer) and parsley or as a base for a soup. You leave out the cinnamon, cheese or red pepper if you wish. You would end up with a more traditional marinara sauce.

This is not an exact recipe so play with it and make it your own.

Find Your Balance – Terri