Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce

When I finally got enough nerve to use my canner,
I picked an adventurous recipe: Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce.
It is amazing.

The recipe makes about 3 quarts or 6 pints.


6 bulbs of garlic
3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 medium red, yellow and/or green sweet peppers cut lengthwise and seeded
12 pounds ripe tomatoes Peeled
(to learn how to peel tomatoes, go here)
3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons kosher salt 
(or 4 teaspoons regular salt)
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves snipped
1 cup lightly packed assorted fresh herbs
(such as oregano, thyme, parsley and/or basil)
6 Tablespoons lemon juice

  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • Cut off the top (about 1/2 inch) of the garlic bulbs to expose ends of individual cloves
  • Leaving garlic bulb whole, remove any loose papry out layers, place bulbs cut end up in a 1-1 1/2 quart casserole dish
  • Drizzle bulbs with 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil cover dish
  • arrange sweet pepper halves cut side down on foil lined baking sheet
  • brush with remaining 2 Tablespoons of oil
  • Roast garlic and peppers for about 40 minutes or until garlic feels soft and peppers are charred
  • Cool garlic in dish on wire rack
  • Bring foil up around peppers and fold edges together to enclose. Let peppers cool 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle Peel off and discard skins chop peppers and set aside.
  •  Remove garlic cloves from paper skins by squeezing the bottoms of the bulbs and place in food  processor.
  • Cut peeled tomatoes into chunks add some of the chunks to the garlic in the processor and process until chopped
  • Transfer chopped garlic and tomatoes to 7-8 quart stainless steel, enamel or non-stick heavy pot.
  • Working in batches repeat chopping the remaining tomatoes in the food processor.
  • Add all the tomatoes to the pot
  • Add brown sugar, salt, vinegar and black pepper to tomato mixture. Bring to boil
  • Boil steadily uncovered for 50 minutes stirring frequently
  • Stir in chopped peppers Boil for 10-20 minutes more or until it reaches desired consistancy stirring occasionally 
  • Remove from heat and add basil and assorted herbs
  • Spoon 1 Tablespoons lemon juice into each of 6 sterilized pint jars (or 2 Tablespoons in each 3 quart jars)
  • Ladle sauce into jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace
  • Wipe jar rims, adjust lids and screw bands.
  • Process in boiling water canner for 35 minutes (time starts when water returns to boiling)
  • remove jars and cool on wire racks.
The sauce looks gorgeous, smelled gorgeous while cooking 
and tastes amazing.
Note that I pressure canned my sauce at 11pounds of pressure for 15 minutes.

This is a time consuming recipe.
Because I really like the flavor of the sauce, 
I'm willing to take the time to make it
but I think I'll prepare the tomatoes one day
and assemble the sauce on another.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How To Peel a Tomato

Peeling a tomato seems like a tedious task,
but it's actually pretty simple.
First, cut an "X" on the bottom of the tomato.
Not a deep cut, just cutting into the skin.
Then, blanche the tomatoes for 30-60 seconds.
I did mine around 45 seconds on average.
Immediately remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and place them in ice water.
You'll go through a lot of ice if you have a lot of tomatoes,
so it might be a good idea to have a bag of ice on hand.
Once they're cooled (which doesn't take long)
the skins pretty much slide right off.  
It's really that easy!
I also discovered that to peel tomatoes and 
make sauce is an all day project.
You can peel the tomatoes one day
and refrigerate them till the following day 
to save on time.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Pressure Canner

I purchased this Presto Pressure canner from Amazon some time ago
after I thoroughly read each review
(OK, maybe not each one since there were a lot, but a good many).

And once I had it at my house
it became apparent that I have a canning phobia.
It does not have its own name on the phobia list but it should.
Eventually the prospect of having wasted $70 for the canner,
not to mention the wasted tomatoes,
prompted me to go ahead and attempt to can and not blow up the house.
 The result?
I managed to can 3 quarts of Roasted Garlic and Pepper Spaghetti Sauce
(it's delish! I'll share the recipe in the future)
 I also realized that I didn't blow up the kitchen
and it doesn't appear that I will kill anyone with botulism either. 
I have since managed to can several quarts and pints of chopped tomato
and 7 jars of red pepper jelly.  
This canning thing is a cinch!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I love fresh salsa in the summer months. 
With 15 tomato plants, 
I have more than enough tomatoes
to make salsa to eat and freeze.
I chopped the tomatoes
removing as many of the seeds as possible.
Then I chop onion.
I don't have any measurements, 
just add the amount that you think looks right based 
on your personal preference.
Same thing with the green peppers.
Then use some fresh cilantro to round it out.
You can freeze this in a freezer bag or
a container approved for freezing.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Here Comes Fall

With the onslaught of Labor Day,
I figured I should get the garden going for fall.
I've never done a fall garden before
and I'm not very good with following suggested planting tips
so we'll see how it goes.
I planted Russian Pickling Cucumbers (my family is addicted to pickles),
Scottish Kale, Cabbage, Pumpkins,
Peas (because while he eats nothing I cook, 
my son will eat peas straight from the garden. I plan on letting him graze)
Butterfly Spinach, Zucchini
and Leeks.  
Zucchini and Leeks aren't fall crop food, 
but what the heck.
We'll see how it goes.