Friday, August 14, 2020

Covid Cafe: Dusty's Homegrown Tomato Sauce

Wayne's grate + Art's added legs = winter squash delivery system

Happy Friday, chefs of Covid Cafe, and thanks for your continued submissions. We love knowing what you're eating. In this summer moment, tomatoes are everywhere and down in Nashville Dusty's cooking for the family table. Today we check in on his sauce...

Dustin writes: This year has been amazing for tomatoes in TN. Recently I've been picking four or five a day. I planted Cherokee Purple, Big Boy, Better Boy, Super Sauce, Amish Paste, and a couple of cherry tomatoes. Naturally, we have been making a lot of tomato sauce, salsa, and guacamole. I can say that we have put everything to good use or gifted it to friends. 

Once my countertop fills up with ripe tomatoes, I am ready to go.

Dusty's Homegrown Tomato Sauce
Time: 6 to 8 hours based on thickness
10 medium to large tomatoes (I used about 15)
3-6 garlic cloves
2 green scallion leaves (all I had)
6-10 leaves fresh basil
1 small bell pepper
1/2  medium sized onion
1/4-1/2 stick butter (based on tolerance)
Cracked pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
Italian Seasoning to taste
Sea salt
Handful Epic Spice Greek oregano
Pinch of sugar
Pinch of red pepper 
1/2 cap red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 small can tomato paste (for thicker spaghetti sauce)

1. Bring a large pot to a boil with enough water to cover your largest tomato. Set up ice bath in a separate large bowl to cool tomatoes after cooking.

2. Core tomatoes and cut out bad spots. Cut a small X on the round bottom of each tomato (this makes it easier to peel).

3. Drop tomatoes in boiling water about four at a time. Cook tomatoes for 60-90 seconds. Remove when the skins begin peeling and place in ice bath. Spin in cold water until cool. 

4. Transfer to pan, skin tomatoes, cut into quarters. You can also freeze the tomatoes at this point to save for later (pack with basil first).

5. Empty your large pot and put over medium heat with butter, a pinch of salt, and a crack of pepper. Simmer until fragrant.

6. Small-dice basil leaves, garlic, and bell pepper. Add to butter. Add tomatoes,  onions, and chicken broth. Bring to a low boil and simmer for two minutes. Reduce heat to low and put lid on.

7. Cook below a low boil for about two hours, stirring regularly. Continually add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Eventually tomatoes will begin breaking down into sauce.

8. Smash tomatoes into a pulp with a potato masher or fork. Remove any excess green core.

9. Add scallions, oregano, red pepper, vinegar, and sugar. Add tomato paste. Simmer with lid cracked for next 4-6 hours, stirring regularly and seasoning to taste. I start light on seasonings and really pile on the flavors once it thickens.

10. Cook to desired thickness. The smells are priceless. Cool before storing.

This was the best batch I've ever made. It netted 64 ounces of sauce that we used to make Meat Sauce Fettuccine and Spinach Tortellini. I still have enough for spaghetti next week. Make sure to cook on a full stomach.

And for dessert Rob writes: Because it's summer and peaches are in season...


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