Oh dear. Well, it appears that I’ve neglected this little blog. Summer has come and gone without an update, and I feel terrible about it! I won’t bore you all with my feeble excuses, except to say:
1)It appears that there are THINGS TO DO in the summertime. And blogging ended up lower on the list than I’d hoped. I did, however, get a fair bit of cooking done, some of which was even successful! Since I last posted I had a greatly successful wine and meat and cheese party. I made my first ceviche, this fantastic pork roast, a pretty good first-time paella, mozzarella cheese, panzanella, a cherry pie and who knows what else. So don’t worry. I ate well this summer.
2)I GOT A NEW CAMERA! I think part of the reason I didn’t bother posting throughout the summer was the photo situation. I like cooking and I like writing, but I’ve yet to catch the photography bug. This was due, in part, to having to choose between my sub-par camera phone, and Matthew’s monster of a DSLR. So, in order to remedy this, I bought a new camera! Something small and easy to use, but that produces high quality photos. So we bought a nifty Canon EOS M, and I’ve already been quite pleased with the results.
So. Onwards to the tomato sauce. This year, I was lucky enough to be included in Matt’s family’s annual tomato canning. We did 4 bushels total, two for ourselves and two for Matt’s parents. We ended up with just about 90 one litre jars of tomato sauce. Not too shabby!
Now, from what I can tell, every single Italian family has their own way of doing the tomatoes, and Matt’s family has tried a few different methods over the years, before settling on this one, which results in a tomato sauce in its purest form. Just tomatoes, maybe with a few sprigs of basil or oregano added, resulting in a sauce that tastes incredibly fresh whenever you open pop open a jar.
First, the tomatoes are layed out to ripen for about a week, or maybe even more. Then they’re washed, and everyone pitches in to chop all the tomatoes roughly into pieces that can easily be fed through the machine. The photo above shows the bushels of tomatoes chopped and draining in their baskets, to avoid a sauce that is too runny.
Then the tomatoes are fed into the machine. As far as I can tell, these machines are literally just referred to as “tomato machines” or “tomato milling machines”. Matt’s family has one with a big ole engine, to expedite the process a bit.
Once all the tomatoes are transformed into this luxurious sauce, it goes straight into the jars, fresh and uncooked, lightly seasoned with salt, and fresh herbs if you wish.
Then we put every single jar into a giant barrel, set atop a propane burner, filled with water, and bring it to a boil for about 30 minutes. I think. We were eating a delicious lunch of Matt’s Nonna’s homemade pizza, alongside coldcuts, olives, and cheese around this time, so I may have been distracted.
And then you end up with the final product! Fantastic, of course, course for pasta sauces of all kinds, I like to add garlic and onions, and dried herbs, and cook it down for about a half hour for a quick week night sauce. I also throw in some red wine or balsamic vinegar, depending on what I have on hand, to add a little richness and depth of flavour, especially if I’m making a meatless sauce. I also use this sauce as is, or with some dried oregano as a fantastic pizza sauce.