RECIPE #1: HOMEMADE ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE
The big question many amateur gardeners have come harvest time is: "What do I do with all of this food?"
You can donate it, share it, sell it at the end of your driveway.
For me, it's loading up the cart, getting Mr. Bitterman on the tambourine, and rolling through the neighborhoods of Littleton, CO, leaving the surplus with unsuspecting families.
The first year, there was a ton of surplus, almost too much to deal with in any efficient and effective way. By the second year, however, we had found a way to use our surplus tomatoes in a wholly delicious way.
In a 9x13 glass baking dish, place:
3-4 pounds of fresh, ripe from the garden, tomatoes, cored and quartered. (I just keep stuffing them in there until it's full.) Place tomatoes in glass baking dish, cut side up.
Drizzle 1/2-3/4 cup of olive oil over the tomatoes. (I use Garlic Infused olive oil, or Tuscan Herb olive oil that I get from a local EVOO shop.)
8-medium cloves garlic - crushed (Or -- four good teaspoons of crushed garlic scattered through the dish.)
1 cup fresh chopped basil. (Honestly, grow your own. It's lush, fragrant and makes a beautiful container garden for your back porch or deck.)
1/2 cup fresh chopped oregano. (Again, grow your own. This IS Colorado, I'm told we do a lot of that.)
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Preheat the Oven to 325. This is a low and slow bake.
Bake for 2:30. (Until tomatoes caramelize. Too much longer and the sauce dries out, leaving you with less finished product.)
Pulverize in food processor until liquid.
Each batch freezes well in 8-cup Glad Plastic Containers.
This is a great way to use up the bumper crop of tomatoes you occasionally wind up with in August-September. And, in many ways, I've found, people enjoy the sauce as much or more than the do the fresh tomatoes.
It goes perfectly in homemade lasagna, all pasta dishes, and in this wonderful little Timpano I make, for which I will soon share the recipe. That is, if Mr. Bitterman will tell me where he left said recipe. He keeps telling me the dogs ate it.
Have at it! Have fun!
Vivere, amare, mangiare!