Tomatoes–the Last Blast

roma tomatoesDid you notice–it’s October, people!  October!  I can hardly believe it.  I might not even notice, if it weren’t for the slight chill in the air.  We’ve had unusually nice (i.e. dry) weather in Portland, temps around 70 this week and no rain to be seen.  Unheard of.  Where are the drenching downpours, the endless days of nothing but gray?  They are coming, I know they are.  But for now, cool, crisp, sunny Fall!

Thanks to the lack of downpours, my tomato plants have survived my neglect, and I was able to harvest another 30+ romas yesterday.  Yay, garden tomatoes!  So, a bit later than expected, but apparently on time with my local seasonal weather, here is my “last blast” tomato post, with two recipes for that bounty of gems you may have sitting on your kitchen countertop . . .

roasted tomatoesFirst, from Smitten Kitchen, she who is so over the top awesome that even with a tiny, gorgeous baby boy she still posts kick butt recipes and amazing write-ups that leave the rest of us in the dust . . . . I bring you Slow Roasted Tomatoes.  Tangy, sweet, totally snackable but also perfect as a condiment, tossed into pasta, whirled into salsa, just about anything you want to do, you can do with these babies.  And EASY, did I mention easy?  Slice ’em up, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast, roast, roast until done.  Here’s the link to the original.

sliced tomatoes ready to roastSecond, from yours truly but based on a recipe from the equal-to-Smitten’s awesomeness, Orangette, Fresh Tomato Sauce.  Again, simple and straight forward to make, but oh my!  The taste of the fresh stuff really makes all the difference.  Also, this is a great way to use up all those extra tomatoes that are about to go buh-bye on your vines–even if they aren’t perfectly ripe.  Portion the cooled sauce into freezer ziplocs, freeze laying flat to make for faster thawing later.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • about 30 roma tomatoes, seeded and quartered (peeled if you want, I don’t bother)
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium sweet bell pepper
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano to taste

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add cubed tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are broken down and becoming saucy, about 1 hour.  Adjust heat as needed to maintain a low simmer.  Add onion and bell pepper, and cooking until softened, approximately another hour.  Blend with an immersion blender (my favorite toy), or carefully transfer in small batches to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Stir in basil and parsley, and season to taste.

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