Dinner from the Garden

When I was outside this morning harvesting the tomatoes and eggplants I was very aware of the chill in the air. This could be the last gathering of fresh vine-grown plum tomatoes for the season.

It’s been a good year here at the house, I have 17 quarts of tomato sauce frozen for the winter.

What should I make for dinner with today’s harvest?

I’m thinking of an eggplant and tomato sauce with plenty of basil, garlic and onions served with good Reggiano cheese from the Italian store. I’ll get a couple of sausages while I’m there.

The idea makes my mouth water.

(Later that morning)

Here’s what I did after a quick shop.

The paste tomatoes were washed and added to a pot of boiling water. This loosens the skin. It only takes a few minutes, so don’t walk away from the stove. Then put the tomatoes into a bowl to cool. Once cool remove the skins…which just slide off. Chop and set aside.

Next, cut the eggplants into slices and sprinkle salt on them to draw out excess moisture. After about 20 minutes, rinse the salt off and cut the eggplant into bite-size morsels.

Chop an onion, three big garlic cloves, and the basil.

Add olive oil to a pan and cook the onions, eggplant, and garlic until golden. Next add the skinless tomatoes.

Simmer until the flavors combine.

Tonight, I will cook the sausage and serve everything over pasta. To add even more flavor, sprinkle the top with chopped basil leaves.

I’ll let you know what himself thinks.

UPDATE: He loved it.

Making Tomato Sauce from Scratch

I harvested two baskets full of heirloom paste tomatoes today and you know what that means . . . it’s time to make some spaghetti sauce.

Eating delicious meals made with foods I’ve grown myself is one of the great pleasures of gardening.

To start I wash the tomatoes and place them into a pot of boiling water. In just a minute, the skins split and the tomatoes can be removed to a bowl filled with ice water. Once they cool, peel off the skins and squeeze out the seeds. The rest of the tomato goes into another bowl.

Then I chop an onion or two, several cloves of garlic, parsley, oregano and lots of basil.
Carmelize the onion in a little olive oil. Add garlic and cooked it briefly.

The next step is to add the tomatoes and then the parsley, oregano and basil, all of which come from the garden. Also add a bay leaf and some wine. Then just let the sauce simmer for a couple of hours. When I have them handy, I add chopped carrots and bell peppers.

The last step is to call everyone to the table. Mangia! tomatodinner