Monday, October 6, 2014

Meatless Monday: The Last Tomatoes of Summer

Fall has arrived in the Northeast, with shorter, cooler (for the most part) days, and decidedly chilly nights. The tomato season is about over in my area, but here are a pair of recipes for those of you who have tomatoes waiting to be used or who live where tomatoes are still being harvested.  

A couple of weeks ago I turned to some favorite cookbooks for inspiration on what to do with a second basket of plum tomatoes I had purchased. [Click here and here for what I did with the first one.] Both recipes were a great success. I meant to share them earlier, but life got in the way… Apologies to those of you who will have to wait until next year to try them.

The first recipe came from Mary Ann Esposito’s classic cookbook Ciao Italia: Bringing Italy Home.

Salsa di Pomodoro (Tomato Sauce) 

That's a lotta sauce!

  • 1/4 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 cups (about 8 medium) plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

  • In a saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Sauté the garlic until soft.
  • Add the tomatoes, oregano, and salt.
  • Simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, until slightly thickened. 

For a smoother sauce, puree the tomatoes in a food processor or with an immersion blender before adding to the saucepan.

This recipe is easily doubled, tripled, quadrupled. I did the latter and put four quarts in the freezer, ready to pull out when the days are short and gray.

The second recipe came from a not so obvious source: Cape Cod Table, by Lora Brody.

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes 

  • 5 pounds of plum tomatoes, rinsed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 large springs fresh thyme, or 2 teaspoons dry thyme leaves
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar [I used balsamic with a delicious result.]
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F, with the rack in the upper third of the oven, but not the highest position.
  • Place the thyme in the bottom of the roasting pan.
  • Spread the tomatoes over the thyme, in one layer if possible.
  • Drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with the vinegar and salt.
  • Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the tomatoes have browned (unevenly) and given up their juices and the juices have reduced and become slightly thickened and syrupy.
  • Allow the tomatoes to cool in the pan.
  • Remove the thyme sprigs if used.

Use the tomatoes immediately or store them in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

This recipe can easily be doubled, as long as you have a roasting pan large enough.

At Susie’s suggestion, I froze most of mine in heavy ziplock bags for winter use. 

Before I close, here is a special Meatless Monday bonus. 

Earthbound Farms and Meatless Monday have released an e-cookbook featuring meatless breakfast recipes that can be eaten for any meal. Click here for the link 

Happy Meatless Monday. Good health to you. Have a great week.

On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

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