Tomato Zen

(Skip to the end if you have some tomatoes sitting in a bowl waiting to turn into a meal in 10 minutes, then come back and read)

45 pounds, and then some, of tomatoes in the freezer. Ready for sauce, soup, stew or whatever catches my fancy this fall and winter.

There comes a time when I have so much to do I barely know where to start. And that is when I get stuck. Paralyzed. I made a to-do list of all the things that were important, the immediate to the long term. I found it torn up (thank you Lucas) in little pieces all over the living room. Note to self: Keep to-do list away from little ones. It seems funny now, but I'm pretty sure the moment brought me to tears.

The tomatoes were sitting and close to rotting, they didn't care what my to-do list said, it was time to get into the kitchen and blanch, peel, chop, blend and freeze. This is where I found my tomato zen. Thanks to the lovely Liz at Wishing Stone Farm I purchased 45 pounds of saucing tomatoes at a great price, even better if you are a CSA member. Ask your local farmer's if they can set aside tomatoes for you, it will save you money in the fall and winter as your freezer or your pantry is bursting with red!

Each 15 pound box looks like this.

I wash them, line them up to dunk in the hot water and keep the water bath next to the pot to shock the tomatoes after the skin splits.

It takes a minute or two and the skin will split, remove them right after the split.

Get them into the water bath to cool and stop the cooking process, have another bowl to put the peels and cores if removing into.

After you peel the tomatoes, you can freeze as is or remove the core and dice or puree. I made one bag of whole tomatoes for stewing at a later time.

Quartered tomatoes,the cores removed on the bigger tomatoes, otherwise I leave it in.

Labeled and ready to freeze.

I am trying to use as many fresh tomatoes as I can when I get them from a friend's garden or from the markets. We had a great soup the other night with tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, basil, garlic and onion all blended up with some chicken stock. I took a serving out for myself and Lucas and then added cream into the pot for the dairy loving family of mine! Last night I was tired and I grabbed this quick raw sauce out of the fridge, made some rice pasta and it was a meal in a bowl.

Raw Tomato Sauce

5 cups of chopped tomatoes 1 chopped spring onion 1 grated carrot 1 garlic clove 1/2 tsp sea salt pepper to taste fresh basil leaves, about 6 leaves

Combine everything in the blender, I grate the carrots so that you don't end up with little chunks of carrot in the sauce, which just looks slightly strange. Pulse everything until well combined but still a tiny bit chunky. Serve over warm pasta with some chunky Romano cheese on top and fresh basil.