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Thursday, September 22, 2011

What To Do With Fifty Pounds of Tomatos, Should They End Up In Your House

At the Tuesday afternoon Farmer's Market I may have accidentallyonpurpose bought 50 pounds of tomatos.  You see, one of the biggest trade-offs to living this close to the ocean is the fussy nature of growing tomatos.  They just don't love my misty, cool summers without a lot of babying.  So when the farmers 30 miles inland bring out the real summer produce I am a moth to the flame.
Diving into bushels of fruit without a care for my safety or sanity.  Open mouthed.  Wide eyed.  The girl in a mini skirt at the market, lugging around two huge flats of red goodness with canvas bags criss-crossed over her shoulders filled with zucchini and cucumbers. 
That said, the last 24 hours have seen a merry bubbling of multiple pots on the stove and a whirlwind of activity as I've tried to preserve every last drop for those dark grey days of winter.  All in all, 24 pints of tomato soup, 10 pints of salsa, and 13 half-pints of apple butter (did I mention the apples? A gift from BC's parents from their fuji tree; we stood together in 90 degree temperatures and filled a bucket last weekend, tossing bruised apples for Sancho and crunching through as many as we could). This year, when the hail falls and the birch trees shiver, I'll be sipping on soup and remembering when I wore tank tops and bare feet.

Actually I may start sipping soup now.  It's that delish.  So much in fact that I decided to share the recipe with you just in case you too are a nutcase for tomatos OR just have a bumper crop to preserve!
Tomato Soup to Cure the Winter Blues

You will need:
13 lbs Tomatos - scrubbed, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 Cups Chopped Onions
1/4 Cups Chopped Garlic - about 8 cloves will do
1 Cup Fresh Basil - washed and coarsely chopped
1 Cup Red Wine  - something just nice enough that you will enjoy drinking the rest of
1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Sugar
1 6oz Can Tomato Paste

~ One ~
Put on some music.  Don't fool around here, this is important.  For me, I started a new pandora station based on En Vogue and TLC.  That's right folks, old school, belt it out over peeling tomatos.  They gotta hear the passion in your voice!
"Whatta man, whatta man, whatta mighty good man"

~ Two ~ 
Place tomatos in a LARGE stockpot:  I begin by washing, blanching (to make the skins just slide off), peeling, and rough chopping 6-8 tomatos, tossing them juice, seeds and all into the pot, and bringing them up to a slow boil.  From there repeat with remaining tomatos, keeping a steady low boil / high simmer.  Stir regularly and mash (using a potato masher) to break down tomatos.

~ Three ~
Pour 1/4 Cup Red Wine into a sauce pan and saute onions and garlic.  Toss 'em in the stockpot.  From here add all remaining ingredients: 3/4 Cup Red Wine, Vinegar, Basil, Salt, Sugar, Paste.  Bring back up to a full boil.

~ Four ~ 
Working in batches (or using an immersion blender if you're fancy and have one of those), blend soup until smooth and creamy.  Return to pot and bring back to boil.  From here, continuing simmering, stirring regularly, until soup reaches a consistency you prefer.  I like mine fairly thick and hearty.

~ Five ~
Fill hot, sterile jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace, and process in a boiling water bath.  If using pints, process for 35 minutes, for quarts process 45 minutes.

~ A Few Tricks and Tips ~
**  To make your soup as safe as safe can be, do not lower the quantity of acidic ingredients (tomatos, vinegar) or raise the quantity of alkaline ingredients (onions, garlic, basil).  Let's stay botchulism free!
** This recipe yields 10-12 pints of soup.
**  If you are not comfortable with canning / processing your own soups, I'm pretty certain this recipe would freeze BEAUTIFULLY.
** I plan on eating this with a dollop of cremé fraiche and a sprinkling of fresh herbs as well as with a crusty grilled cheese sandwich and a side of cucumbers.  YUMS!
p.s.  what the what....?


Ann from Montana said...

Oh, my. That looks and sounds so good! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

Re immersion blender...a MUST have...IMHO! A cuisinart one is less than $40 and my reason for having mine is I can make mayo in 5 minutes and most of that 5 minutes is just putting the ingredients in the blending jar. (Yes, you can make mayo other ways, but this is the absolute fastest and foolproof)

pencilfox said...

loving the recipe and the step-by-step....
and that sweet photo of you sniffing the fruit of the earth. ahhh.
[and your wee blue toenails. (smile)]

UmberDove said...

Ann - It's one of those silly things that has been on my list for, oh, ten years. But I guess it's like buying basic white tanks: I'm ALWAYS seduced by something more glamourous.

Pencilfox - Those toenails have seen better days! It's what I get for walking outside barefoot! But the color is GORGEOUS - it's OPI's "Don't Mess With OPI."

Cat said...

great images by the way
you are a talent!

love and light

MrsLittleJeans said...

I think that last tomato winked at me!!!

No vegetable I love more than tomatoes and when I was growing up my grandmother dried them for winter use.

I have am not skilled in the kitchen but seeing that i love soups and tomatoes therefore i must try at least.

You are in good shape for a few months I'd say.


Kathleen said...

Sounds amazing i will have to try it. i will have to fight off the other ladies at the farmers market this weekend! making my plans for domination now!

Btw love the floors in your house.

amy komar said...

PURE delight this post!!
LOVE the pic of you standing with all your canned tomatoes ((xo))

Nymph711 said...

Thanks for the amazing recipe! I tried it out with my lovely new friend yesterday and basked in it's delicious smelling glory! Thank you ten fold for sharing it's wonders with us <3