Thursday, August 5, 2010

From Garden to Plate

This week the bigger kids are away. Dylan is hiking Havasupai at the Grand Canyon and Lyndsay is at Girls Camp. This gives me some wonderful and rare time to spend with just Aiden and Conor. It's a treat to spend one-on-one time with Aiden especially, and I wanted to include him in some of the projects I did so that we could have time just to be together. He had asked if we could have spaghetti for dinner, and so I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn how to make homemade spaghetti sauce together. Now, I always make my own sauce, but I usually do that with canned crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, so this time I wanted us to really make homemade sauce, starting with about six pounds of Roma tomatoes that we'd harvested from the garden. Making sauce was the goal when I planted these Romas, but I'd never done it before. However, taking inspiration from my sister Hannah, Aiden and I took the plunge.

First things first. I washed the tomatoes in batches. Then I plunged them in boiling water for 30 seconds or so, and then put them directly into a bowl of ice water. Aiden took them from the ice water and peeled their skins off.

He was a great tomato skinner. But he hated the smell. The smell? I didn't notice.

Once all the tomatoes were peeled, we cored and seeded them, removing as much of the water as possible from within.

Then all the tomato flesh went into the blender. It was very pink.

Meanwhile, I diced half and onion and about 4 cloves of garlic and sauteed them in olive oil.

We poured in our tomato sauce/puree. It was much lighter pink at this stage than the picture reveals, and it was very thin. Way too watery for sauce.

But after several hours on low heat (uncovered) it cooked down and became deep red and thick. And let me tell you how amazing the house smelled.

Lo and behold, I didn't have spaghetti noodles in the cupboard, so we cooked penne noodles instead and decided to turn it into goulash. I browned some ground turkey and added that to the sauce with some sharp cheddar and the cooked noodles. So yummy.

So, I can't be completely sure, but I think that's how it's done. It was wonderful to have nothing to do that day but make sauce for dinner that night, and it felt so satisfying to turn part of our harvest into dinner. Now we know just how to do it so that we can make lots of sauce and freeze it for homegrown tomato goodness throughout the winter months!

And that Aiden, what a capable boy he is turning out to be!


Don said...

Oh, there is a stewed tomato smell, and it came right back to me as I looked at your pictures.

Just remembering that smell and the dozens and dozens of bottled tomatoes it represents made my feet ache.

I'm am so very impressed with you and your garden. Way to go!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Fabulous! I'm going to go check on our garden right are so inspiring.

Hannah said...

I inspired you? Wow! That's a change! Usually it's the other way around.

It looks amazing. I bet it tasted even better.

amber watt said...

You're garden is stunning! Good for you!