Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Something other than sauce

It is possible for me to make something from my tomatoes other than The Best Sauce Ever. Yep. and I thought it might be high time that I provide proof of that fact.

And, frankly, I need to post something for the Grow Your Own round-up I'm hosting (send me your entries by tomorrow midnight please: finnyknits AT gmail DOT com) because I don't get out of contributing just because I'm *phew* totally slaving away over here on the big sweaty post.

Just kidding, I'm barely sweating at all (wuv you, free work A/C!).

So, to prove that I can imagine tomato-based foods other than sauce and SAUCE and more sauce, I made gazpacho. Which I realize doesn't really go too far toward proving how dynamic I can be with a bunch of homegrown tomatoes, but still - it's not technically sauce, so I'm counting it. Argue with me if you want, but I promise it will be totally fruitless.

I also fight dirty, so watch your groin.

Anyhoo, I also got to try out a new recipe from a cookbook I had yet to crack, You Say Tomato by Joanne Weir, which was a gift from my all-knowing MIL who is nothing short of a gift giving genius.

To go off-track for just one minute, let me tell you that this woman has a secret spy living in my brain and reporting back to her on gift ideas. Do you know how I know? Because it's alarming to open gifts from this woman due to their dead-on-ness.

An orange wallet?
Worms Eat My Garbage?
3 tomato-specific cookbooks?
A book on foraging in Northern California?

Seriously. Yikes.

Thankfully, I like her very much and haven't seen even a glimmer of "I will murder you in your sleep and wear your skin" in her gentle eyes, so I feel safe. But still. Weird. I might have to start imagining bizarre gifts to see if they show up on my birthday - just to see if she really does have a spy in my brain.

Sue...what am I thinking about right now? Why yes, you're right, it IS something made of cashmere...


You Say Tomato, Joanne Weir
My changes in bold


6 large tomatoes from your garden, peeled/seeded/chopped (I didn't seed them, this is too much work - the straining gets them out later)
1 red bell pepper, cored/seeded/chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled/halved/seeded/chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
Some extra virgins, about 4+ tablespoons
1 slice of french bread
Salt, pepper and pepperoncino to taste

To make
Mix the tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, cucumber, garlic, vinegar and olive oil in a bowl. In batches, puree the mixture in the blender until super smooth - which is a purported 3 minutes. I just go until I can't stand the noise anymore. Have I told you I'm a sissy?

Pour each batch through a course strainer into a large bowl until you've pureed your whole mixture. Season the whole mess with salt, pepper and pepperoncino. Refrige it for an hour or more. And not more than eight hours because something mysterious and terrible happens after that. I would imagine.

Once you've crossed the important 1 hour - 8 hour threshold, feel free to serve up with some fresh basil even though the recipe doesn't call for it, but HELLO what tomato-type recipe isn't awesome with basil? Um, none.

Something to note here is that the original recipe, which I unabashedly ignored, also includes some super time intensive recipe for a "garnish" which I like to also call "croutons" and there was no way in hell I was making their "garnish croutons" with this crazy ass recipe, so I made them the way I always make them which involved cutting crusty bread into cubes and tossing with olive oil and garlic salt - bake at 400 until brown and DONE.

The recipe in the book is a little more ridiculous and involves melting things in a saucepan which was so not happening.

Also, here's the tomatoes after I peeled them properly:

I want to show you this for two reasons.
  1. I finally learned that blanching includes a cold water bath BEFORE peeling, which has changed my life immensely and helped me to retain my fingerprints and,
  2. I took this photo and felt the need to share it. I mean, look how SHINY they are? That's fun.
Ok, so SEE, I can make things other than sauce with my homegrown tomatoes. I don't really LIKE to, but I suppose I should be seeking some sort of balance in my life and this is how I'm going at it.

I'm not going to stop eating tomato sauce out of the food processor with my big tablespoon, but I will try to make other things from the tomatoes. Things that I can eat with my big tablespoon also.

Do you see my balance? I am amazing.


  1. Peeled tomatoes always remind me of eyeballs. It's the shininess. Shudder.

  2. Dorothy is a genius, although I think her secret spy is named Bubba. She really does know you!
    And that gazpacho looks fabulous. I wonder if it would taste half as good with Safeway tomatoes?

  3. I have not made gazpacho yet. It is on the list.
    I am a scaredy cat when it comes to blanching and peeling tomatoes and usually don't but your tip re the ice bath takes some of the burning fear away.

  4. I love gazpacho, but hubs can't stand it. Says there's something wrong about eating cold soup, so we don't ever have lovely things like gazpacho or cold avocado soup. However, he has a couple trips in the next few weeks, so I think I'll make some for myself. :-)

    Thanks for hosting Grow Your Own!


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.