Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

July 27, 2007

Saucy

I went to the Whites Creek Farmers Market, and to Darcy's PhD Boys and Girls Club Veggie Project, and I bought about a pound of tomatoes from each of the farmers. The tomatoes totaled about 5 lbs. At the Whites Creek Farmers Market, I also got a bunch of yellow onions, poblano peppers, garlic, big bunch of basil, and little hot green chili peppers which name escapes me right now. For over 5 years now, I have been wanting to try and make oven roasted tomato sauce for spaghetti, and finally I got to right ingredients to d0 it.

my fresh local and organically grown basil

Over 5 years ago, I must have been home sick from work because I was watching Martha Stewart. She made this tomato sauce in the oven that looked way too good. She thick sliced a bunch of tomatoes, put them in the oven to drive off a lot of moisture, put the semi-dry tomatoes in a food processor, and the result was oven dehydrated tomato sauce. Of course Martha said to start with homegrown tomatoes, and I have never lived in a place that had land before. So, 5 years ago when I finally got 10 sq. ft of yard, I planted tomato and pepper seedlings, onion, garlic etc in my tiny yard, and I had visions of being Martha and making this oven tomato sauce. To my surprise, the lovely maple tree out back provided a lot of shade for my plants, and there were no veggies to be had. I have been living with this dream of oven tomato sauce for so long, but I did not want to make it until I could get the right base ingredients. So, finally, with farm fresh, locally grown, and organic ingredients, the stage was set to make Martha Stewart's oven tomato sauce.

the tomatoes, garlic, onion and peppers before the oven

To start my sauce, I put 1 cm thick slices of tomato, chunks of onion, garlic, chunks of poblano peppers, and one really hot chili pepper with a little drizzle of really good olive oil on everything on the jelly roll pans. I put the pans in the oven for about an hour at 350-400F to bake/roast the veggies and drive off some of the moisture.

blenderize the veggies and put them in a sauce pot

When the roasted/baked tomatoes became caramelized around the edges, and the onions and poblanos got a little charred around the edges, I put all the veggies, including all the caramelized bits, in a blender for a couple seconds to rough chop them to a chunky sauce. I put that chunky sauce in a sauce pan over low heat to keep the sauce warm. I added a few shakes of Worcester Sauce, a couple pinches of salt, lots of fresh rough chopped oregano, lots of thyme, a few shakes of red wine, and a touch of honey. When the sauce was about ready to serve, I put a lot of slivered basil into the sauce.

the meatballs, sauce and pasta, yummo!

I made locally grown beef meatballs for this sauce. They were so good! Here is how I made them, the best of my recollection:
1 lb local organic ground beef 95% fat free
4 cloves garlic
big handful of basil leaves
big handful of oregano leaves
big handful of thyme leaves
big handful of parsley
one small onion
salt
pepper
about 1/3 cup bread crumbs

With a knife, mince garlic, onion and herbs together. Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands easily, and do not over mix (don't break up the beef too much). My meatballs looked like there was just too much herbs in the mix, but in the end it was just right. Form 3 cm diameter meatballs. In a frying pan, add a small amount of oil and fry the meatballs until browned on all sides. Pour all of the frying pan contents into the tomato sauce.

The locally grown, free-range cow-ground beef was so tasty and good. It definitely was not from a grain fed cow because it had a more intense beefy flavor than any grain fed cow can have. The fresh herbs, garlic, onion and chili pepper added that umami flavor to make you want more. These were the best locally grown (except for the bread crumbs, salt and pepper) meatballs I have ever had, and the best meatballs in any of my memory. Sorry John, my former Italian roommate who used to cook up good meatballs and sauce, I think I found a meatball and sauce combo that will blow yours out of the water.

Lastly, Martha Stewart, I hate to admit it, but yours are right... it is a good thing to use the freshest, local, and best ingredients.

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5 Comments:

At 7/28/07, 10:55 AM, Blogger katiez said...

The best things come to those who wait!
The sauce sounds wonderful - really tomato-y. It would probably even improve poor tomatoes... if one were desperate, which I am!

 
At 7/28/07, 5:36 PM, Blogger Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Oh yum, delicious! Such a sauce can ONLY be wonderful...

 
At 7/29/07, 6:11 PM, Blogger Lannae said...

Hi KZ, yes, I think Martha dehydrated instead of roasted, so she was at 170F for many hours to concentrate the flavor. I was in a rush, and did my own thing in the oven, which concentrated the tomato flavor and added a nice natural caramelization flavor to the sauce. I think poor and rich tomatoes alike would do well with this method.

Rosa, this sauce was quite wonderful! The oven roasting added a nice new flavor to the sauce.

 
At 7/30/07, 1:12 PM, Blogger Eric and Katie said...

Lannae: That sounds really good. I'll have to bug Katie to cook up a batch. It's fun to try different sauces during tomato season. We just had a neighbor drop 20 pounds of tomatos, peppers and squash on our doorstep. Katie made a spicy Puttanesca which was great. I saw your comment about the Italian Food Company. Now I'm even more intriqued. We'll swing by this weekend and see if it's open yet.

 
At 7/31/07, 6:33 PM, Blogger Lannae said...

good luck in making the sauce! I think Martha dehydrated in a low heat oven for hours, but I wanted something quick, so I cranked up the heat in the oven. 20 lbs of tomatoes is a lot, mean a lot of fun to cook up tomatoes! I will keep checking your blog for a post on that Italian Food Co. I too am intrigued.

 

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