I am a casual gardener – that is, I have had a vegetable and herb garden for years, but never take my garden too seriously. I enjoy watching things grow, smelling wonderful herbs, and cooking with the produce when I feel like it. When it comes to the tomatoes, however, I can not stand to waste them.
My six tomato plants usually produce more than I can eat individually. (My husband is not a fan of tomatoes.) I give a few away, but prefer to use them myself; but I hate canning any oversupply. Do you have far too many tomatoes in your garden? Here's my solution.
I live in the Midwest and this is the time of year when my tomato plants produce at their peak. I created this recipe to take advantage of my abundance of tomatoes, along with the wide variety of herbs and jalapeno peppers in my garden. Near them I have a couple of white eggplant and red okra, which are really interesting to watch. I will spare them for now.
DCL's SUPREME SAUCE
DCL's Supreme Sauce is a combination of fresh tomato juice mixed with a fresh pesto base. I made the tomato juice first and then whipped up the pesto. I used my food processor for the entire recipe, but made a mess when I combined the juice with the pesto in the processor. I probably should have used a blender for the final mix. Oh, well, I tend to be very messy in the kitchen anyway.
Fresh Tomato Juice
INGREDIENTS: Tomatoes w/o skins
I picked a bunch of fresh vine-ripened tomatoes; about 4 quarts in volume (or whatever you have available). If you have never removed skins from tomatoes before, it is a whole lot easier than it sounds.
DIRECTIONS for REMOVING TOMATO SKINS
1. Fill up an 8-quart pot with water and bring it to boiling.
2. Cut off the stems, core as needed, and cut away any undesirable parts from the tomatoes. You don't need to waste a tomato that has a few bad spots.
3. After the water is boiling, put in the tomatoes. After two or three minutes, the skins will begin to loosen. It is easy to see that.
4. When the skins are loose, use a slotted spoon to lift the tomatoes and transfer to a bowl.
5. Remove the loosened skin when cool enough to handle.
6. After all of the skins are removed, put the tomato flesh into a food processor.
7. To make the juice, pulse and blend until liquefied.
8. Remove juice from processor and set aside in a bowl. The juice will be thin and runny. Do not worry about the seeds.
Fresh Pesto Base
I collected everything I needed from my garden and pantry. All herbs were
• 2 cups basil leaves (I used a combination of regular basil, cinnamon basil and bush basil)
• 1/2 cup Vietnamese coriander leaves (or any cilantro leaves)
• 1/8 cup marjoram leaves
• 1/8 cup oregano leaves
• 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves (just for grins)
• 1 small jalapeno pepper (adds very little heat)
• 3 large cloves of garlic (add 1 more if you are a garlic freak).
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO as Rachel calls it.)
• 1 teaspoon low-sodium salt (or less – NOT more! SOS – save on sodium)
1. Wash and de-stem all of the fresh herbs.
2. Cut the stem from the jalapeno and slice in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and membrane (unless you like it hotter). I use a small melon baller which does a great job quickly. PS: Now would be a really bad time to rub your eyes.
3. Remove the skin from the garlic cloves. Remember, 1 garlic bulb has many cloves.
4. Put the herbs, jalapeno, and garlic in the processor and pulse quickly to a rough chop. This just gets it blended a little.
5. Add the salt and olive oil and process until smooth. You may need to stop a few times and use a spatula to clear the sides back down into the mix.
SUPREME TOMATO SAUCE
1. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of your fresh tomato juice. You probably have more. Save the extra for later or freeze the remainder in zipper freezer bags and pack flat.
2. Add the tomato juice slowly to the herb mixture in the processor, pulsing and again scraping the sides as needed.
The final yield is about 1 1/2 cups of DCL Supreme Tomato Sauce.
I liked it so well that I could not resist licking the spoons and bowls just like a kid licking icing. It really is almost good enough to eat as a cold soup; but I think I will add it to pasta with some shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Maybe I will pour it over one of my favorites, baked eggplant. Hmmmmm.
Now, I could also make some fresh pasta – fettuccine? I have made homemade noodles and ravioli before and the results are outstanding. Well – not today.
You can also use the juice and pesto separately as juice and pesto, of course. Enjoy!