Monday, September 14, 2009
Marinara of a Different Color.
Every summer I grow tomatoes in my garden as well as a variety of herbs and other veggies. I also compost fertilizer for my garden that gets old tomatoes and their seeds in the mix. So, even though I planted four tomato plants in the spring and then spread composted soil over my garden, I ended up with about 20 tomato plants. I shit you not.
Most I was able to re-home and I kept about 10. I had to pull the rest.
Moving on; since it is September of an unusually rainy and cold summer, I have about 5 bajillion tomatoes and I am tired of munching on tomato sandwiches..... What to do?
Marinara time, bitches!
As you can see I have a lot of tomatoes, however, that is not all of them and I have about four freezer bags filled with some I blanched last week. I also have a metric ton of sweet basil,Thai basil and purple basil. For marinara I tend stick with the sweet basil because the others can bring a lot of bitterness into the sauce. My oregano plant is huge because I only use it for marinara and drying it out to pass off as pot to sell to stupid teenagers. Since the latter got me into some trouble with the neighbors, my oregano is only used for marinara this year. I also have a lot of thyme and since I enjoy that flavor in my marinara, I invited it to the party as well.
To get this party started you need to cut the cores out of the tomatoes and finger out the seeds, (that could be taken in so many inappropriate directions). After the maters are cored and seeded, stick those m'effers in some boiling water.
Boil them for about 20 minutes to make sure that the skin is loose and easily pulled off. It's easy to tell when the skin starts to loosen, which happens quickly, because it will crack. However, you want to make sure it will all come off with the slightest tug, so once the skin starts to crack, keep them in the water for about ten more minutes. Once they are ready, drain them and stick them in the freezer for an hour. If you are too impatient for that you can just go for it, but your fingers will hate you and you will risk getting burning blister puss in your marinara. Nobody wants that, so be patient dickbags.
Once you have safely removed the skins set the tomatoes aside and crush about 10 cloves of garlic and saute them in a big pot with a half cup of olive oil. Once you open up the garlic, (DON'T BROWN THE GARLIC, DIPDINGLE! IT WILL RUIN EVERYTHING!) add the a little more than half of the tomatoes and simmer on medium for about an hour. Set aside the left over tomatoes for later.
You will need a hand mixing wand, or a food processor if you want to make a huge mess. I like a clean work station, so I use a wand. You need this to mash up the tomatoes into a paste. This is the base of the sauce so it is very important.... DON'T MESS IT UP. Before mixing with the hand wand, or adding to the food processor; throw in 2 TBS of corn starch to help thicken your mixture.
I know the sauce is orange. This is a result of using a variety of naturally grown tomatoes of all different varieties from your own kick ass garden. If you have a problem with marinara of another color, I urge to keep eating your spaghetti dinners at Bob Evans and sucking at life.
Once you get the tomatoes mashed up, you will want to add two TBS of salt, some fresh ground pepper, and one cup of ORGANIC sugar. If you are an excellent cultivator, like me, your kick ass garden would not be complete without herbs like I mentioned above. If so, go out to your garden and cut some sprigs of thyme, sweet basil, and oregano. If not, haul ass to the local IGA and waste your money on delicious herbs that would taste better (if you were not so lazy and useless), if they were from your own garden. Take the leaves off of the stems, crack and peel four more cloves of garlic and add all to a food processor. It is less mess to pulverize herbs and garlic than soupy tomatoes.
As you are chopping the garlic and herbs in the food processor, drizzle some olive oil in there. Process on pulse until the are chopped pretty finely, because nothing can ruin a perfectly good marinara experience like chewing on a leaf. Add the mixture with one fresh bay leaf to the sauce (remember to pull out the bay leaf before eating), throw a 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar into the mix, a little less white vinegar, and simmer on medium to start meshing all of the flavors together.
(For some reason, blogger.com is not letting me upload any more pictures because they are obviously jealous of my awesome sauce, but I need to share this with the world, so I continue, pictureless.)
Take the tomatoes you set aside earlier and begin to peel, squeeze and pull apart. Add these to the sauce with some chopped mushrooms, chopped onion to taste, (I "chopped" my onions in the food processor, which is totally acceptable when you have been slaving over homemade marinara sauce made from tomatoes you grew from seed in your very own garden all day long, so suck it food snobs) and any other vegetable you may fancy.
Add all to the sauce and simmer for another hour. Add more sugar, salt and pepper, vinegar to taste.
You will then have delicious marinara of a different color that you grew in your own garden (which brings new meaning to the term "FROM SCRATCH") to eat for months. Mine turned out so awesome, that not only did I have to blog about it, but I am going to go make out with myself for awhile for kicking so much ass.