Tag Archives: carrot

Simple Summer Sauce

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In the summer, I love to make nice chunky tomato sauce with whatever local vegetables I can get my hands on. The farmers’ market has been kind and supplied me with the perfect ingredients.

Start by heating two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in your favorite pot over medium heat. I use a six quart dutch oven so I have plenty of room to work with.

Dice one large sweet onion and three large carrots. Add into the dutch oven, salt well and sauté until the onion is translucent.

While the onion and carrots sauté, finely mince four to six cloves of garlic; depending of how much garlic you prefer. My family loves garlic so I use six cloves. Add into the dutch oven and sauté until fragrant.

Two green peppers, diced, get added in next. Continue to sauté until all of the vegetables are beginning to get tender.

Strain six quarts of whole tomatoes and add to the vegetables. I used canned tomatoes from our pantry; whatever you have in your pantry will work. Stir well and break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

Add in one cup of your favorite red wine. I had a beautiful bottle of Merlot on hand that my husband’s coworker, a winemaker, had given us. Always cook with a wine you enjoy drinking and you can not go wrong.

Bring to a boil and immediately turn the temperature down. The sauce should barely be at a simmer. Continue to simmer for two to three hours. This gives the flavors generous time to marry and also allows the sauce to thicken. Stir occasionally.

Add in some fresh thyme, basil and oregano. I used fresh picked from my herb garden, but herbs from the farmers’ market, store bought, or in a pinch dried herbs will work also. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

As is, this makes a nice chunky sauce. If you prefer a smoother sauce, use an immersion blender until it reaches the desired texture. The recipe makes enough for three batches, one to enjoy and two to freeze for future enjoyment.

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Chorizo & Lentil Stew

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This stew is a hearty and healthy way to warm up now that the cooler weather is  coming. It came about by simply looking around the kitchen to see what was available.  Combining kale, garlic, lentils and chorizo creates a spicy and savory stew sure to leave you satisfied.

Start by heating a four quart dutch oven over medium heat on the stove top. Peel and chop one pound of chorizo, and into the dutch oven it goes to brown.

Be sure to move the chorizo around so that it is nicely crumbled. Once nicely browned and all the fat is rendered, about ten minutes later, remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

While the chorizo is browning, rough chop one large onion, four medium carrots, two poblanos, and four small hungarian peppers.

Once the chorizo is removed, add the vegetables into the dutch oven and salt well to get them sweating.

Make sure to scrap up all the brown bits from the bottom. They hold the secret to amazing flavor!

Once the onions are translucent, add the chorizo back in. Press or mince five cloves of garlic and add in to the dutch oven as well. Stir well to combine.

Rinse and sort one pound of dry lentils. Any variety would work, but I used plain brown lentils I happened to have in the cupboard.

Next six cups of unsalted chicken broth and one can of unsalted diced tomatoes. Of course, fresh tomatoes would work as well, but I didn’t have any on hand. If using fresh I would probably use four medium size tomatoes, chopped.

Bring to a rolling boil to start the lentils, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until lentils begin to get tender. This will take somewhere around thirty to forty-five minutes. Be patient, it is well worth it.

Rough chop a nice size bunch of kale and add in once the lentils begin to get tender. Simmer another ten to fifteen minutes until the kale is done.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, oregano or whatever other herbs suit you. Dish it up with some nice toasted pita like I did, with a loaf of crusty bread, with corn bread or all on its own. Feel yourself warm to the core as you enjoy it.


Fresh Tomato Sauce…or Gravy, whichever you prefer!

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I think most of you have gotten the impression that I love tomatoes! You are absolutely correct. I really feel that fresh summer tomatoes are one of the sweetest, juiciest, most flavorful foods on the planet. Best thing about tomatoes? They are in an overabundance this time of year.

While shopping the farmers’ market this past weekend, my hubby and I stumbled upon a great deal on a half-bushel of summer’s best. Didn’t take to much thought to decide to take them home with us.

What to do with that many tomatoes? Make fresh sauce….or is it gravy? Whatever you prefer to call it, the taste of this fresh recipe will make you never want to eat it from a store-bought bottle again! For the sake of easy reading, I will call it sauce throughout this post.

I will not deceive you, this takes a lot of work! In the end, it absolutely is worth it. You will have enough for dinner, and to freeze for six or so more dinners!

Place a large stock pot of water on the stovetop over high heat to bring to a boil. Salt the water well. I used my large pasta pot with the colander insert. This makes straining the tomatoes easier.

Next, peel a head of garlic. Yes, an entire head. Not a clove. Cut one onion, one medium carrot and one celery stalk into quarters. All of this goes into the food processor. Pulse until minced.

Place a large stock pot on the stovetop over medium heat. In two turns of good extra virgin olive oil, saute the veggies until softened and fragrant.

Meanwhile, clean all the tomatoes. I know a half-bushel seems like a ridiculous amount of tomatoes, but it really isn’t once you cook them down. This seems like a good place to mention that these tomatoes do not need to be perfect. This is a good use for all those mangled tomatoes you aren’t sure what else to do with.

Once clean, cut an “X” into the bottom of all the tomatoes. This will help with peeling them. When the water comes to a boil, carefully place the tomatoes into the water and boil for one minute. I had to do this in batches.

Immediately get the tomatoes into an ice bath. I used my stainless steel kitchen sink for this. Most of the tomatoes fit all at once.

Next, get to peeling. This is where that “X” comes in handy. Starting there, the skin will peel right off.

Once peeled, cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze to remove the seeds. Reserve the juice, if your sauce begins to get to thick you can add it in. Alternately,if you don’t need it in the sauce, it makes for tasty drinking.

Once seeded, the tomatoes join the other veggies in the stock pot. Simmer forty-five to sixty minutes to develop flavor and allow the tomatoes to release their juices.

At this point, you can do one of two things. Either, get out your immersion blender and puree until you reach the desired consistency or smash with a potato masher. I prefer the immersion blender, but do what works for you. I know some people are cringing at the thought of taking an immersion blender to the tomatoes. Skip this step if you prefer.

Season to taste. I use sea salt, fresh ground mixed peppercorns, basil, oregano, and a little but of red pepper flakes. Switch up the seasonings however you like.

All that’s left is to enjoy in your favorite dishes. The first night, we had it over gnocchi. Then we froze the rest.

There really is no pre-made sauce out there that can compare to the fresh tomato taste you get in this recipe! Plus, you get to personalize it however you want!


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