While you sweat your way through the dog days of summer, there’s at least one redeeming factor in all that heat: tomatoes. Perfect, juicy, flavorful, fresh local summer tomatoes. Whether it’s the tomatoes grown in your yard, the ones grown in the farm down the road, or the ones you pick up at your local farmers’ market, there’s no comparing the sweet and juicy summer tomato to anything you could have bought in the store in the middle of winter.
We’ve been thinking a lot about tomatoes and where they come from lately, as we’ve been spending time with our tween devouring food documentaries on Netflix. From Cooked (how have we developed our most basic cooking traditions?) to Chef’s Table (how are top chefs redefining what we eat?) to Forks Over Knives (what is the food we eat doing to our bodies?) to Food Inc. (where does our food actually come from?) Netflix has been filling us up with plenty of food for thought this summer.
One theme that seems to keep recurring in these food documentaries is the importance of keeping your food local and real. And that’s why in the summer we stay away from the supermarket jars of tomato sauce, and we spend our time at the farmers’ market and in the kitchen instead. (Bonus: Get the kids involved by having them pick out the tomatoes and prep them for cooking.) And the result is… fresh homemade tomato sauce – made smooth, chunky, savory, sweet, or just the way you like it.
- 2 T. olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 to 4 pounds fresh-picked tomatoes, washed, cored, and quartered
- Small handful fresh basil leaves
- 1 tsp. fresh oregano leaves (or ½ tsp. dried)
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. sugar (optional if you like it just a tiny bit sweet)
- Dash pepper
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauce pot. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, sugar, and pepper, and heat until bubbling. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 to 2 hours, until the tomatoes have boiled down to a fairly thick (not watery) mixture. Remove from heat. Strain through Foley food mill, discarding peels and seeds. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning as necessary. Reheat if necessary; serve over pasta. Serves 6.
Did we mention you could make it any way you like it? Cook it longer for a thicker sauce; keep it more liquid by cooking it for less time. You really can’t go wrong. Oh, and keep watching those food documentaries – it might just change the way you (and your kids) eat.
Blogger disclosure: As a member of Netflix’s blogger Stream Team, Netflix has provided me with an annual subscription in exchange for writing monthly posts. All opinions expressed are my own.