Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tomato Scrap Sauce

Rick and I are dehydrating vegetables day in and day out now, like squirrels getting ready for winter. Canning, fermenting, and dehydrating all the fresh local vegetables so we can still eat "local and in season" until next season's crop rolls in. So far we've done tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, carrots, celery, scallions, mushrooms, jalapenos, peaches, apples, and we're working on onions now. To be truthful, Rick has been doing the bulk of the work. Lucky for me, because cutting up onions is pretty brutal. I've gone in to help him several times and it sounded like we were having a good cry with lots of tears and sobbing sniffly noises. A friend came over last night and was very concerned until I explained I had been cutting onions. Lucky for us he loves onions because dinner was served with a fresh batch of onions going into the dehydrator!

We actually bought the onions from a farm booth up at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival, where we've played for the past seven or eight years (along with seven more pounds of garlic to add to the five pounds Rick grew). We managed to snag the last 25 lb. bag the guy had. Our trip home from the festival was an amazing assortment of smells with onions, garlic, pesto, vinegar, pickles, chocolates, and cookies permeating the car.

Tomato scraps with fresh herbs and garlic from the garden
Anyway, Rick's one handy guy to have around, always making bread, fermenting (sauerkraut, kim chi, cortido, kombucha, kefir, pickles . . .), working in the garden, raking leaves, making an awesome compost pile, and countless other chores to keep our little homestead running smoothly. Prior to the onion purchase I had bought sixty pounds of tomatoes from the farmstand a few miles down the road, plus we set aside another twenty pounds from our garden to dehydrate. When we cut the tomatoes up we saved the ends in a bowl, not wanting to waste them. But they started building up, little tiny scraps from either end of the Roma tomatoes we were using. Finally, on another rare sunny day that we were actually home, I decided to just throw them in the pot and with some fresh herbs from the garden and let them cook themselves into a nice fresh tomato sauce out in the solar oven. I didn't bother sautéing anything indoors to start—just threw some olive oil, minced onion, chopped garlic, and the herbs with a dash of salt and pepper into the pot and stuck it outside all day. Easy dinner. After I mixed it in with the (cooked) spaghetti—oops, that was cooked inside—I crumbled some feta cheese on the top and served it. So pretty and so delicious. 

As soon as the onions are done dehydrating—I think we have another four or five loads to get through—I need to dehydrate what's left of our oregano. I think we're done doing tomatoes for this year. All the basil was already dehydrated or is hanging in bunches in the kitchen. After that, well, probably more apples. 

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