Indulge me in a little "blogsplaining." A miraculous and insane thing happened that transformed my life and rocked my world in a way I never could have imagined. About 2.5 months after my last post my partner and I got a call that forever changed our lives. I had just wrapped up my second-to-last year of school for nutrition and food science and thought I was going on to work full-time in my field. The call was to ask us to become foster parents to two boys, ages 1 and 9. We said YES, and never looked back. We are still parenting these wonderful boys and have changed so much as people because of it. But it sure did turn our lives upside down. My plans to go to grad school were put on hold. My ability to work was greatly reduced when both boys ended up having special needs that required lots of time, special care, and appointments. My whole life revolved around learning how to be a first-time parent, not to a single infant like most people experience when they become first-time parents, but to two kids with a lot of needs and a lot of life experiences prior to joining our family. Only recently have I felt like I've gotten into the groove of life enough that I can look outside the walls of my house and start to tentatively pursue my own interests, career, social life and other things besides parenting again.
This is not going to become a blog about parenting or foster care or adoption. I'm not even sure that I'll blog regularly again. I've continued to cook some fabulous, healthy, kosher, gluten-free meals for my family, but I have much less time and energy to worry about presentation and am usually tired and just wanting to get dinner on the table. But I did want to share my adapted, fresh herb-laden version of a really fantastic tomato sauce recipe I found on Dog Island Farm's website. And who knows? Perhaps I'll share another recipe again soon.
I whipped this up yesterday when I saw that the 4 lbs of organic tomatoes from the CSA share were starting to get a little ripe, I had some bruised basil I was about to toss, and our oregano plant was starting to bolt. It was so insanely good that I considered ladling it into bowls and serving it as "tomato soup." No one would have been the wiser - With the herbaceous and garlicky flavor and subtle sweetness, it is absolutely flavorful enough to eat by the spoonful. Last night I used some of the leftover pan juices to flavor some greens that I braised with chickpeas and served over brown rice for a simple vegetarian shabbos meal.
A big thanks to Dog Island Farm in Vallejo, CA, for inspiring me to get back on the food blogging horse. Check them out on ye olde Facebook, and peruse their site for some incredible recipes using fresh produce.
STEP ONE: PREP
(Before I added some Sungold cherry tomatoes)
STEP TWO: ROAST
STEP 3: PUREE
OVEN ROASTED GARLICKY TOMATO SAUCE
WITH FRESH OREGANO & BASIL
Adapted from Dog Island Farm
[Gluten-Free / Vegan / Nut-Free / Soy-Free]
4 lbs plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise*
2 medium yellow onions, diced
8 cloves garlic, halved lengthwise
Generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves, removed from stalk and chopped roughly
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped roughly
1/3 cup red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
1 Tbsp organic sugar or natural sweetener of choice
Optional: 1-2 tsp quality garlic powder (I like Costco's house brand)
*I threw in about 1/4 lb of whole Sungold cherry tomatoes from a friend's garden, too - This recipe is flexible enough that measurements need not be exact.You can use whatever tomatoes you have on hand, even ones that are bruised or slightly overripe. As the original recipe points out, meatier tomatoes with less water content are ideal.
Preheat oven to 350F. Scoop our the tomato "guts" (the slimy contents of the tomato that contain the seeds). Toss tomatoes, onions, garlic, pepper, salt, herbs and olive oil in a large non-aluminum roasting pan. Turn each tomato cut-side up. Bake for 1.25-1.5 hours. If the bottom of the pan still has a ton of thin juices, you can turn the oven up to 450 F (or even to broil) for a little while to try to reduce the juices, or just reserve half the juices when you transfer into a bowl or pot for pureeing to avoid a watery sauce.
In the pot or bowl, add sugar, red wine, and garlic powder (if desired). Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce to desired consistency. I prefer it pureed fairly thoroughly. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. You can add more of the reserved pan juices at this point if it would benefit the texture.
Serve in your favorite Italian recipe, use as a base for a fantastic tomato soup, or freeze for future use.
This recipe is part of Weekend Herb Blogging, being hosted this week by Cooking with Siri.