How to Make Basic Marinara Sauce

September 1, 2009
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There are as many recipes for tomato pasta sauce as there are Italian grandmothers. My Sicilian grandmother used to make her sauce every year from the tomatoes in her garden. Much of the time the sauce had meat in it but I don’t think it was ever exactly the same twice.  A child of the depression, my grandmother would throw into the pot whatever she had on hand; scraps of a roast, pieces of cooked pork, sausages, rinds of parmesan cheese. You never knew what you’d find in the sauce, but it was always good.

This is really a base pasta sauce recipe, meant to adapt to whatever you want it to be. Like meat in your sauce? Add a tough cut and let it cook down to make a Bolognese. Want to keep it vegetarian? Enjoy the recipe as it is or add some diced up vegetables. Like …

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How to Peel and Seed Fresh Tomatoes

August 20, 2009
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I love my garden, I really do. And I think the fresh tomatoes were quite possibly the best thing about it. But late in the season, due to some insects eating the leaves and the blazing summer sun, I got some really ugly tomatoes. uglytomatoesThese were not the picture perfect ones seen in previous posts, but rather, they were sunburned and splotched, and a few, were slightly chewed on. But like all children, they are still beautiful on the inside, and perfectly edible (ummm, ok, not like children).
So, what to do with my unattractive fruit? I can’t give them away, I’d be too embarrassed. The answer is to cut away and peel off all the ugliness. Then, they are pretty again and ready to be made into sauce or soup. If you just try and peel a raw tomato you will find yourself participating in an exercise …

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Quick Mid-Summer Garden Update

August 5, 2009
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This is 2 day’s haul from the garden last week. In the photo are 4 different types of tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, an eggplant, a zucchini, and a cucumber. Was the no-dig method successful? Yes, I think so. Did it work for everything I planted? No, but I learned in the process and will be better prepared for the next go-round.

As of today, parts of the garden are still in full swing and others are winding down. I still have some Black Truffle and Brandywine tomatoes (which I think cross-pollinated because I’m now getting big, fat, dark tomatoes) and the zucchini and eggplant look like they are getting ready for round two. Other tomatoes are starting to wither and the green beans never really could survive the aphid onslaught.

I’m starting to think about what to plant for my “fall garden.” Any ideas of what would be suitable for …

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How to Make Fresh Tomato Soup

August 2, 2009
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There comes a time in the lifespan of every summer garden when the gardener has the delicious dilemma of what to do with a bounty of fresh tomatoes, all ripe at the same time. Besides making sauce, eating endless plates of Caprese salad, and freezing the tomatoes for later use, I like to make a fresh tomato soup. It may be a very simple recipe but it’s also incredibly tasty and satisfying, especially when served with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich or macaroni and cheese.

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Homemade Fresh Tomato Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour,

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Garden Update; The World’s Most Expensive Tomato

June 7, 2009


Yesterday we ate the World’s Most Expensive Tomato.

Ok, not really, but sometimes gardening feels that way, doesn’t it? When you factor in what was spent on building the raised beds, filling them with hay, alfalfa, manure and compost, buying the plants, building the fences, buying critter repellent, water, and time,  it seems like it would just be easier and less expensive to go and buy a good tomato at the Farmer’s Market doesn’t it?

I have to say though, it is incredibly satisfying to pick that first tomato.
The eggplant, tomato and basil in the photo above all came out of my garden yesterday.
No recipe, just slice and grill the eggplant with a little olive oil. Slice the tomato. Arrange on the plate. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with chiffonade of basil, fleur de sel, and freshly ground black pepper. I’m not sure there’s anything …

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Garden update; the Octopus in my Garden

May 16, 2009
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gardenoctopus Today we finished the irrigation project. Every plant now has an ugly black rubber tube leading to a low-flow drip irrigation end. It will save water and keep me from having to lug the hose from plant to plant. But the manifolds (1 for each bed) looks like an octopus, albeit a 12 legged one, snaking tiny black tentacles throughout the beds.

Yes, we still have intrusions by the monsters raccoons . But they seem to be more random and sometime we go days without seeing any activity from them. I found a way to keep them from eating the pieces of potato I was trying to grow; I started the potatoes in pots and then transplanted them when they got to be about 4″ tall. So far, so good. I’ve done the same with onions, though I may leave those in the pot because it looks kinda cool.

Some …

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