Archived entries for tomatoes

Pickled Green Tomatoes

Pickled green tomatoes are sooooo good.  A serious party pleaser as well as gourmet garnish to spruce up your next hot dog night.  They are as easy to make as they are to eat.  Yum! Who doesn’t love pickles?  Enough talking, lets pickle.

Pickled Green Tomatoes

  • 10 lbs small green tomatoes
  • 5 c. vinegar
  • 5 c. water
  • 1/2 c. salt
  • garlic
  • mustard seed
  • dill seed
  • crushed red pepper

Prepare tomatoes: Wash and remove stems.  You may want to cut large tomatoes in halves or quarters.  I find its best to use small ones you can leave whole.

Prepare canner: Start enough water to cover your jars in canning pot.  It usually takes a while for this amount of water to boil, so I usually start this first thing.

Make brine: Add water, vinegar and salt to pot and bring to a boil.

Prepare jars: Wash and clean jars.  Heat up with hot water to temper jars for brine. (Don’t skip this step or you might have a bunch of broken glass all over when you add your brine.) Boil jar seals to prepare for sealing.

Stuff jars: Fill jars with spices and garlic

per pint jar (double for quarts):

  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp whole mustard
  • 1/2 tsp dill seed
  • 1 clove of garlic

Stuff jars as full as possible with tomatoes.  Make sure nothing is sticking up above rim of jar.

Add brine: Pour boiling brine into jars leaving half inch head space.  Wipe edges of jar to remove any materials which might impede lids from sealing.  Seal using boiled seal and screw on lid.  Screw lid on tight.

Process: Process in rapidly boiling water: pint jars for 5 minutes, quarts for 10.  Beginning timing when water in canner comes back to a rolling boil.  When time is up, remove from water and allow to cool on counter top.  Do not jostle jars as it can impede a proper seal.

Once jars are cooled and sealed, mark with contents and date.  Put in your pantry and feel good about a job well done!

 

 

Tomato Juice

Not only is homemade tomato juice awesome and delicious, its a great way to get rid of ulgy damaged tomatoes.  I usually make this last, after processing my whole tomatoes and marinara, so I can use any excess juice or scraps from the other tomatoes.  Nothing makes for an amazing spontaneous brunch party then a quick bloody mary with your own juice.  Let’s get juicy.

Tomato Juice

  • Tomatoes, juiced
  • optional: salt

Core tomatoes and remove any bruised or damaged bits.  Place tomatoes in a pot and simmer on the stove top for about 20-30 minutes to soften up and allow for easy juicing.  Pour into a food mill to remove skin and seeds. If you are lucky enough to have a juicer, you can just use that and skip the simmering step.  However, I would still suggest running the pulp waste through a food mill to get as much juice as you can out of the tomatoes.

Bring tomato juice back up to a boil.  If its a bit watery, you can cook it down until you get the flavor you want.  Salt to taste.

Wash enough glass canning jars needed for tomato juice.  Temper by dipping in the boiling water of your canning pot.  Sterilize canning lids in boiling water.

Pour tomato juice into hot jars Wipe edges of jar to remove any materials which might impede lids from sealing.  Top with sterilized canning lid and ring

Process in boiling water canner 15 minutes for pints and quarts.  Beginning timing when water in canner comes back to a rolling boil.  When time is up, remove from water and allow to cool on counter top.  Do not jostle jars as it can impede a proper seal.

Once jars are cooled and sealed, mark with contents and date.  Put in your pantry and feel good about a job well done!

Easy Roasted Marinara

Have a ready to go marinara in the pantry is one of the best time savers for an easy weeknight pasta dinner.  After spending an hour or two skinning tomatoes for canning my whole tomatoes, I very rarely have the patience to do any more putzy work.  I love my roasted marinara, because its super simple and requires very little work.  I just throw a bunch of cored tomatoes into a roasting pan with a few onions, garlic and a bit of spice and slow roast until nicely cooked. Blenderize into a sauce and then can.  EASY!  I’ve blogged about it before, but here’s my general recipe.

Easy Roasted Marinara

  • 10-20 lbs tomatoes
  • 2-3 onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • head of garlic, husks removed
  • 1-2 Tbs dried thyme
  • 1-2 Tbs dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Core tomatoes and remove any bruised or damaged areas.  Cut into large chunks.  Mix ingredients together in 1 or 2 large roasters. Lightly coat in oil.

Place in oven and roast 3-5 hours.  Mix occasionally.  I roast until excess tomato juice has been reduced and there is a light crust of blackened tomatoes/onions.  Remove from oven and allow to cool down enough to touch.

Start water boiling in your canning pot.  Heat enough water to cover jars 1″ when placed in canner.  Allow for water displacement of filled jars.

Using an immersion blender or a food processor, blend until you a desired consistency.  Season to taste. Bring marinara back up to a boil on stove top.

Wash enough clean glass jars for your marinara.  Dip in boiling water to temper glass for boiling marinara.  Sterilize canning lids in boiling water.  Pour marinara in jars leaving 1/2″ head space.  Wipe edges of jar to remove any materials which might impede lids from sealing. Remove air bubbles from jar. I usually use a chopstick. Top with sterilized canning lid and ring.

Process in boiling water canner. 40 minutes for pints. 45 minutes for quarts. Beginning timing when water in canner comes back to a rolling boil. When time is up, remove from water and allow to cool on counter top. Do not jostle jars as it can impede a proper seal.

Once jars are cooled and sealed, mark with contents and date. Put in your pantry and feel good about a job well done!

Easy Canned Whole Tomatoes

Whole tomatoes are one of my top pantry staples.  As I spoke about in my last post, rising concern for health risks with store bought canned tomatoes has made it even more important to can my own.  We usually reserve the more meaty Italian plum/roma varieties for canning whole, although you can use any type.  We’re going to do fresh pack which means the tomatoes will not be cooked first and will be processed with boiling water. (You can also use tomato juice). Its an easy process, in terms of skill, but can be a bit time consuming.  However its worth it. So, lets get going.

Canned Whole Tomatoes: Fresh Pack in Water

  • Tomatoes
  • salt
  • lemon juice
  • canning jars and lids

Wash and rinse tomatoes clean.

In a pot of boiling water, blanch tomatoes for 30-60 seconds.  If you want your tomatoes to retain their shape, don’t over boil, as it will make your tomatoes become mushy.  However, it doesn’t really matter if they get mushy, and it sort of helps them fit in the jars better.  Its merely a matter of your personal aesthetics.

After blanching, use a knife to remove the core.  Remove skins.  They should peel right off without use of a knife.

Boil some fresh water for filling jars, 1 cup for every pint, 2 cups for every quart.  In your canning pot, begin boiling water to prepare for processing.

Wash enough glass canning jars needed for tomatoes.  Temper by dipping in the boiling water of your canning pot.  Sterilize canning lids in boiling water.

To prepare jars, fill each pint jar with: (Double for quarts)

  1. 1 Tbs lemon juice
  2. 1/2 tsp canning or kosher salt
  3. Stuff as full as possible with skinned tomatoes
  4. Fill jars with boiling water  leaving 1/2″ head space.

Wipe edges of jar to remove any materials which might impede lids from sealing.  Remove air bubbles from jar.  I usually use a chopstick.  Top with sterilized canning lid and ring

Process in boiling water canner.  40 minutes for pints. 45 minutes for quarts.  Beginning timing when water in canner comes back to a rolling boil.  When time is up, remove from water and allow to cool on counter top.  Do not jostle jars as it can impede a proper seal.

Once jars are cooled and sealed, mark with contents and date.  Put in your pantry and feel good about a job well done!

 

Healthy Home Canned Tomatoes

Its tomato season!  With all the information coming out in the past years about how purchased canned tomatoes contain BPA,  which increases one’s risk factor for heart disease, obesity and diabetes, I feel like its more important then ever to can my own tomatoes.

Luckily, my parents always have a huge garden and can send me home with a few bushels.  This year, I think I made off with about 70 lbs of tomaters!

There are so many different things you can do with tomatoes, and each recipe is super easy.  So, whether you have your own tomato plants, or you can get a good deal at a farmers or produce market, you may want to think about canning your own to increase your health and happiness!

I’ll be canning mine as juice, roasted marinara, pickled, and whole.  Over the next four posts, I will share my quick and easy techniques.  So lets get canning!

Chicken Calzones with Sun Dried Tomatoes

I’ve been on a “sun dried” tomato kick, as I spoke about in my last post; by which I mean drying them in the oven instead of the days long process of leaving them out in the sun. By only slow roasting them for an hour or two, you can intensify the flavors but still keep the tomatoes juicy. They can create a great instant sauce by mixing with pesto and putting them on top of pasta, pizza or in calzones. I was having a friend come over for a nice lunch, so I decided to make a quick and delicious calzone with some baked chicken breast, pesto and tomatoes. Here’s my process:

Chicken Calzones with Sun Dried Tomatoes
makes 3-4 calzones; prep time: 60-90 min; bake time: 20 min

Dough:

  • 1 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 c. luke warm water
  • 1 tsp live active yeast (1/2 package)
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 Tbs Olive oil

Filling

  • 3-4 large plum tomatoes
  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs
  • Italian seasoning (or dried basil, rosemary, thyme)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c. pesto of your choice
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Parmesan cheese

Prep dough: Mix flour and salt.  Make a well in dry ingredients and pour water.  Place yeast in water and let sit for 5-10 minutes until yeast is disolved and looks puffy.  Add oil and honey.  Either by hand or using a dough hook on a mixer, gently begin to kneed the dough together.  Once dough is smooth, cover with a towel and place near or on top of your stove.  Let sit for an hour to rise.

Prep Tomatoes to slow roast:  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Cut tomatoes in half or quarters.  In a bowl, coat with olive oil, sprinkle generously with dried Italian herbs, salt and pepper.  Lay out on a baking tray and roast for about an hour.

Prep breaded chicken breast: Cut chicken in half through the width of the breast, like you would fillet a fish.  Cut slices in half, to make four pieces.   Mix dried bread crumbs with Italian seasonings, salt and pepper in one bowl.  In another bowl, place egg and lightly beat with a fork.  When tomatoes are done in oven, turn broiler on.  Take each chicken breast and coat in egg and dip in bread crumbs.  Place breaded breasts on a baking sheet and place under broiler for about 8-10 minutes for each side until breading is golden and chicken is cooked.  Keep an eye on them, so the bread crumbs don’t burn.

Assemble Calzones:  Preheat oven to 400.  Take your dough and separate into 3 or 4 balls.  Roll dough out into circles.  Dice your garlic cloves and place in a small dish.  Lightly cover with olive oil.  Brush garlic oil over middle of dough circles.  When chicken is done in broiler, remove and cut into thick slices.  Lay slices of chicken over garlic oil.  Brush 1-2 Tbs of pesto over chicken.  Lay oven dried tomatoes over chicken.  Cover well with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Using left over egg from Chicken breading process, brush egg yolk around edges of Calzone.  Fold close and pinch edges.  Brush tops of calzone with egg and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and your choice of seasoning.


Bake Calzones: Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Eat up.  Yum!

Faux “Sun Dried” Tomatoes


Oven dried tomatoes with rosemary and thyme.

I can hear you asking what the hell are Faux “sun dried” Tomatoes.  No, the tomato is not a fake, its just the “sun dried” process which we’re going to expedite.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE sun dried tomatoes!  The drying process intensifies the depth and sweetness of the tomato flavor as it removes the extra water weight.  My love for these dried treats does not extend to their expensive price.  My default when confronted with expensive food items is to think how I can make it myself.  The rub is, I am also too lazy to actually sun dry anything!  I’m generally a bit too unorganized to think days in advance.  However, there is an answer.  We can speed up this process by using modern technology! Lets make “oven dried” tomatoes!

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

  • 2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cored and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • Fresh herb sprigs (thyme, rosemary or sage) optional

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Dry in oven until slightly shriveled but still plump. About 2-5 hours depending on the amount of time you have as well as the level of dried-ness you want. If not using immediately, store the tomatoes in a sealed container with the herbs, cover with olive oil, and store, covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


Flag of Italy pasta dinner: sauteed broccoli rabe, broiled chicken breast and oven dried tomatoes on fresh pasta with pesto.

Ok, so its not necessarily super fast, but a few hours is quicker then a few days!  Even if you’re really on a time pinch,  an hour will yield a nice result.  Last week, being short on time, I quickly oven dried a few tomatoes for only an hour  for a pasta dinner.  It was very delish!

Left Over Remix: Black Bean Salad Becomes Soup

Meena and I planned WAY too much food for our friend’s bachelorette party.  I knew we were overdoing it a bit, but when we arrived to find out we had planned for almost 2 times as many guests as were coming, we had a bit of left overs.  We had a large amount of a bean salad to take home with us.  It makes a great side dish, but the amount we had would last a long time for two people.  I decided it was left over remix time!

I love left over remixes because it takes something which you’ve eaten but is been there/done that and turns it into a new exciting dish.  It got cold this past week, so soup is on the menu again!  (I eat so much soup in the winter, I’m sick of it by summer.  But when the cold weather comes creeping back in, so does my desire for bowls of steamy  stewy soups!)

I pulled out all the items I had in the fridge, which included a bag of bean salad and half a jar of roasted salsa left over from the party.  I had some vegetable stock from making seitan and a jalapeno and some shredded cheese for making the jalapeno poppers left over from our launch party.  The stock along with some milk in the fridge pureed into the beans would make a hearty soup.  The salsa along with some tomato paste would sweeten the beans and spice it up along with the jalapeno.  Its soup time!

Black Bean Soup

  • 4 c. left over bean salad
    -0r-
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto or kidney beans
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
    -added to-
  • 1/2 c. salsa
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 quart (4 c.) soup stock- whatever kind you prefer
  • shredded cheese to garnish.
  • optional: fresh lime

Making soup is pretty easy and I usually follow the same steps regardless of the ingredients.

Start with sauteing the onions.  I added the jalapeno as the onions were becoming translucent to reduce the heat a bit with a quick saute.

Next I added the beans as well as the salsa and let them saute for a minute or two.

Next I added the stock and allowed it to come to a quick boil and reduced it to a simmer.  The canned beans are already cooked, so I could use my immersion blender to puree the soup right away (instead of simmering until all vegetables were cooked).   If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can pour it into a regular blender, or use a food processor.

I tasted the puree and seasoned as necessary.  I added some shredded cheese and a bit more milk to make it more creamy and a bit of fresh lime to punch it up.  But you should taste and season to your liking.  A bit of honey helps sweeten or a few drops of hot sauce can help spike up the spice.

I made some quick quesadillas with the shredded cheese and a few tortillas, garnished with fresh cilantro, and bam: Bean Salad became Bean Soup!

Canning Tomatoes: Roasted Salsa

My visit to my parents house this past weekend, produced a harvest of over 30lbs of tomatoes. I’ve been super busy lately (mostly working on a huge redesign of this blog which I hope to be launching in the next month!! More on this later) and I’m really short on time lately. I like salsa, but I don’t have time to chop the ingredients for one batch, let alone 30 lbs worth. What to do? Don’t worry I have a solution.

Check out this Instructable to see my time saving salsa recipe along with tons of canning tips. Also, check out the comments for links to tons of online resources for canning methods.


Canning Tomatoes: Roasted SalsaMore DIY How To Projects

Ok, here’s my cliffnotes for you lazy bones: My shortcut to hours of chopping and slicing is to roast all the ingredients together until they are nice and soft, then blend it in a food processor. And you’re done! Beside being a shortcut, the roasting also helps bring out the natural sweetness of the flavors which makes for a delicious salsa! I can get it taken care of this afternoon and and I’ll can it this weekend to preserve it.

C-BLT With Chipotle Mayo

C-BLT? What’s the “C” for, you ask? Representing the makers of my favorite whiskey, rock musicians and sketch “coamody” troup, eh?, its for our hockey loving neighbors to the north! It puts the Canadian in Bacon!

Continue reading…



Copyright © 2004–2009. All rights reserved.

RSS Feed. This blog is proudly powered by Wordpress and uses Modern Clix, a theme by Rodrigo Galindez.