May 19, 2013
Written by Robin Glowa
Tuesday, 28 September 2010 23:00
“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”
— William Cullen Bryant
Early autumn is perhaps my favorite time to visit a farmer’s market. There is such bounty on display. The last of the summer corn is still sweet, plump and absolutely delicious. I buy several dozen ears with each visit so that I can have plenty of leftover kernels to strip off the cob, and freeze for winter soups and chowder.
Enormous eggplants, glossy purple or snowy white, are piled high. Now is the time to experiment with recipes that use this wonderfully versatile vegetable. Try a batch of capanota or parmigiana with fresh tomato sauce. That perennial favorite summer salad of thick tomato slices, fresh mozzarella and basil can be further enlivened by adding sautéed rounds of fresh eggplant. A scattering of oregano, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and you will have something quite spectacular.
Zucchini, summer squash, dozens of spicy hot peppers, even a few cucumbers still remain. What a glorious time to be a cook, with such a variety of fresh, fabulous produce to choose from.
Summer hangs on just a bit longer at the market, intermingling with a plethora of pumpkins, squashes, gourds, potatoes, and crisp, crunchy apples.
But for me, it’s still about the tomato. It’s been a wonderful year for tomatoes; the crop has been deliciously prolific. There is just no greater taste than a vine ripened, sun kissed tomato.
You can enjoy enormous health benefits by eating tomatoes, and when they are this luscious, it’s easy to indulge. Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, a vital antioxidant that can help fight off cancerous cell formation, and flush out free radicals in the body. Full of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A, potassium and iron, tomatoes are a fruit, lush with flavor and substance.
Be sure to visit a local farmer’s market as you prepare your delicious life.
This sauce is ideal if you have a huge crop from the garden, or happen to buy a lot at the market. It is delicate and full of flavor.
7 to10 pounds mixed fresh tomatoes (use any variety you like; even cherry tomatoes. This will give your sauce a sweeter flavor. Plum tomatoes make a thicker sauce).
Wash tomatoes and cut into chunks. You do not need to peel them, and you can leave cherry tomatoes whole.
3 to 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Extra virgin olive oil
Handful of fresh basil
A few sprigs of fresh oregano
In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until turning golden. Add all the tomatoes and stir. Let cook until all the tomatoes have broken down, released their skins and are quite soft. Add the basil and oregano and continue cooking for several hours until some of the liquid evaporates.
Unless you are using all plum tomatoes, this will be a more watery sauce, as opposed to a thick sauce. When you are done cooking the sauce, remove from heat and let cool.
When cooled, place a strainer/colander over a bowl. Ladle scoops of the sauce into the strainer and with a big spoon, crush all the tomato pulp, releasing the liquid into the bowl. Be sure to rub and crush the pulp thoroughly to release every last bit of liquid. Discard the pulp.
Use the sauce as is, on pasta or for parmigiana, or as a base for tomato soup. If the sauce is too thin for your taste, add back to pot. Add a small can of tomato paste and one to two cans of crushed tomatoes, and cook until desired thickness.
Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, is a food and wellness enthusiast who earned her certification in holistic health counseling from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teachers College.
She specializes in teaching healthy cooking classes for children and adults, as well as cooking presentations and wellness workshops for many local organizations.
For more information go to theconsciouscook.net , call 203-393-1037, or http://confessionsofaconsciouscook.blogspot.com.
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