Tomato Sauce from Scratch: Who Needs Therapy?

Sometimes, days don’t go your way.

Sometimes, you wake up to realize that you forgot to put your breakfast yogurt in your boyfriend’s fridge and left it out overnight. And that your work shirt is at home. And you’re 15 minutes late. And why are there 5 other people in this elevator all going to different floors, it’s 9:15 why can’t you people show up on time?!

Sometimes, you then find out that you have to delay getting your cast off (bringing your total cast-wearing time up to 10 weeks) because the firm you work for wants to send you down to a work training. One day only, no room for rescheduling. 10 hours of travel for a 1.5 hour training.

This is all okay…No meltdowns yet.

Until you lose your house key on your lunchtime jog. Then it’s time for a meltdown.

I think everyone’s entitled to a meltdown every so often. Even Joy the Baker says so. For me, that day was yesterday.

Here’s another thing that went wrong and was much more time-consuming than originally thought: tomato sauce from scratch.

But for some reason, it worked. It was therapeutic, even.

It took forever. Seeds got through. It wasn’t perfect…But dammit, it was rustic. And I made it myself! I had something to show for my frustration. Maybe it’s the Italian in me.

At least I made a dent in my parents’ ever-growing tomato bounty:

(This was how many they had left after I used all of the above tomatoes to make tomato sauce)

Put your tomatoes to use. Make some tomato sauce. Peel the tomatoes, gut them and squeeze out the seeds. Who needs therapy? I’ve got food.

Homemade Tomato Sauce
makes ~2 heaping cups (2-3 servings)

10 small/medium vine ripe tomatoes
1/2 small onion, diced very finely
1/2 green bell pepper, also diced finely
1 clove garlic, diced
olive oil
parsley
basil
thyme
s&p

Prepare water to boil, and fill a bowl with ice and cold water. Cut an X in the bottom of each tomato, then plunge into boiling water. Remove after 1 minute with a slotted spoon and transfer to ice bath. If it doesn’t seem like the skin is loose yet, keep ’em in for a minute longer.

Once tomatoes are cooled, the skin should slide off very easily. Cut tomatoes lengthwise and squeeze out all of the seeds over a strainer, saving any juices that gather in a bowl beneath. This may take a while. Now is where you decide if you want a chunky or thin sauce. I like a little bit of both, so I put about 6-7 of the seeded tomatoes in a food processor and pulsed a few times. For the rest of the tomatoes, I chopped them up coarsely.

Heat olive oil in a pot and saute onions, garlic and peppers until tender, only a couple minutes. Then, add in pureed and crushed tomatoes. Add herbs and simmer on medium-low for 30 minutes. Take peeks every 5 to 10 minutes to stir, season with salt and pepper, and to see if the sauce is reducing and thickening. If it is, add in the reserved juices from earlier.

When sauce has reached desired consistency, remove from heat and serve!

Notes: If you’re using a food processor to puree everything, might as well chop your onion and pepper in there too (separately)! Next, my sauce started out really watery and I didn’t think I’d have to add in any juices — as it thickened, I actually ended up adding almost all of the juice! Finally, feel free to add sausage, turkey, or lean ground beef. Just add it to the pot when you saute the onions and peppers!

T-Man was supposed to eat stir-fry that night, but I think he was pleased with his alternative:

Anyone else find cooking therapeutic?

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For meals that were not at all stressful to cook, check out my next entry with photos of some gourmet French meals I was lucky to be treated to when I studied abroad!

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