Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tomato Week: Stewed Tomatoes


Warm-weather tomatoes, garlic, onions, peppers and herbs slow cook into a simple reduction that is basic to hundreds of delicious meals. Makes about 4 cups - equal to 2 cans - stewed tomatoes.

Ingredients for Stewed Tomatoes


Ingredients

8 whole tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium diced onion
1/2 diced red or green bell pepper
4 cloves minced garlic
3 ribs chopped celery
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp minced basil
2 tbsp minced parsley
1 tsp iodized salt
1 tsp cane sugar

Preparation

1. Saute' onions and garlic in olive oil until starting to caramelize.

2. Add bell pepper and celery. Saute until softened.

3. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and simmer on low for 8 hours (high for 4 hours.)

4. Remove bay leaves.

5. Apportion in storage bags and freeze. Keeps six months.

Chef's Note: Like gardening, we take to cooking by watching someone we love. So there are as many variations of this recipe as their are mammas, daddies and grandparents. And of course there are canned versions processed by giant food companies. In my mind, nothing beats the goodness of food you cook for yourself. If you're cooking for health, freezing or canning stewed tomatoes is the way to go. You are using the freshest, natural, local ingredients with the least processing, i.e., sodium, salt and preservatives. In fact, you can omit both salt and sugar in this stage if you wish. Cooking the tomatoes another 15 minutes at low heat before you use them will reduce the acidity (the purpose of sugar.) Salt, pepper and spices to taste jazz up the flavor when you use it. Easy peasy.
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