Sneaky Tomato Balsamic Sauce

WIN_20150815_162216“Mom! Mmmooommm! I don’t LIKE ____” (Insert offending vegetable here)

If you have had your fill of this tiresome conversation, try Sneaky Tomato Balsamic Sauce. The small people in your life will – completely unknowingly – devour tomatoes, onions, zucchini, and yams while enjoying spaghetti, pizza, or whatever else you work this mild, sweet sauce into. Try it warm with French bread for dipping, or as a healthy accompaniment with soft pretzels. Sneaky Tomato Balsamic Sauce is versatile… use your imagination, and have fun!

Ingredients (Makes 6 pints)

20 cups chopped tomatoes

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini

1 cup chopped yam

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup dried oregano

2 tablespoons salt

Balsamic vinegar (2 tablespoons per pint)

WIN_20150815_155155Directions

Step 1) Combine tomatoes, onion, zucchini, and yam in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce to simmer. Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until the volume of the mixture reduces by half.

Step 2) Stir in brown sugar, oregano, and salt.

Step 3) Place 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (at least 5% acidity… read the label!) in each of six sterilized, pint size jars. Fill jars with tomato mixture, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Step 4) Run a knife or canning tool along the inside of each jar to eliminate air bubbles. Place lids and bands on each jar, and process in a boiling water bath for 40 minutes. Be sure to review safe canning guidelines!

Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce

WIN_20150723_182605Recently, I had a midnight visit from the vegetable fairy. OK, the visitor was my sister, but I’m not exaggerating the late hour. The drive from her home in rural Arkansas to my home Up North is many hours; we worry when she drives. Imagine my delight to find my sister on my porch, home safe and holding big buckets of vegetables. Yes, vegetables… tomatoes mostly, along with quite a bit of okra (recipe coming up soon) and a variety of squash. My sister knows me well – even at midnight, I started working on those buckets right away while everything was fresh, fresh, fresh! This recipe for Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce was a middle-of-the-night creation. It’s delicious. Give it a try!

WIN_20150723_011157Ingredients (Makes 2 quarts)

2 quarts cherry tomatoes

2 large carrots

1 large red onion

1 large, whole head of garlic

WIN_20150723_1737091 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons fresh basil, sliced thin

Directions

WIN_20150723_181906Step 1) Wash all vegetables. Pierce cherry tomatoes with the tip of a knife and place in a large crockpot. Add carrots and onion. Cook on “low” with lid slightly open (to allow steam to escape) for 12 hours.

Step 2) Slice the top off of the head of garlic, and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap garlic in foil and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 1 hour. Allow to cool without opening the foil.

Step 3) Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the peel and into the crockpot. Add salt and brown sugar. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in basil.

Serve immediately over pasta or vegetables, or ladle into containers and freeze. This recipe freezes well.

Easy Garden Bruschetta

WIN_20150722_124558Today’s recipe isn’t rocket science, folks – bruschetta is peasant food. Like most peasant food, making bruschetta is a way of taking little bits and specks of leftovers and reimagining them into something delicious! You’ll need small quantities of fresh vegetables, a few slices of not-very-fresh bread, and a bit of cheese. Surely you have all of that lurking in your kitchen, right?

The key to delicious bruschetta is warm toasted bread combined with cold toppings, served immediately. Let’s get started!

WIN_20150722_122119

I wasn’t kidding – we’re using up leftovers today!

Ingredients (Makes 2 lunch servings)

2 large or 4 small slices of day old bread

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup diced tomato

1/4 cup diced peppers, garlic, and/or onion (any combination you like)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

WIN_20150722_1237422 ounces diced cheese (I used fresh mozzarella)

A few basil leaves, sliced into thin shreds

Directions

Step 1) Combine diced tomatoes, peppers, garlic, onion, and balsamic vinegar in a WIN_20150722_123947small bowl. Place in the refrigerator to chill.

Step 2) Cut bread slices into 2 inch strips and place on a baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, coat top sides of bread strips with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired (optional). Broil on a low setting for about 3 minutes. Watch carefully – bread should be toasted but not burned!

Step 3) Arrange bread on serving plates. Top with diced vegetables, diced cheese, and shredded basil. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top, and serve immediately.

Enjoy!