Friday, May 3, 2013

Foodie Friday... tomatoes two ways!

Okay, okay... some of you gals may think a food post is way out of left field in these here parts. And you would be right, I haven't blogged about food in a long time (ever?). But if you follow me on Instagram you know that I love to do two things (besides get dressed in the morning) cook and eat.  I don't have a lot of diet restrictions (I used to, that is a story for another day) but I love to cook healthy and fresh for the most part and then indulge when indulgence is due.

Every time I post a cooking photo on Instagram y'all beg for recipes.  So, I hope that you blog readers are as enthusiastic as my Instagram followers about food. I don't tend to cook really complicated things, more than about 5 or 6 ingredients and I tap out.  So if you like this post I will try for more... if not, hey, no biggie!

One of my favorite things to whip up is these two recipes... they aren't really recipes, they are more like simple formulas... I'm not a fan of recipes (read: rules! I like to do my own thing.) but I will try to lay it out here. The one thing I know for sure about cooking is the more confidence you have in the kitchen, the more freedom you will feel and the more freedom you feel in the kitchen will make cooking enjoyable and less like a "chore" or stressful.

Here is my no-rules tomatoes two ways:

No Rules Tomatoes Two Ways (Tomato Soup & Tomato Sauce)

This is a perfect recipe for summer tomatoes, or when tomatoes are on sale at the grocery store or end of season tomatoes that you can get for a steal at the farmer's market.  It is so versatile as with just a few ingredients you have a sauce for pizza, pasta or a delicious soup on your hands.  Plus, your house will smell amazing! Note that I keep the skins on for the sauce recipe... it makes it easier and faster. If you don't want large chunks of skin than I suggest chopping all the tomatoes first. No one in my house complains though, this is so yummy!

2 1lb containers of Campari (my favorite) tomatoes, roma tomatoes or even grape tomatoes
half a red onion or so
4 garlic cloves, give or take as you like
4 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
Salt & Pepper to taste 

(other option add-ins: heavy cream or herbs of your choice)

For sauce:
Chop your onions and garlic and saute in a large dutch oven over medium to high heat with the oil and butter.
This will smell like heaven.
Don't leave your pan, stir as needed.
Get the onions looking translucent and the garlic fragrant... be sure not to burn them. This should take about 5 - 7 minutes.
Dump the washed tomatoes in (skins and all, but remove stems!) cover and turn heat to medium and let them be.
These little guys will pop and sputter galore but let them be for a while. They will get all juicy, their skins will pop and the acidity will start to disappear leaving a creamy tomato sauce.
Stir from time to time and scrape down the sides of the pot.
About 30 minutes later you should have a creamy, non-acidic tomato sauce. Salt & pepper to taste.

Next you have a few choices. I like to let this sauce cool as it is and freeze it (if there is extras) or use as tomato sauce for pasta or pizza sauce. You can also add some basil or thyme - that is really yummy too.

For soup:
Do all the steps above and let the sauce cool slightly (never put hot things in a blender!). 
Poor the sauce into a blender and whip some air into it (you can tell when this happens because the color of the sauce lightens and the texture becomes more fluffy).
Return the soup from the blender to the dutch oven and while it is cool add cream (something about adding cream to warm things and it curdles, I think). Then rewarm and serve as a delicious tomato soup!


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