Tomato Sauce Without Heating Up the House

Living in the middle of a corn terrarium the last thing you want to do is create extra humidity in your house. So, when it comes to tomato processing, let your freezer do the work for you. This works especially well with non-Roma varieties.

Take 16 quarts of tomatoes (two big, stainless bowls full). Wash, core, and trim away any bad spots. Place the tomatoes back in the bowls. Put the bowls in the freezer overnight if you have a chest freezer. Or, if you have a fridge freezer or are tight on space, put the tomatoes into large zipper bags.

The next morning, thaw the tomatoes in colanders set inside large bowls. As the tomatoes thaw, you’ll be able to easily remove the skins. And, they will exude quarts of “tomato water”, liquid that would ordinarily be boiling off and raising the humidity level of your house. You can do many things with this liquid: vegetarian stock, cocktail base, or simply enjoy it in a glass. Regardless, don’t toss it.

Allow the tomatoes to completely thaw. Use them whole thawed, or put them through a food mill to remove the seeds. Again, save this material, too, for the quick soup recipe that follows.

Low Humidity Tomato Sauce

2 T olive oil

2 T butter

3 large onions

2-4 cloves garlic

Handful of fresh basil leaves, washed, and chopped

Pulp or whole tomatoes from 16 quarts frozen tomatoes, thawed and skins removed

¼ c red wine

½ oz of dried shitake mushrooms, or porcini (rehydrated in a 2/3 c warm water) chop mushrooms and strain liquid to remove any dirt and reserve

salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter and olive oil in a 6-quart, heavy pot. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add garlic. When garlic perfumes, add basil. Then add tomatoes, wine, mushrooms, and mushroom liquid. Cook sauce on low until for 30 minutes or until desired thickness. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cool and freeze in quart zipper bags.

Yield: 2 quarts of sauce (this recipe scales easily, the only limiting factor is the room in your freezer)

Tomato Chickpea Curry Soup

1 T olive oil

1 T butter

½ large onion

2 cloves garlic thinly sliced

2T – 3T minced ginger

1 t curry powder

1/2 cup chick pea flour

1-2 quarts tomato water

Tomato pomace from 16 quarts tomatoes

1 t sea salt

Sriracha or hot chile sauce as desired

Puree tomato pomace until seeds are blended. Heat butter and olive oil. Saute onion until translucent. Add garlic and ginger, stirring. When they perfume, add curry. Add chick pea flour and enough tomato water to turn the mixture into a thin paste. Whisk until smooth. Add tomato pomace and more tomato water until soup reaches desired thickness. Season with sea salt and chile sauce, if desired. Cook for 15 minutes. Puree until smooth.