Tomatothon, 2015, Day 1

August 21, 2015

Fifteen of these. Guaranteed vampire repellant.

Fifteen of these. Guaranteed vampire repellant.

Eleven of these. Because 15 was enough of the other ones.

Eleven of these. Because 15 was enough of the other ones.

NOTE: This was written last night. Just now got the photos downloaded and edited. Here you go. Back to corn.

Wherein we find out just how far a 25-pound box of Roma tomatoes will go.

Answer: A long damn ways.

But they were $10. How’m I gonna pass up Romas for $10 a 25-pound box? Because that works out to about 40 cents a pound, and I haven’t seen tomatoes that cheap since, well, a long time.

So, Romas. I can tell you 25 pounds makes up more than a dozen pints of roasted tomato-garlic-onion sauce (ain’t no vampires up in HERE tonight, I can tell you!), and nearly a dozen half-pints of tomato chutney. Or chutney-ish stuff. Or tomato jam. Whatever.

So. I started out this morning working on Romas. Had this recipe and testimonial from the eGullet blog for roasted tomato garlic sauce. Well, it called for grape tomatoes. And had very specific measurements. And I had Romas, and a significant amount more of ’em. I may have miscalculated a bit. Depending on how much you like garlic. Because these are seriously garlicky.


Your onion and garlic should look about like this.

Your onion and garlic should look about like this.

Short course: Take your Romas, wash them, and slice them in 1/3 to 1/2 inch slices. Throw ’em in a big pot. Meanwhile, sweat some diced onion and some garlic in a skillet with a quarter-cup olive oil. I used four small onions and probaby 2/3 of a cup of peeled garlic cloves from Sam’s.

Before cooking. Unlike tomatoes you're drying, these can "pile up" in the pan.

Before cooking. Unlike tomatoes you’re drying, these can “pile up” in the pan.

When you’ve sliced a big container-full of Romas — about eight to 10 pounds worth — throw in the sweated onion and garlic, which should be translucent and going on soft, if not yet so. Stir that up. Dump it in your biggest baking dish. I used my 10 x 14 lasagna pan. Should’ve used my turkey roaster, but didn’t think of it.

Sprinkle a third of a cup of turbinado sugar over it.  Drizzle it healthily with another dose of olive oil. Sprinkle it down with sea salt. Stick it in the oven at 250 for three hours.

If you use Romas, this will be pretty juicy. If cherry or grape tomatoes, probably less so. An argument could be made for peeling the tomatoes; in hindsight, I wish I had.

In three hours, it looks like this.

In three hours, it looks like this.

This stuff tastes good. (I taste-tested.) It’s REAL garlicky. It could be drained and make a good bruschetta topping, or pizza topping. It could be partially drained, pureed, and make a good smooth sauce for pasta or whatever you took a notion. Or it could be used as is, warmed, and tossed with a mound of pasta, maybe topped with a couple of meatballs, definitely accented with a healthy dose of parmesan, and served with copious quantities of Chianti.

There’s probably any number of other uses for it. As long as you like garlic. OK, I might cut the garlic back a big next time.

Then there was tomato chutney. Jam. Something. I sort of combined a variety of recipes for the final 5 or so pounds of Romas, as I figured I had all the onion garlic sauce anyone could ever want, and I wanted to try something different. I blanched and peeled the tomatoes, then tossed them in to cook with two diced onions, some minced garlic, vinegar and sugar, and …. wait for it …. Curry Powder! Because I found that in a recipe and thought it would be astonishing.

Ready to start cooking.

Ready to start cooking.

Roughly, to the Romas, I added:

  • Two medium-large sweet onions, diced
  • Probably a half-cup of garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 tsp. curry powder (My curry powder, remember, is from the Midde Eastern market, and is curry powder on steroids.)
  • 2 1/2 cups turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar

And I think that’s all. The recipe I was roughly following called for chile powder and dry mustard. I thought it was spicy enough, and passed. Other recipes I looked at called for cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, coriander. I figured most of those were covered in the curry powder.

After 90 minutes simmering and a date with the immersion blender.

After 90 minutes simmering and a date with the immersion blender.

Tastes pretty good. Could have perhaps stood to be a bit sweeter. I split the difference on sugar amongst several recipes, besides using how much turbinado I had.

Child A suffered much angst over the smells in the house when she got home. It does, to put it mildly, stink. Of vinegar and garlic. Oh, well. Good stuff costs ya.

Waiting for the final six of the 15 pints of sauce to finish in the canner, so the tomato jam can go in. I’m estimating there’ll be probably 12 half-pints of that. All in all, a fairly profitable day.

Tomorrow: Tomatothon is interrupted by Cornathon, as I need to work that up. We might get to the other box of tomatoes, which will be canned plain. But I doubt it.

If you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em wanted to come up and help, I wouldn’t object.



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