Saturday, September 21, 2013

Autumn is here

And with that an overwhelming urge to can or jar something or another. An early morning trip to the farmer's market resulted in way too many tomatoes and since in our family pizza, pasta and other things requiring tomato sauce are almost a daily occurrence what better thing to do than make tomato sauce. Everyone has their own favorite recipe for this I am sure. My favorite recipe relies almost exclusively on the awesomeness of the tomatoes, with a tiny bit of help of spices and some sweetness to cut through all that acidity. There is something lovely about opening a jar of your own tomato sauce to pour over spaghetti- even on the nights when all you can muster after working all day is boiling water- it still feels like a homemade, wholesome and sophisticated dinner. 
But of course just making tomato sauce wouldn't have satisfied my desire to commemorate the coming of autumn. So something pumpkin-y was in order. I came across a recipe recently for pumpkin spiced dried chick pea snack, which seemed like a lovely autumn snack, except that it required having pumpkin butter/jam on hand. Cue excuse to make pumpkin butter. I pretty much followed this recipe, but added a bit more ginger and I used apple cider instead of apple juice. The result was a lovely, rather spicy and utterly pumpkin-y spread. 
Tomorrow we are off to a local co-op's equinox party, which we greatly enjoyed last year (except for the incident with trying a pumpkin pie which was laced with lard)- filled with pumpkin carving, lively music, bonfire, apple cider and community garden exhibits. I hope all of this together with the cooperative weather will help us get into the fall spirit. 

5 tbs olive oil
20 medium sized tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
1 large onion
15 fresh large basil leaves
6 springs of fresh parsley
2 flat tbs light brown sugar (or maple syrup or leave out all together)
1/2 c white wine
2 tbs thyme
1 tbs tarragon
1 tbs coriander
salt and pepper to taste

Putting tomatoes in boiling water for a few minutes is incredibly helpful for peeling them.
Sauté the onions and garlic, and then add the spices, both fresh and dried.
After the onions are translucent and the spices lightly toasted deglaze the pan with the white wine.
Add chopped up tomatoes (I do not de-seed them, you might want to depending on you preference- I find that having seed and chunks of tomatoes in the sauce makes it feel fresh whenever you eat it).
Finally, add some maple syrup or brown sugar, let it all simmer and reduce for 20-30 minutes.
Make sure you use safe canning/jarring techniques when storing the sauce, especially if you make a bigger batch.

We also made a blueberry jam from the blueberries we picked this summer

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