Saturday, August 16, 2014

How does your garden grow?

Removing the peat pots was the best thing we could have done. Once they were able to establish their roots again, the plants took off!

With continued watering from our trusty rain barrel, and fertilizing, the changes were fast and remarkable! The garden produced healthy plants of dill and basil, plus tasty fruit of green beans, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and eggplant!

It was a great, productive summer in our little garden! So much so, that we're thinking of adding another bed next year to expand the variety of tomatoes, and add more green beans. In the end, we learned a lot about how to garden effectively, and how to enjoy the vegetable bounty that we produced.

Until then, we're enjoying the tastes of summer, and sharing recipes we discovered along the way, thanks to Food Network, and friends. Try them out! You won't be disappointed.

Slow-Roasted Tomato Sauce

Roasted tomato sauce, though it takes an hour, is the easiest way to make sauce for storing. The tomatoes are cored, tossed with oil, and packed into a roasting pan with salt, pepper, crushed garlic and basil. They nearly collapse in the oven, and release quite a bit of liquid. After they cool, place them in a blender and chop them till blended (or peal off the skins and crush them with your hands to break them up). Pack the tomatoes, and their liquid in plastic containers, or plastic freezer bags for storing in the freezer. To use as sauce, simmer for 10 minutes. The flavor is remarkably sweet and complex from the long roasting.

12 tomatoes, cores removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup chopped fresh basil
2-6 tablespoons chopped garlic to taste

Set the oven to 400 degrees. Have a roasting pan large enough for all the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to the pan, drizzle the with oil, and shake the roasting pan so the the tomatoes are coated all over. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper, garlic and basil. Cover he pan with foil.

Roast the tomatoes for 1 hour, or until they've collapsed completely. Remove them from the oven.

When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, place them in the blender, or peal the skin off and crush the meat of the tomatoes in your hands. WARNING: Do not place hot tomatoes, or hot juice in the blender - Wait until they cool completely! Chop on blender setting and pour into containers for freezing.

When cooking the sauce, bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning - add tomato paste and spices, as needed.

Bon appetit!

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