I spent two days last week cooking and puréeing 50 pounds of plum tomatoes. I’ve been doing this, and freezing the sauce, for a few years now as my husband and I prefer the lightness of fresh tomato sauce. Last summer, I only sauced one 25 pound box and made about 8 or 9 containers. That didn’t quite last until the spring. This year, I did an extra 25 pounds. I did this by myself, weighing off 3 pounds of tomatoes, quartering, cooking and then puréeing using a food mill. I was fortunate in that my basil this summer really grew tall and pest free. I have my wonderful husband to thank for that. He planted three basil plants for me.to add to my repertoire.
Create TV, a public broadcasting station, has chef Mike Colameco doing a 1-2 minute spot called “The Bite.” He was saying that he takes his basil, blanches it for a second or two, dries it off in a towel and then purées it in a food processor with a neutral oil. He has fresh basil all winter. I have so much basil that I’m going to give this a try.
The other night I purchased some bone-in chicken breasts for supper. I had some tarragon remaining from my corn and lobster tart that I wanted to use. I found a recipe on the Williams-Sonoma website for baked chicken with cherry tomatoes, herbs and lemons. The herbs in this recipe are fresh tarragon and sage leaves. Also needed, other than the chicken, was olive oil, grape tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and one lemon. The sage came from my garden and the tarragon, grape tomatoes and lemon were purchased at Delicious Orchards, Colts Neck. The recipe has a prep time of 20 minutes and bakes for 25. This recipe was baked in a baking dish with all the ingredients, which made an easy supper. At the last minute, I decided to make roast red-skinned potatoes. I started them off by cooking in the microwave for 5 minutes, then placing them in a baking dish drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and topped with chopped fresh rosemary (from my garden). I cooked them along with the chicken.
I must say the chicken was delicious. The tomatoes baked in the oven really concentrated their flavor and brought out their natural sweetness. The combination of herbs was sublime. The tarragon gave a hint of licorice and the sage some earthiness. These flavors played well against the tomatoes and gave the chicken a delightful taste. Overall, another great recipe to add to my repertoire.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.