Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce from Homegrown Tomatoes

After two summers of experimenting, I have finally done it! Homemade spaghetti sauce perfection was achieved in the kitchen this week! Oh the joy!!! And the best news is that it’s super simple! There’s no blanching the tomatoes. No peeling the tomatoes. No big pots simmering for hours. This really couldn’t be easier, and it is jam-packed with flavor!

You need about 24-30 roma tomatoes, stems removed, cut in half, and seeds removed. Removing the seeds is the only time consuming part of this process, but it’s easily done with a kitchen knife. Here’s my three-step process: cutting board for cutting, pile of discards and mushy tomatoes in the sink, and a bowl for the seeds and all the juice that goes with them (you’ll want to save that).



Place the halved, seeded tomatoes in an ungreased 9 x 13 casserole pan.


Strain the seeds and their pulp/juice through a sieve, pushing with a spoon to extract as much juice as you can.


To the tomatoes, add: one onion quartered, 10 whole, peeled garlic cloves, and fresh basil. (More shown here, because I was making more than one batch.) The quantities aren’t exact. Use your best judgement. In the words of Thomas Edison, “There ain’t no rules around here! We’re trying to accomplish something!”


Pour the strained juice over the tomatoes. You may not want to use all of it, but you want enough liquid in the pan to keep the tomatoes from scorching on the bottom of the pan.



Drizzle all with olive oil. Again, use your best judgement as to amount.



Sprinkle with a generous quantity of kosher salt.


Sprinkle with freshly cracked pepper.


Toss all with your hands.


Isn’t it beautiful? It’s all ready to go into an oven, preheated to 425 degrees, for 35-40 minutes.


When the timer goes off, this is what you have…beautifully carmelized veggies! AND you have a house that smells delicious! Let cool for 10 minutes.


You will now need 1 small can of tomato paste and balsamic vinegar.


Using a slotted spoon, transfer all your roasted vegetables and herbs to a food processor. You don’t want too much liquid, because it will result in a runny sauce. That was one of the many problems I encountered in my experiments last summer.


Puree for a good amount of time, until the texture looks about like this. You will never really get it smoother with a food processor. But you’re not finished yet.


Add the tomato paste and balsamic vinegar to taste (somewhere from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon). Whir to combine.



Pour almost all of the textured sauce into another bowl…


Now THIS is the trick to perfectly smoothly textured sauce…a stick blender (or immersion blender)! Process until the texture is smooth. You will have to taste it to be sure. You can’t completely go on sight.



To the smooth sauce, add back in the small amount of reserved, textured sauce to add just a bit of body. Stir to combine.


Pour in two cup quantities into vacuum sealing Ziploc bags, seal, and freeze.



Wonderful Life Farm's Homemade Roasted Spaghetti Sauce
27 roma tomatoes
1 medium onion, quartered
10 garlic cloves, peeled
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly cracked pepper
about 1/8 c. fresh basil leaves
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 t. to 1 T. balsamic vinegar

Wash and stem tomatoes. Cut them in half and remove seeds. Save seeds and strain the juice from the seeds.

Place the tomatoes in an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Add onions, garlic, and basil leaves to pan. Pour a good quantity of reserved tomato juice over vegatables. Sprinkle all with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and toss with your hands to combine.

Roast at 425 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Remove and cool for about 10 minutes.

Remove vegetables and herbs with a slotted spoon to a food processor. Whir to a fine texture. Add tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Whir to combine.

Transfer most of the sauce to a separate bowl and blend with an immersion blender to a smooth texture. Taste to test for the right texture. Add back in the reserved sauce, and stir to combine.

Serve immediately or freeze for later.

Yields about 4 cups of sauce.





August and January

We asked some friends if they’d like to join us at a local farm to pick flowers. Our invitation was two-fold. Pick flowers together in August. And on a clear, sunny January day, come over to our house with their flowers (all nicely dried by then) for an afternoon of flower arranging accompanied by gingerbread and hot tea or maybe a pot of soup and some crusty bread. At the last minute, three of them couldn’t come. But those of us who were able to go had a perfectly lovely time at Butternut Farm.


The day was a bright and sunny one, with temperatures in the high 70s and a brisk breeze blowing. Perfect weather for being outdoors!



We can hardly wait for our January fun!

New Note Card Sets

New note card sets are popping up in the shop!  Some are already there!

Autumn in New England Note Cards - Set III - four different images:




and Hand-Dyeing Note Cards - five different images:


And coming in the next few days: Fiber Arts Note Cards, Herb Note Cards, Laundry Note Cards, Church Steeples of New England Note Cards, Fruit Note Cards, and Lost Arts Note Cards!

She's Here! And She's Cute!!!!

Our newest grandbaby arrived!  She came about the break of dawn yesterday...pink and cute...a tow head blonde!


Mother and baby doing just great!  God be praised!!!!

A Trip for Max

Max received an unexpected invitation to accompany a deacon from our church and one of Walter's brothers on a three day trip to the deacon's lake house...a fishing trip.  The three of them left Monday morning. Three days of beauty like this!


Three days of guy stuff.  There was fishing, and kayaking, and fishing from kayaks, and BB gun shooting, and fishing from docks, and some wild tube rides behind the motor boat, and still more fishing.  He came home sunburned and bug bitten and tired and happy! Good summertime stuff!

Salsa Day


Today was the first salsa making day at our home! I say “the first” because I need to freeze a year’s worth of salsa, and in order to do that I will have to wait for a few more tomatoes (about 6 more lbs. actually) to ripen. Here’s my recipe. We like it because it has a slightly smoky flavor from roasting the ingredients on the grill.

Wonderful Life Farm's Salsa

3 lbs. roma tomatoes (you must use romas)
4 green onions, roots removed
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 white onion, sliced into thick rounds
2 jalapeno peppers
1 – 7 oz. can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, peppers seeded and about 1/2 jar sauce used
1 T. lime juice
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. ground cumin
mesquite grilling chips

Soak grilling chips in bowl of water for about 30 mins.

Make a small foil pan for the grilling chips. Drain chips. Add to foil pan. Start barbecue and place foil pan on the grill. Close lid to really get the chips smoking well.

Rinse tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, white onion, and jalapenos. Add all vegetables to the grill.


If you have an upper rack on your grill, place the cilantro there (otherwise set it on top of the tomatoes). Grill for about 5 mins., then turn everything over with tongs and grill other side. Remove from heat.

Remove the stems from the jalapenos. If hotter salsa is desired, leave seeds in jalapenos, otherwise de-seed them. In food processor, add grilled vegetables and all other ingredients. Pulse until salsa has reached the consistency of chunkiness that is to your liking.

Makes about 5 cups. (Freezes beautifully.)

I made three batches today and got 15 cups to freeze!


Ohhh…the deliciousness!

Harvest and Production

It’s been a most productive day around here. I spent about an hour this morning in garden maintainance. And then there was the fun part…harvesting! This was this morning’s harvest!


Then it was into the kitchen. The green beans were blanched, frozen, and bagged. When I freeze vegetables, I freeze them in batches that will do for a meal. These will be a meal for about six people.
Then I grated zucchini and made a total of eight loaves of zucchini bread. Mmmm.


 In the afternoon, I went back out into the garden to harvest basil. Just from picking from one plant, I got eight cups of basil leaves.


And about an hour later, I had five cups of fresh pesto filling the kitchen with its delicious garlic smell! Last year I froze no pesto at all, and we really missed it for pasta and chicken and sandwiches and paninis.


Hopefully I will answer the call of the tomatoes tomorrow. Salsa!


Baby Shower

Today was Felicity’s baby shower!!!! The theme was honey bees, since Little Miss seems to be such a busy little bee in the womb!


The color scheme was pink (naturally) and honey and/or pale yellow.


Colette made a delicious raspberry lemonade! Yum!


The menu was:
-fruit platter
-vegetable platter with ranch dressing
-crackers and herb cheese spread
-assorted cheeses (dill havarti, tomato-basil cheddar, bleu cheese, and one-yr. aged Vermont cheddar)
-maple chicken salad on pumpernickel finger sandwiches
-cucumber finger sandwiches
-fancy cakes (thank you local bakery)
-chocolates
-raspberry lemonade
-citrus infused ice water


The dozen or so ladies who came showered Felicity with gifts! Even the weather got in the spirit of things…rain showers!


What will they think of next!?!? A retro baby swim cap! That’s wildly adorable!


And I knit this bitty baby cap for my first granddaughter!


I can't wait to meet her!






Getting Ready

Tomorrow, Colette (with a little help from me) is hostessing a baby shower for Felicity and the Little Miss!

Colette and I started today by going to a nearby farm that offers u-pick flowers! Everything’s coming up pink at our house!


Colette took charge of the pink arrangement. But I couldn’t resist some late summer flowers for the kitchen table too.


Pictures from the baby shower coming soon! It’s guaranteed to be everything pink and girlie!

Lights


These two oil lamps (old bases and fittings, new tops) followed me home from the antique store Saturday morning. With some new wicking, I think they’ll work just fabulously for power outages!

Sabbath Rest


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

- Heb. 12:1-2

In the Garden

This year’s garden? Sigh. What can I say. It’s been a mixed bag. This morning was a happy morning though. Here was our first real harvest of the summer!



The first zucchini squash (two different varieties) and the acorn squash I planted? All died. Replanted the zucchini. Japanese beetles eating the basil…as usual. Tomatoes? Doing okay, but a bit plagued by blossom end rot this year. Herbs are doing well. Onions are doing great. Bell peppers and jalapenos are doing well too. Brussel sprouts (those large plants on the far side in this picture) seem to be recovering from a plague of little, perfectly camoflauged worms. The worst infestation has been on the butternut squash (seen here), which has been simply under seige by squash beetles. We sprayed the eggs with Neem oil. And the already hatched bugs? I’ve resorted to vacuuming them off the leaves with a handheld vacuum. Works great! I’m out there every single morning…just vacuuming bugs. It’s weird. BUT I seem to be gaining the upper hand!


And the crops on the trellis? Well, a critter (porcupine probably) ate half the mini-pumpkin plants, and the other half were accidently taken out by the lawn mower (I have NO idea!). The sugar snap peas? All died. The beans are going like gangbusters! Go beans! We’ve had one meal of them already, and I’ve started a bag of small ones to save for Thanksgiving dinner. We’ll have them for Thanksgiving dinner IF a plague of giant bean-eating beetles doesn’t arrive, hail doesn’t destroy them, the porcupines don't come hunting, the lawn mower doesn't go astray, or lightning strike the trellis. IF.



This Week's Drink

This week’s drink couldn’t be easier. Puree some strawberries (a great way to use up some fruit that’s just a little past prime). Pour about equal amounts of strawberry puree and Sprite in a glass with some ice.



Simple.  Delicious!
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