Back in January I was looking through the themes for 2015, and this month’s theme: “Freedom, Sex, Food & Key Chain Fob,” had me puzzled. I thought that it was an English/American saying with a non-literal interpretation, but no. To be fair, English is not my native language although most of my day passes in English. I am using it to get by. I leave it to you native-English-speaking types to account how the sentence “Some people can’t stand sitting,” came to make sense. Anyway, I threw a 4-sided dice (yes, they exist) as to which keyword I should focus on, and this month we talk about food. I leave the freedom, sex and key chain fobs for the rest of my co-bloggers to cover. So in line with a zine I went out and challenged myself to make some food. I am now a man that has made his own tomato sauce. And it was easy! Do not let anyone else tell you otherwise. It is easy.
You take 1 kg. of tomatoes. As to which type of tomato, I do not care. Ain’t nobody got time for that, and several gastro-scientists on the web have already posted deep analysis of which tomatoes to work with. They did the research and I ignored it. Which type of tomato should you use? The red ones. Simple as that. 1 kg of fresh red tomatoes. Anything else, I will not be responsible for the outcome. You take the tomatoes and wash them for dirt and whatever else they are crawling in from the market. And without any further processing you throw them in a pot with water and put them to a boil. Any boil. After 2-5 minutes in the boiling water, the skin of the tomatoes will crack. When cracked, pull them out of the boiling water. Might want to use a strainer. Put the cracked-skin tomatoes into a some cold/ice water to cool them off. Once sufficiently cooled off, you take each tomato and peel the skin off. I did this on 1 kg. of tomatoes in 5 minutes. It is easy. Messy, but easy. Remember to talk the center stalk-bit out as well. Ain’t nobody wanna eat that. Use a knife. When should be left is just below 1 kg. of red lumps.
When you want to add to your tomato sauce does not matter. I used 1 red bell pepper and 1 red onion, sauteed with paprika. You do you, and it will be fine. I recommend at least adding the onion. Red bell pepper, garlic, cauliflower, beef stew, strawberry pudding, loafers or babies is all up to you. No turmeric though. Never turmeric. You may use curry if you want to, but no pure turmeric. This shit is not going to get commercial red as it stands, no need to add lying treacherous yellow colouring to the mix. Once you have your ingredients and your peeled tomatoes ready to go, we do things the Irish way: Put it in a pot and boil it until you can eat it using a straw. The second messy part of the job is crushing the peeled tomatoes. I did so by hand because my paprika sauteed onion and red pepper motivated me to proceed macho-man style. You may use a blender or a food processor if your fancy ass kitchen has one of those, but I do not. Put a peeled tomato into your hand, put your hand into a pot and crush ever so gently. Once all the tomatoes have become a red lumpy mush in a pot you squeeze the lumps, too. Until everything is a red liquid-ish mass. If you have done some research into the best kind of tomatoes to use, you may have a lot of liquid in the pot now, or not so much. Does not matter much though. You add all the other ingredients, 1 tsp. of oregano and 1 tsp. of thyme and put it to a boil. And after seasoning your tomato sauce extra carefully, you may punch a wall to gain +3 manliness buff to counter the “growing vagina”-debuff you will be sprouting at this point.
You boil this liquid mass until so much water has been reduced that you are happy with the consistency. Depending on your choice of tomatoes and added ingredients this likely takes between 30 minutes and three hours.
Now, what I got out of it after using a camping handheld blender to remove excess lumps and reach my favoured consistency: a few small lumps in a homogenous sauce, I ended up with about a half liter of tomato sauce.
You may want to sweeten the sauce to your liking using sugar or artificial sweetener if you are so inclined, or diabetes is ailing you. If you do not prefer it sweet, you may opt out of this. Taste and spice, that is the key here. Some salt and pepper should be added at some point in the mix, preferably while the sauce is boiling, but you can do so subsequently, if you want. This is not set in stone. None of it is. You boil tomatoes with ingredients. It is not rocket science. It is cooking. No need to make things harder than they are.
The sauce was not as red as the store-bought tomato sauce. But in terms of taste, I have never had better, and I have been to Italy and I have had authentic home-made Italian tomato sauce before. It trumps the store-bought tomato sauce by miles in terms of taste and you get to control what is in it. No artificial colours or preservatives. No added chemicals. You know what is in it. And it tastes much much better. In terms of price, I paid 12-13$ for the ingredients and seeing as I can get half a liter of store-bought tomato sauce for 0.99$…
There is an old saying, you should never cross a river to get water. This does depend if it is a particularly nice trip, or the water at the end is much cleaner and tastes better than the water from the river. If you know what I mean. 😉