Author Archives: paoniahome

Roasted Tomato Marinara Sauce

Roasted tomatoes with onion and garlic makes amazing Marinara sauce.

Roasted tomatoes with onion, basil, and garlic makes amazing Marinara sauce.

The beauty of roasting end-of -the-season tomatoes is that you use what you have left, including any kind of tomato, not just Roma’s, onion, garlic, fresh basil, and other herbs.   Oven roasted vegetables of any kind are extra flavorful and so is this sauce!  After roasting the tomatoes, onions, garlic, etc make the sauce by putting the roasted veggies through a blender or food processor.  Fantastic for spaghetti, lasagna, tomato soup, or anything you would use a marinara sauce for.

In the middle of winter, pulling your garden Marinara sauce out of the freezer will remind you of the bounty of summer and remind you that summer is coming!

Roasted Tomato Marinara Sauce:

1.  Using a deep roasting pan(s), drizzle the bottom of the pan with olive oil about 2 Tbsp.  Fill the pan with chopped tomatoes – any kind or combination of tomatoes is fine.

2.  Slice up 1-2 medium onions and arrange over the top of the tomatoes.  Add herbs such as basil, garlic, oregano, thyme, and rosemary to taste along with some hot red peppers if desired.

3. Sprinkle salt over the vegetables. Roast the onions/tomatoes for 2-3 hours or more at 325 degrees F.  Allow the veggies to cool.  Run the tomatoes through the blender and package in 2 – 4 cup portions and freeze what you aren’t using in the next few days.

Roast any kind of tomatoes you have.

Roast any kind of tomatoes you have.

4.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

I enjoy using this sauce in lasagna.  My friends have tried it over buttered spaghetti squash with Parmesan Cheese.  How do you like to use your sauce?

Plant Garlic This Fall

bunch-of-garlic

The best time to plant garlic is in the Fall, 4-6 weeks before the ground freezes.  Netted packages of both types of garlic are now in stock in the store.  Below are the basic types of garlic available and simple planting instructions.

Hard Neck Garlic:

We have a nice assortment of garlic for Fall planting in the store.

We have a nice assortment of garlic for Fall planting in the store.

  • Sharper flavor
  • Produces stiff stem through the center
  • Hardier – best survival during a cold winter
  • Somewhat shorter shelf life

 Soft Neck Garlic:

  • Relatively mild flavor
  • Best choice for garlic braids

garlicplantingPlanting Guidelines:

  • Plant garlic in our area 4-6 weeks before the the ground freezes.  In our area that would be mid-to-late October.
  • If you are replanting garlic you grew this year, choose the largest heads, the bigger you plant, the bigger you will harvest.
  • Loosen the soil, add organic compost, and plant 8 inches apart.

Harvesting and Curing:

  • Garlic will be ready to harvest in late July, when some leaves are beginning to yellow.
  • Be sure to cure the garlic properly for storage, by shaking off most of the dirt, layout on a sheet, not touching each bulb to one-another.  Be sure there is no direct sun on the drying garlic.
  • When the stems are completely dry and papery, exterior has tightened around the clove, remove stems, leaving a 1″ stem.
  • Trim the roots
  • Store in a dry dark place.

    Plant garlic in mid-to late October

    Plant garlic in mid-to late October.  What a great way to get a headstart on next years garden!

 

Presto Pesto

basilplantTraditional pesto is made with basil, cheese, garlic, and olive oil.  We all know it is delicious on pasta, but there are lots of other savory, delicious, flavor packed ideas for using this classic condiment.

Here are my top 10 ideas for using pesto:

1.  Use pesto like “mayo” Spread it on a BLT , turkey and cheese or other favorite sandwich.

2. Mix It Into Dips Try a little pesto  with sour cream, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or even guacamole.  Yum.

3. Top Your Breakfast  Drizzle pesto over your favorite breakfast eggs to add a touch of herbs and cheese.

Traditional pizza toppings with a pesto sauce base.

Traditional pizza toppings with a pesto sauce base.

4. Replace Pizza Sauce  Using pesto instead of traditional tomato sauce adds an entirely different layer of flavor to homemade pizza.  Just use a little, as pesto is flavor packed.

5. Bake It Into Bread  Instead of garlic bread, spread pesto onto crusty bread and toast, or stir pesto into bread dough for wonderfully fragrant dinner rolls. If you don’t want to turn on the oven, just mix the pesto with some softened butter and slather on some rolls or fresh bread.

Mix pesto with vinaigrette about 50/50 or to taste.

Mix pesto with vinaigrette about 50/50 or to taste.

6. Mix It Into Salad Dressing  Thinned with a little more oil or vinegar, you have a quick vinaigrette for summer salads. Whisk into buttermilk for an Italian version of ranch dressing.

7.  Top Veggies  Instead of butter, use a dab of pesto to garnish your vegetables. Or skip the butter and sour cream, mix pesto on your baked potato.

8. Quick Appetizer – A smear of pesto topped with a slice of mozzarella on a slice of toasted baguette is a very  quick appetizer.

9. Enhance the Meat  Pesto goes amazingly well with grilled steak, pork chops, chicken, and especially fish.  You can also season meatloaf or meatballs with pesto.

Garnish soup with pesto

Garnish soup with pesto

10. Garnish a Soup A traditional French bean and vegetable stew, is meant to be served with a drizzle of pesto over top. Try it with Minestrone other favorites and let us know how you like it.

What is your favorite way to use pesto?

 

 

 

 

Classic Pesto

Pesto has so many uses!

Pesto has so many uses!

1 Cup packed basil
1/2 Cup fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan
1/4 Cup toasted pine nuts (toast in skillet till browned – about 3 minutes and cool) or walnuts
3 large garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin light olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil (or use 6 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Light for mild flavor

In a food processor combine the herbs, cheese, nuts, garlic, and salt Process with on/off pulses.Process with the machine running, and SLOWLY add the oil, process to the consistency of soft butter. (This recipe can be done in a blender, but you will need to stop it frequently and push the mixture down to the blades.)

pesto1

Heidi’s Tomato Salad

Pestocloseupedited

Harvesting delicious home grown vegetables makes the foundation of the hot season supper. Whether you like pesto or basil infused tomato salad or both, the combination of the two layered onto toasted French bread makes an extraordinary, punch of flavor for a summertime appetizer.  Now that tomatoes are starting to come in, Heidi’s tomato salad is sure to please everyone in the family or dinner guests as a side dish or appetizer.

You will love this recipe for the ingredients are listed and you just get to eye-ball how much to use based on what you have and what you like.  Use all the listed ingredients or just the ones you like or have.  Suggested proportions are in parentheses.

Heidi’s Tomato Salad

Tomato Salad with Platter of toasted baguette slices

Tomato Salad with Platter of toasted baguette slices

Tomatoes, chopped or sliced (4 cups)
Onion chopped (1/2 cup)
Chopped basil (1/4-1/2 cup)
Garlic (3-4 minced)
Honey, oil, vinegar vinaigrette to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the toasted slices of French Bread, brush olive oil on 1/4 -1/2″ slices of mini-sized baguette or French Bread placed on a large cookie sheet and toast under the broiler for 5-7 minutes.  Keep an eye on the bread or it will blacken quickly.  Spread pesto over the baguette if desired.  Top with tomato salad.  AMAZING!

Basil will succeed best when started in the garden

Basil will succeed best when started in the garden