The bounty of the produce stand

Labor Day marks the end of summer which always makes me sad.  I feel like I wish I had spent more time at the pool, played more tennis and played  more golf.  I also feel that I need to rush to use the great vegetables from the produce stand before they close up shop for the winter.  I went a little wild buying tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and peppers.  I’m making two different tomato sauces to freeze – one cooks on the stove and is mild for using on pizzas and lasagna while the other cooks in the oven and is zestier, wonderful on pasta with fresh mozzarella cheese.  I’m also making gazpacho.  Here are the recipes:

Tomato Sauce

  • 6 lbs of tomatoes, cored and quartered (I threw in some cherry tomatoes because we had a bunch from our plant)
  • 15 – 20 basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Put tomatoes in a heavy sauce pan with a lid and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes until juice is released from tomatoes.  Using a food mill, strain the mixture so that you have sauce.  Cook sauce over low heat until thickened to desired consistency.  Stir in olive oil, salt and pepper and freeze in small containers.  (You can also freeze in ice cube trays.)
Roasted Tomato Sauce
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 7 – 8 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TB capers
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste
in a glass baking dish toss tomatoes with olive oil garlic and red pepper.  Roast at 375 for about 45 minutes.  Stir in basil and salt and roast for another 15 minutes.  Stir in capers and anchovy paste and roast for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Freeze until ready to use.
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 TB wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 cup minced parsley
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 – 3 tomatoes, diced
Combine all ingredients.  I usually puree about 1/2 the vegetables and leave the other half finely chopped to give the soup texture.
Next weekend I’ll make ratatouille!

Two pasta sauces to freeze

Since I did not get a post in yesterday, here are two pasta sauces to make and freeze (a little bit of summer in your freezer).  Both are delicious on pasta and you’ll see pesto in lots of recipes going forward.  Not terribly time consuming to make and well worth the effort.  If you don’t grow basil, you might want to check a local farmer’s market.


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried in a salad spinner
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TB pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese

Put basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and salt into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Stir in cheese.  Refrigerate or freeze.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

  • 3 TB extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 6 ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 TB capers
  • 1 1/2 tsp anchovy paste

Preheat oven to 375.  Combine olive oil, garlic, pepper flakes and tomatoes in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.  Roast for 45 minutes.  Stir in basil and salt and roast for 15 minutes.  Stir in capers and anchovy paste and roast an additional 35 minutes.  let cool to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze.  This is delicious on pasta as is or with fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheese.