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Monday, December 15, 2008

spaghetti sauce, part one (of three): TOMATO PASTE

Tomatoes are way out of season, but the 'ponic tomato people at the market are keeping on keeping on and they have some interesting varieties worth investigating despite their lesserthan ponic-ness. I got four different kinds, including those 'Cherokee purple' (cultivars go in single quotes) ones. Everybody raves like they're great, and perhaps they are, but I prefer a more acid tomato, myself. Nevertheless I invested in the 'Cherokee purples' acause they are purple and I figured that feature coupled with their low acidity would make them superior paste tomatoes.

See, 'cause I was gonna make my own paste.

Which I did: I made my own tomato paste.

I made paste out of the purples and stewed tomatoes out of the other three kinds. (I didn't pay too much or any attn to what they all were, but they were essentially your basic snooze-a-rama store tomato, your on-vine tomato, and your high shoulders tomato, in red. I could've gotten yellow high shoulders tomatoes, but I just didn't go for it this time. I just wasn't feeling it for the yellow high shoulders tomatoes. Next week will it be their turn?)

So to make tomato paste what you do is this: cut your purples or plums or whatever into one-inch dice (That implies you have to be precise, but actually you don't. Three-inch wedge works just as well as one-inch dice. Just bash 'em up anywayworks). Put them in a steel stockpot and crank the heat 'til they start jumping around (do not burn). Turn the heat down and simmer for a long time, like an hour. Cool, blast in the food processor, return to boil, simmer 'til you achieve paste. Note that you do not have to parboil and remove the skins. You just obliterate the skins in the food processor. Time saving and less depressing in these scary economic dayz because you're using the whole tomato.

You can't imagine how fulfilling it is to see six pounds of big purple monsters slowly mutate into a cup and a half of delicious paste. You wouldn't think the paste would be so delicious on its own, either--it's just tomatoes boiled down. But turns out you can't resist it! Making tomato paste is really really fun.

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