Pizza. The perfect food?

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about pizza.  Ruminating one might say.

Pizza.  Is there a more perfect food?  I’m hard pressed to think of one. Vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten free, dieting down, bulking up, lactose intolerant…. Seriously.  No matter your dietary proclivities there is always a way to make pizza work for you.

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Oven Roasted Tomato Paste

In my continuous quest to have summer last all year one of my favourite ways to preserve the taste of the season is oven roasted tomato paste.  Looking for a weekend project? Making it isn’t difficult, just a bit time intensive.  I assure you though your winter meals will thank you for it.

Ingredients

  • as many ripe roma tomatoes as you wish.  (A full baking sheet makes about one ice cube tray worth of paste.)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt

You will also need:

  • large sheet pan(s) or cookie sheets
  • parchment paper
  • food processor / belnder
  • ice cube tray

Method

  • Head to local farmers market and buy a ridiculous amount of tomatoes.
  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  • Wash the tomatoes and cut them in half.
  • Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your sheet pan(s).
  • Place tomatoes cut side up on the paper. Don’t worry, they can be packed fairly close together.  The more the merrier.

    • Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes.
    • Sprinkle with sea salt.
    • Place in oven.
    • Allow to cook for 3-4 hours.  At about the 3 hour mark make sure you check that they haven’t started to burn on the edges.
    • When they are cooked, remove pans from the oven and let them cool.
 When the tomatoes are cool, place them in a blender.  Puree until smooth adding more olive oil if necessary.  To keep the puree for immediate use, place it in a jar in the fridge.  Ensure that there is always a thin layer of oil on top to prevent spoilage.  It should last this way for about a week.  To save some for the coming months just spoon the paste into an ice cube tray, cover and place in the freezer.  When frozen, use a knife to remove the cubes and put them in a labelled container in the freezer.  Tomato paste cubes are the perfect size to add a bit of zing to eggs, pasta, beans or vegetables in the coming months.

How to peel a tomato.

This was not the post I planned for today.  But then something happened.

Yesterday, as I was prepping 40lbs of beautiful field tomatoes for the freezer a friend innocently asked  “is that how you peel tomatoes?”.  It was then that I realized that every year when I freeze tomatoes (or peaches) I get the same question.

So folks,  here ya go.

First.  Get some tomatoes.

Next, boil some water in a large pot and set a large bowl of cold water next to the stove.  When the water is boiling use a slotted spoon and place them into the water.

Watch them until the skin splits.  As soon as the skin splits use a slotted spoon to remove the tomatoes and place them in the cold bowl of water.

Place the bowl in sink, and if the water has warmed add more cold water.  It is important not to let the tomatoes actually cook at this stage.  You just want to be able to peel the skin.

Peel off the skin.

That’s it.  You’re done.

What you do now is up to you.  You could leave them whole, core them, slice them, quarter them, mash them, seed and puree them, your options are endless.  This batch I just quartered and put into freezer bags.

Now they just sit in the freezer and wait for the winter rains as a little mealtime reminder that summer always comes back.