Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tomato Tomato

This year I had a beautiful, glorious garden.  The first one I've had in over 5 years.  I will tell you all about said beautiful and glorious garden (failure) in another post.  This post is dedicated to my favorite food of all time.

I strongly believe that summer should always involve three simple snack items.  

  • Sweet Corn picked out of the field
  • Strawberries picked off of the vine
  • Sweet lusciously ripe delicious tomatoes picked and eaten often off the plant 

Unfortunately for me and my family we did not get any of these treats this summer.  I did, however, steal some delicious tomatoes from my mom, grandma and Uncle Don's garden in one of my many trips down south this summer.  Next summer I might demand for them to send me a box of delicious home grown food every other week or so so I can make more things like this:  Homemade Pizza and Tomato Burgers. (Both of these recipes were made from my "stolen" goods.  And they were delicious.)


My friend Becca and I acquired this recipe from her dad while we were just a couple of lowly college kids scraping by down in Carbondale Illinois.  It fed us many many nights and is incredibly versatile.  I vividly remember eating the leftovers cold, straight out of the fridge (in the pan still) with a spoon before running to school in the mornings.  If you do make this feel free to change it up.  This also makes a delicious start for a pasta sauce.) 


  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 cans of whole tomatoes (3 1/2-4 cups of fresh tomatoes, diced)
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste (I usually don't add this)
  • 1 c dry red wine
  • 1 tbsp sugar (if you are going to use this for pasta sauce I would omit, just a matter of taste.)
  • 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes (this packs some serious heat, so if making for small children I would lower this amount)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf

  1. In large skillet cook onion in moderate heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook one minute longer.  (Garlic overcooks really easily so try and keep it to one minute.)  
  2. Add remaining sauce ingreedients.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a simmer stirring occasionally for 45 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Discard bay leaf.  At this point you can puree if desired.

That is all there is to the sauce.  Of course if I have any fresh herbs on hand I will use them instead of the dried and I always add basil to mine.  If you prefer a meaty sauce you can fry some up in another skillet and throw it in the red sauce once it is done.  I enjoy sauteing fresh vegetables up with my onions in the beginning of the sauce making.  This sauce is so easy to make.  It also is easy to double or triple if you want to make a large batch to freeze for easy meals in the future.  

This is how our pizza looked before I put our vegan cheese on it.  I like to keep the sauce chunky.  I added fresh peppers and basil.  The crust I used was called  Rustic Crust.  I personally thought it was disgusting and will never use it again.  It was a flat bread pizza crust and after baked it crumbled.  The only way we were able to eat it was with a fork.  My family is allergic to dairy so the cheese we use is vegan shreds.  Its not bad.  One thing I notice that is different with this compared to regular cheese is that it doesn't get all melty and stringy.  Instead it seems to expand out, so don't put a ton on otherwise it will swallow your pizza up like the blob.

This next recipe was brought to my attention by my friend Becca as well.  (It seems as though we both love to cook and eat the same kinds of delicious food!)  Becca and her partner Greg live way out in the country.  There house is sustainable in every single way.  The way they are able to live their lives make me green with envy. Every year they grow a HUGE garden filled with all the delicious food I love and miss.  This summer while trying to use up all the delicious tomatoes in their garden she stumbled across this and then shared it with me.    

Tomato Burger

Okay with this I read the suggestions of the other reviews and made up my own recipe.  The end result wasn't exactly pleasing to the eye, but man oh man was it tasty.

  • 3 medium to large tomatoes diced
  • 2 cups cooked rice (estimate)
  • fresh basil chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • dash of olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic chopped
  1. Mix everything together. 
  2. Take a large spoon and make a patty on hot skillet.  
  3. Cook like a burger.   

    Like I said, it doesn't look like it would be that tasty, but it really is.  It is also a great light vegetarian alternative to having hamburgers.  I think next time I make this I will serve it on a bun with fresh mozzarella or goat cheese and bacon.  Or with bacon and lettuce for a hot BLT........  

    On a completely different note, after scouring the house for days I finally gave up on ever finding my car keys.  I called a few dealerships in our area to find out what we needed to do and how much it would cost to get a new one made.  It was in or above the $300 price range.  The Mister and I decided to give it a few more days of looking.  

    Last night while making dinner Clara casually walked into the kitchen and started "unlocking" the back door with none other then my FREAKING CAR KEYS.  

    So where they were stashed will forever be a mystery and her new name is key thief.


    1. The pasta/pizza sauce is SOOOO good! I made some last night and I will NEVER buy pizza sauce again. Thanks for the recipe Crystal!

    2. I know!!!!! It is the best! If I use it for pasta sauce I will usually use white wine instead of red, it takes the sweetness out of it! I'm glad you liked it!