Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Marinara Sauce

"In the depths of winter I have found there lies within me an invincable summer." -Albert Camus
No, we don't have tomatoes growing fluently in our greenhouses at this time of year. In fact, we rarely do ANY time of year! (though there IS a local grange project in the works that could supply fresh tomatoes and greens to Homer year round....we'll keep you posted on that one) We are all for going local as much as possible, but when it comes to tomato sauce, well, let's just say it's very unrealistic. At the bakery, we have always made our own marinara using canned tomato products (thank you Sean Maryott) but at home, for the longest time, I bought jarred sauce. (I know, right?) Until I saw on some food detective show how much sugar is in one of those jars....whoa. So now, I make it at home, just like at the bakery, only I can it into 16 ounce jars. This batch will get you 6 of them, plus you'll have ample left over for supper that night. perfect.


1 whole head of garlic...peeled and crushed
2 medium onions...roughly chopped
4 ribs celery...chopped
4 medium carrots...chopped
/2 cup red wine
1- #10 can diced tomatoes (6# 6oz or 12 cups)
1 6 oz can tomato paste
4 cups water
2 T salt
2 T sugar
2 T dried basil
2 t oregano
2 t thyme
2 t marjoram
2 T balsamic vinegar

In a large 8 quart heavy bottom pot heat 1/4 c olive oil over medium heat, add onions, saute 2 minutes, then add garlic, celery and carrot...continue to saute until onions are translucent. add wine to pan and stir to deglaze and cook off alcohol, about 4 minutes. add tomato products and water, stirring well to combine. add salt sugar, spices and vinegar. bring to gentle simmer, turn heat to low and cook gently for at least an hour, longer if you have time. Puree using an immersion blender (or a standup blender, but for the love of god...BE CAREFUL!) once it is the consistency you love...return to the stove and bing to a very low boil.
Prep jars by washing them and boiling in your canning pot covered with water...10 minutes. put lids and rings in a smaller pot covered with water and gently bring to simmer. Ever so carefully, remove the jars using tongs and set on a clean towel spread on the counter. Ladle in sauce to bottom of band. wipe the rims of each jar with a very clean cloth. then put on lids and bands...only screw on enough to hold lid in place. lower jars back into canning pot and add more water to cover jars by 2 inches. Bring to boil and hold at that temp for 35 minutes. remove from water and let sit undisturbed to cool. do not tighten rings. check seal (a tap in the center should not make a sound) any that have not sealed, refridgerate and use with a week. The rest can go in the pantry or any cool dark spot.
For more on canning:
'Putting Food By' is one of my favorite go to books for cannin' or jammin'! also has great online info...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cream of Potato and Garlic Soup

Amazing how a few simple ingredients can come together in something so perfect for a quick meal when the cupboard is sorta bare and the roads are too icy to go to town. This is my kids favorite and one of the easiest soups to learn how to make. An immersion blender makes pureeing it a snap. (and at $20 bucks even in our alaskan hardware store, no reason to not have one) Also, We like red potaoes for this, leaving some of the skin on for extra texture and color. You could also add purple potatoes to the mix...or sweet potatoes...yum!

Cream of Potato and Garlic Soup

1 lg onion roughly chopped
4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 whole head of garlic, about 10 cloves, peeled and smashed
7 cups red potatoes, washed and eyes trimmed, but not neccessarily fully peeled, then cut into chunks
7-8 cups water
2 T Kosher Salt
8 ounces cream cheese

Saute onion and celery in 2 Tablespoons olive oil heated in a heavy bottom 6 qt. soup pot...after 2 minutes add the garlic and continue sauteeing until onions are translucent. add potatoes, water and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat and cook until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Turn off heat and drop cream cheese into soup and let it sit for 10 minutes to soften. Puree with immersion blender (or smash with a potato smasher, you won't have a perfectly smooth soup, but it will be tasty) Check spice, adding more salt if needed. Garnish with chopped fresh rosemary, or scallions or bacon or cheddar cheese or pretty much anything!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Granny T's veggie Soup

I had a special request for this recipe today and I totally thought I had it up...but no!
So, it is!

! medium onion chopped
2 cloves Garlic minced
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 medium carrots chopped
4 medium potatoes chopped into chunks
1 cup frozen peas
1 12ounce can stewed or diced tomatoes
4 Tablespoons tomato paste (honestly, my grandma used ketchup for this)
1 Tablespoon dried Basil
1 Tablespoon Balsalmic vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
Salt to taste

Saute onions and celery in a soup pot over medium high heat with 2 Tablespoons olive oil
after 2 minutes add carrots and garlic and a couple of pinches of Salt
Continue sauteing until onions are translucent. Add potatoes, Tomatoes and paste and dried Basil, then add enough water to float all the vegetables, about 4 cups. Bring to a simmer and cook slowly until potatoes are done. Add Peas, vinegar and sugar and check for salt. then cozy up with a nice hunk of bread and say hi to my grandma while your at it...enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ginger Beet Soup

Our local farmer still has just a few root veggies for us...beets. potatoes, rutibagas, even some cabbage!
the beets, particularly inspired me yesterday, along with the need for something cleansing and hearty at the same time, this soup definitely delivered! The briliant color also helps to brighten up even the darkest of days...
Ginger Beet Soup
1 lg onion, roughly chopped
4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
6 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 cups peeled red potatoes cubed
4 cups raw, peeled beets, cubed
1/2 cup white wine
6 cups water
1 - 12 ounce can coconut milk
Kosher salt
juice of 1/2 lemon

Saute onions and celery together in bottom of a soup pot with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat...after 2 minutes add garlic and ginger. Cook until onions are translucent and add white wine to deglaze pan and cook off alcohol, about 3 minutes. Then add potatoes, beets and water and throw in a few generous pinches of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are soft. Pull from heat, add coconut milk and puree with an immersion blender. Taste for seasoning, add lemon juice and more salt if needed. Serve with a little creme fresh, if you feel I usually am! Top with scallions for an extra bite and enjoy to the last crimson drop...