From harvest to table ~ what's cooking now?

This blog shows where all those garden goodies I grow end up. I call this little eating area next to the stove my "chef's table" because at all the best restaurants it's a privilege to be invited to dine in the kitchen where the chef reigns supreme. So here I am "reigning" and you are all invited. :-D

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Great soup - darn!

With temps in the low 40s and cold winds, it was a good day to heat up the kitchen.

I brought up 3 bags (about 10#) of this year's frozen San Marzano harvest and defrosted them in the 12qt pot.

As the clear liquid released I dipped that out (2 qts worth) until the tomatoes themselves began to cook up.

That heaping pot of 12q finally settled down at 4q in the bottom.

They cooked for about an hour and I kept mashing up chunks with the spoon.  When totally soft I forced them through a strainer and ended up with 9C (are you kidding me?) of sauce, perfectly velvet for soup.

I tasted the sauce.  Fingers crossed.

It was outstanding.  Really?  Yep.

Drat.

Why?  Well last year's SM sauce wasn't all that lovely - a bit bitey/bitter and needed sugar.  Perhaps I hadn't removed enough of the clear liquid where the bitterness is.  Don't know.

All I know is that when I cleaned up the container garden earlier in the month, I'd totally decided to try my Mom's neighbor's Italian sauce tomato next year.  No more San Marzanos which as you can see in the top pic, are not all that meaty.  

Anyway, I was hoping for more justification by finding this year's batch un-noteworthy.

Unfortunately, it is absolutely wonderful.  I could have eaten it as soup right then.

But no, I guilded the lily by adding the soup seasonings: garlic, onion, celery seed, marjoram, thyme, salt, pepper and some roasted seranno powder.

Couldn't wait to fill a bowl, throw in some rice and call it lunch.  OMG it is so good.

Now, what the heck should I do next year?  Grow more SMs?  Switch to the untried Italian?  With a container garden there is only so much room.  

Still,  only 9C of sauce out of 140#  of toms (even though outstanding)?  Gotta chew on this over winter.  Thankfully I have another 13-4# (4 bags) of frozen SMs downstairs.  More soup soon! Yay.

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Update Nov 2: cooked up those 4 bags of San Marzanos in the freezer (needed the space).  That batch turned out just like last year's.  Good, but not outstanding.  Now why IS that?  Only thing I can think of is that the 3 bags I used for the previous batch were the last ones and I let the ripe tomatoes sit in the breezeway until they got so soft I had to throw away about 5%.  Must have something to do with sugar development.  Oh well, like any good gardener/cook will tell ya - there's always NEXT time!  

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