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Cooking with fruit: Tomatoes….

by on March 5, 2010
 

….’cause technically speaking, tommies are fruit!

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Anyhow, since I heard these lines a few weeks ago, I’ve been itching to share them!

‘Measure with a micrometer,
Mark with chalk,
Cut with an axe.’

Carl Zwanzig Ray’s Rule of Precision….works well for Passata too! In food terms this would be:

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Gather all of the 200 ingredients specified in the recipe
Measure them down the nearest gram…and its decimals
And then completely disregard the ‘How-to’ in the recipe…..and do your own thing.

IMG_2169To be completely honest, with passata, the chances of failing are extremely slim…..This may not be the case with macarons though….

IMG_2231For a few years now, I’ve been treasuring my ‘red delicious’, determined to make almost every recipe in it. After half a dozen years, I’ve finally made the passata….a few times and since modified it to suit me:-)

IMG_2202I like to roast my tomatoes, usually I buy them by the box.

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I’ll put some garlic cloves in with them, throw in some salt and some onions, drizzle with olive oil and a grinding or two or three….of black pepper and let them roast, till they split.

IMG_2179Then I’ll bring them out. Let them cool down and blitz up, skin and all.

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I’ve also been known to cook them again…..after roasting. On the hob. For a few minutes!

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Then they are blended and ladled into freezer containers. Some are left plain, others herbed.

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From my red delicious, I’ve learnt to make an ‘Asian-style’ passata, flavouring the pureed tomatoes with grated ginger and coriander leaves and a li’l bit of chilli. Amazing. We had them with pearl balls….perfect combination!

IMG_2457I’ve also done the basil and garlic thing, no problems. Tastes good – super delish with pasta!

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I never understood why people used foodmills to get rid of the skins. As far as I was concerned, that was pure waste. Everyone knows that the skins of most fruit and veg contain fibre and other healthy stuff. Even when I saw ‘respected’ cooks do that, I’d just think….what a waste.
See, in Nigeria we eat A LOT of tomato sauce, we call them stews. Typically, you’ll blend fresh tomatoes with onions and peppers and cook them into a sauce. We never skinned the tomatoes. They always went in whole and cooked up nicely – no problems whatsoever.

And so I made my passata, never encountering problems in my sauces. Till I decided, on Daughter #1’s request, to make some tomato soup. Every thing went smoothly……almost, till I noticed long shards of peel…in the soup.

IMG_0228For a start, it doesn’t make for nice soup drinking. The stringy bits, which are rather sharp, get in between the teeth’s walls. They have a rather unpleasant texture and have no place whatsoever in a rich and creamy tomato soup!

IMG_0234And so the dawn has arrived……And understanding is clear. Tomato skins when roasted, transform into rather hardy fellas, and that’s not hard to imagine, thinking of oven-dried and sun dried tomatoes!

Now I understand why people use food mills….and what they do if they don’t have.
Some use sieves, and others take the skins off the tomatoes as soon as they come out of the oven…..and before they blend them!

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I believe that lessons learned the hard way are lessons preserved for life.

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This is heading off to Weekend herb blogging #223, started by Kalyn , and now run by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once, and hosted this week by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook.

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Have a blessed weekend and join me for some Cuban strawberries with Meringue ice-cream on Sunday, part of Culinary Tour 2010!

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  • March 12, 2010 at 2:11 AM

    Love the first pictures of tomatoes! Gorgeous! I should make my homemade passata! I use it a lot, and you’ve got me intrigued with different flavours!

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  • March 11, 2010 at 10:19 AM

    What a great idea for using tomatoes. And I love your photograph … the tomatoes never look so luscious!

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  • March 9, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    really beautiful photos, Ozoz. i particularly love the one in which the tomatoes and garlic are blistered and roasted. what a treat for your kids to have this in the freezer at all times. x shayma

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  • March 8, 2010 at 9:05 PM

    Thanks everyone for your kind comments!

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  • March 8, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    Great sauces. I like the tomatoes roasted as you did with a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar for a side dish.
    Mimi

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  • March 8, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    I love this post, and you are so right about the skins, they do add to the sauce flavor. I even add sun dried tomatoes to a sauce, or roast peppers, depending on what kind of flavor I want.

    Thanks for coming over, I plan to follow you!

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  • March 8, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    Lovely use of tomatoes! Would you believe that I only found out they were a fruit about 2 years ago? From one of my 8 year old Brownies (Girl Guides) as well! 😛

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  • March 8, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    Undoubtedly a great post! Love the details.

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  • Jessica
    March 7, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    Oh Lovely Tomato, how I adore thee! Thanks for the great recipes. I’ll be saving this one for when my little tomato seedlings start producing fruit.

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  • March 7, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    I used to hate tomatoes but now I absolutely adore them. All of htese passatas sound great, but I’m especially intrigued by the coriander version. I bet that would be great over pasta as well for an interesting fusion twist!

    I’m usually too lazy to spend time getting rid of the peels. Who has time for that?

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  • March 7, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    Great Post. I love making my own tomato sauce and still have several containers of it in the freezer. That Sunday post sounds wonderful!

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  • March 7, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    I never thought of freezing my passata. Doh! What a great idea. Do you freeze the fresh herbs in there like the photos, or do you blitz them up first?

    LOVELOVELOVE the photos!

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  • March 7, 2010 at 11:04 AM

    Hi,
    Thanks for dropping by my blog! I love this recipe of yours.. another blog for me to discover 😉

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  • March 7, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    MMMMMMM,…lovely pictures!

    i also love tomatoes,in nearly everything! Your diffrent passatas look grand!

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  • March 7, 2010 at 12:03 AM

    Your passata would make a nice base for a bisque, too. Thanks for sharing so many great tomato ideas for WHB!

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  • March 6, 2010 at 10:54 PM

    Love tomatoes! My mother used to make me peel them every day for use in salads as she claimed the skin was not easy for her to digest. It was such a pain to peel too! Now I see what she means but I still don’t have the patience to peel them especially if I am eating them fresh!

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  • March 6, 2010 at 10:36 PM

    Great sauces. A lovely post. I never remove the skin of the tomatoes. I just think it’s a waste too.

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  • March 6, 2010 at 10:27 PM

    Reading this and drooling over your photos makes me wish for summer!

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  • March 6, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    Wonderful! We make all our own passata as well, and have processed over 100kg of romas this season. All tucked away in the freezer for winter. We started off blitzing them up, skin and all, but now mill the skins off for the very reason you describe.

    I think many people are put off passata making by the thought that it’s an all day affair and they need to have a backyard and beer bottles and a big metal barrel to boil it up in. Whereas turning a 10kg box of toms into roasted passata for the freezer really is a very simple process!

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    • March 8, 2010 at 9:02 PM

      Celia, I agree…..I usually can get up to 5 kg in 3 different trays into the oven and that lasts me a while….also considering how often I use tomato sauce!

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  • March 6, 2010 at 8:08 PM

    You are amazing. This is the way I cook my tommies

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  • March 6, 2010 at 8:06 PM

    impressive I must try this recipe and roasted them yummy have a fab weekend

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  • March 6, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    I love the versatility of passata. And I totally agree with you, the tomatoes skins should be combined, they make the sauce sweeter.

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  • March 6, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    Gorgeous photos! I adore all things tomato, and your post has me drooling!

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  • March 6, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    What a wonderful post. I have never done much with tomatoes. Mostly because the tomatoes here in Florida are nothing like the flavorful, abundate ones from Michigan where I grew up. But I do want to try this, great ideas, and I like how you don’t measure here.

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    • March 8, 2010 at 9:00 PM

      Lyndsey, I’ve grown up cooking without measuring – a blessing and a curse, so now I’m learning to measure more but I like being able to throw all care to the wind…..

      Reply

  • March 6, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    How funny. Early in the post I was thinking, what does she do with the skins? Then you went on and answered my question. I usually don’t get rid of the skins either, but in this case, I would.

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  • March 6, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Such a great idea to freeze these sauces – I never have enough freezer space though. And I too learnt the hard way to seive pureed tomatoes 🙂

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  • March 6, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    Mmmmm tomatoes, garlic, herbs…. sauce! Such a simple thing yet so tasty!
    Magda

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  • March 6, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    Oh yum!! I love making passata. It is always so rewarding and so precious!

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  • March 6, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    Your sauces are fabulous, Ozoz! Wonderful flavors. I know what you mean about leaving the skins on. So healthy. But they DO make a smooth sauce less inviting. Sometimes I leave them on, for other things I skin the tomatoes, whick is time consuming! I can almost smell your passata cooking!

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  • March 6, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    The pictures of the tomatoes are STUNNING! And the idea of making different batches of passata is inspiring! Going forward I think I am going to skin my tomatoes – a bit of an effort but I think worth it in many cases!

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  • March 6, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    u got me. im so making these! tq Oz ^^

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  • March 6, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    Your pics of tomatoes look fabulous…Tomatoes are my fav. food too, but I never peel the skin off coz it’s too much work for me, haha…

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  • March 6, 2010 at 9:16 AM

    Great post, I am making some of my slow cooked River Cafe tomato sauce this week and I bag it up in portions like this. My variation is adding olives/chilli/capers/anchovy for puttanesca.

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  • March 6, 2010 at 7:57 AM

    your tomatoes are in such a lovely red hue, they must be really sweet! Yes I love the skin on too!

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  • March 6, 2010 at 7:49 AM

    I love tomatoes – and I do exactly what you do, except the varying batch of flavours. I don’t blend them, either. I freeze the sauce in its chunky state and call it tomato confit. When I thaw it, I can do whatever I want with it. Usually, I serve it with fresh Bocconcini cheese, basil and finishing salts…. yum! yum! Yum!
    Thanks for sharing a beautiful simple idea with gorgeous fresh FRUIT!
    XO
    Valerie

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  • TasteHongKong
    March 6, 2010 at 5:01 AM

    Lovely are the tomatoes, the passata, and the way you store them. You have made a neat and wonderful mini store of passata indeed.

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  • March 6, 2010 at 3:49 AM

    Very nice and neat ideas! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Plus, I am making the plum jam you and JOhanna made before. Wish me luck!

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  • March 6, 2010 at 2:28 AM

    So many great ideas! It must smell amazing as it is baking!

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  • Unplanned Cooking
    March 6, 2010 at 1:26 AM

    I feel better knowing you don’t skin tomatoes. Completely agree with you in theory, but real reason I don’t do it is it’s too much work.

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  • Krista
    March 6, 2010 at 12:08 AM

    What gorgeous sauces, Ozoz! 🙂 I always thought removing the skins was wasteful too. 🙂 I really love the recipe where you included ginger, coriander and chili. Ohhh, I can almost taste it! 🙂 Hope you have a lovely weekend. 🙂 My brother is in Holland this weekend, so I will think of you both and smile. 🙂

    Reply

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