Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ridiculously Easy Tomato Paste - Plus 2 Recipes Using It

If you're like me, you either have a flood of ripe tomatoes right now - or your neighbors do. So what to do with this onslaught of 'love apples'? Make tomato paste, of course! My husband and I love making our own pizza, spaghetti sauce, and barbecue sauce - so why not make them using free tomatoes from the garden? This is a recipe I developed about four years ago and, I confess, was created out of pure laziness. I'd gone the route of blanching and peeling the tomatoes, but decided there had to be a simpler way. Boy was I right!

Ridiculously Easy Tomato Paste


Ingredients:

Tomatoes


Tools:

Soup Pot and/or Crock Pot
Knife
Cutting Board
Strainer

Process:


  • Cut tomatoes into halves or quarters - don't peel or core, just remove stems.
  • Place into soup pot or crock pot and simmer until they fall apart. I cook 12 quarts at a time and it takes 24 hours.
  • Use the soup pot lid until liquid begins to form, then uncover to enhance evaporation.
  • Run stewed tomatoes through a colander or strainer, making sure to leave only the skins behind.
  • Pour tomato meat and juice into crock pot and simmer, uncovered, on 'low' setting until desired consistency. This might take longer than you'd expect - don't hurry the process.
  • Allow to cool.
  • If you want a smoother paste, run through a food processor or Ninja at 'high' speed.
  • Place into containers for freezing. I use 4 oz. plastic baby food containers (for pizza) and Zip-Lock sandwich baggies, containing 2 cups of paste (for barbecue or spaghetti sauce).


While this process may take some time, it couldn't be easier to carry out. I occasionally stir, as I'm walking through the kitchen from time to time. No need to babysit the paste, it will continue to simmer, unattended, quite nicely!

I've been using this process for four years now and am amazed at how fresh the paste remains - even after an entire year in the freezer.

NOTE: to prevent discoloration (which doesn't affect flavor), add a few drops of lemon juice.

RJ's Tangy Barbecue Sauce

2 cups tomato paste
3/4 cups brown sugar or Splenda (for low carb version)
1/4 cups red wine vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoons hickory-flavored liquid smoke
1 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • Pour tomato paste into a non-reactive sauce pan (I use stainless), on low/medium heat. Add butter and begin to simmer. 
  • Add all other ingredients and simmer until desired consistency is obtained, stirring frequently. 
Serve immediately or allow to cool and store. I use an old, squeeze ketchup bottle. I'm a MasterPiece Barbecue Sauce lover, and this is just as good. If you use Splenda, this recipe is good for low carb diets. 

Will be good to use for several weeks - but probably won't last that long!

RJ's Artisan Pizza


Your favorite white bread recipe (will make two pizzas)

For each pizza:
1/2 recipe of bread dough, ready to bake
6 oz. tomato paste
Toppings as desired
Seasonings as desired
Mozzarella cheese (we make our own)

Roll out dough and place on pizza stone. Add paste and spread evenly. If you use raw vegetables add them as well. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-7 minutes. Remove from oven. Add other ingredients and layer as desired. Make sure fresh herbs and seasonings are beneath other ingredients, including cheese. Bake for an additional 6-7 minutes and then kick up to high heat broil, until golden brown. Allow to rest, then cut and serve.

This pizza dough is light, tender and thin. If you have a favorite recipe for pizza dough or prefer a thicker dough, use your own recipe. We sometimes bake it in a large cast iron skillet as well.

What type of homemade foods do you make? Ketchup? Cheese? Breads? Share your recipes in the combox!