“Sun Dried” Green Tomatoes

20131113-063412.jpgThe weather has turned bitter cold today. Eric and I got the last of our ripe tomatoes from the greenhouse, but decided to harvest the green ones too because frost is looming here and it’ll probably kill them.

At the end of the summer season, I “sun dried” (in the oven) green tomatoes and they were pretty amazing, so I’m doing it again. My favorite tomatoes for sun drying are romas because they have the best flavor when dried. I “sun dry” them in a 170 degree oven for about 2 days. I prop the oven part-way open with an oven mitt so that all the moisture from drying them doesn’t go to the top of the oven and drip back down.

I imagine these would taste pretty good in my personal spaghetti sauce recipe.

Sun Dried Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients:
4 large tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon, flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon basil, chopped (or dried)
10 sun dried tomatoes (optional)
8 garlic cloves divided; 4 for roasting and 4 raw garlic for food processor
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon sauvignon blanc (a perfect wine for this)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a bowl, toss quartered tomatoes with parsley, basil, 4 garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Place tomatoes on a cookie sheet facing up. Cook for 30 minutes. Tomatoes should be soft.
  4. Add roasted tomatoes and garlic into a food processor. In addition, add sun dried tomatoes, other 4 cloves of raw garlic, balsamic vinegar, 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and wine. Process until completely pureed.
  5. Pour into a medium pan and cook on high until heated up. Reduce to low and let simmer for about an hour or more. (Sauce gets richer, the longer you cook it.)

Enjoy over your favorite pasta, gluten-free pasta, vegetables or add a can of tomato paste and use it for lasagna or veggie lasagna.

Thinking Outside the Recipe

Thinking outside the recipe…That definitely describes what I do. Maybe it’s a learned thing (or maybe it’s the rebel in me). I change recipes to suit my own personal needs and tastes. I truly like making a recipe my own. After I tell my sister-in-law I changed the recipe, she says, “Of course you changed it!” In the past 10 years, changing the way I cook has been paying off health-wise. It has given me mental clarity and energy. It’s too good not to share. That’s why I started this business.

I’ve read lately that with the state of our economy, more and more people want to know how to cook at home so they can save money. There’s a misnomer that healthy food is expensive. Healthy food doesn’t have to break the bank, so don’t let that deter you from learning to cook healthy. We can help you understand your resources and options.

Maybe some of my participants don’t come to class to learn how to cook healthy. Hopefully, by sampling great tasting healthy foods, they’ll be inspired to go home and make it. Perhaps, they’ll think about the choices they make. I don’t know how many times, I’ve heard people say, “So, you’re teaching people how to cook healthy. You mean food with no taste?” I answer emphatically, “No! Healthy food should taste great!” I’ve vowed to never save a recipe that doesn’t absolutely thrill me.

I’m not predictable, so I don’t want our events or workshops to be either. We’re going to change up the curriculum and scenery as often as we can to give you something new to look forward to in 2014. We’ll do some classes inside and some outside. Some workshops, you’ll be doing the work, other classes you’ll get demonstrations and sample the results. For Valentine’s Day, we’re going to offer a dinner for all you foodies out there. We’ll be taking some interesting local trips to visit a CSA and a farm where their cattle is grass fed; all so you can make better choices right in your own backyard. We’ll even have a few workshops with music for all you music lovers. Stay posted to our Events and Workshops page for all our future offerings.

Tuesday’s Fireside Soup Making Workshop

Eleven people came for Tuesday’s Fireside Soup Making Workshop. The participants were split up into two teams: Team Chili and Team Pozole. We had a great time making soup and later enjoyed our finished products near the fire. Everyone was able to enjoy both soups with their choice of garnishes. After sampling both soups, both teams said they liked their team’s soup the best. Now that’s a testament to team loyalty!

Fireside Soup Making Workshop Tonight

It’s going to be a great evening tonight. We’re expecting a good sized crowd coming to our mini workshop. My thoughts on creating these mini workshops during the week are to give people a chance to get out for a couple of hours, learn a couple of new things and enjoy a great home cooked meal. Tonight we’re making two wonderful homemade soups: a chicken soup called Pozole and a chili. We’ll enjoy a nice fire in the fireplace to celebrate the change in the weather.

A few people I’ve talked to this week say they or a member in their family is battling diabetes, high blood pressure, or fibromyalgia just to name a few. Some are not sure where to start when it comes changing the way they cook. Sometimes it takes one of these life changing events to make changes. That’s what happened to me. I’m hoping our workshops benefit these types of people, but I’m also hoping it helps prevent someone from having to deal with the long journey of recovery. I’ve always said, how you control your health starts at home. Being conscious of what you eat is a first step.

Our chili is naturally low carb. Aside from the canned low-sodium chicken broth, tomatoes and beans, there’s no added salt in the soup and it tastes great! Here’s where alternative cooking comes in; you can take this a step further and buy low-sodium tomatoes and dried beans. Alternative cooking is all about being conscious of your ingredients and the options you have to choose from while not compromising taste. Think outside the recipe!

Stay posted. We’ll post photos of our event tomorrow.