Tomato Paste: Making the most of GTF Bulk Prices

Market1photocontestCorvWednesday

The tomatoes are on at Gathering Together Farm!  Even after all the markets are packed and orders are filled, we still have more tomatoes than we can handle.  Each week we make roasted tomato salsa to sell at our farmers’ markets and farm stand; yet our beautiful bounty continues to grow.  Now is the time to get a bulk price discount on #2 canning  tomatoes ( $20 for a 20-lb box).  Call the office at 541-929-4273 or email gtf@gatheringtogetherfarm.com to place a special order. You can arrange to pick up these orders at the farm or farmers’ markets that we attend. Please order at least a day before you’d like to receive them.

tomato paste cooking blog post

Every year I supplement my garden tomato crop with GTF seconds and make both tomato sauce and paste.  Some years, when I have any canning enthusiasm remaining, I make salsa. Paste is my pantry gold. Romas are a great paste tomato, but I use whatever I have. I roast the tomatoes overnight in baking dishes at 220° F.   Many home canners and recipes call for removing the skins, but I just haven’t noticed a big enough difference in flavor to justify the effort, so I don’t do this. In the morning, I pour off the water and blend the tomatoes in a high-powered blender. This gives you a pretty thick sauce to start with. I also cheat a little.

dehydrated tomatoes blog post

The same evening that I set the tomatoes to roast, I blend whatever tomatoes do not fit into the oven. I pour the sauce into dehydrator trays and dehydrate through the evening. I add the dehydrated tomato leather to the sauce. This thickens the sauce to a paste-like consistency.

paste in jars blog postI have found quite a spread of varying recipes for tomato paste.  Some call for herbs, spices, sugar and even other vegetables. I am not looking for that sort of paste. I am looking for concentrated tomato flavor, a “tomato butter” perhaps. The end product has a rich roasted flavor with a powerful sweetness. I use tomato paste in almost everything I make. I use it in marinades, dressings, sauces, curries, soups and more. It pairs well with almost any flavor and aids in the quest for the desired umami.

totally canned tomato paste

I chose to can my paste but you can simply freeze it too. I have frozen paste in ice cube trays and bagged it for easy portion use. For canning purposes, tomatoes need to be acidified either with citric acid or lemon juice. I used citric acid for my jars and didn’t find that the taste was compromised in any way. If you decide to can your tomatoes I recommend following University Extension approved recipes, or recipes from the Ball Canning books published after 1988. Canning times for tomatoes have changed, so it is in your best interest to stay up-to-date on safe canning practices. You can find canning classes and recipes on the OSU Extension’s Food Preservation web page.

tomato paste blog post pizza pictureI opened the first jar tonight, mixed it with some tomato sauce and Italian herbs, spooned it on a pizza, and it was perfect!

Lunch Menu Sketch: Week of September 9, 2014

Good luck at school to teachers and students alike!

Lunch Menu:

To Start
country pâté with mixed olives, mustard, cornichon and house pickles 5.5
duck liver mousse with olives and goat cheese sauce 5.5
mixed field greens with balsamic vinaigrette 6.5
GTF salad – melons, grapes and raspberries with a croutons and honey vinaigrette 9.5
caprese salad – tomato, basil, extra virgin, balsamic, fresh mozz and artisan bread 9.5
gazpacho with artisan bread 4/6
ducky onion soup with artisan bread 4/6

Pizze Rosso
garlic/basil/mozzarella 9.5
sweet italian sausage and peppers/mozz 10.5
kalamata olive/duck/arugula /mozz 10.5

Pizze Bianco
ham/capers/parmesan/mozz 10.5
pesto/red onion/cherry tomato/mozz 9.5
colazione-bacon/egg/parsley/black pepper 10.5

Secondi
duck ravioli with roasted pear, and leek brodo 10.5
summer risotto with squash, beets, leeks and blue cheese 9.5
crespelle with ricotta and caramelized onion filling over spinach, yellow tomato and pesto 9.5
beef polpette with tomato and chard over creamy polenta 10.5
white shrimp over a salad of beans, ceci, cherry tomatoes with aioli 10.5

Freeze em’: GTF #2 Red Pepper Deal

number two peppers for blog post
sorted #2 peppers

This week the barn was overloaded with red, orange, and yellow sweet bell peppers.  After sorting the best, most beautiful, and brightest for markets, restaurants and our farm stand, the remaining slightly blemished and awkward shaped peppers are available for $1.75/lb (with a 10 lb minimum order).

Peppers photo for blog chopped and bagged
pepper freezing production line

Each year I take advantage of GTF bulk deals to preserve the harvest, color, and flavor for my winter and spring meals. Peppers are great because you need only to wash, de-seed, chop and bag for the freezer. It isn’t necessary to blanch before freezing, although you may prefer to roast and peel first. Our family loves to add these frozen peppers to soup, stir-fry, curry, and omelets.

Watermelon Agua Fresca

Watermelon season is coming to close. It is sad but true. Willamette Valley temperatures are expected to rise again this week, so now is the time to plan some days devouring cool, sweet, refreshing watermelon in the last hot days of summer. We will have watermelons at our farm stand and farmers’ markets for this week. Next week there won’t be as many.

GTF Watermelon Blog 1We have orange, yellow, sorbet and red varieties available. When I can manage not to eat the whole watermelon, I have been enjoying simple aqua fresca drinks. I say simple because they only contain two ingredients: watermelon and ice blended together.

Blog Recipe Watermelon

Agua fresca is a refreshing drink popular in Mexico. At the Corvallis Albany Farmers’ Market, you can find it served fresh at Zia Southwest Cuisine.

Lunch Menu Sketch: Week of September 2, 2014

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Happy September everyone! We had a wonderful wine dinner with Tyee as our special guests.

Such a great atmosphere in the Farmstand for these special occasions. Very exciting, very aware of the changing season and the arrival of falling leaves and chanterelle mushrooms.

Nyhoooo here is the menu idea for Tuesday September 2:

To Start
country pâté with mixed olives, mustard, cornichon and house pickles 5.5
terrine of lamb with cornichon and goat cheese sauce 5.5
mixed field greens with balsamic vinaigrette 6.5
GTF salad – melons and goat cheese with a cumin and honey vinaigrette 9.5
caprese salad – tomato, basil, extra virgin, balsamic, fresh mozz and artisan bread 9.5
gazpacho with artisan bread 4/6
beet soup with artisan bread 4/6

Pizze Rosso
garlic/basil/mozzarella 9.5
goat cheese/kalamata olive/red onion /mozz 10.5
Italian sausage/leeks /mozz 10.5
pizze bianco:
ham/corn/parsley /mozz 9.5
basil/squash/cherry tomato/mozz 10.5
colazione-bacon/egg/parsley/black pepper 10.5

Secondi
quail agnolotti with roasted pear and leek brodo 10.5
risotto with pesto, cocozelle and cherry tomatoes 9.5
magda squash stuffed with brown rice and romesco 9.5
semolina gnocchi with pork ragú, spiced eggplant and basil leaf 10.5
grilled albacore tuna with peppers, tomato, pimento peppers, ceci and basil aioli 10.5