Tag Archives: sauce

Rustic Tomato Marinara

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First of all, I owe my family, friends and coworkers a big huge apology.  You see, I will not be giving away my excess homegrown tomatoes from my garden to them ever again.  It’s not that I don’t like to share or that I am a stingy person or that I like to hoard my garden produce.  It’s just that I need the tomatoes because I have learned how to make my own homemade Rustic Tomato Marinara Sauce from scratch. And in my opinion, this Rustic Tomato Marinara sauce is worth apologizing for.

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The key to this delicious sauce is freshly picked, perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes.  This bucket full of lemon boy’s, early girls, green zebras, pineapples, mortgage lifters and a handful sweet millions was used in my Rustic Tomato Marinara.  What makes this sauce “rustic” is that I did not peel the tomatoes or seed them before tossing in the pot for cooking.  I say, so what, who cares?  A stick blender takes care of the tomato skins and as a result there’s very little waste and a fantastic tomato flavor.

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My Rustic Tomato Marinara is one of those recipes that works better by taste and feel rather than following the recipe exactly.  Why?  Every variety of tomato is different and some cook faster than others.  Also, you can add whatever blend of spices and herbs you like.  If you like it spicy, add some red pepper flakes.  It’s all about you and your taste. The next time you have an overabundance of tomatoes, make some Rustic Tomato Marinara.  Enjoy! Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon tomatoes (about 5 pounds, quartered)
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup wine (I used red table wine)
  • 1 cup fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1 Tbs fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • about 2 – 3 cups water
  • 5 cloves garlic (minced)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 – 2 Tbs sugar (optional)

Grab a large pot and saute the onions in the olive oil until they turn translucent.  Meanwhile, wash and remove stem scars from tomatoes. Quarter the tomatoes, making sure that all the tomato chunks are somewhat uniform in size.  Add tomatoes, wine, water, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper to the pot, Cook on low uncovered for 2 – 3 hours, stirring often.  Add garlic near the end of the cooking process.  Using an immersion or stick blender, blend sauce until smooth or desired consistency.  If the sauce is too watery or thin, cook the sauce longer to reduce or if it’s too thick, add more water.  Taste your sauce, add sugar if necessary.  The purpose of the sugar is to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. Correct your seasonings.  Remove from heat.  Use sauce immediately or cool and put into plastic containers to freeze for later use.  Makes about 2 – 2 1/2 quarts.

Mango Barbecue Sauce

Mango Barbecue Sauce

I love it when the weather here in Southern Oregon starts to warm up.  Warm weather is perfect barbecuing weather.  Don’t get me wrong, I barbecue at all times of the year and I even have been known to barbecue in the middle of a snowstorm…  It’s just that it so much more pleasant and enjoyable when the weather is nice.  Standing next to the BBQ, chatting with friends or family, grilling dinner with long stainless steel tongs in one hand and an ice cold beverage in the other hand.  You get the picture…

The other day at the local Food Coop, I found this gorgeous organic mango for a dollar and a half.  It was twice the size as my fist and was perfectly ripe.  I could not pass it up…  At first, I was going to make a dessert, I then quickly changed my mind after thinking about making a sweet and tangy Mango Barbecue Sauce.  I wanted a sauce that I can easily brush on grilled chicken or pork tenderloin during my busy work week for a fast and flavorful dinner.

While my Mango Barbecue Sauce was simmering away on the stove, I snagged my camera and headed out the back door.  The photo above is the backside of a perennial herb called “bloody dock” or “bloody sorrel”.  Yeah, I know, it’s a gory name for a lovely little plant. But when I bought them I was told that you could eat the leaves in a manner similar to spinach.  We’ll see.  The plants are not quite big enough for me to harvest a bunch of leaves yet.  Maybe in a few weeks I might be able to do that…

Up in the corner of the backyard, I heard all of this squawking…  It was a young blue jay that fell out of the nest a few days ago.  The parents were taking turns flying back and forth to feed their little down covered youngster.  The baby jay would hide in the bushes and only come out when its parents were around with their beaks full of food.  I’m hoping that within a week or so it will be able to take care of itself and be able to fly around on its own.  In the meantime, my Jack Russell Terrier is not allowed out in the back yard without a leash…  Poor dog!

My Mango Barbecue Sauce is easy to make and takes about an hour to prepare. I like to brush it on grilled chicken or if I have a more time on my hands, brushed on  succulent barbecued pork ribs.  Makes about 3 cups and it will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 large mango (peeled and diced)
  • 1 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Indonesian Soy Sauce
  • 1 can Pepsi (you can use Coke if you want)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp Szechuan pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper (or to taste)

Grab a saucepan and add all the ingredients.  Cook on low, stirring occasionally for about an hour or until the mango is cooked down and the sauce has thickened.  If it is too thin, cook a bit longer.  Too thick, then add water.  Be sure to taste and correct your seasonings.  Remove from heat, blend with a hand or stick blender until smooth.  Brush on grilled chicken or pork.  Makes about 3 cups.  Keep in the refrigerator covered for about a week.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Strawberry Barbecue Chicken

Strawberry Barbecue Chicken

I have a bad habit…  Whenever Bruce and I have guests at our home, I tend to put out too much food.  Our guests always go home happy and with their bellies full but, dealing with party leftovers can be a pain.  Just like what happened over the past weekend.  We had a pound of leftover strawberries sitting in a bowl on the counter after our brunch and there’s only two of us living in the home.  Ugh!  I can’t believe I thought it and even worse, I can’t even believe that I said it out loud.  I bought way too many strawberries…

Strawberry Barbecue Sauce

I have learned over the years that sometimes you just need to get creative to use up the ingredients you have on hand.  I personally like to use ingredients and flavor combinations in ways that most people would never think or even dream of.  A great example is my sweet and tangy homemade Strawberry Barbecue Sauce with spicy ancho chili, sweet and sticky Indonesian soy sauce and my favorite soda, Dr Pepper.  The flavor of my Strawberry Barbecue sauce is smoky, sweet and complex but on the other hand, it’s really easy to make.

Strawberry Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 pound of strawberries (cleaned, hulled and quartered)
  • 1 can Dr Pepper
  • 1 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Indonesian soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder (use more for a spicy kick)
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper or to taste

Add all ingredients to saucepan. Cook on medium low, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes.  Blend with hand blender to make the barbecue sauce smooth.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Makes about 3 cups.  Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.  Brush it on barbecue beef, chicken, or pork..

Now that the sauce is done… Let’s fire up the Q!

Strawberry Barbecue Chicken

  • 6 pounds chicken (I like to use legs or thighs)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper (or to taste)
  • 3 cups Strawberry Barbecue Sauce (or to taste)

Fire up your barbecue or grill pan.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Grill on medium high heat until juices run clear or about 15 minutes.  Brush with sauce and cook a few minutes more…  Serve chicken with sauce on the side.   Makes about 12 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Looks delish!