You know what they say about the Best Laid Plans, right? That’s right; they gang aft agley. Yup, they can turn into a big old Gang of Ugly (which I’m sure is the translation).
Let me back up a moment and tell you how I came to be in an Ugly Predicament. A few weeks ago, the delightful Ilke from Ilke’s Kitchen (whom I have met In Real Life and like very much) asked if I’d like to participate in a virtual baby shower for a friend of hers, Shelley of Franish Nonspeaker. Anyone with a blog name like that, I’m in. Plus, she’s naming her child–who I assume is of the Female variety–Ruby. And that is a very cool name. Like Max’s sister.
Our Mission was to come up with a freezer-friendly make ahead-type deal that Shelley could just whip into the oven in between feeding and changing and whatever else One does with a small child named Ruby. But, I am a bad Direction Follower, and I decided it would be The Best to make something called New Mother Bread from the King Arthur Flour folks’ 200th Anniversary Cookbook written way back in 1992. Incidentally, 1992 seems like a recent date, but it was One Fifth of a Century Ago!
Anyway, I’ve made New Mother Bread before–it has extra iron and protein in the form of molasses and raisins for the former and dry milk powder for the latter. Plus I used some dried spent grains for extra fiber. It was going to be awesome. All the ingredients thought so. The molasses was excited to be called into service from the back of the cabinet, the Craisins and raisins were thrilled to be asked to join in. They fully expected to hang out until The Beloved starts making fruit cakes in October. And the milk powder? Delirious, it was.
But guess who was sullen and decided, sneakily, not to Play Along? The yeast. The stupid, stupid yeast. I spoke sternly to it; I cajoled it; I paid it compliments. Nothing. I shook my fist; I called it Mean Names; I Stomped. The yeast was, literally and figuratively, Unmoved.
Even as I type this, the dough, which I still haven’t completely given up on, is in pans in the oven with the pilot light on. I added some extra yeast. And then a bit more of a Different Kind of yeast. And then some water. And it is finally showing some signs of life. But I am Over This Bread. I’m just not that into it anymore, and I am Moving On.
The lesson I should take away from this? Follow directions and give the yeast the Stink Eye on a regular basis.
Turns out, I had the makings for a great freezer-friendly make ahead-type meal component right in my fridge. I had started making a roasted tomato sauce a couple of days ago, and I finished making it today. In a true Light Bulb Moment and a Burst of Flexibility, I trashed the idea of the New Mother Bread (this time) and decided to share the sauce with Shelley. The sullen bread, I’m keeping for myself. You’re welcome, Shelley.
Honestly, I’m happy to be a part of this little shindig with so many other keen folks, some of whom I know and others I’m just meeting. What fun! And now I’m actually following directions, so there’s that. So without further Ado, here it is: roasted tomato sauce.
- 6 very ripe tomatoes, , cut in half
- 1/2 medium sweet onion, , roughly chopped
- 3 whole cloves of garlic, , peeled
- sprigs of fresh herbs--I used 3 of oregano and 5 of thyme because it's what is growing in the garden
- several splashes of oil--I used extra virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, , to taste
- Preheat your oven to 375F.
- Drizzle some oil over the bottom of a roasting pan. (I used a 7"x11" Pyrex baking dish because I wasn't making a ton, but you might have more vegetables than I had, so use an Appropriately-sized nonreactive pan).
- Toss the herbs in the pan and place all the tomatoes, cut side down, in the pan. Squeeze them in, and try to keep them all in one layer, but a little overlapping is just fine.
- Tuck the onions and garlic in and around the tomatoes.
- Drizzle with a bit more oil and then sprinkle on some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Roast for about an hour, or until the vegetables are lightly caramelized.
- Let cool on the counter and then pull the tomato skins off.
- To reduce, bring to a boil in an appropriately-sized pan. Reduce the heat and let simmer until the mixture is as reduced as you want it.
- Let the sauce cool a bit, then puree, either with an immersion blender or in a blender. Be careful; it's still hot.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
- Use now, refrigerate for up to five days or freeze for up to three months. If you made a lot, portion it out before freezing so you don't have to hack at a big cube of sauce.
Ways to Use This Sauce
As straight-up pasta sauce.
As a base for a meat-based sauce--just brown the meat and simmer in the sauce so the flavors marry.
As a base for soup. Add stock and/or dairy to bring it to soup consistency.
Reduce way down to use as a homemade pizza sauce.
Roast your veggies along with herbs and aromatics until soft and somewhat caramelized, let 'em cool, then puree. If the veggies were Super Juicy, you'll need to cook them down over medium-low heat to concentrate the flavors and thicken the sauce. For this particular tomato sauce, I reduced it for a good hour or so. Please don't feel like you have to follow this recipe exactly. I'll write it exactly how I made it, though, just so you can see.
And there you have it. Or rather, here you have it:
To sum up:
- Remember what they say about plans.
- Always follow directions.
- Make some sauce.
- Congratulations to Shelley and her family!
Please take a visit to check out all the other make-ahead meals for this virtual baby shower–lots of great ideas!
Anna from Keep It Luce
Carrie from Bakeaholic Mama
Christina from Girl Gone Grits
Elaine from California Living
Esra from Irmik Hanim
Jennifer from Scissors and Spatulas
Lana from Bibberche
Lisa from Lisa Is Cooking
Renee from Sweet Sugar Bean
Robin from A Chow Life
Sarah from Snippets of Thyme