Monday, September 8, 2014

Rainy Day Sauce

We had a cooler, rainy day last week.  The view from our windows showed the wet roads, dark clouds, and rather dismal-looking situation.  But I loved it, no matter how it looked.  The temperatures were in the mid-60s and the rain fell softly on the ground.  I opened the windows to feel the glorious, cooler, fresh air, and enjoyed the morning.

While there wasn't much that could be done outside, there was a lot I could do inside.  I had a pile of assorted tomatoes and a few sweet peppers from the garden that were waiting to be eaten.  Rather than let them go to waste, I decided to make some homemade spaghetti sauce.  In between rain showers I ran to the garden and picked the fresh basil I'd need.

The last time I made my own spaghetti sauce I made up my own recipe.  So I decided to be adventurous and do the same this time.  I love that all of my ingredients are from my chemical-free garden, and that the spices I chose to use are also non-GMO, all natural additions.  I used some dried, organic garlic pieces as well.

My choice for the main seasoning of my sauce was the Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil and Absolutely Onion Blend by Wildtree.  The Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil is so good I sometimes put some in a tiny finger bowl, dip my bread in it and just eat it that way. Oh my goodness - it's soooo good!   Since I didn't have a fresh onion, and didn't feel like getting out in the rain to go to the store, I used the Absolutely Onion Blend.  This added the perfect amount of onion flavor!  Yummy!

My beautiful daughter-in-law sells these AMAZING cooking spices, sauces, oils, and more.  You can find her here:  Wildtree with Amber.   I usually order directly off of her website and have them delivered to my home.  So easy, and we've yet to be disappointed by anything we've tried.  I rarely cook with anything other than Wildtree now because I can trust the product to give me incredibly rich flavor.  And it's important to me that I feed my family food that's all natural, has no preservatives, additives, MSGs, food colorants or dyes, and is non-GMO.  A lot of Wildtree products are also certified organic, so that's definitely a plus.  No - I have not been remunerated for this post, nor has anyone from Wildtree - including my daughter-in-law - asked me to talk about these products.  I just love sharing with you when I find good stuff that's also good for you.

Now....on with the sauce!  While I was chopping and dicing, this song came on and I thought it so apropos that I had to include it here.  After all - why not an Italian singing a great tune while I make some good sauce.  A little Musica maestro!

The first step was pouring the garlic grapeseed oil, the onion blend, some freshly ground pepper corn (I have a little peppermill I use for this), some salt, and the dried organic garlic pieces in the saucepan.  Then I diced the sweet peppers and added them.

I wanted to save the seeds from the Sweet Peppers for my garden next year, so after I cleaned them I set them to dry on a paper towel.  When they were completely dry I put them with the others I'd already done before.  We'll see if my efforts are worth it in my garden next Spring.

The next step was to cut the little bite-size pear tomatoes.  They are so cute and colorful in their yellow splendor.  See how plump and juicy these have grown?  I love picking them and eating them right out in the garden.  They have great flavor and are not bitter like some of the other bite-size tomatoes.  They look great in the saucepan don't they?

Next came the little Roma tomatoes.  The type I planted this year are a lot smaller than what you usually see in the supermarket.  These are about the size of two cherry tomatoes.  I wait to pick them until they are this deep red, and every time I cut into one I'm delighted at their meatiness.  They are SO delicious, and perfect for sauces. And...dump!  On top of the pear tomatoes.

I read that the seeds of tomatoes can make a sauce bitter, and I've had a couple of these little Romas be a little bitter.  So I took the seeds out of the majority of them before adding them to the saucepan. When I made my sauce before I didn't do that and it wasn't bitter, so this time I did it to see if it made any difference.  I couldn't really tell a difference when it was all said and done, so I'll probably not remove the seeds the next time.

On to the beefsteak tomato.  I'm very pleased with these this year too.  This one was as big as 2/3 of my hand!  And oh so juicy, plump, and very 'beefy'.  See?  Yes - it was as red and juicy as it looks.

Into the pan with the rest of the tomatoes!

My basil has been growing extremely well, and I really should have dried some to use throughout the winter.  Maybe next year.  Isn't it pretty, with it's deep green leaves? Basil is full of great taste and is a great source for Vitamin K and Vitamin A.  Lots and lots chopped and added to the mix.  It smelled and looked so good I was tempted to just eat it as a salad instead of cooking it down for sauce!

And now...I have a confession.  I didn't stay true to a good Italian tomato sauce.  As an added bonus to my husband, who likes spicy foods, I decided to add some Wildtree Fiesta Salsa Mix.  This stuff has a deep, rich, bold flavor that adds a little kick with full-body flavor.  So I dumped some of it in the pan purely for experimental purposes. Well...and to please the hubby!

We have this wonderful old electric Tappan stove in our home.  I love the space between the burners.  It's perfect for setting pans on that need to sit for a while, or anything that comes out of the oven that needs to sit somewhere other than my counter, and all the while I can still cook on the burners.  I have no idea what year model it is.  It was in the house when we moved in, and everything works wonderfully, so we've never replaced it.  Isn't it charming?

Onto the stove goes the mixture, to boil and reduce down.  All the colors and the spices look delicious!  I started it out on medium-high heat to get it boiling, all the while stirring it so nothing would stick to the bottom.  After it boiled a few minutes, I turned the heat down and let it continue boiling on its own, checking on it and stirring it only occasionally.  

After a few hours had gone by, this is what it looked like.  Some of the tomatoes had begun to reduce, and the fragrance of all of the spices was wafting throughout the kitchen.  

Let's keep the mambo beat going.  How about good ol' Dean with this Musica!
(Yes - I did dance around the kitchen a little bit.  Got to love that beat!)

After about four hours, the rainstorm had passed, the dark clouds replaced by a few fluffy white clouds, and the sun was once again shining.  

And...the sauce was reducing very well!  The fragrance of all the blended spices made me hungry.  I wish you could do a scratch-n-sniff on this picture, because although it may not look appetizing, it smelled A-MA-ZING!

After being on the stove for around 4 hours or so, I let it cool down.  Then into the blender it went!  It all blended so well, and although it's hard to tell in the picture, was a wonderful red colored mixture of deliciousness.

After all this...imagine my surprise to find that I didn't have any spaghetti in my cabinets! You would have thought I'd have checked that before I started right?  Nope!  That would make too much sense! Ha!  At any rate, I did find some elbow macaroni, and used it instead.  Unfortunately I cooked a bit too much for the amount of sauce I had, so when I added cooked ground turkey to the lot, my meal turned out more like a goulash instead of a spaghetti.  How silly is that?!  Silly...but oh so delicious.  The added fiesta blend did add that kick, and my husband was well-pleased.  He was very possessive of the leftovers too, so I guess it was a success.

While I didn't use a recipe, I used what I knew from reading recipes in the past, and previous experience cooking to create this spaghetti sauce.  If I had never seen a recipe before, or cooked before, I would have been lost.  The good Lord saw to it that I learned from family, friends, and cookbooks, and used my own ambition to learn how to cook. Because of this I was able to use what He provided, some of it right out of my own garden, as nourishment for our physical bodies.

Our spiritual lives work on the same premise.  If there is nobody to learn from, we don't know how to access God's 'recipe book' - the Holy Bible - or how to use the 'recipes' - His Word - to provide the nourishment our spiritual bodies need.  The good Lord saw to it that His Word was written down for us to read.  He sees to it that there are people who can help us learn.  And He relies on us to be ambitious enough to learn how He wants us to live.

I pray that you have physical nourishment today.  Most of all, I pray that you have the spiritual nourishment you need today and every day.

Blessings to you!

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