Tag Archives: Tomato Sauce

green monster

The garden has morphed  into this huge mass of vines and leaves. It’s almost impossible to distinguish between the lemon cucumbers and the Roma tomatoes …or are those pear tomatoes?

While we were in Chicago at the end of June we had friends  – Elliott and Tom – water and harvest the garden to prevent it from dying under our blistering Texas sun. They did a marvelous job keeping the garden going as you can see. When we returned home I was able to harvest 3-1/2 cups of tomatoes, enough to make  the tomato sauce I posted under Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Roma’s were a bit small so I had to cheat a little and use a few pear tomatoes to achieve the 3-1/2 cups I needed. The pear tomatoes worked very well and added a tiny bit of sweetness to the sauce.

I harvested two Ananas heritage melons before we left for Chicago, and when we left it appeared the melon vine had produced all it could this year. On our return home we were pleasantly surprised to see not only a new melon growing, but the largest one to date!

2 days before harvest

day of harvest

delicious!

I am not growing basil this season – In my past garden endeavors – in Eugene, Oregon and Seattle, Washington – I never had luck with herbs, and these are the places where everything grows lush and full. So I didn’t even consider growing herbs here in Austin. My guess is that it would take planting a big crop of any herb, cover them with shade cloth  and water them more than I water the veggies to be able to grow enough herbs to harvest. I could be wrong about the watering, but I definitely think shade cloth is necessary.  I did buy some beautiful basil at Whole Foods in order to make the tomato sauce, and used the remainder to make a big batch my famous walnut basil pesto – which can be frozen if we don’t eat it all first.

Walnut Basil Pesto

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/2-3/4 cup olive oil (I start with 1/2 and add more if necessary)
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

In a food processor add all the ingredients except the oil. Process for 2-3 minutes or until completely chopped. While processing add drizzle in oil until well mixed and moist enough to mix well with pasta.

Use the pesto with pasta or as a spread.

Rome wasn’t built in a day …

… and neither was our garden.

The organic garden we just installed is not exactly as I had dreamed it would be when we bought our house, but its a work in progress. It has given me plenty of ideas of what would make gardening easier and ultimately more fun. I’ll have to wait a little while before I start adding major landscape elements though. For now I am happy to have just a little plot of land to dig in and put down roots.

Starting to take shape

Here’s a little recipe to get you dreaming about fresh Roma tomatoes.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp good olive oil
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 4 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
  • 3 Tbsp red wine
  • 28 oz. of fresh Roma (plum) tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat (do not use a non-stick pan). Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent about 5-7 minutes. Deglaze with red wine and add the tomatoes crushing them with the back of a wooden spoon or with your hands as you add them. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the basil leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for a bout 20 – 25 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if needed.

Makes 3 cups. You can freeze this sauce for up to 6 months.