Looking at my kitchen table right now I am thinking one of two things; either we eat A LOT of food in this house or I went a little overboard at the farmer’s market. Actually, both are probably true. After spending six hours yesterday cleaning, cutting, cooking, and freezing vegetables, I still have a refrigerator filled with produce, as well as five LARGE bowls overflowing with every vegetable that is currently in season, sitting on my kitchen table. You know how some people have a lot of shoes? I have a lot of produce. What can I say? I see all the different shapes, colors, and textures at the farmer’s market and I want to try them all. I have a produce problem.
When I saw tomatoes at the FM last Saturday, I bought twelve pounds then I went back on Tuesday and bought some more. I ate one before I even got to the car. After getting another ten pounds this week, I made a big pot of tomato sauce to put in the freezer so we can enjoy the same freshness later on when tomatoes aren’t in season. Along with a few onions, peppers and a big handful of basil and a pinch of salt and pepper, you don’t need any other ingredients to make a rich, fresh tomato sauce. Tomato sauce isn’t the only thing tomatoes are good for, they also “contain the carotene lycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants.” (Wikipedia). Lycopene has been shown to protect against harmful UV rays, is it a coincidence that nature produces tomatoes during the summer, when the sun is out the most?
For the past two weeks I’ve eaten at least two tomatoes everyday… I fry an egg and put it over a slice of tomato and let the yoke act as the sauce in my version of eggs benedict. As a snack, I put a little sun-dried tomato and basil cheese atop a wedge of tomato with a little basil leaf. Between two slices of tomato, I stuff a little lettuce and a lot of bacon, drizzled with some almond butter for a BLT. But more often than not, I just pick one up and eat it like an apple. The possibilities are endless. Thank goodness for all of these local farmers who really know how to grow a good tomato, because mine are all still green on the vine… I’ll be lucky if I get to eat them before the rabbits do.
If you haven’t made it to your local farmer’s market yet this summer, shame on you. Your community members are working hard to bring beautiful, DELICIOUS produce to the market each week, why would you ever choose to buy unripe, bland veggies covered in pesticides from the grocery? Is it for the great elevator music or fluorescent lights? Maybe the isles upon isles of processed foods filled with sugar and hydrogenated oils? Oh wait, is it the beeping noise that you get to make all by yourself at self-checkout? Go for a change of pace, spend your Saturday morning meandering amongst your neighbors, investing in your community. And if you still miss the artificial flavors and walls of soda, then go back to your favorite supermarket.
Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce
- 15 fresh, bright red tomatoes (there are kinds that do better in marinara sauce, I am told, but I never remember so I just go with the tomato that tastes the best.)
- 4 green peppers
- a handful of fresh basil
- 1 large onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 T. salt
- 1/2 T. pepper
- Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a stock pot.
- Quarter the tomatoes (some people bother with taking off the skin, this is yet another step I skip), green peppers (remove the seeds and guts) and onions and put them in the pot.
- Mince the garlic and throw it in the pot as well, along with the basil.
- Let the vegetables simmer down over medium for a few hours, leave room with the lid so steam can escape.
- After they have simmered for a long time and some of the liquid has evaporated, use a blender, food processor, or an immersion blender to puree the sauce down to your desired consistency. I like a few chunks in my sauce.
- Cover chicken or grilled eggplant with this sauce, don’t ruin it by putting it on refined, non-nutritious pasta. 🙂