September. Is there any better month? The colors, the scents, the temperature, the kids are back in school! Here are just a few reasons why I love this time of year:
- The air is cooler which means I can sleep with our windows open and not wake up with a sheen of sweat coating my body.
- My kids are back at school and my house looks less like a tornado touched down inside of it and more like I walked in mid-robbery.
- I don't have to pack, schlep, unpack, repack and re-schlep every chair, cooler, towel, water game, boogie board, bottle of sunscreen and umbrella we own in order to spend the day at the beach with my family. I can just go with a book, a chair and a bottle of wine (Did I say "wine"? I meant water).
- I can simmer mulling spices on our stovetop...one of my favorite scents.
- I can wear jeans again. I can wear cozy sweaters again!
- I see dirt-crusted cleats in our mudroom, a happy reminder that my kids are playing sports and learning important life lessons.
- Our backyard tomato plants are so lush and full that every September, we swear we are going to plant one less tomato plant next spring.
ROASTED GARDEN TOMATO SAUCE:
(makes 3-4 cups)
3-4 pounds of various tomatoes, washed and cut into similar size chunks (if using cherry tomatoes, keep whole)
1-2 onions, peeled and cut into chunks
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled
Drizzle of olive oil
1-2 Bell Peppers, seeded and cut into chunks (optional)
Good, healthy sprinkle of salt
Lots of freshly grated black pepper
- A few sprigs of fresh basil and oregano
- A pinch of sugar, in case the tomatoes are a bit too acidic
Set your oven to 275 degrees. Place all veggies in a large roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast in the oven for at least 2-3 hours. This is long and slow, be patient. Go for a walk, read a book, clean up your kids' dirty cleats...wait, definitely don't do that!
Roasting the veggies this long will ensure they don't burn and will give them time to release their moisture and reduce in size by quite a bit. You are going to LOVE the way your home smells!
When the veggies are a bit crispy on the edges, shriveled and caramelized pluck one of the tomatoes from the pan and indulge. It is heaven on this earth! Place all veggies (and any juices or bits from the pan) into a food processor or blender and blend with a few sprigs of fresh basil and oregano. Taste and if too acidic, add a pinch of sugar. If the sauce seems too thin, place the tomato sauce in a fine mesh colander and place over a bowl. The water from the tomatoes will continue to seep out. Or, simmer on the stovetop in a saucepan over low heat for about 15 minutes. This will make the sauce thicker.
Delicious Ways to Enjoy Your Roasted Garden Tomato Sauce:
- Serve over fresh pasta
- Spoon over a crusty, toasted baguette
- Put a dollop on a cheese and cracker
- Spread over a piece of fish or a tofu steak and broil
- Mix a spoonful into some eggs and make an omelet
- Add a smear to your bread when making a grilled cheese
- Thin with a little bit of cream or milk and make a soup