seeing red! …roasted tomato sauce

the beginning of fall and the last of the tomatoes (about 10 kg) from my garden are ready for sauce. this is the second batch we’ve processed in the last couple of weeks, much to my surprise as i only grew 10 plants this year (we bought another 24 kg for canning).

my friend sheila, another avid gardener on vancouver island, shared her sauce recipe with me 2 years back and it’s definitely a keeper in our house!

with small embellishments here is sheila’s recipe for perfect tomato sauce.

« I have used this recipe for years and it never fails. I usually make it in the
summer as we have a vegetable garden and always end up with too many
tomatoes, I then make in batches, for the freezer. I use a lot of garlic in this
recipe but that’s because we love it and the garlic sweetens in the roasting
process. I have strained the sauce at times to remove the seeds. Though most
people don’t mind tomato seeds.


  • 2 lbs large tomatoes (i do a large tray on the bbq, about 4 lbs or 2 kg*)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning (i use a tablespoon full*)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (1 for the tray and one to drizzle over the tomatoes*)

putting it together:
Preheat the oven/grill to 400°f. 205°c.
Slice tomatoes in half, set aside. (i give them a squeeze to get out some seeds and juice*)
Pour the olive oil onto a large baking sheet and spread it around the sheet.
Sprinkle evenly the garlic, herbs, sugar, salt and pepper over the oil.
Place the tomatoes cut side down onto the baking sheet (optional: add sliced peppers on top and drizzle with olive oil)  shake the italian herb mixture over the lot*)
Roast for about 30-40 minutes, or until the skins start to lift from the tomatoes. (i roast mine for about an hour until they are just getting dark caramelising on top*)
Allow to cool.
Remove the skins and put the sauce into a large bowl and break up the flesh with a fork. (…we invested in an italian tomato mill to process the mixture, it removes the skin and seeds quickly*)

Reheat sauce if using immediately.

sheila’s comments:
« I’ve been making this sauce and freezing it sucessfully for several years. (we bag ours in ziploc bags for freezing*) I press it in a mill to remove the seeds and skins once it has cooled. I have discovered that salt takes away the bitterness. I know some suggest sugar but salt works too. »

« It’s good if you roast a tray of sweet peppers with a tray of tomatoes and combine them. Roasting reduces the water content so you get a more intense tomato taste.
No stirring. I use parchment paper on the baking sheets. »

* ◊ my variations

home-grownseasoninggoodatxmas onthegrillitaliantomatomill reward

quick pickled beets

apologies to whoever wrote the recipe … i pilfered from the web a couple of years ago.

shopping list

  • enough beets to serve 4 adults (fresh from the garden)
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of keen’s dry mustard (hot)
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

pull beets from the garden and rinse off the bulb.  cut off the leaves and root  – to prevent bleeding leave about an inch of stem and root tip on while boiling. save the greens for a side salad or spinach substitute.  place beets in boiling water and heat for 20 to 30 minutes till slightly tender (not soft)  when poked with a knife.

place the pot under cold running water to cool down the beets.  when you can comfortably handle them cut of the top stem and root before slipping of the skins, they should come off easily.  feed the skins to the chickens or down the disposal.  slice the beets about a quarter-inch thick or in thin wedges.

the dressing is simple:  whisk the mustard, oil, brown sugar and cider vinegar in a small bowl, adjusting to taste.  sprinkle in salt and freshly ground pepper as you like.  pour the mixture over the beets in a shallow dish to marinade, cover and place in fridge to cool.  (i find beets can last 2 or 3 days if you make more than needed)

serve with your favourite dish.  garnish with chopped  tarragon or chives.